Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
digibob

Antenna installer qualifications

Recommended Posts

Are there any?

I have been involved in electronics for over 40 years. The last ten in the field of television reception (I am not an installer). In that time I have met many very competent and reputable TV antenna installers.

With that said, I have also met plumbers, airconditioning experts, autoelectricians, gardeners and other tradespersons who now install television antennas because "The work is simple, profitable and many problems easilly explained away due to local environmental/geographical abnormalities".

(No offence or insult meant to plumbers, airconditioning experts, autoelectricians, gardeners and other tradespersons in general)

A simple home installation of 1 antenna, 1 outlet and 1 TV can often be a DIY job. However, with the complexity of modern home entertainment installations changing almost daily (multiple outlets, STBs, DVD/DVDRs, integration of pay TV or to computers, etc.). I believe it is time for a dedicated minimum standard ??qualification?? to be introduced for TV antenna installers. A series of levels of qualification could be introduced ranging from simple domestic through to complex commercial jobs.

I invite any comments.

BTW, I did the installation of my entertainment system at home, and integrated it with my home computer (self assembled from the components I wanted, not what the shop had off the shelf). But when it came to getting on the roof and putting up the hardware needed, I hired a competent and reputable installer, who had all the right test equipment for the job that had to be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally aggree with qualifications needed, and they should also be licenced and be able to produce that licence if asked. There are too many backyard Johns who say that they have been doing it for years but still make basic errors.

Some installers lack the flexibility to change their way of thinking when it comes to digital and are not willing to invest the time to learn how it works and the tricks that can come along with things like SFN's, Digital Cliffs and what is a good BER. Some people think MER is more important that BER or even signal level.

Great idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I totally aggree with qualifications needed, and they should also be licenced and be able to produce that licence if asked. There are too many backyard Johns who say that they have been doing it for years but still make basic errors.

Some installers lack the flexibility to change their way of thinking when it comes to digital and are not willing to invest the time to learn how it works and the tricks that can come along with things like SFN's, Digital Cliffs and what is a good BER. Some people think MER is more important that BER or even signal level.

Great idea.

Totally agre except for one small thing. MER is actualy more important (or of equal importance at least) than cBER and definetally more important than vBER.

If you want to look at particular cases, whenever you have great signals, BER becomes useless and it's the MER that tells you if the situation is improving, worsening or standing still.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi digibob

Technically there are none required as everything is classified as ELV (extra low voltage) so no electrical hazard exists (precisely why everyone you mention likes to "have a go") but anybody who has recognized qualifications in a related field could (theoretically) demand a higher price.

The fact that most people aren't wishing to spend much money on a TV antenna helps to keep "qualified" technicians out of the industry.

Antenna installation is a "black art" and qualifications are better represented by a combination of technical skill, experience, physical ability and reputation which is difficult to convey with any accuracy on a "piece of paper".

I understand the continual influx of people wishing to embark on a successful enterprise and if they are comitted they may do well and that's great but most will become the fly-by-nighters.

That opinon you provided is SO true and it's those same people that keep the specialist antenna tech's in business although Digital TV technology should help keep the real "wags" in check.

There are associations which require competency before you may join (and display their logo) which may appeal to some but in 20 years I have NEVER been asked of my "qualifications" which says it in one really.

When you are talking about home entertainment installations then THIS IS NOT THE REALM OF THE SIMPLE TV ANTENNA HACK although you wouldn't believe just how many people contact antenna installers for help (or even worse electricians). Education is required here.

It is the domain of the Custom Electronics Installer....this industry germinated in the USA many years ago and these electronic experts are the perfect choice for this type of work.

There are associations already (some worldwide) for this type of work as well such as CEDIA that service customers wishing for a "standard" of performance and service.

The qualifications you suggest would not be worth the paper they would be written on as they do not address all the issues involved and would place unnessecary restrictions on technicians while providing no benefit to the viewer.

The industry has evolved the way it has because it meets the need at hand and it is far from perfect but we may need this influx to suit market demands/conditions so they do have a purpose and it is a practical option for the up and coming to get experience in the real world (like mowing lawns but more technical).

