Icom IC-F6011 audio input

On a recent gig I was introduced to the Riedel Riface. It’s a custom rack-mount chassis for two Motorola GM360 radios, so they can interface with an audio console, intercom system, or even themselves to use as a repeater.

One of the other guys in the company figured he could build one for cheaper than the commercial version. It uses two Icom IC-F6011 base units. Getting audio out of the Icoms is easy, there’s a 3.5mm stereo jack on the back.

Getting audio into the unit is more of challenge.

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Build log: LED Pixel Wall

The job: Build a two-part light-box wall 3 feet high by 15 feet long and 3 ft by 21 ft. The box’s panels must be interchangeable to accommodate different designs. The backlighting for the wall must be pixel-controllable for animated wipes and patterns.

This light box was to be installed in a television studio to cover up an existing ugly concrete wall. Designs were done in SketchUp during the planning process. Continue reading

Motorola Talkabout T4900 Disassembly

Taking things apart is one of my hobbies. Doesn’t matter if they’re broken or not, I’ll take it apart to see how it works. In case it does break, I’ll know that I can fix it. I bought two T4900 radios from eBay. They are awesome little radios. The audio quality is phenominal, especially compared to the T6200’s, which is much worse, despite being newer. Anyway, I finally figured out how to take them apart: Continue reading

Tascam US-122L

In my ongoing hunt for good audio, I decided it was time to get a real audio interface. I had been jury-rigging my mixer with more adapters than most people own in order to get the sound into my laptop. I finally gave up and just did a search on eBay for “audio interface.” I picked the highest price I was willing to spend, and watched every single one below that price. With the help of JBidWatcher (an awesome piece of software) I was able to snag a Tascam US-122L for half-price.

I was excited when it arrived, all shiny and visibly used. But as long as everything works, I don’t care about a few scratches. I installed the software, fired up Audacity, plugged in a mic, and… Nothing. Audacity gave me an error. I thought I had researched this one and confirmed it was compatible with Audacity. I tried Garage Band. It worked perfectly. It was obviously something wrong with Audacity. But I had read about people using it with no problems. On a whim, I decided to install the Snow Leopard driver (I only have Leopard.) Voila! It worked.

So now I have a fully functioning USB audio interface. I like it. It has rudimentary level meters (a green light that turns orange, then red when the level gets too high.) It accepts line and mic inputs, and it provides phantom power. The US-122L plus Audacity equals a pretty legit recording studio. As long as you only need to record two tracks at once. For $65, that’s fine by me.

Tascam US-122L

Audacity

JBidWatcher

Tascam US-122L

Tascam US-122L

Did someone finally make a cell phone I like?

Not quite. But Casio came really close with their G’z’One Brigade.

See, I want a cell phone that’s robust and won’t break if I drop it. Arguably I don’t drop my phone that often, but if I were to drop it, I wouldn’t want it to shatter into a million pieces. I also want a full keyboard for typing text messages. I refuse to use T9. So why do I say “not quite?”

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