Teleport Expansion Project, Phase 2

Our 2011 Teleport expansion project continues to progress steadily.  It’s very satisfying for everyone involved to see this come together.  Planning for this project began over a year ago, and we have been actively working on this for several months.  Things are happening quickly now, as the final pieces slip into place.

Since my last update, we have commissioned our new generator, installed conduit chases to our telco shelters, installed our new power service, and taken delivery of the kingpost and azimuth jack for our new antenna.

Generator Commissioning and Load Test

Our new Caterpillar 150 kW diesel generator was delivered a few weeks ago, and we have been eager to fire it up. First, we had a pressure test performed on the pedestal day tank, to make sure there were no manufacturing defects or poor welds that could lead to trouble down the road.

Next, we had our good friends at Great Lakes Petroleum deliver 385 gallons of stabilized, treated, low sulfur diesel. Finally, a visit from Ohio Cat for testing and commissioning.  Teleport Expansion Generator CommissioningGenerator was run at full power on a test load and passed with flying colors.

This new generator has a special sound-deadening enclosure that is amazing.  With the service doors closed, it’s possible to carry on a conversation without shouting at each other – a real improvement over the previous generation generators that we currently own.

Conduit Chases

What a mess of grey spaghetti we have!  Literally dozens of conduit chases crisscross the teleport grounds, varying in size from two to four inches in diameter.  These conduits carry power cables, RF data coaxial cables, Ethernet cables, fiber optic cables, and multi-conductor specialty cables for data interconnect and command and control.

Each of our primary uplink antennas has several conduits running to Sat 1 (the RF telco shelter), and a couple to Sat 2 (the power distribution telco shelter).  We also have conduits that run between Sat 1 and Sat 2, as well as between Sat 2 and the Teleport Expansion Includes Thousands of Feet of Conduit generator and between Sat 2 and the new service from Ohio Edison.  Many thousands of feet of conduit, all buried 18-36” below ground.

In addition to all the chases for our current projects, we have gone ahead and made the conduit runs for Antenna 5 (a second 8.1m antenna that we might break ground on this fall).  After all this trenching, it’s nice to see us coming back to something approaching finished grade.

We Need More Power!

With all of the additions to the teleport, it’s not surprising that we have out-stripped our current electrical service.  Last year, we upgraded our previous service from 400 amps to 800 amps, which was plenty for the loads we were experiencing at that time.

Well, times have changed.  With the addition of the new 8.1m antenna (and its associated heat loads), the anticipated construction of a second 8.1m antenna, two 2.4m narrowband antennas, Teleport Expansion Required a Second 800A Servicetwo telco shelters (with HVAC), a second UPS… well, it quickly became clear that last year’s upgrade wasn’t going to be sufficient.

We decided to bring in a second 800 amp service to sit next to our existing service.  This means additional switch gear, additional meters, and an additional transient surge suppression system.  All in, this would have been a huge project even by itself – but it’s just a small piece of our much larger upgrade.

We are hopeful that with 1600 amps now available, we should be set on power – at least for a while.  However, I don’t think that anyone would object to further growth of the satellite Internet market that would require us to expand again.  Ohio Edison loves us!

8.1m Uplink Antenna

We received shipment a couple of weeks ago of the SSPA array, motor controllers, cabling, and some other miscellaneous pieces.  And while Mario has been drooling over the electronics, the rest of us have been waiting for the “big hardware” – the antenna itself.

Well, we received our shipment of large parts today.  Chief among them was the huge kingpost that will support the reflector bowl itself.  This is a massive piece of machinery, two and a half feet in diameter, Teleport Expansion Includes the 8.1m Antennaand over eleven feet long.  The kingpost weighs 3500 pounds, and is incredibly awkward and difficult to maneuver.

It is pictured laying on its side, but will be stood vertically once construction starts.  You can see already attached to the kingpost is the elevation jack, which will allow us to move the reflector up and down.  We also received the kingpost support legs and the azimuth jack (which moves the entire kingpost side to side, turning the 8.1m reflector with it).

This has been a massive project for everyone involved, and while there is still a lot of work to do, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We will post more pictures as construction continues.

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