Our teleport expansion project has hit a major milestone, as we have erected our new 8.1m uplink antenna (Antenna 4). This new antenna has significantly higher gain than our existing 6.3m antennas, and will add additional reliability and redundancy to our expanding satellite Internet teleport infrastructure.
Before the reflector itself could be set, the service platform had to be mounted to the kingpost. With the help of our friends at General Crane, the setting service platform was a relatively easy task (particularly in comparison with what was to come next).
Lifting the Reflector
I know it must be a vestige of childhood and playing with Tonka trucks, but big machines continue to fascinate me. The fact that this huge reflector, which took several men working for days to assemble, could be lifted by a single cable just amazes me. But, safety first, check your rigging, get it off the ground, and make sure everything is looking good before you go for the big lift.
Setting the Reflector
Still more amazement, even though I’ve seen this movie before. Massive reflector, dangling from the end of a cable, manipulated with a coordinated ballet of hand signals and corresponding minute adjustments by the crane operator. And the dish mounts slip into the ears on the kingpost, with tolerances measured in small fractions of an inch.
Installing Feed and Subreflector
Once the reflector is mounted on the kingpost, the elevation jack is attached. This allows the elevation to be raised until the dish is pointing straight up (a position called, appropriately enough, “birdbathed”). This allows the feed to be lowered into the center of the reflector and attached. Finally, the subreflector (held by four struts) is attached to the reflector.
The next morning, we were able to begin acceptance testing. We are beginning with using the new antenna as a “remote” on our G28 network. That’s right, an iDirect 3100, a 3w BUC and an LNB, pointed using iSite. Significantly better numbers than your typical 1.2 VSAT, that’s for sure!
We will continue to expand and upgrade the teleport over the next several months. I’ll post some more pictures when there’s something interesting to see.
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