The Importance of a Proper Installation
What happens when you attempt to install high tech equipment on your own or by inexperienced technicians? Installations can go wrong and end up costing more than you bargained for. There are 2 common scenarios I've seen happen more than once that are worth sharing.
We've had customers who've decided to run their own Radiax cable in to save on the installation price and also decided to have the Electrical Department put on the connectors and terminate the cable. The customer informed us they would contact us if they needed help but seemed very sure everything would go smoothly.
Two days later we received a frantic call from the customer requesting assistance because they were having major problems since performing the installation. The customers Electrical Department had attached the cable to phone lines and overhead speakers. It should be known that Radiax cable radiates RF (Radio Frequency) the length of the run. Whenever the Repeater transmitted, certain phones would go dead and “HUMMING” would come over the speakers throughout the facility. I proceeded to call for a couple of technicians to assist in moving the cable away from the phone lines and speakers. It cost more to have our team come out to the site, trouble shoot the problem and rerun the cable properly than the initial install cost would have. When this customer expanded their system a couple of years later, they came to Chicago Communications to have the install completed.
In another instance one of our Customers went with a competitor that was supposed to be less expensive. After the competitor had completed the job we received a service call from the customer expressing their dissatisfaction with the results. The customer had complained of poor coverage and been told that nothing further could be done to improve it.
Here is what we found. Using a Site Master Analyzer to check the line, we found what looked like a short, approximately 45 feet down the line. We checked the cable and found that a mounting screw had been put through the cable causing part of the problem. We cut out the bad section and repaired the cable. We ran another test and found the antenna was not radiating properly. Upon checking the antenna we found it was not tuned for the Customer's frequency. Once we put the proper antenna in place perfect results came back when we ran our test again. The customers range increased two-fold!
This type of repair showed how our use of specialized equipment and training makes a difference. We also provided the customer with print outs of our readings and also an “As-Built” of his system. He never received any type of documentation from the other company!
Chicago Communications’ technicians are required to attend a special grounding course that is endorsed by Motorola. This course involves week long training of the numerous types of installations practices that are very comprehensive and detailed. At the end of this course they have to take a test in order to be certified. This certification is recognized nationally by all ETA certified Service Shops and the Motorola community.
Our technicians follow certain procedure to make sure all aspects of a job are considered and planned for. For example, let’s take a simple installation such as that of a repeater. During a site walk for a repeater install the technician must consider the repeater's location, placement, interference, amperage, technique, obstacles and including necessary lightning protection. This is just a handful of things to check on what we consider a basic install of a single repeater. The more complex the install, the more things we have to verify and check. I guess the old adage is correct; you get what you pay for. So the next time you start a project, make sure you have an experienced technician doing the work.
This article was written by Emory Lutdke III, the Service Supervisor at Chicago Communications. He has worked in the communications industry for over 27 years and is considered a specialist in all areas at ChiComm including portables, mobiles, installation, repair, infrastructure, dispatch centers & much more. If you have a question for Emory leave a comment below.