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Antenna installer qualifications

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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.

I wouldn't

It would be narrow minded to do so but do they have a forum where they discuss the large variation of topics that are discussed on this one ?

As regards to Johntechs "Black art " comments

I agree that one has to have some basic instuction into the concepts of RF reception,distribution etc .Your basic Machmaster course enlightens those with no Idea at all and is better than nothing.Courses are theoretical.So many dBuV recieved at antenna - losses in cable and splitters =what comes out the other end.If its not enough then add amplifier to make output better.

This is all ok till one buys meter and suddenly realises that all channels don't get picked up at antenna at same level.All channels vary in level as position and/or hieght is varied.All channels vary as antenna is rotated.Reflected signals vary on all channels as hieght,position and direction are varied.

This is where the theory stops and the school of hard knocks kicks in.The critical desician (excuss my spelling) where to place antenna and what type to use.Are there trees inline with your selected ideal position that will cause a problem when the wind starts ?.Will vehicles traverse that path ?Is lightening prevalent and the likelyhood of signal being wiped out with or with out any extra amplification verses the likelyhood of signal fade compomising signal.

These are some of the critical "black art " descisions that one has to make and I doubt that could be taught in a "Black and White" form in a coarse

I don't say courses are bad or useless.Just don't put down those how have experience.

Then you may understand all there is about RF but what about house construction?What is the best way to install all this hardware in a safe way where it won't dettach itself from the roof/facia etc in a storm and/or contact overhead mains wires etc etc etc.

This is an era where a course could help.Mention safety and you've suddenly got regulation.

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Paul

I know, have known and have worked with many electricians over many years.

I currently work with different ones on a weekly basis at various locations and my involvement with them is becoming much more intimate.....(ooer!)...with some concessions.

As long as they keep to they're vocation which doesn't include electronics of any type such as AV equipment, TV antennae, boosters, MATV, SAT TV, outdoor/indoor speakers, Home Theatre, surround sound, RF distribution, Video/Data Projectors, anything mounted to a wall (except maybe light dimmers) then we usually get along fine.

No, instead they have industry magazines with Obituaries (of sparkies), licence suspensions and electrocutions that often result in a dead customer. Now any idiot can figure a dead cutomer is not a happy one.

That's right this is a Forum for the people (who relatively few are experts in this field) but it is that last comment that takes the cake....it is the 'Net equivalent of throwing a lit cigarette out of a car window!.

Whilst being entirely true did you wish to start a flame war?.

I have read your recent posts with interest....did you include yourself in that closing comment?.

Sure there are many who like to huff and puff but the people who actually have an idea become self evident to the observant.

Misinformation is the weakest link in the Information Age.

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Hi bellotv

Agree totally with your comments....you forgot to mention that when the "Noob Tech" finds it all too hard then current model test equipment can be had at bargain prices!!!....

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Hi bellotv

Agree totally with your comments....you forgot to mention that when the "Noob Tech" finds it all too hard then current model test equipment can be had at bargain prices!!!....

Got my last sat meter that way...

As for qualifications.. maybe a combination of open cabling registration, AOCP and some of the basic CEDIA stuff would be a good start..

Thrillseekerone, is there a plan to have industry reviewers of your training manuals... maybe johntech and some others around here would volunteer to review it for you...

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Hi beeblebrox

Your suggestions regarding qualifications come from differing industries with their own vested interests.

I guess $600 for a VHF/UHF Antenna on a J-Bracket would be an appropriate price for someone so "qualified".

Antenna Installers come from all different sorts of backgrounds for all different sorts of reasons (with all different sorts of not always relevant formal qualifications) but one is because it is very accessible and in demand and (relatively) inexpensive to set up.

The technically incompetent always seem to die a natural death while others use it as a "stepping stone" to bigger/better/other things in our Electronics Industry.

Like everything in life it's not perfect but if it 'aint broke don't fix it!.

