Tech Support Has Gone To The Dogs

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by adamson, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. studechip

    studechip Godfather

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    Ever heard of an inclinometer? You don't have to set anything up. Even a phone app can give you a pretty good idea if there is a los. Simply looking around, regardless of the experience of the tech, isn't infallible. I know, since I went through it with a tech that claimed he knew I had no los on my property. Turns out I did. And you wonder why I don't trust techs that claim to be experienced.
     
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  2. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    One bad tech can certainly ruin the reputation of others.

    In my area 101° is elevation 39.5°, azimuth (true) 202°. The last installer I worked with (I was the customer) used a compass for the azimuth but had installed enough systems that he knew the elevation without tools. he could put a site into the basic categories of "sure", "maybe" and "no way" without tools because of his experience. (The compass would only be needed if one didn't know where south was or if there was an obstruction that made a difference. If there is a line of 50 ft trees less than 60 ft away a compass might tell you which one would be a problem but still would not provide LOS. For the "sure" locations the install would begin. The "no way" locations - have a nice day. Only the "maybe" locations would need further study than a cursory look for the experienced tech I knew.)

    How innovative is your dish location? A roof mount DIRECTV would no longer install or maintain? An eve mount at one end of your house where there is no LOS from the other? 100ft of buried cable to get to a clear location? How close is an obstruction to your LOS? Is the dish in a location where you will lose LOS in a few years? If so, do you have plans to maintain LOS?
     
  3. peds48

    peds48 Genius.

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    The point that was brought up on this thread, which you also happen to agree with, is that there are SOME instances where tree coverage or building blockage makes it so obvious that is not necessary to use any instrument to determine that there is no LOS. If you know your bearings and you know how high (approximate) the sats are high in the sky and you see a 50 story building where the sats are and you are installing in a 5 story, or you see 100 foot trees, what there is to look?.....


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  4. studechip

    studechip Godfather

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    My dish is on a ten foot pole sunk three feet in the ground. It's been there since 2006. At that time I needed 119 for locals. Now that there are all in hd on 103, I'll have los for many years since switched to a swm13 lnb.
     
  5. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    On the other end of the customers: When we were visiting my in-laws at Christmas this past year, my MIL mentioned she had signed up for DIRECTV and they were coming out the first week of January to install the equipment. She wanted to know what she was getting and the best configuration. Without looking at the sheet she had, I said "you don't have a line of sight to the satellites, so they won't be able to install DIRECTV or DISH here." They have about a 40 degree view of clear sky centered almost due North.

    When the installer came out a week later, he spent about 5-10 minutes walking her property checking on LOS. Came back to the house and told her she didn't have LOS and that he was going to cancel the installation with no charge. She said "Why did it take you so long when my son-in-law took 2 seconds to figure this out?"

    She was sort of joking with the installer, but she also didn't take into account I had previously walked her property with DIRECTV in mind about one year prior to this (she loves DIRECTV when she visits us).

    You'll never be able to make all of the customers happy.
     
  6. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I am glad it worked out.
     
  7. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I had that example hypothetically earlier in the thread ... it is good to see it reported in real life.
     
  8. west99999

    west99999 Icon

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    Technicians in no way are supposed to point out a tree to be trimmed. If it doesn't work you tell them they have no los and report it to a supervisor. Not trying to be rude or give bad customer service in no way but if its not going to work there is no need to go explaining to much in detail as to why it won't work. If a supervisor decides to go take another look (in most cases they do especially if its not a senior tech) they will then explain more in detail but still not point out any trees.
     
  9. streatordogs09

    streatordogs09 Cool Member

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    I know I had been transferred to tech and the lady wanted no part of my issue and without telling me transferred me back to movers. I went from one extra receiver on my account to my receivers being all deleted.
     
  10. peds48

    peds48 Genius.

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    excellent point! Completely forgot about it.


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  11. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    Doesn't the opening poster have an existing installation that is underperforming? Does he therefore have a partial obstruction? Is his obstruction a hard structure or tree growth? Was his dish self-installed or "professionally" installed?

    If the partial obstruction is from trees, then one would have to move the dish several feet to clear not only the present obstruction, but also to remain clear of future tree growth. It will often be obvious that the installer would run out of roof in trying to avoid the vegetation obstruction with an additional, tree growth margin, but anyone who thinks that hard, partial obstructions, most often, buildings or fences, can be analyzed without either using precise surveying equipment or doing a very disciplined job of moving the dish small distances and comparing logs of the signal strengths of each of the three satellites simply doesn't have much experience in dealing with them.

    A few years ago, I did some DirecTV antenna work at one of the major cable TV channels at their headquarters. This is a multi-billion dollar corporation with nearly 100 HD receivers in use in this facility. I got called by the company that installed and serviced their system and was told that the wind had blown the dish off line and asked if I could point it for them.

    That was a strange request for a few reasons. One is, that satellite service company had access to a dozen technicians, all of whom charge less than I do. Second, I checked the recent wind log there and the gusts had peaked at 30 to 40 MPH. Third, since when does strong wing blow a commercial, professionally installed DirecTV antenna out of line? I was 500 miles away and when I called the guy back, he said he had gotten someone else to service it for him.