I agree the straightforward/easy jobs are (almost) DIY but these aren't always available and Digital technology can be more difficult to "fluke".

Most good technicians will enter the Industry under the guidance of an experienced TV antenna installer who "passes on" his knowledge and this has proved satisfactory for many but I agree it's limited by the teacher. While qualifications may be desirable (to some) we certainly don't need the government in here to stuff things up with regulation if that's who you suggest to administer, oversee and regulate these "qualifications".

These problems are brought about by convergence (many different industries all interconnected...sometimes in the one box!) and as you are probably already aware each serviced by their own specialists (or a dedicated Custom Installer). I note you didn't ask the Antenna Guy to integrate the PC or install your AV equipment.

It sounds like you're enjoying a nice advanced "Entertainment System" and it must've been a painless exercise because you employed a known good tech to assist who enabled the TV part for you (a wise choice) and "had all the right test equipment for the job that had to be done".

But did he have his "qualifications"?. No I didn't think so.

AND IT DIDN'T MAKE ONE IOTA OF DIFFERENCE DID IT....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


damntv

Yes great idea....and maybe we could licence car drivers so only qualified people get behind the wheel....it would bring an end to all car accidents....BRILLIANT!!!

The ONLY people using backyard Johns are the cheapsh*ts who don't wish to pay for a decent job by a decent tech. We'll never cure them from themselves (and only hurt others by regulation) but once "bitten" they usually learn that you only get what you pay for.

I totally agree with the "old timer" installer who may have been going 30 years and is reluctant to change as I have seen it.

You have SFN tricks in your bag?.....whatever does that mean?

There is no question what is a good BER it's a basic DTV specification.

Some people think MER is more important than BER?....yeah ME.

BER is a basic measurement of data quality but doesn't include phase distortion of the recieved signal where the MER measurement does.

Post BER is useless as an Antenna installation tool....only good for checking MATV systems.

Signal level is almost irrelevant if you have sufficient C/N.

Are you sure you really know your stuff or is it you who would benefit most from "qualifications"?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Digibob

Generally I am not in favour of licencing. It ends up like most licencing being a burden for those who would be licenced and invariably never makes good operators better or nor weeds out the rubbish. Quite apart from all that, the policing of any contravention of licencing conditions is virtually impossible.

MER vs BER

Anyone who really knows what is important in DTV reception understands that carrier to noise ratio and BER before viterbi are all important in DTV reception.

MER is useful if the transmitter is operating normally or there is no notch in the received channel's antenna system, but is quite capable leading the installer astray. There has been much published on MER being the definitive measure of the health of a signal, however it continues to not be fully explained in its proper use. It's real application is only to be relied upon when the measuring instrument used is capable of producing an MER figure for each carrier or a plot of MER vs Carriers

To keep it simple here is an example of why MER is deceptive.

MER measured in dB is the RMS of all 6817 carriers. If each of the 6817 carriers has an MER of 40dB the MER for the channel is 40dB.

If 6800 carriers have an MER of 40dB and 17 have an MER of 15dB the MER for the channel is 39.93dB

It doesn't look bad does it, the MER has only dropped by 0.1dB, and this is why it is so misleading.

Consider BER in the same situation.

If the all the 6817 carriers are 40dB then the BER before viterbi is better than 0e-10 after many minutes (ie no errors)

Now with 6800 carriers with 40dB MER and 17 carriers with 15dB MER, the BER before viterbi has fallen to 2.5e-3, a signal that is useable but it's not far from being in trouble and yet its MER is 39.93dB.

If you are in a situation where you know the transmitter is good and the received spectrum is relatively flat without any notches, your MER figure is very useful.

If you are unsure of the above, always trust the figure that never lies, BER before viterbi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a meeting between a rock and a hard place"

James, thanks for the little tutorial on MER. This explains it better for me than information I have sourced which is either too simplistic or too mathematically esoteric for me to get my head around.