Qualifications are important but skill and experience even more so...qualifications are the precurser to licensing which are only regulations put in place by Government as safeguards to the population (that's what they tell you) but trust me we don't need any more Government protection (read regulation)......at least not in this profession.

Thanks for volunteering me (I'm sure it's DIY), I would be interested in perusing this document in it's completed or draft forms to see if it offers anything new or in an easily digestible tablet perhaps?.

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I guess $600 for a VHF/UHF Antenna on a J-Bracket would be an appropriate price for someone so "qualified".

Sometimes I think it would with some of the crap installs I've reworked for customers.... but I'd generally agree that is not realistic.

The technically incompetent always seem to die a natural death while others use it as a "stepping stone" to bigger/better/other things in our Electronics Industry.

Like everything in life it's not perfect but if it 'aint broke don't fix it!.

But it's sure broke when I get customers who pay $600, $800 or $1000 for a solution that would never possibly work and are left confused and frustrated about digital tv...

Qualifications are important but skill and experience even more so...qualifications are the precurser to licensing which are only regulations put in place by Government as safeguards to the population (that's what they tell you) but trust me we don't need any more Government protection (read regulation)......at least not in this profession.

very much agree with you there

Thanks for volunteering me (I'm sure it's DIY), I would be interested in perusing this document in it's completed or draft forms to see if it offers anything new or in an easily digestible tablet perhaps?.

No problems... I too would be interested in seeing it and providing feedback...

My main point from my last post is that it seems a lot of people doing installs have little understanding about the principles of RF transmission/reception, basic cable handling and management techniques, even basic safe mounting of antennas... Like most I regularly see installations that fail in some or all of these three areas and are often a major source of cost for customers to fix.

Yes the incompetent will eventually give up but there's always another one to replace them.. and yes the screw ups they make will ensure plenty of work for those who know they are doing...

Sometimes the tablet needs to be for the customer when they get the indigestion of a poorly installed antenna.

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Sorry that I haven't checked in again lately to see the discussion regarding my posts her in this thread.

For anyone that is interested, the "TV and Satellite Antenna Installer" course is now complete and available for purchase from Department of Education NSW. Go to their website: www.skillsonline.net.au The learning materials were critiqued by one of DBA's advising consultant techs, but thanks for the offers - much appreciated.

I was very interested in reading the interpretaion of my comment about "Black Arts". By way of example, a few years ago I did a review of the plastics manufacturing industry. I asked how long it took to 'train' a machine operator. Answer: 20 years! Why? Because there is no actual training, it takes 20 years of trial and error to understand how to set up the machine to produce quality parts. When I asked "what does that control there do?" I got blank looks. Then the response was "I don't know, I just know that I have to set the controls in this particular combination to get a good part made, and it took me 20 years to work that out." In the absence of first principles it all becomes more like magic than science.

So my point was that I far prefer to have a technician that understood the way that RF behaves so that in difficult regional areas when faced with varying channel signal levels he/she might best know how to start to resolve them. And yes, backed up with experience you are going to have one hell of a good antenna installer.

I live in the Monaro region of NSW. I installed my current MATV system so that I can receive all free-to-air analog and digital signals. I was confronted by issues like virtually no UHF signal level. Looking line of sight I saw an A-Frame metal roof and large conifers right in the line of sight. Moved the antenna 3 metres and signal levels went up by 15dB and suddenly I had what I needed. And I was using a meter, so I knew what I was getting. As we all know, there are many of these guys running around doing installs without meters. Anyway, I'm starting to digress, other than to agree that knowledge AND experience go hand in hand.

By the way, the typical local antenna installations in this area are frightful. We need two VHF (one high gain) and a high gain UHF to receive all FTA channels. Most installations have no antenna separation. I've even seen the UHF antenna mounted WITHIN the VHF phased array. And most locals say "of course you can't get decent TV reception here". Well, I counter that with "if the guy doing the local installations had ever been trained then you would".

