Monday, June 08, 2015

Yet More Aargh

     Went into work at 1:30 yesterday morning because a major provider was moving to a new satellite -- well, moving a satellite right on top of the one they'd been using, with the antennas tilted about 25 degrees to, it is hoped, reduce signal fading due to rain.

     With a lot of end-users, hundreds of us, the process was managed with a phone bridge, largely one-way, and quickly developed into a bit of a goat-rope, with all us users on standby while the provide checked different uplink sites and gain modes for the satellite transponders and, finally, had us push the button at our downlinks.

     That's when the wheels fell off.  Not for me, I was lucky and despite my dire forebodings about spending hours inside the central drum of a six-meter earth station with wrenches and a crowbar, it all worked out okay.  Not so much for some of the others; a few found the feed assembly in their dishes had turned the wrong way!  Many discovered that when they followed the instruction, "make sure the emergency stop button at the dish is released," they had instead engaged the emergency stop, preventing all dish motion.  Wires and waveguides tore loose at other sites and even with talkback carefully controlled, it was apparent that some people were in for a very long night.

     As things wound down, we had to call another number to report signal strength and fade margin.  The same number the worse-off were calling for detailed technical support. Of course the people on the phone bridge assured us that the two sets of calls were sorted right out and "plenty of techs are available."  Yeah -- so many that on my first call, after a half-hour of music on hold, the fancy VOIP phone system at work dropped the call!  My next call in was answered after a mere twenty minutes.

     But I shouldn't complain.  It could have been worse.  And I was home in time for a nice breakfast at Taste!
     Yes, that's a filet, under a fried egg, on top of new potatoes and Spring vegetables.  With some outstanding gravy.  That makes up for a little of the lost sleep.


Anonymous said...

I don't miss the late night/early morning system upgrades. It seemed like I always caught the midnight to 4 AM shift.

Glad things went well.

I can appreciate the plight of those were supposed to do X and instead did "not X." Because the folks that activated the emergency stop button were probably not the same folks who were diagnosing "why won't this "f#@&ing thing move?"

Between this and the FCC audit the other day, I have to believe (your war stories not withstanding) that you work for an organization that mostly has its act together. Or maybe you just make them look good.

Old NFO said...

Yeah, glad I'm not doing that anymore either!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy that egg now, the media is currently feeding the GREAT EGG SHORTAGE OF 2015. It will soon cost more than the filet! Of course, if you really want some eggs, just let me know, our chickens seem to be doing fine.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Seems unfortunate that there isn't an internationally-linked electronic network of tubes through which those signal reports could have been made, and an instantaneous reply returned.,,

Roberta X said...

Heh. In a rocket-propelled age, we're still a-horse. And darned grateful it's not shank's mare, too.