Wright's Aerials

I recently visited a new customer to discuss the positioning of her proposed satellite dish. Noticing a shiny red plastic box fitted to the aerial mast, I assumed that it would be a splitter. Guessing from this that the house must have two or more TV sets, despite the fact that the customer was a fairly elderly lady living alone, I asked if Sky reception would be required in other rooms. The customer replied that she only had one set, so I had to explain why I’d thought there were others.

“ Oh, no” she said, “the red box is a booster. It cost an extra £80 but it was worth every penny. It’s very poor reception here, you know.”

Now that puzzled me, because the house actually had clear line of sight to a main transmitter only 20 miles away, and any masthead amplifier would have been severely overloaded with signal. What’s more, there was no sign of a power supply unit behind the TV set.

Apparently the “very nice polite young man” who’d installed the aerial had at first been unable to obtain good reception. After he’d finished on the roof he’d fiddled about with the tuning for some time but the picture remained obstinately snowy on all channels. Very snowy, in fact. “I couldn’t have put up with it. It was all swirling around and I know it would have set off my migraine.”
The nice young man had explained that reception must be poor in that area, and had suggested that a ‘booster’, although expensive, might solve the problem. After he had scurried up the ladder and fitted the costly red box, perfect reception was obtained. Although she was a bit startled by a demand for a total of £160 (cash only, no invoice), the old lady was really very pleased that the installer had been knowledgeable enough to solve the problem.

When I went back to fit the dish I climbed onto the roof to have a look inside the magic red box. Of course, it was empty, except for two ends of co-ax, twisted together. Presumably the ‘nice young man’ had cut the cable near the aerial before attempting to tune-in a picture. He’d probably bared a short length of inner conductor to provide a faint signal. An old amplifier housing, no doubt carefully polished in advance on the scoundrel’s overalls, completed the job.

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