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On the issue of licencing or regulation:

I had discussions with many stakeholders, including the relevant industry training skills council (EE-Oz), equipment manufacturers, Foxtel, Optus.

The bottom line was that manufacturers would have liked more regulation/licensing. This was probably so that they could sell more 'decent' product, usually with a higher return on the sale.

The Pay TV mobs wanted self-regulation. They have a double-edged sword. They have put in place installation standards (pretty much based upon AS1397-2000 with some of their own content added) and have set agreements in place with their contractors that this will be the required installation standard. However they also want to pay as little as possible to their install contractors. The contractors in turn want to pay their sub-contracted individual installers as little as possible. But if they for example said "we require you to have the Cert II in Antenna Equipment" then the subbies would demand a higher hourly rate - which they can't flow onto their client because they've been screwed down on charge rates.

The current philosophy of the government is self-regulation and a free market place - user choice. Yes - it's unlikely that an installer will cause a life-threatening situation so there's no argument to licence from that perspective.

So given that I couldn't see that I would get support for the idea (and there wasn't any money in it for me as a consultant) I've let the matter lie. Consumer beware!

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At the risk of rehashing old arguments and opinions regarding qualifications and suitability to the task at hand, it seems to me that the only "specialized" training information is provided by the manufacturers and as hard as they try they are not able to completely distance themselves from product placement. The only thing we can do is sift through the material provided and try to arrive at a solution, which will enable the installer to work around any problems encountered. For more technical information I visit this forum on a regular basis and have found most of the advice valuable, particularly AlanH 's contributions. I whole heartedly agree that some national training package would be a useful tool for all installers. Unfortunately it seems that some of the contributors to this site are insanely jealous of their hard earned knowledge and experience and choose to belittle others who have posed a serious question. Also it seems a certain degree of vitriol is directed towards the Mr Antenna and Jim's franchisees which after a few repeated comments becomes very boring and yes I am a Jim's Antenna Franchisee and have been installing antennas successfully for nearly 5 years with initial training and ongoing backup support from an installer with 15 years+ experience. Does this make me a cowboy?. (By the way I have never pushed a mower for a living, a stupid and totally ill informed comment in another thread). Franchising is just another way of running a business and some models work better than others, the advantages allow for me to source quality materials and backup, and also dictate a minimum standard with zero tolerance for complaints, and this suits me down to the ground as I have a vested interest in my business, that's right MY business, I do not pay a percentage of my turnover to anyone except the Tax office, so to the knockers of the franchise system get over it and grow up!

Considering the purpose of a forum is to share information it would not hurt some of the regulars to have a good look at themselves and remember the basics.

1. Installation techniques are learned not inherited via the gene pool.

2. TV has been around for 70 years and is an ongoing technology with many changes, the antenna industry as a whole has a vested interest in maintaining the best possible outcomes regarding installations to remain credible.

3. Share knowledge and help the new guys we all have to start somewhere and refer point 2

4. There is plenty of work for everyone.

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At the risk of rehashing old arguments and opinions regarding qualifications and suitability to the task at hand, it seems to me that the only "specialized" training information is provided by the manufacturers

This is changing several Tafe colleges one in NSW and Chisolm here in Victoria that I'm aware of are offering training packages in this area now.

1. Installation techniques are learned not inherited via the gene pool.

2. TV has been around for 70 years and is an ongoing technology with many changes, the antenna industry as a whole has a vested interest in maintaining the best possible outcomes regarding installations to remain credible.

3. Share knowledge and help the new guys we all have to start somewhere and refer point 2

4. There is plenty of work for everyone.

I'm not going to enter into discussions about the franchise model as there's obviously good and bad everywhere but a large number of digital fixup jobs I do, have been visited by a franchisee antenna installers previously who clearly don't have the knowledge or experience to be installing or fault finding digital tv reception equipment.. This is evidenced by the some of the BER readings I see on newly installed antennas.

