Applications for broadcast engineers

There are many new tools to help engineers do their jobs, and today’s technology is making them smaller and more convenient. First were handheld calculators and computers, but now it’s the smart phone. One of the most popular smart phones today is Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone’s ability to run applications (apps) has made it famous for social media and games, but there are many other apps with more practical uses.

The following is a list of apps for the iPhone broken down into categories that fill many of the needs for today’s engineers. As with any list, this one is sure to be incomplete because new apps are added every day. All these apps can be found on the iTunes Store from within iTunes, available for free from Apple. If you choose to acquire any of the apps listed here, be sure to read the reviews before throwing down any money. Many of these apps range in price from free to just a few dollars, but some can cost hundreds of dollars.

Also, look carefully at the description because some programs only work with certain models of iPhones, while others require software installation. Sometimes the app is free and the computer software must be purchased, or vice versa. Despite these pitfalls, many useful apps can be found for free or at a reasonable price, so happy hunting.


Audio apps span the range from SPL meters and tone generators to time code calculators and generators. Comrex has a remote audio app that ties into its studio codex. There’s also reference material including a list of all professional microphones and recording terms.

Anlyzer: SignalScope Pro, FFT, SPL Graph, VA Acoustics

Generator: Sig Gen, Cleartune, iPitchPipe, Oscillator, iFrequency, Oscillatr Pro, Simple Sine

Reference: Pro Audio Calculator, Bit Calc Pro, Audio Tool, Audio Recording Terms, MicLopedia, DJConnectionsPro, Acoustics Basics

Remote broadcast: Media5-fone (Comrex)

Remote control: ProRemote, AKG Wireless

Sound level: Decibel Meter Pro, Professional dB Meter, dB Volume Meter, Decibel, SoundMeter, SoundLevel Free

Time code: Timecode, Movie Slate, Tcode-Professional Logs, TimeCodeCal, vniSlate, SMPTE TC Converter, TimeCode Calculator, TimeCode StopWatch, JumpStart LTC, FreeTime Pro, iTC Calc


This is small category with just a few entries, but it’s sure to grow with time. Some broadcast equipment manufacturers now have apps to control their equipment, while others provide useful data related to their equipment. Other apps supply shortcuts to broadcast-related programs.

A/V Cabling: Cables & Wires Reference

Broadcast equipment: VP-729 (Kramer Electronics), VP-4x4K (Kramer Electronics)

Reference: Final Cut Pro Field Guide, FCPkeys, Technicolor, VideoCalculator, Pro Video Guide, AJA DataCalc, Pro Video Guide


Carrying blueprints or a laptop to the rooftop or out in the field can be cumbersome. With these apps you can carry the drawings around in our pocket, and some even allow you to sketch out a drawing directly into the app.

Drawing: cadTouch R2, iPocket Draw, Cartomap CAD

Viewing: vueCAD, Drawvis, nvDXF, Drawvis Free


This category comprises circuit simulations, calculators, training and glossaries. Some apps are limited to just one calculation or set of data, while others contain a wide range of information, which usually cost a few dollars. But a few dollars is far less than the cost of a book on the subject.

Circuits: iTronixPal, Electronics ToolKit, Scientific Electronics Circuit Calculator, Electronic Toolbox, Electrical Toolkit, TTL Pinouts, Circuit Calculator, iSlipstick, Resonance Calculator, Electrical Ref, Sensor & Electrical Toolkit, TrCalc

Color codes: Resistor Color-Code, Resistor Color-Code, Resistance Calculator v3, CapCalc, Resistor Color Decoder

Ohm’s law: Ohm’s Law Calculator, Ohm’s Law, Resistulator, Ohm’s Calculator, Ohm’s Resistor, Ohm’s Best, V=IR,

Other: SineWave

Training: Electronics Dictionary, Electronic Timer, Circuit Lab, DCircuit Lab, elecPuzzles, Design and Technology, iCircuit, Make: Electronics

Mechanical and electrical engineering

Broadcast engineers are jacks of all trades; this includes building structures to hold antennas and dishes as well as installing or troubleshooting single- and three-phase electrical systems. These reference and calculator apps will help the broadcast engineer also wear the hat of a mechanical and electrical engineer.

