The Most Compelling Installation Advice We Can Give: The Truth About Site Surveys

What’s not to love about spring? Who doesn’t appreciate longer days, warmer weather, blooming flowers, and conventions! Conventions? Oh yeah! For us, multiple conventions and spring are synonymous. Spending time with our customers and prospects is the best!

Speaking of conventions, the last week of March the LinkUp team was in Anaheim where we staffed a booth at NRB’s Proclaim19. We had a bigger booth and more information we wanted to share, so we spent weeks getting ready for the show. Yet – in spite of our best efforts – a few issues cropped up last minute, leaving us hustling to correct them before the official opening of the show.

Really, these were mostly minor problems – little aggravations. Except for ONE.

It was a doozy.

We had shipped our booth from Panama City to southern California, but – due to a mixup with the shipping company – we had to move fast to get our booth out the door. In our haste, a box that contained the magnetic strips that attach the panels of the booth to the frame were left at home. Without these strips we had no booth.

But all was not lost. We quickly figured out where the missing strips were at the office, so the parts were shipped overnight to our hotel in Anaheim. The box arrived promptly at 8:30 the next morning and the booth was quickly put together as the show opened. Whew!

Missing those essential pieces to our booth backdrop was a painful reminder that skipping a step (like completing an inventory of the pieces and parts that make up our booth) can have dire consequences.

We were guilty of rushing the process, and it cost us time, money and aggravation.

The same thing happens in satellite broadcasting. When considering a future location for the installation of an uplink or downlink, many broadcasters are tempted to skip a step – skip the site survey. But at LinkUp, our advice is this: the process of going from potential site to live broadcast should always include a site survey.

WHAT IS A SITE SURVEY?

The site survey is the crucial beginning of any plan, quote or proposal for the installation of a satellite uplink or downlink. Visiting the site before the actual installation helps foresee possible problems, correctly estimate the scope of the project, and manage costs.

Some broadcasters resist the idea of a site survey – for various reasons – but it mostly boils down to time and money. Most broadcasters want to move forward quickly; dangerously assuming that they can stick a pipe in the ground, mount the antenna, and they’re good to go. Does that work? Sometimes…but it’s a gamble.

Ask any of our techs; there is nothing they value more than seeing an installation site first-hand and conducting a complete evaluation. According to our estimates, about half of the sites that we attempt without a site survey result in costly issues and delays.

CHOOSING THE SITE

Our evaluation begins at the gate. How do we access the property? Does the transmitter site have a combination lock that we must access, or is there someone we need to coordinate with for entry?

Once on site, we look for at least two locations (a primary and a backup) on the property where it’s possible to see not only the satellite you plan to utilize, but any potential satellite you may use in the future.

For our team, the primary site should be the one that easily supports the install. It should not only have a sustainable line of sight, but it should also be the location with very few “complications”.

The best sites are convenient to the building, near a power source, and easy to access. Our techs may have a preference, but we will mark both primary and secondary sites so that both the property owner and 811 can weigh in on possible underground hazards.

We even check for terrestrial interference to see if your installation will require a filter.

X MARKS THE SPOT

On average, our techs spend up to four hours per site determining the best locations for your installation. We take notes, photos, and determine both look angle and line of site. Then our techs prepare a formal report and include their observations, photos and Google Earth images, to review with our clients and the install team.

YOUR RESULTS

I can honestly report I have never heard a customer or prospect say they regret agreeing to a site survey. You may not offset every stumbling block by conducting a site survey, but you will definitely minimize the number of problematic issues and their impact.

Having a site survey takes a lot of the guesswork out of what heavy equipment needs to be reserved, and what specific type of mount needs to be secured and installed.

Bottom line: a site survey saves both time and money, because the techs you hire will know as much as they possibly can about your site and it’s unique challenges before work begins.

It’s all about results. Your results. And by taking the time to contract a site survey, you have the assurance of knowing everything possible has been done to ensure your installation is completed on time and on budget.

And what could be better than that?

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