Harris/Gates support

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Shane
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Harris/Gates support

Post by Shane » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:41 pm

Any advice on how to get through to Gates/Harris support on the weekend?
Mike Shane, CBRE
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Deep Thought
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Deep Thought » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:41 pm

If (888) 840-4622 didn't get you to someone then their "24/7 support" isn't.

You can also try support@gatesair.com.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Shane
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Shane » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:20 pm

Tried both. So far, no love.
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Deep Thought
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Deep Thought » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:32 pm

How far the mighty have fallen. I got into a little argument with them a couple NABs ago about this very thing. Voicemail is not "24/7 Support". Their response was that their equipment didn't NEED to have someone available 24/7. I decided right then based on that and some previous encounters involving "no we don't support that but I'll be glad to transfer you to sales to buy a new one" never to recommend their products to clients.

Assholes.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

grich
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by grich » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:29 am

My last contact with GatesAir was a Z5CD call a year ago. It was at night, but I don't recall if it was a weekend. Called the same number I have for decades...217-222-8200. Walter called me back in a few minutes.

I remember the days when the guy that answered the phone overnight could talk you through some troubleshooting before passing you along to the next level techs, and could take a parts order.

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Shane
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Shane » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:57 pm

We did finally get response today. I remember that 217 number now. We’ll make a note of that to see if it’s any better next time.

Meanwhile, I have a new slogan for Nautel: “Next time, Nautel.”
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Scott.Cason » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:03 pm

I had a similar conversation with a Harris rep. I took them off my spec list. When a station owners wants me to spec a new transmitter for them, it's Nautel or someone else builds it.


Deep Thought wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:32 pm
How far the mighty have fallen. I got into a little argument with them a couple NABs ago about this very thing. Voicemail is not "24/7 Support". Their response was that their equipment didn't NEED to have someone available 24/7. I decided right then based on that and some previous encounters involving "no we don't support that but I'll be glad to transfer you to sales to buy a new one" never to recommend their products to clients.

Assholes.
LaGrange Communications - http://www.lagrange-com.com
Froggy 95.9 - http://froggy959.net/

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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by fm-engineer » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:27 pm

Kind of a shame to hear this about Gates because they are a true American company. I like the FAX transmitter, LDMOS amps, etc. I've been told the design was rooted from the military side before the split with Harris. With that being said, my company has moved away from Gates to Nautel. I have an AM Nautel that's been on the air for 11 years except for occasional overnight maintenance. Just keep the air filters changed. Also, getting ready for a new GV FM install. I've had some issues Nautel's low power VS stuff. To be fair, I'm not sure the VS is actually made by Nautel. Their cheaper stuff may be outsourced.

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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:21 am

Nautel makes the VS series, but some of the innards are OEM'd, mostly the power supplies of which they had a really bad batch of awhile back.
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by RodeoJack » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:55 am

I have mixed feelings about Harris.

Last year, I did a re-freq on a DX-10. It involved changing capacitor types, and that required different mounting plates. They went out to the floor a couple of times and sent back pictures. It took some time to get the right combo, and the crystals took well over 2 months to get. Otherwise, the process ended well and I was reasonably satisfied with their support.

More recently, I had issues with a Gates Five. They sent me some parts, but one of them, a simple connector bracket, they couldn't find anywhere. I wound up making one. What bothered me was them telling me the transmitter, having been purchased in '03, had been out of manufacture for 10 years or so and they didn't think they had more than 40% of its parts left... buy a new one. When I'm sitting at home with a stiff drink in my hand, I imagine being the one to tell that to one of my clients!

By comparison, I have a Power Rock that needed some repairs to its fiber optics. Continental had updated versions ready to go and gave me no flak at all about keeping a vintage rig going. That transmitter is running daily in full-time service.

Sure is a different world...

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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by radio_guru » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:28 pm

Problem with CEC is they no longer have any 24/7 support at all. It's 9-5, leaving out noon-1 for lunch. The guys there are still top notch. But the reality is they're out of making new FM and AM broadcast TX's and are there just to support what's out there (besides building big shortwave TX's).

Someone commented Nautel isn't a US company. Well...it is in part. While ownership and engineering are all done in Halifax, don't forget they have a Bangor, Maine factory where a lot of the lower power AM product is built and parts are shipped from (in addition to Memphis.)

