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Tom Vernon

Tom Vernon's interest in electronics began in high school, when he joined an Explorer Post at a crystal plant in Carlisle, PA. He has worked in broadcasting for over 30 years, and is perhaps best known for his many articles in Radio World. Starting in 1983, Tom has written product reviews, features, how-to, and countless NAB articles. He was employed for a few years in the manufacturing end of the business, working as a wiring technician and customer service representative at Audio Accessories in Keene NH. Over the years he has performed engineering duties at a number of stations, including WNEV-TV, WBUR and Kiss-108 in Boston, as well as WXPN in Philadelphia. His hobbies include gardening, collecting vintage broadcast gear and vintage vinyl (over 3,000 albums and counting!), cardstock modeling and restoring his 19th-centurty house. Most recently, Tom has been taking flying lessons in a Piper Cherokee, and expects to soon have his private pilots license.

Recent Posts

Found in the Attic: Sony AIR-7 Aviation Band Synthesized Receiver

By Tom Vernon on Dec 13, 2017 11:55:00 AM

This Found in the Attic installment is an ‘80s flashback, even though it doesn't involve After the Fire, Blondie, or the Psychedelic Furs. Our subject is a 1985 Sony AIR-7, one of the earlier scanner receivers using frequency synthesis. From the name of this receiver, it's easy to surmise that it was designed to monitor the aviation bands, although it did quite a bit more.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology, Vintage Electronics

Found in the Attic: Fly with an Edo-Aire ADF Receiver

By Tom Vernon on Sep 27, 2017 11:55:00 AM

Found in the Attic columns regularly seek out forgotten or unusual types of AM receivers, be they farm radios, high-fidelity AM, unlikely frequency coverage, or novelty types. If you're totally stumped by the picture of this device, don't feel too bad. Unless you've had a pilot's license and been flying private aircraft for the past thirty years, you'd have no reason to encounter one of these receivers. This installment follows on the Sony AIR-7, and is our second aviation-related entry. The Edo-Aire R-556 E ADF (Automatic Direction Receiver) is typical of radio navigation aids that were in virtually all private aircraft before the advent of GPS receivers.

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Topics: Vintage Electronics, Vintage Technology, Broadcast History

Found in the Attic: Atwater Kent Model 84

By Tom Vernon on Jun 28, 2017 12:00:00 PM

From the dawn of broadcasting in the early1920s through the mid-1930s, the name Atwater Kent was synonymous with top-quality radios. Their commitment to excellence, in both cabinet construction and electronic assembly, is one of the reasons so many of their sets are still around and in working condition. There are several A-Ks in the attic, but none have been featured in FitA. Until now. This month, the 1932 Model 84 will be showcased, along with a history of the man and his company.

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Topics: Vintage Radio Technology, Vintage Electronics, Radio History

Axia on a Roll in the Twin Cities

By Tom Vernon on Jun 21, 2017 12:00:00 PM

You can't take your Axia studio with you. Or can you? Some would say no, but Steve Smit, Director of Engineering for Salem Media's Twin Cities operation figured out a way to do just that, and it has made his job a lot easier. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, Salem Media operates five stations AM 1280 The Patriot, AM 980 The Mission, AM 1440 KYCR Wall Street Radio Network, The Fish Twin Cities, and Wellness Radio 1570. One station was recently added, and studio renovation/construction projects are ongoing. There needed to be an oasis of order in the midst of the temporary chaos that accompanies any studio rehab.

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Topics: Axia Audio, broadcast audio consoles

Problem-Free Studio Build a Different Experience

By Tom Vernon on May 23, 2017 3:30:00 PM

It's an all-too-common problem. You buy a product and soon discover its limitations. In the world of broadcast engineering, this can lead to potentially major roadblocks, especially when installing new studio gear.

With a wide range of experience, Dave Wilson, Director at Worldwide Network Services (WWNS) in Nashville, is sometimes recruited for setup of IP networked broadcast studios, and he's run into just that problem one too many times over the years. Here, Dave (who admits WWNS could easily be confused for a radio station in the phone listings), tells how he's had quite a different experience with Axia.

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Topics: Axia Audio, Audio over IP, ip audio

Explore Vegas' Past at the Neon Museum

By Tom Vernon on Apr 19, 2017 11:15:00 AM

When you think about night life in Las Vegas, particularly during the Rat Pack era, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is those amazing neon signs. They were everywhere, and can still be recalled on popular films of the time such as “The Godfather,” the 1960 “Ocean’s 11,” and the James Bond movie, “Diamonds are Forever.” While neon signage had been a staple of downtown streetscapes in America since the late 1920s, it was always different in Vegas. In a city where over the top is the norm, the signs were not only bigger, but their design and display had been elevated to an art form.

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Topics: nab 2017, Las Vegas, Neon Museum

NAB 2017: Surviving the Show

By Tom Vernon on Apr 19, 2017 11:15:00 AM

I've been attending NAB for the past ten years, and off and on before that. It seems like a long time until I talk with people who haven't missed a show in 40 years or more. It’s a big week, and it’s beneficial to prepare ahead. So I’ve devised a plan for surviving NAB with most of my sanity intact, one that I tweak and refine every year when I get home. Of course, the show changes over time as well, so it's a bit like trying to hit a moving target. If this is your first show, then some of the things I've learned the hard way may be beneficial for you at NAB 2017.

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Topics: Telos Alliance, nab 2017, Las Vegas

Omnia at 20: Innovate. Disrupt. Repeat.

By Tom Vernon on Apr 11, 2017 4:42:05 PM

“Nothing changes but the changes.” That expression is a good summary of the first 20 years of Omnia Audio. Rather than the linear evolution of a single product line, the history of Omnia is more about bringing new concepts, leading tech, and fresh ideas to the party. Hence, our current slogan – Innovate. Disrupt. Repeat.

The story of Omnia begins in two places at about the same time, one being New York City; the other, Cleveland, Ohio. The year was 1985.

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Topics: Omnia Audio, Audio Processing, Frank Foti

Found in the Attic: PalmPilots m100 and m515

By Tom Vernon on Apr 11, 2017 4:15:00 PM

2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the release of the Palm Pilot, the first commercially successful PDA, or Personal Digital Assistant. The event passed without much fanfare or recognition. What little there was probably got drowned out by press on the latest iPhone, Google Android or BlackBerry. But the truth is, these devices owe a lot of their conceptual identity to that landmark device that hit the streets in the mid-1990s. This Found in the Attic explores the history of PDAs, the Palm company and the PalmPilots m100 and m515. PDAs are a subset of the larger personal electronics revolution, which began in the 1970s.

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Topics: Electronics, Vintage Technology, PDAs

xNodes Mark the Spot on Florida's Gulf Coast

By Tom Vernon on Mar 22, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Fans of public broadcasting outlets PBS and NPR living in southwestern Florida are served by WGCU, where the TV-FM public broadcaster has operated from the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers for two decades. The station's Director of Engineering, Kevin Trueblood, has likewise been in the broadcast industry for 20 years, though only the last two of those years have been spent at WGCU.

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Topics: IP Audio Network Routing & Control, Omnia Audio, xNodes


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