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Satellite Installer Incompetence


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11 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 07:41 PM

P.S. In advance - this isn't a flame against anyone on here. By taking the time to be on a site like this, you're showing commitment to your profession. This is about the average Joe clueless satellite installer I see around here...

Hi, I was just wondering what people (especially the good satellite installers) opinion on why most satellite installs I've seen are horrible? Very amateurish mistakes are made frequently in all the satellite installs I've seen - one common problem I've fixed for quite a few friends is poorly done F-connectors.

Half of them, the dielectric isn't flush with the connectors - sometimes sucked out 5-10mm. This is flakey at best and rarely works long term.

Some installs don't even use compression connectors - still using ancient crimp on connectors. Often not done correctly! I've seen smushed on crimp connectors done by pro satellite installers!

Or don't ever get me started on grounding - I've NEVER seen a system grounded by a professional satellite installer. NEVER. NEVER EVER EVER!

Or alignment - most installs aren't exactly peaked well, resulting in bad rain fade problems and furthering the cable company's ammo against satellite.

Many installs don't install watertight port seals.

Some installers carry a signal meter but most just hook up the box and listen for the tone. Those with a meter generally have a cheap toy type one.

On the other hand, the world's WORST cable installers consistently make practically perfect F-connections, are always VERY careful that everything is grounded properly, and use real signal testing equipment to check signal strength, SNR, and MER/BER on every outlet. All existing wiring is routinely inspected with every visit and poor quality patch cables are swapped out and connectors are redone in walls, etc...

So why do most satellite installers (no offense to you good guys) to horrid sloppy work that only lasts a few weeks in many cases, while even the rudest most incompetent cable guys meet a standard of comparative excellence consistently?

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#2 OFFLINE   surfbird

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 07:59 PM

yikes,

I actually have to wonder w/all the issue I hear w/installers .. why do customers sign the work order w/o checking to see what was done or not done. so many times I hear later, issues that should have been noticed while a tech was there. Like one of the most common ones.. "he drilled holes in my __"

1st before the dish goes up, you need to discuss how & where it would be best to get the best signal.. & if you have certain ways to pacify the homeowner association then ask if additional cost is necessary to make things look good.

heck, even though my boyfriend installed mine in 1999 I followed him around like a puppy asking.. why & what & do you have to put it there?? type questions.

alot of times, alot of issues could be prevented if the cust wasn't in such a hurry to get things done & even the most unknowledge cust should at least make sure each ird is turned on & getting locals & reg programming & force the tech to stay an addition 15-20 min to show them how to work equpmnt.

but on the other side..

why does it happen that no matter how many complaints are made against some of the bad tech/hsp that these companies are still going on strong & making customers miserable ?? obviously, the good overweighs the bad so none of the above is resolved..

#3 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 09:58 PM

I dunno, I just know that locally, none of the installers know how to properly install F-connectors (they rarely push the connector on until the dielectric is flush causing major problems down the road and they usually look like the cable was stripped with scissors) or to ground a dish (I literally have never seen a properly grounded satellite dish professionally installed in this town!). The dishes also are often aimed poorly.

The most incompetent cable guys at least get the basics right consistently... which begs the question - WHY? Is it that cable installers are more accountable when a problem is found later on (as I suspect). If so, WHY don't DISH and DirecTV start holding installers accountable for problems down the road rather than customers....

#4 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 12:23 AM

This is strange... because my local situation is 100% opposite!

My satellite install was properly peaked with a meter and checked inside as well... dish was grounded, cables neatly concealed and routed, connectors all nice and neat plus some extra work done at my request too.

On the other hand... local cable never checked signal strength even when diagnosing a reported problem! Connectors were average at best, and the system was not grounded. My parents lost a receiver or two and a TV to a lightning strike resulting from an improperly grounded cable line!

#5 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 08:06 AM

Wierd, it must just depend on the management at your local companies. I have got the impression that Bresnan really runs a top-notch cable system. Our local satellite guys are all just... so totally clueless it's unbelievable. Seriously, with all the ungrounded dishes in the Flathead Valley I'm surprised we don't get more lightning fires! And the installs are usually darn ugly too...

#6 OFFLINE   Mike500

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 10:54 AM

Blame both the customers and the satellite prividers.

The customer want it all for FREE.

And, all the company wants is that it WORKS. The same goes for a lot of customers.

So, the company hires those from the bottom of the barrel.

Since the cable companies own the infrastructure, they must also maintain it.

When the telephone companies own and serviced their own equipment at no additional cost to the subscriber, they install equipment that was grossly overbuilt and designed to last 25-30 years. Not so, with purchased telephones.

As a collector of antique phones, I have near mint phone sets from the 1920's that would still work, if I connected them to current phone systems. How much of today's equipment would work in 90 years?

