March 2020

Spend a day with Ryan Hurt, Commissioning & Support Engineer at dB Broadcast.

08:00 Today I’m travelling to Central Square in Cardiff to carry out commissioning checks in the final stages of a major IP broadcast system for BBC Wales. This has been a significant undertaking – to deliver the first BBC facility to use IP technology across both its production and broadcast operations – and as such there has been much new learning along the way. My work is often the final stage before hand-over to the client, so it’s vital that it’s carried out carefully and accurately.

08:30 Arrive at client site and start by checking my JIRA list. This is a schedule of jobs that have been posted either by my colleagues at dB or by the client, and some may be urgent. Some of the jobs I can see will require special parts, so I organise those first for completion another day.

09:00 I can now start on my main tasks for the day, which are a continuation of the work I’ve been doing for quite a few months now – fault finding and configuration checking of the large and complex installation. I consult the technical drawings and make sure that they tie up with the physical installation. If an issue is found, I may be able to rectify it there and then, or for more complex issues, I refer them to a wireman colleague. I can access our Testrail system and upload images for others to refer to.
Work on IP-based systems involves IP addresses, network cables, and audio and video settings, so it is often very complex, involving many thousands of cables, both copper and fibre. The latter is quite fragile, so I need to take extra care in handling those.

13:00 I usually take a short lunch break, but it’s nothing exotic – just a baguette from the sandwich shop around the corner! Often I bump into other dB colleagues or contractors I’ve worked with on this and other projects – broadcasting technology is a quite a small world really.

13:45 I have plenty more cable checking to do this afternoon, but I also take time to look at some configuration settings. We like to leave the client with workable suggested settings for some of the most complex parts of the system, even though they will want to create their own when the system is fully up and running. IP systems can be confusing and somewhat tricky to configure, and dB has built up a good deal of knowledge on the change in mind-set that is required. A lot of the equipment deployed here is new, and the interoperability needs to be confirmed in practice.

17:30 My final activity of the day is always to check my JIRA lists again; it’s very important to me to clear all the items if at all possible. Happily, I can tick all the boxes today.

18:00 After five years at dB, I’m still learning a lot and really enjoy the complexities of broadcast projects in the IP environment. We have an exciting future ahead!