Wright's Aerials

Paul came in the other day, aghast. He had been approached on the street by another aerial installer, an older man, who wanted to buy a few bits and pieces having been 'caught short'. Since Paul was just in the process of lifting his analyzer out of the van the conversation had turned to test equipment. The experienced rigger advised Paul that the analyzer was 'only a telly really, ain't it?' and that even an ordinary meter was unnecessary. Paul learnt from this meeting that the best way to do the job is to point the aerial in approximately the same direction as all the others, and then lie through your teeth about the poor reception until the customer paid up out of sheer boredom. There are a lot of aerial installers of this persuasion. Ask them about carrier to noise ratio, bit error rate, or polarization offset and they’ll look at you as if you’ve used bad language in polite company.

There are also plenty of installers who use good test equipment, So it seems that the aerial rigging fraternity is in schism. On the one hand there is the high church orthodoxy of stalwart meter users, some of whom even make ostentatious use of analyzers and other rigger’s bling such as safety equipment and proper ladders. Some of these anally retentive people even have public liability insurance! On the other hand there is the Happy Clappy Church of Slapdapery, where test equipment is decried as pure unnecessary ostentation. The favourite hymn starts “If you’re happy that you’ve botched it clap your hands!” In the Church of Slapdapery each minister identifies a landmark within the diocese and decrees that all aerials should be pointed at it. This is usually a power station chimney in roughly the same direction as the transmitter. After all, Muslims only need an approximate idea of the direction of Mecca, so why should aerials need to be pointed more accurately? It’s obvious, innit?

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