Sunday, 13 April 2003


After my successes in Kalgoorlie, I was not prepared at all for this installation site. The site is at the bottom of a garden, lots of room and the removal of the dish from the van and the installation of the frame was quite simple. Finding power and getting ready for the install was also pretty straight forward.

The land was on the side of a hill. The house had been built on the street level, and major earthworks had been completed to make that happen. As a result, the site itself, while spacious, was three metres lower than the house. To make things more exciting, there was a line of tall trees with about a metre between them, each was about 15 to 20 meters tall.

I spent the next six hours in the hot sun, moving the frame around to get some signal, any signal. I checked the hardware, the location, the elevation, the compass, you name it. In the end it turned out to be the trees. Final connectivity came swiftly, when I finally managed to point at a gap between two of the behemoths. Of course, the smallest amount of wind would block the signal, but it was the best I could do.

Getting wireless to work was another challenge, because the setup worked initially, but after a bit of rain, the hill was sodden and acted as a nice big barrier to the signal. The solution was to use the two 18dBi Yagi's pointing at each other, a mere 30 meters apart - very overkill. We used one of the remote antenna mounts for the first time and it worked to spec.

We had purchased a cheap large tarpaulin to cover the dish which lost several eyes during some of the rain and wind that came along, so some anxious moments were had when we'd come out in the morning.

Wednesday, 2 April 2003


Our first remote install. After building the loading crane and nearly loosing my life with a 2m beam landing on my head, the construction of the crane needs a complete overhaul. The original plan was for the loading and installation to be a one-man job, but the crane made life harder, not simpler.

After bolting the dish together, much frustration, the actual install was something different altogether. I carry a GPS, a compass, an inclinometer and a map of Elevation/Inclination/Cross Poll numbers to get the initial placement to be as accurate as possible. I looked over the fence to the neighbours and noticed a Foxtel dish on their roof. I used my big thumb to estimate the direction, did a correction by doing a rough approximation of 22.6° and turned the dish on.

I spent the next three hours trying to improve the signal.

In other words, my rough estimate had been spot on. I can get used to this.