    A month later, the same service company called me. The voicemail message was the same: the wind had blown the dish off line. I called him back and asked how it was possible that the wind caused the same problem as before. He said that they figured out that the HVAC guy had bumped into the dish. I told him I'd look at it.

    We were in a record heat wave at the time. It hit 105 that day, so I didn't want to spend much time on this. The 5-satellite dish was bolted securely to a 12" I-beam. Not only was it solid as a rock, it was mounted on the side away from the serviceman's walkway so the HVAC man would have to have been an Olympic Pommel Horse contestant to have been able to contact it without actually climbing over the I-beam.

    I'll try to make a long story short. Or at least, less long. This dish was located maybe twenty feet behind the row of 4.5 Meter Andrew reflectors and receiving signals on paths between them. I determined, to a high degree of confidence that one of those reflectors was partially obstructing the signal path from the 99 degree satellite.

    The building engineer wasn't "buying". He said that he was able to get the dish to work, even after the service technicians had failed to do so. From what he told me, he had "fixed it" after the technicians had given up and left, many times. Of course neither he or anyone else could explain why they had to keep coming back, why they kept failing, and why or how he kept succeeding after they had failed.

    You would think the solution was simple: move the dish a foot or two to the right and bolted it to the same beam. The reasons I was hesitant to do that were, 1) it looked to me like they were just barely clearing the 119 signal path on the other side, and therefore might lose it with the new dish mounting position, and 2) IT WAS 105 DEGREES OUT!

    I did a show and tell demonstration. I had another dish and some big "C" clamps, and set up my dish 30 feet away, where its reception paths cleared the 99/101/103 arc but was solidly blocked on 119, and I peaked it in less than 30 seconds. I showed them that I had strong, quality signals from all three of those core satellites. I even ran 30 foot jumper wires to let it source their system and it worked. But unfortunately, they believed, correctly or incorrectly, that they still needed 119 signal back then, and while I know how to combine 119 from one dish with the other three signals from another, I was not inclined to begin to turn this job into a science fair project.

    I told them, and then called the owner of their satellite service company and told him, that the best way to address this was to just furnish a sturdy (Baird) non penetrating mount and I'd put the dish where it could clearly hit all five satellites. I was going to come by the next day to install and peak it.

    While I was packing to leave the site, the building engineer "dithered" with the dish and got it working. Sort of. Which is to say, he got it to the point where his receivers could lock onto 99 degree signal and develop pictures from it.

    I figured out what he had done. I will try to explain the artistic, non-geometry of multi-beam reception. A single LNB satellite dish is a parabola, and as you have been told, a parabola has one single focal point, to which all parallel signal rays that are directly targeted reflect. So how does a multi-beam dish work? Well, we in the satellite business use the term "focal areas" or focal regions" to describe the place where off axis signals sort of focus. You didn't learn of focal areas or regions when you studied analytic geometry in high school because, to academic types, at least at the undergraduate level, there is no such thing. Maybe someone with a PhD in math from MIT can mathematize it, but I sure can't. It focuses good enough for satellite TV reception, even though its gain will be less than the prime focal point gain.

    One thing that I had not given any thought to before this was that, when viewed from behind the dish, the 99 degree signal that is reflected to the LNB feedhorn is mostly that which lands on the left portion of the reflector, while most of the 103 signal that makes it to the LNB feedhorn reflects off the rightmost portion. When this "ditherer" started moving the dish in small increments, with a receiver and test TV on a cart next to him he could mis-aim the dish slightly such that, while it's theoretical gain was less, his reception reflection area was further to the right and therefore the incoming signal path was less obstructed by the 4.5 meter dish. Basically, he benefited more from the clearer signal path than he suffered from the lower theoretical gain efficiency. But there were two things he did not grasp: 1) Even though he was seeing acceptable "signal strength numbers", expressed in DirecTV's mystery percentages, he probably was barely above maybe 8dB S/N ratio on 99, and, 2) his 101 and 103 signal's S/Ns had to have plummeted to well below the 13-14dB they started at, so if all of his signals were now down closer to 8dB S/N, then it might not take any more than path interdiction by a cloud to drop them to below their avalanche failure points

    I got a call the next day from the owner of the service company, saying that he had peaked the dish himself and that everything was fine. Like a lot of people in the service business, he is not technically knowledgeable in an academic sense, so I didn't waste anymore time trying to explain that antenna's lingering, root problem to him. His company had done this same repair surely a dozen times before, and would surely do it again, and again, and again, but not with any further involvement of me.

    But back to the purpose of this thread. If the thread starter has a tree blockage that is degrading but not totally interdicting his signal reception, then no installer in his right mind is going to sign off on a repair that gets outgrown and subjects him to future penalization for claiming to have successfully remediated the reception problem. Still, he might have had grounds to abrogate the contract without penalty if his installation was done by DirecTV to begin with. While it may be too late to get him resubscribed, nearly all partial obstructions caused by hard structures can be cleared by moving the dish a very small amount, and it is unlikely that any installer, no matter how experienced, could definitively eyeball the situation and rule out the efficacy of such a remedy.
     