As for your points 1 and 2 I don't think it even occurs to some of the knuckle draggers out there that the best possible outcome in an installation is a happy customer.. This is evidenced by the fact that on a regular basis (probably weekly) I attend a customer site because the previous installer (not just franchise operators but plenty of others) won't come back to an install they have charged good $$ for.

As for your point 3, I and many longtime posters on this forum are more than happy to assist anyone who has questions of a technical nature when it comes to installing antennas or reception problems but I do take issue with people who call themselves professionals asking basic questions that they should be well versed in or when you give someone advice and they ignore it and ask the same thing again and again. I've taught forum members how read and interpret a digtial FSM, and have assisted several forum members who are installers how have asked for help around Melbourne.

I don't wish to speak for them but I'm sure that MTV, Mbozo, CharlesC, BelloTV, and others who all would have similar experiences and are all valuable contributors to this forum and can't recall any of them belittling anyone seeking help.

Jason aka beeblebrox

Feel free to give me a call during BH if I can be of any help to you 03-9457-6655

Edited by beeblebrox

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Jason, thanks for your well thought out reply and I take on board what you say, I love the comment regarding knuckle draggers, well said!. :lol:

As for your invite to call, I have programmed you into my phone and would like to ring you some time if ok by you.

Just as an aside to all, does anyone have or had a chance to try out the TERRAMANN 1720 DVB-T meter? what are your thoughts? I have one here on trial and hate the bloody thing on short acquaintance, although it has full MER/ BER post and pre capabilities it's a pig to use. Not sure whether to opt for the Hills (rebadged ROVER T2 Scout) or T40 (don't have a Laceys in SA so a bit reluctant to buy interstate with regards to service and warranty)

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Gollumdood,

I plan to be in SA grand final week. I'll have my T-40 with me and would be glad to share my experiences with you if I have the time and you're not in some woebegone part of the state.

My work number is 0418 142 312, best to text me as I don't answer the phone while I am with a customer, driving or stuck in a tight spot under/on a roof, or in the bush, and you will only divert to message bank.

The service and backup of the T40 supplier is generally good from my and some others pov on this forum.

Regards,

Marc.

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T40 (don't have a Laceys in SA so a bit reluctant to buy interstate with regards to service and warranty)

I'm in country NSW and although I have had to send my T40 back to Laceys.tv for recalabration,being interstate is not a big issue as Laceys turn-around is very fast ,less than a week.

I would recommend T40 for digital anyday.

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Gollumdood,

I'd second/third the good call on the T40, and the support from Laceys.tv. The meter has all the main measurements, as well as Channel State Information (CSI), and can be optioned up to have the Adaptive Equaliser Response (AER) card added. The AER function I believe is the same as in the Unaohm EP3000 EVO.

One thing I particularly like about the T40 is the data logging capability, and the ability to bring this across to a PC for generating reports. Also the capability to manage the T40 frequency plans etc via the PC.

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have or had a chance to try out the TERRAMANN 1720 DVB-T meter? what are your thoughts? I have one here on trial and hate the bloody thing on short acquaintance, although it has full MER/ BER post and pre capabilities it's a pig to use. Not sure whether to opt for the Hills (rebadged ROVER T2 Scout) or T40 (don't have a Laceys in SA so a bit reluctant to buy interstate with regards to service and warranty)

Haven't seen the Terramann so can't comment.

For hanging off Chimneys and general antenna work it's pretty hard to beat a T40.. Lacey's support has always been good, given I've had a couple of T40 problems over the years. Even for basic MATV work where no Sat is needed it's quite ok too.

Ikusi are also now rebranding the Rovers as well and that will keep the rover pricing keen.

I had a play with the Hills last week over a beer and it seems to have the stock standard ST2 software in it (the Ikusi DSA100 is supposed to have some specially modified software for them but I haven't seen it yet they're going to get me a demo unit when the new stock comes in next week).

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