From the "You Can't Make This Up" file...
I had a first yesterday... In the midst of a pure BS vehicle day where I had to have both a U-joint AND an alternator replaced within less than 24 hours from each other while over 100 miles from home... I accidentally pointed a dish.
While waiting on my truck to be looked at the first time (odd noise/vibration from the rear end (easy on the snarky comments)) by a local garage, I started the reaimed of a beat up, egg shaped 11ft mesh TVRO dish... It was a polar mount that was never set to follow the polar arc AND must have been installed by a transplanted Canuck satellite dish tech expecting 6ft of snow in southern TN. With the dish tilted all the way down, the bottom of the reflector was 4ft AGL which put the feed almost out of reach from an 8ft step ladder. With the dish pointed in the general direction of AMC18, the feed/LNB was truck bed + 8ft step ladder + 5'9" station owner on tippy toes on the top step AGL. Thankfully this guy isn't the typical owner and has a life and skills outside of radio and wasn't afraid of tall wobbly ladders.
I replaced the non-functional crank actuator with an all thread and unistrut hardware adjuster and then set the elevation to something resembling the expected EL, set the polarity to something reasonably close and then roughly shoved the dish east to where I wanted to start looking for AMC18.
And without knowing it, shoved it close enough to the AMC18 AZ/EL for ESPN & Premier rxs to acquire and lock without so much as a peek at a spectrum analyzer. Imagine my surprise to walk into the equipment room to find a receiver rack with a bunch of green lights. It took 2+ hrs more fiddling to get the WW1 rx to be semi-happy but eventually we got 8ish EB's on WW1 and 13's on ESPN and Premier. The cross pol null on this dish was horrible due to all the humps, valleys, hail/lawnmower damage and tippy-toe adjustments.
The owner was hoping to reuse this dish but was pre-resigned to replacing it with a new compliant dish if necessary. It is stable for the minute but he is ordering a replacement after the rush is over. Adjusting the polarity while standing tippy toed, on a too high step of an 8ft step ladder, precariously balanced in the bed of his Chevy PU, being held (the frigging ladder, not him) by a sweaty, bald, fat guy seemed to be the deciding factor.
And somewhere in all that BS, my truck quit charging... I noticed that the batt voltage looked odd as the rear end rumbled and vibrated (be kind) but was more focused on the potential $$$$$$$ and down time of wheel/carrier/pinion bearings 100 miles from home. The shop there correctly diagnosed it as a binding U-joint and thankfully a local parts house had one in stock. After a U-joint replacement Monday afternoon at 4pm, the Ram got a new alternator at 8am this morning (Tuesday) after an unplanned overnight stay 80 miles from today's dish move.
Today's dish move morphed from another wobbly, beatup, Canuck mounted, 10ft TVRO dish to a very solid, decent looking, 12+ft, long abandoned AFC dish with all the pieces parts available. We took a couple of hours to gather scattered parts, lube & work hardware loose, replace the long deteriorated AFC feed mount connectors with common threaded PVC connectors & mount a new LNB. We swung that big bugger around and had >15 EB's on Premier and 13+ on WW1 in minutes. Supposedly, a TN Radio Network eng had deemed the AFC defective and replaced it with the wobbly TVRO dish about 15yrs ago. Not sure why the big AFC was sitting abandoned other than maybe the feed supports falling out of it due to AFC's junk plastic connectors, but a few hours work and about $10 in PVC parts put it back in service.
I made it home about 7pm today (Tuesday) with quite a sense of accomplishment for having survived the past couple of days with no wrecker nor ER bills. Lots of other bills but nothing indicating blood loss or court dates.
I have one more regular client to finish up Wednesday (yet another AFC dish that is mostly moved and refitted by owner but needs tweaking) and then will start working on the PNC's (procrastinator non-clients) Thursday.
Based on reported data from at least one network saying that there is still as many as 30% of affiliates still operating on AMC8 freqs, I fully expect to have a flood of PNC's over the next couple of weeks. I already have 3 widely spaced moves semi promised this weekend and next week.
Never a dull moment but I don't know if my nerves can stand much more vehicle problems.