#7 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:30 AM

Mark, it's the blanket condemnation of sat installers and universal praise of cable
technicians that sounds a little odd to me. In my own experience, I've never found
that members of one group are 'all good' or those of another group are 'all bad'.

With all due respect to your tenure here, these statements of yours I've underlined
from just one paragraph tend to stretch the limits of credibility...

"...the world's WORST cable installers consistently make practically perfect F-connections, are always VERY careful that everything is grounded properly, and use real signal testing equipment to check signal strength, SNR, and MER/BER on every outlet. All existing wiring is routinely inspected with every visit and poor quality patch cables are swapped out and connectors are redone in walls, etc..."

...the essence of which you state again in your second and third posts, as if we
somehow missed your point in the first two posts. Your repeated use of these
unlikely superlatives (underlined above) causes me to think that you always
exaggerate the work of cable installers, while at the same time you never
approve of satellite installs.

Finally, you show your location only as "USA", so we don't really have a clue as
to what parts of the "USA" we should stay away from to avoid those 'bad' sat
installers to which you refer, or are they ubiquitous?.

:rolleyes:

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#8 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 01:08 PM

I'm in northwest Montana, there are only three or four sat installers and only one small cable company in town. I *KNOW* that there are good sat installers - many on this board are. But they're not living or working here. And I've never seen work by Bresnan that was anything less than electrically speaking, top-notch (aesthetically speaking, I've seen some bad installs Bresnan did as well)

Bresnan also has a stick-withit-ness. With the satellite companies here, once they've finished the install, they're done with you. Doesn't work right? Tough - pay us and we'll come back and look at it. With Bresnan, I've had problems before - major problems that were no fault of the cable company (they ended up being power co damage). I also got the cell phone number for one of the technicians who coordinated other techs - TDR guy, line locate guy, plant tech, etc as they tracked it down - but HE stuck with the job until it's completion.

It just seems like the cable guys care if it's right. The satellite guys care if they get a picture when they leave.

This is just locally, I sure have heard horror stories about cable techs. I'm just wondering why LOCALLY it's so divided. Does Bresnan just take all the good techs? Do they train better? Maybe, but I think they hold their techs accountable for problems down the road more.

DirecTV and DISH ought to start holding techs, and not the customers, financially responsible for problems with the installs they do. Then they might improve alot!

And it's true - when you have a cable problem here, they do routinely replace cheap VCR toss-in and RG-59 patch cables, re-do any crimp or raychem type connectors, replace barrels, etc that are of age. It's just done when they visit a house even if it's not the cause of the problem - when I asked about this the tech said they just try to use the opportunities they have to clean things up and prevent future service calls. They connect a meter to the end of every outlet and check the signal strength and quality/error rates

I think Mike500 has it down - while it results in slightly higher rates, the cable company's model of owning and maintaining it all for no charge results in a far higher standard of quality - one satellite companies should copy.

#9 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:54 PM

Apples and oranges

Your local northwest Montana cable franchise has a very limited area to service,
and a vested interest in maintaining signal integrity (and subscribers) from head-
end to the last outlet.

D* and E* are nation-wide and, in most cases, have to rely on contract installers
for whom the customer is a one-shot deal.

I think your condemnation of sat installers is far to general to be taken seriously.

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#10 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 05:56 PM

I'm not condemning sat installers. Not real ones like all the fine people here. I'm condemning the idiots in the Flathead Valley who call themselves sat installers (no doubt there are good ones even here - I just haven't seen them or their work). I'm saying that there's far too many poor installers.

The cable co here doesn't have any poor installers I've seen. If they do they need to be dealt with too though. Basically what I'm saying is that something needs to be done about bad installers regardless of the service.

But mainly, I was just asking for the opinion of the good sat. installers on here as to why there are so many in their profession who do such shoddy work? Is there a reason that so many manage to survive despite poor work?

#11 OFFLINE   surfbird

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 07:56 PM

what it boils down to is this.. everyone wants fast & cheap.

companies, customer want fast & cheap
installers want jobs they can complete fast (why?) because most are either paid by piece or production & then there is the ones paid by hour. so the ones paid by hour want to get their work done & out & the others want to get as much done as they can so they can get more money..

i am not saying bad on either or any side here -- but that is how the cookie crumbles here. and honestly, there are good installer at dish,dtv & cable & there are bad. it isn't just one company...

#12 OFFLINE   MarkA

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 09:45 PM

Certainly it's not just once company, but basically, something needs to be done primarily about the fact that professionally installed sat. dishes here are almost never (I've never seen one) grounded. These installers are asking for a lawsuit when lightning strikes and the person's homeowners insurance is voided because the system wasn't installed in compliance with NEC.




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