I use pre-Vber as the measurement for determining the chances of good reception, and RS uncorrected errors to catch instantaneous impairments that might be otherwise missed.

MER & CNR (really C+N/N) are aspects of terrestrial delivery I look at out of interest.

(Similar thread about antenna installers: http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtopic=21403 )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are there even any courses available in antenna istallation apart from a two week jims intro in his web if antenna installers?

i install home theatre systems and i agree about qualifications but it is very expensive to be a cedia member which is problem the main theatre organisation in that areea but its $1000 a year just to be a member and most the installers i know cant aford that type of money ok you get refered by a very good and respected oganisation but gee wiz thats a lot of money to be in the club and on top of that you have to continue with lots of courses to stay current.

and in the next 5-10 years is the net going to be the death of the humble antenna are we gripping on to an already doomed industrie with internet tv and movies on demand with 22gig+ downloading which would download a weeks tv within one day?

im just saying is this all it would be cut out to be look at the sparks trade they have to do a 4 year appreticeship and then another 2years of coures and work just to be a contractor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


are there even any courses available in antenna istallation apart from a two week jims intro in his web if antenna installers?

im just saying is this all it would be cut out to be look at the sparks trade they have to do a 4 year appreticeship and then another 2years of coures and work just to be a contractor.

Matchmaster run a one day basics course around the country you may find useful...

Sparkies... don't get me started on sparkies.... most of them just manage to wire 240v, very very few of them can do a few microvolts well I never cease to be amazed at what people pay for to get crap reception...

I had one customer with digital problems yesterday who said the sparkie they used freely admitted that he didn't really know what he was doing... but they paid him to do it anyway.... yes it's not all the sparkies fault ... he shouldn't have been paid for what he did...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NSW TAFE has an introductory course in my area.

Most Antenna Tech's enter the industry under the guidance of a skilled installer.

If you are cuurently doing Home Theatre "properly" then you would have the physical ability, try contacting someone who may need a hand in exchange for training.

Where are you located?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(This response is very connected to my post elsewhere about Training for TV Antenna Installers.)

I am currently writing training materails for TV Antenna Installers. This activity was sponsored by the NSW Utilities and Electrotechnology Industry Training Advisory Body (now there's a mouthful!) The NSW UEITAB looks after the training needs of people in this industry. My costs are being paid for by NSW Department of Education. As I went down this rabbit hole I too asked the question "why aren't people required to be licensed who work in this vocation?" It becomes a very interesting debate. The bottom line appears to be that the normal regulators would prefer this to be 'self-regulated'. (Seldom do dodgy TV installations kill people, so buyer-beware, if you use a backyard butcher then you'll get what you pay for and deserve the consequences.) So I went to the Pay TV operators and asked them the question. They are so busy being competitors that something like this that needs cooperation is off the radar screen. Also, the contractors to the Pay TV companies would want to charge more for "qualified" installers - and these days it's all about doing the job as cheaply and as quickly as possible. If one Pay TV operator starts insisting on high level qualified installers they risk being being undercut by their competitors who use the shonk installers.

Personally, I don't think it is good enough that any Joe can stick a sign on a truck and claim to be a TV antenna installer. As we all know, it's now far more sophisticated than it once was. There is a qualication available in the draft Electrotechnology Training Package (Certificate II in Antennae Equipment UEE21205) and I'd ideally like to see people working in the industry either holding this qualification or be working towards attaining it.

We at the Committee overseeing this training project remain interested to hear opinions from people working in the field.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I have no problem with Joe Schmo setting up as a TV Antenna Installer.

It is the cheapsh*ts who aren't prepared to pay for a fully competent (read "qualified") tech that provides the market for these flash-in-the-pan types whose work often leaves much to be desired (job creation as some contractors affectionately call it, as it'll always require further attention).

TV reception was always sophisticated if you wanted to enjoy the best picture although in the VHF days many just poked the Antenna into the Air and got pleasing results. UHF added an extra layer of complexity and now Digital TV means the shonks are really going to have a hard time of it now.

That should ensure self-regulation!.

