Tom's Tech Talk #15: Proper Measures Save Money in Service Repairs
Storm season: A radio shops favorite time of year. (Just Kidding!) Actually it has gotten progressively better. Years ago before Motorola’s Site Installation and Grounding Practices (R56 Standard), it was common place to have most of your yearly calls in the spring and summer due to storms. After countless builds using the R56 Grounding methods, we actually have minimized and eliminated costly repairs or insurance claims.
R56 was developed by Motorola Solutions to properly install, supply power, ground--and environmentally control a radio site. Although challenged through the years by IEEE engineers, AT&T Engineers and Consultants, the R56 method has proven to this 30 year tech to actually reduce the effects of lightning strikes to communications sites. I recall one customer that would get hit yearly in the spring by a direct strike on the tower. They contracted us to come in and evaluate their grounding system.
It turned out that there were NO grounding provisions on the coaxial lines or tower. The strike hit the tower and ran straight into the radio room. The average cost to repair or replace the cards damaged was $10,000. Upon implementing the R56 grounding methods to the tower and radio room, I can happily report we have not had a strike since. As this was about 10 years ago this saved the customer over $100,000 to the department and/ or the insurance company for something that cost them $10,000.
Although we cannot guarantee that a lightning strike will not damage equipment, we can do everything possible to shunt that strike away from the building or equipment. Ground is not a cheap enhancement to the system, grounding is a necessity that helps insure the equipment you just bought is protected.
When you see a system proposal from your vendor, make sure the equipment you are adding is properly grounded in all aspects. This means across aspects including AC Power, Telephone Protection, Network Protection and Antenna Protection. Otherwise you must consider, are you prepared for what it will cost you in the long run?
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This article was written by Tom Treichler, Director of Sales & Service at Chicago Communications. Tom has over 30 years of experience in the industry with a background in engineering, system integration, and wireless broadband. If you have any questions for Tom, or another representative at ChiComm, please contact us.