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Treading Water in the Freelance Pool: A Day in the Life of an A-2 on a Live Sports Broadcast (Part 4)


You may be asking yourself, “Now, what the heck do I need?”. To put your mind at ease, I’ve created a simple starter tool package for you (you can thank me later). I am assuming that you are comfortable around tools. If not, you better get comfortable. You WILL need to use all of these sooner or later. 

A proper tool kit is too cumbersome to carry around, so here are some ideas of what you might find in my very own small bag of tricks on any given day:

  • A “Greenie” or “Tweeker” – a small, flat-head screwdriver. Assorted other screwdrivers would be good to include as well.
  • A Radio Shack Butane Soldering Iron – the Weller brand is much better, but is too large to fit in my pack. Keep a spare tip and extra gas handy.
  • Small Vise Grips – to hold connectors during soldering. And they’ll save your fingers.
  • Solder – for soldering. Of course.
  • Shrink Tubing – assorted thicknesses because you just never know.
  • #10 Gauge Teflon Tubing – to isolate ground drains for the improperly toilet-trained among us.
  • Dykes (diagonal cutters), Small Needle Nose Pliers – some like a “leatherman”-type multi-tool.
  • Foam – to use for shockmounts or windscreens for microphones.
  • Tape – various types, like gaffers (duct), white paper for labeling, colored paper tape for color coding, etc.
  • Vinyl Electrical Tape and Plastic Bags – for water-proofing connector ends.
  • Dark Sharpie Marking Pen – or a not-likely-to-leak pen or pencil. Because ink smears are hard to read.
  • “Tone Bone” – an in-line tone generator. Shure Bros model A15TG or a Whirlwind Q-Box are good to use
  • “Listen Box” – Radio Shack has them, or the Whirlwind Q-Box can be used as well.
  • Audio Adapters, AC Ground Lifter, XLR Turnarounds (Male to Male and Female to Female)
  • “Sniffer” or In-Line Voltage Checker – to test for voltage in the RTS or Clear-Com PL and IFB systems, and phantom power. Again, the Whirlwid Q-Box can do this also.
  • Cable Checker – Whirlwind makes a good one.
  • Telex brand earpiece – to test the IFB boxes.
  • Batteries – have some 9 volt and AA batteries with some tape over the contacts so they don’t short out in your bag.
  • LOTS of patience. There’s always enough room in your bag for this.

As this bag is going to get a bit heavy, you might want to have a small bag for the bare essentials, like the tweeker, white tape, Q-Box and a few turnarounds. Keep your bag in a strategic spot so you don’t have to drag around all of this stuff when you’re running around. But, this should get you started. As your career progresses, you’ll learn to customize your kit to suit your own needs.

Tomorrow, we’ll be ending this “day in the life” series with ideas on setting up the announce booth and finally going LIVE!

written by Rom Rosenblum, Clear-Com Applications Minke