Electrical: Electrical ToolKit, Electrical Formulator, Electrical Pro, Electrican’s Helper, Ecalcs, Wire Size, EMF Meter, Motor Pro, Electric Color Code, Voltage Drop Calculator, Circuit Pro, Motor Calculator, e-ENGineer, Sparky, Electric Power, Wire Ref

Measurements: Ruler — Better Than Wood, Stanley Bostitch Level, Clinometer — Level & Slope Finder, iHandy Level Free, Home Compass, myCoordinates Pro

Mechanical: Mechanical Engineer, Mechanics Basics, Thread-Tap Calculator, mecalQ

Reference: National Electrical Code 2008 HB, Elec Ref, EE Basics

Unit conversion: Unit Converter Pro, Unit Conversion Free,


Keeping up with the latest technology and software is not an easy job, but it’s much simpler with these apps. Under security are apps that can store your passwords for you as well as glossary of security terms. Other apps will scan for open ports on the network alerting you of potential security risks. There are apps that help decode IP packets and list common ports and their names, and others will calculate subnet addresses and ping devices on the network. Under reference, there are books on IT security that fit in your smart phone, and remote desktop apps allows you to remotely control your computer and/or server from anywhere in the world. Most of these apps only control one type of OS, and so they have been marked: Windows (W), Macintosh (M) and Unix (U).

IP: Packet Decode, IP Network Scanner Lite, TCP/IP Remote, IP Calc, IP Port List, aSubnet, IP Calculator, iNet Pro, Net Status, Subnet Calc, Network Diagnostics Utility Pro, Network Calculator, Ping IP, Subnet Calculator

Reference: IP Ports, NetWorker, Ultimate Internet Security, Packet Decode, Network Warrior

Remote desktop: LogMeIn Ignition (WM), Jump Desktop (W), FreeMyIT (WU), AppRemote (W), Touch Mouse (M), iTap RDP (W), ezDesktop VNC & RDP (WM), Remote Desktop RDP (W), iTeleport (W)

Security: Ultimate Internet Security, Security Scanner, 1Password Pro, Scany, iNet, mSecure-Password, Keeper Password, KeeSafe Password Storage


Apps in this category range from lessons on RF fundamentals to calculation of path loss, beam width, Fresnel zone, intermodulation and how to make an antenna from a can.

Antennas: Antenna Calculator, Antenna Gain Calculator, WiPlan, Can Calc

Cabling: Transmission Line Calc, CoaxLoss

Converters: RF Slide Charts, RF Converter, VSWR Convert

Link Budget: RF Link Calc, Link Budget Plus, Field Strength Calc, Link Budget Calculator, Field Strength & Power Estimator (R&S)

Matching: Microwave Calculator (Agilent), RF Vector, RF Attenuator,

Teaching: jEMLabs, iRFC


These apps assist in aiming your dish by using the built-in GPS to find your current location or by using maps to pinpoint any location on earth. Some apps superimpose the satellite names over the video from the built-in camera when pointing it at the sky. This can be very useful because it can tell you if the satellite in question can be seen or if obstacles will block the sightline to the satellite.

Dish alignment: Satellite Tracker Plus, Satellite Sliderule Pro, Satellite Finder, DishLoc, DishPointer Augmented Reality, Satellite Augmented Reality, WiPlan Satellite TV, DishPointer Maps, EasySat


These apps are designed to an eye on facilities and equipment while you are away. Some connect to the alarm system companies that monitor your buildings, and others let you view and control Web cams you have set up. But be careful because many of these apps only control one type of Web cam. The remote-control apps listed here let you turn on/off lights, control temperature and control some Web cams.

Alarm companies: ADT Pulse, CPI Security inTouch System, Alarm.Com, Platinum Protection, e-Secure, Schlage LiNK

Remote control: SnapLink Mobile, MobiLinc Pro Insteon & X10 Controler, Ihome Remote for Indigo, iSUGI Home Automation, X10 Commander, Crestron Mobile Pro, e-Home Controls, ZWave Commander

Web cams: Cam Viewer for SecuritySpy, Mobile Cam Viewer Enterprise Basic,Viewer for Axis Cams, Linksys Cams, D-Link Cameras, Remote Patrol


Most of the apps in this category will help you determine the size of storage for different types of RAID configurations, and some are for trouble shooting.

Oracle: DSI Broadcast Engineer’s Oracle

Utilities: Drive Savers, RAID Calc, RAIDer, The San RAID Calculator, SANCalc, CPS Concieo RAIDCalc, ISCSI Target