And, my eyes-on view of their Halifax plant showed me they were building VS TX's there. Most everything they use mechanically is fabricated by them in their metal shops. But I think they farm out the PCB manufacture aspect however. And their switcher supplies are OEM'd. Which I'm not happy about in the least. I understand why. But that doesn't make it any better when you can't repair them in the field and there are none in domestic stock.

Never the less, they're the only real game in town.

Quincy Tin Works lost me after a TX fire in a three week old TX and they said to call our insurance adjuster to buy another TX. The cause was traced back to a manufacturing defect based on a bad design. They ended up replacing both TX's on that order with corrected design TX's a few months later. Never mind the idiocy of the sales and tech support people stating we'd never need to change the Z plane in the Z series TX's. HAH...they may be right. We've never changed. But they sure have...

RG

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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by W2XJ » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:12 pm

When I started in the business the stations in my market were either Collins or RCA shops back when most broadcast equipment manufacturers built end to end solutions. It was a while before I ever saw Gates gear (well before the Harris era). When we started putting new FMs on air, one station I was involved with bought a Gates FM TX and another a Collins. I asked the engineers who were my mentors about this Gates brand. They all responed along the lines of it being cheap junk. As the installs progressed, they seemed to prove themselves correct. The Collins was solidly built and had a direct FM mostly solid state exciter. The Gates had an all tube serrasoid exciter and just didn’t hold a candle to the Collins. My next exposure to Gates was the Yard and Gatesway consoles which couldn’t hold a candle to the Collins and RCA consoles I was accustomed to. I never saw much evidence of Gates support back then.

I guess I am spoiled as most of my customer support was originally Collins and Continental. With either of those companies it was easy to deal directly with the design engineers. Continental was especially good. I had Joe Sainton on site numerous times for 315 and 316 Fs and 317Cs and Carol Henderson who helped me re-build a number of FM transmitters. BTW to correct an earlier comment, Continental still builds and sells FM transmitters which are still essentially the 70s Collins design. Dan Dickey tells me that they still sell a reasonable number.

In the early 80s the company I worked for got interested in Nautel. We were looking forward to building a new 50 KW facility and had hopes that would have a 50 KW TX by the time we were ready. They had an excellent pedigree as they built solid state nautical beacons for a number of governments and were financially stable and privately held. While they had excellent RF abilities, they were in a learning phase regarding broadcast. I can’t tell you how many transmitters we blew up before they learned the importance of 150% + modulation to broadcasters. Once they got the technology down, we urged them to look at Continental support as a model. They did and took it a few steps further. As long as that culture stays in place they will be in great shape. Not having to satisfy shareholders is also a big positive.

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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by jakebechtold » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:01 pm

About two months ago now we had an intermittent issue with an HT20 CD that we finally traced back to a bad power supply in the IPA. It was an off the shelf power supply so before going to Harris/Gates we shopped around at the usual vendors to possibly save a few bucks. Our search was to no avail. Turns out the power supply was discontinued by the manufacturer and never replaced with an equivalent model.

So we called the fine folks in Quincy to see if they had one in stock or had a suitable substitute. They were well aware the power supply had been discontinued, but didn't feel it necessary to work on a replacement plan/kit for it since they no longer make the HT transmitters.

The HT20 in question is NINE years old. NINE.

They ended up selling us an HT30/35 IPA Power Supply retrofit kit that might work for $1200. I'm happy to report that she's been happy ever since... but this transmitter is less than a decade old and they won't support it? How ridiculous is that!

We've been slowly replacing all of our transmitters with Nautels... guess this one is next on the list!
Jake Bechtold, CBRE, CBT, CBNT
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Shane
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Shane » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:36 pm

How long ago was that, Jake? We had a similar problem with a 35 toward the end of ‘17, bought the power supply from them but it was considerably more than $1200, IIRC.
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Deep Thought
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Re: Harris/Gates support

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:20 am

Shane wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:36 pm
How long ago was that, Jake? We had a similar problem with a 35 toward the end of ‘17, bought the power supply from them but it was considerably more than $1200, IIRC.
jakebechtold wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:01 pm
About two months ago now we had an intermittent issue with an HT20 CD
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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