By: Mark Abrams
We received a call from a customer in the Ventura County area that they were having some difficulty with the base station. It seemed that the base could not talk to the mobile radios and was having difficulty receiving the mobile radios. The mobile radios were able to talk to each other.
We dispatched a technician to fix the problem. After driving for 90 minutes through traffic, he arrived at the customer location. When the technician pulled into the parking lot, he had to be careful not to get the ladder rack caught in the antenna that had fallen over in the recent storm.
Upon gathering some basic tools, he went inside the building and was directed to the dispatch desk where the dispatcher was having difficulty with the base station. He asked when the trouble started and they replied that the trouble started during yesterday’s storm.
To verify that the base station was transmitting properly, the technician listened to the radio with a portable radio that he programmed to listen to the transmission of the base station. The technician also placed a watt meter in the antenna lead to measure the match on the antenna. The match was not very good, so the technician checked to see if the antenna that was fallen over was the antenna that was connected to the base station. He verified that the fallen antenna was connected to the base station.
The technician asked the customer if they had noticed the fallen antenna. They replied that they had seen it. They then asked, “Could this have anything to do with the poor reception of the base station?” The technician replied that it was related. However, he was not equipped to repair the antenna because he did not have a replacement antenna, not did he have a ladder to access the roof. Neither did the customer.
This necessitated another trip to the customer location by one of our installers to repair the problem with a 90 minute trip each way for the installer plus a 2 day delay due to scheduling.
The customer could have helped their situation by informing us that their antenna had fallen down in the storm so that we could have sent the installer to fix the antenna the same day instead of sending a technician who was not equipped to fix the problem.