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  12. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    He was not the person who started this thread. The person who posted the NLOS complaint hasn't provided any further information on the installation. It would be interesting to know the answers to your questions.
     
  13. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Wow. PED's you fail if you think you can use Google maps and have it be accurate enough for seeing los except on some super rare occurrence and even then you'd still need to go and double check to do your due diligence. It's usually years behind and things change.

    Simple example is my folks. They where looking at getting solar. Everyone they had come give an estimate used google maps and showed us what they thought could be done and brought a pre pared idea to their meeting. Problem is Google maps still showed a tree that was cut down a month earlier that was blocking a massive area of roof that you couldn't even see and is where the system ended up going. Unless it's an entire mountain in the way I don't think Google maps should be used for Los. And even then a drive to explain it to the customer is generally in order.
     
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  14. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    No I insinuated a tech that says you have no los and doesn't explain why and/or won't walk the property properly to explain it is lazy.
     
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  15. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The phrase "some installers are lazy" is not an insinuation, it is a direct insult.
    Perhaps you were looking for "some installers act lazy"? (Insinuations are indirect.)

    How much explanation does the average customer need? "Your reception problems are because you don't have line of sight." Huh? "The satellites in the sky are not clearly visible from your property." Huh? "Big bird in the sky is not clearly visible from this location." Huh? "makina athu sangathe bwino lomwe kuyambira chuma chanu." (Gotta try to explain it somehow.)

    We need a better description of the current dish location and the property to answer the specific complaint in this thread. But in many cases the "sure"/"maybe"/"no way" LOS decision can be made without a lot of work.
     
  16. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    "I just went to (pick one) ask.com,/fixit.com/askjeeves.com and they said that if the installer looks around enough, he should be able to find a place to mount the dish."

    I can't think of anything in recent years... make that, anything in my lifetime... that has soured me more on the field service business than the competition I am now in with the customer. Once upon a time, the repair person was looked upon, often unjustly, with reverence, as the educated or enlightened person who came from afar and who carried with him, the "secrets of the temple". Now anyone can get lots of those secrets by Googling. They see field service as the implementation of tips, and they can get them from me or from Google, and it costs less to get them from Google. If someone doesn't like what I tell them, and if Google gets them an alternative answer, then the debate begins, me against them, with them being the judge. Guess who wins? Them. Guess who loses? Them, when I say "Good bye" with their problem not having been remedied.

    Even before this self-diagnosis stuff became epidemic, there has always been misplaced criticism of "professional installers" as unprofessional just because he didn't do the best possible installation. Professional installers are paid modest amounts to fulfill contract obligations they have with their employer, and if they did everything the best they could, they wouldn't be able to feed their family. In fact, they wouldn't be able to feed themselves for long, because even if they did the extra work for free, which is what they are doing when they get paid flat amounts for installations and service calls, they wouldn't make it to the last call on their list often enough and they'd eventually get fired.
     
  17. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Sure is ...

    Like Google Maps, but in a lot of cases it's years out of date.

    For instance, still trying to get a look at DIRECTV's new Ka Diversity and Reverse Band uplink facility in Bakersfield, CA., which construction has been underway for several years now and is nearing it's scheduled completion.

    Yet GM still shows just a totally empty lot there ...

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  18. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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    And it gets weirder than that, at least in street view. I was looking at the street view around a hotel I was going to be staying at, and depending on the part of the street I was looking at, sometimes the hotel didn't exist. One more click, and there it was. I've seen similar things here, major park under reconstruction then complete and green.
     
  19. adamson

    adamson Godfather

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    This thread has been totally hijacked by a total different topic. Someone please answer question in post #35. Line of sight fine, signal strength excellent mid 90s-100, distance of clients from WVB not dramatic (only 1500 sq ft 1 story), client/access points excellent signal. To do a wired drop in one bedroom is a problem/attic vaulted ceiling joins a flat portion and is cut off.

    What will optimize do for me? Nothing wrong other than the clients. To me it is to sell more to me, with what?. BTW we have capped ATT dsl, landline ATT in this area. You cannot even get landline from them at this time. I do not have or want 3 Mbps dsl or landline. I have fiber for internet (muni) and basictalk for home phone. Yes I have trees, telephone pole pines that go to the moon, house surrounded but I have a great line of sight to get above them. Pole mounted by directv 5 yrs ago, my signals never have been bad ever.
     
  20. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The maps have dates on them. In my area overheads are dated September 2015. Streetview varies ... 2013 for my street but October 2015 for a nearby road. The maps give you some idea of what you are walking into before one makes the trip. In areas of the country where NLOS is a bigger problem the "super rare occurrence" is more common.

    I would not make a final determination based solely on Google maps (or any other provider). I do not believe peds48 would make a final decision based solely on Google. But after doing a pre-visit survey via Google I'd probably make a phone call before I made a visit if the site appeared to be impossible (for example, if the house or yard could not be seen due to dense tall tree cover). The phone call would determine if a trip was needed to find that miracle dish location or explain it in person.
     

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