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Oamaru's wok technology

Published: 8:03PM Saturday February 24, 2007 Source: One News

A North Otago computer programmer is taking Kiwi number eight wire creativity to a new level.
Ken Jones is saving Oamaru's local television station thousands of dollars by helping it get to air with a common kitchen wok.

To broadcast the action of Showday in Oamaru, North Otago's new community TV station 45 South turned to the local computer programming whiz.

From his rural property he had already cooked up a way of connecting broadband.

"We experimented over a matter of months and finally got a link to town which is seven kilometres," Jones says.

The item most needed to succeed was discovered during a visit to The Warehouse.

"We looked at lampshades, we looked at the woks, we looked at frying pans - anything that was curved, he says.

After some complex mathematics, he discovered a simple wok could be adapted to do the job of an expensive satellite dish.

Then came 45 South's transmission problem.  Its conventional aerials were sending out a noisy signal so they looked to see whether the wok technology could provided the answer.

"Because the wok is solid metal, unlike the commercial disk it doesn't pick up any interference from the back of the wok," Jones says.

So instead of an unaffordable $20,000 transmission dish, a $10 wok towers above 45 South's downtown studios.

"It's not perfect but it's working really well and getting it on air," Jones says.

And after finding its way onto several websites, Oamaru's wok technology is attracting plenty of international interest.