HOWTO: Use Icecast as a backup STL for Nautel transmitters (Part 2)

In the last post on this subject, I walked you through how to setup your Nautel transmitter to pull audio from an Icecast server. This can be used on a permanent basis if your station does not have a terrestrial microwave or T-1 link normally used as your STL. However, since the quality of Internet connectivity can vary, some stations do prefer to have a non-Internet link for STL purposes.

That said, you can still use the Icecast server as a backup to your normal STL. This works for us because our normal streaming service (for our website and various apps) uses Icecast, at a high bitrate (192Kbps MP3.) We simply tie the Nautel to that stream as an additional listener.

Once you have two presets (STL and Internet) configured, you can switch between them at-will, or as needs arise. However, it is also possible to configure your Nautel to switch automatically in the event of an outage.

Continue reading “HOWTO: Use Icecast as a backup STL for Nautel transmitters (Part 2)”

HOWTO: Use Icecast as a backup STL for Nautel transmitters (Part 1)

Anyone who’s done any broadcast work can tell you that STLs aren’t perfect. Whether you’re using microwave or T-1, at some point, you’ll have an outage. I’ve run into this recently with one of our stations, where we apparently have a water intrusion issue on our link somewhere. Get the right amount of rain, and you’re off the air (or at least, broadcasting The Sound of Silence…)

One of the nice things about Nautel transmitters is their ability to pull audio from an Icecast or SHOUTcast server. I’d looked at this before, but never was able to figure out exactly how to make it work from the documentation provided. I recently sat down and started toying with it again, and successfully made it work.

Continue reading “HOWTO: Use Icecast as a backup STL for Nautel transmitters (Part 1)”

FreePBX Distro (SNG7) on Amazon EC2

NOTE: Special thanks to Andrew Nagy at Sangoma for pointing me to some information that formed the basis of this fix. I had originally created a bug report with a patch that fixed this script, which set the entire thing in motion. Also, this information is being contributed to the community by myself, and the company I own (Voiceopia Communications), in hopes it’ll be of assistance to others. Of course, if you need some turn-key FreePBX stuff, drop us a line!

For quite some time, I have been happily running FreePBX 13 systems (under FreePBX Distro) in the Amazon EC2 cloud without any issues. Once FreePBX 14 went stable, it was the next logical step to set it up to run within EC2 as well, with the idea being to upgrade some of my 13 systems over to it.

Several months of experimentation went by, and I kept running into a common issue: The systems seemed to drop off the network after an hour or so of uptime. Restarting the system via AWS seemed to get things back in order — for another hour or so. Then the process repeats itself. Continue reading “FreePBX Distro (SNG7) on Amazon EC2”

“NO LAN CABLE” error on Grandstream? Try this!

(NOTE: If you’re impatient, there’s a TL;DR at the bottom of the post, but it may not make much sense to you without the rest of the information in the post. Skip there at your own risk…)

A bit of backstory…

For many years, I’ve used the venerable Cisco SPA508G IP phone as my daily driver on both my home and office desks. Throw in a Cisco SPA500DS digital sidecar, and it’s a golden setup. Plenty of keys for speed dialing, other extensions, etc. and all of your sidecar labeling is controlled from the provisioning server — no more fooling with paper inserts!

As such, I’ve always used that setup as my benchmark when evaluating new IP phones for possible use with my customers. The Cisco equipment is solidly built, reliable, sounds great, and is fairly easy to work with.

A year or so back, I started evaluating more “modern” phones with features my customers would like to see, such as color screens, gigabit Ethernet (for passthrough to computers, etc.) I’ve tried phones by Sangoma, Yealink, and probably a few other vendors. The audio quality on the Sangoma, frankly, sucked. I tried to work with them on getting that fixed, to no avail. I can’t remember what happened with the Yealink or others — but in the end, the Cisco setup always ended up on my desk.

Enter Grandstream…

Continue reading ““NO LAN CABLE” error on Grandstream? Try this!”

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome one and all! It’s 2018! Yeah, I know, we’re actually a few days into 2018 at this point… However, I’ve been a bit under the weather (to say the least) for the past week or so, and I’m just now starting to get back to my usual self. (Apparently my body doesn’t like this constant warm-cold-warm-freezing weather shenanigan that is going on, especially with these teens and single-digit temperatures this week!) For one, it’s completely killed my voice, which has made life interesting considering I work in broadcasting as well as do voice production. I digress…

At this time of year, everyone is busy making New Year’s resolutions. Okay, so by this point in the year, most “normal” people have already had their resolutions made for about 48 hours, and are well on their way to forgetting about the remaining one or two of them they haven’t failed on yet. But, anyone who knows me, knows I’m far from being a “normal” person. Thus, I’ve taken the time this year to think through my New Year’s resolutions. The goal: Make some resolutions I feel like I’ll actually keep, make them public, and stick to them — even if it means making them a few days “late” so-to-speak.

And now… I present to you… my 2018 New Year’s resolutions!

Continue reading “2018 New Year’s Resolutions”