You're observant in regard to the present Satellite TV industry.....although I feel that many of their "Installers" (for want of a better word) are not really competent especially in regard to something as challenging as TV reception (Satellite is straightforward once you find the signal).

I remember when Mr. Antenna launched (in preparation for Digital) in Newcastle, Comet Satellite & Cable conducted a competency course with around 30 contractors to asess their knowledge and ability (to fufill this new market). They were all Satellite Installers (working in the industry) yet not one in the room knew what the "Clarke Belt" was. Hee Hee.

Many of these people are (fully qualified) Electricians and it seems to work against them as their work is generally appauling for this specialist field.

This precipitated the withdrawal of "Mr. Antenna" shortly afterwards.......GOOD RIDDANCE (and the reallocation of some minor contracts).

Now we have Jim's all "fully qualified".......it means SH*T! (I know first hand).... I will say that the bloke that mows my lawn has absolutely NO chance of ever touching my Antenna!!!.

Your Certificate II in Antennae Equipment UEE21205 sounds useless to the practical application of the mysterious black art of Antenna Installation.

Care to convince me to it's relevancy?....

I'm curious as to your "Manuals"......I have seen very few actually worth anything.

I will finish by saying that the best, sharpest, most competent, inventive, resourceful technicians that I've met were all self taught and not the product of some machine.

Everybody who's involved in the industry should be working towards an increased level of competency out of sheer self interest, competitive advantage and duty to the customer....that may or may not involve "formal" qualifications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My best response is to say that the only thing that makes TV Antenna Installation a "black art" is lack of knowledge as to what is happening at the RF level. Learning through experience is wonderful, when backed up with knowledge. I trained in satellite comms back in the late 70s (when you needed a 30 metre dish to receive any sort of signal) and then trained other satellite techs. Show a piece of waveguide to most TV servicemen and they'd think it was for water plumbing. But spend a day in the classroom and show them how those same RF principles apply at 6GHZ, and they'll never again fail to make sure that those gaps in the waveguide are tight, and poor connectors on TV coax won't do any longer. Combine training with experience - that's the principles of today's effective learning strategies. And that's also why the guys who are implementing digital TV in Australia (DBA) are critiquing the learning materials before they are finalised. I don't see that there's any black art to this vocation - just applied science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't put all electricians in the one boat. At least they don't have a forum going with all of them arguing about technicalities. It seems this forum has few people in it that are actually experts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes!...I agree ThrillseekerOne.

You can't see RF energy (at TV reception levels) which is what every Antenna Tech is really required to do (to perform his purpose).

This is the Black Art aspect as the true manifestation of the transmitted signal has always been smoke and mirrors.

Instruments have certainly helped add a little science to the whole shebang as it is now "clearer" than it is ever been to work with RF but sheer technical competency is still required.

The computerisation of Television (DTV) also has had an impact.

Satellite technology was very cutting edge in the 70's. I'll bet you were shown the principles and then spent much time installing, adjusting and improving these systems (where the actual learning took place) as performance is everything with Satellite reception (the difference between great reception and no reception) and the technology was still evolving. I smell a self taught tech.

F Connectors and fully screened components were invented for the performance levels required for reliable Satellite TV reception and now they've trickled down to Terrestrial Digital technology.

I switched to using these components BD (before Digital) and was amazed at how much sharper the analog pictures became when rewiring homes over the screw and saddle crap (that still gets used now by some).

I agree with your Satelite/terrestrial analogy except RF at different frequencies tends to behave differently but there's nothing like keeping it "contained".

Learning materials pertaining to Digital Reception have been about for many years with 7Mhz COFDM specific data becoming more available in recent times.

DBA isn't implementing digital TV in Australia???....

Spoken (at the end) like a true Satellite Tech (who only works with instrument readings over a clean reception path). Have you gone into Digital Blackspots to enable reception?....with VHF and UHF?....SFN issues?.....VERY different to Sat reception...

I wonder if you care to share any "interesting" digital experiences of your own to date....maybe something relevant to a tech that you've encountered?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...