Sunday, April 06, 2008

Getting it up

Feel free to read whatever innuendo you please into this account my weekend.
Friday I told DH that his pole just wasn't doing it for me any longer. I needed something bigger & if he needed any help raising it, to just let me know.
Saturday he collapsed the pole and took it down. He then spent a lot of time working out just how much wire he would need to tie down the new, taller and stronger pole. Cutting the wires, fastening them to the top & middle rings & untangling everything took a bit more time. Then I joined in and helped make it bigger. The first section slid out smoothly, the second would not budge & the third & fourth required a lot of effort. We had to pull the second one out while the pole was down because there was no way in hell DH could move once the pole was up. That took about a half hour because that section was tight. We spent a lot of time beating that pole to get it to extend all the way.
Now we had a 30ft pole to erect. This is considerably more difficult than a 10ft pole (which is the norm) or a 20ft pole (which is not too bad). Especially when there is a 6ft antenna running perpendicular to the pole, lashed to one end. Let me just say now, my back is killing me. My job was to be on the other end, lining the interior of the hollow pole up with the spike in the ground that will keep the pole in place. DH started at the other end, walking to me and lifting the pole. Which did not want to stay on the spike. But we got it there eventually. Pause to catch our breaths, erect a ladder, check to make sure none of the wires or cable have been twisted and tie down the bottom ring of wires. This involved looking up to the top of the pole, directly into the sun.
DH climbed up the ladder, began pulling up the third section and pulled the pole right off the spike, making it almost fall down, but between us & the wires we managed to keep it up and get it back on the spike.
Interesting side note on the mounting of poles. The mounting equipment - from the manufacturer - includes a big long spike that is driven into the ground, leaving 5-6 inches sticking out to impale the pole upon, and a square metal plate with a hole in the center that goes over the spike & sets on the ground, before you impale the pole. It does not include any mounting hardware. Nothing to keep the pole firmly attached to the ground. I suppose the theory is that the guide wires will keep the pole attached to the ground. The theory apparently only considers a side to side motion threat & not someone pulling on the pole from above.
My job, from this point forward was to grab the pole as hard as I could and pull down while DH pulled up. It took a long time to get the third section up. This pole takes 'snug fit' to a whole new level. While trying to get the fourth and last section up DH ran into resistance. All of the wires were slack, so assuming it was the section itself DH gave it a hard yank...and the cable snapped off the antenna box 40 feet up.
It seems, that the 50ft pole I have been complaining about all this time, has in fact been only a 40ft pole and the section collapse last week made it a 30ft pole. It was the lack of cable length that reminded DH of the circumstances. After all, nothing had changed about the cable & had the pole actually been 50ft originally then the should have been plenty of cable. Remember that second section we had to extend on the ground because it was so stuck? It had never been extended in the first place for the same reason. We had a decent signal to 40ft so DH had decided to it be until he had the wire to tie it down properly. He'd have to take the pole down at that point & could force the extension then. That was over 18 months ago. When he cleaned up the interior install 6 months ago, he moved the receiver inside and tightened up that additional 10ft of cable, having forgotten the original plan.
Pole is then collapsed to 30ft, taken down and cable is reconnected. Pause while things are tested and moved around inside & tested some more to make sure no damage was done to the antenna receiver or the connector. Everything tests out fine, one final check of cable length and we repeat the pole raising process up to and including me wrapping myself around the pole to keep it on the spike while DH laboriously re-extends the 3rd and 4th sections. Woo Hoo!! The pole is up. Another hour is eaten up tying down the wires, getting the pole straight, tightening things, adjusting positions, etc. Come in the house and NO INTERNET!!!
DH spends some time replacing things on our end because the damn thing had worked just fine before we put the pole up. But there is no joy, or internet. And it's 4:30, the boys are getting hungry and not enough light left to take it down, fix the antenna end and put it back up. So we go to dinner and I have no internet.
Today it is raining. A heavy mist and a bit of wind. DH collapses the pole and replaces the connectors and everything is fine until he closes up the box. Closing the box cuts off the signal. Best guess is the cable stretched before it pulled loose and somewhere in 66 ft of cable some wires snapped. The handy thing about being married to a network guy is the odds are good there is another 66ft length of cable in his truck, or the shed - and there was! Everything is replaced. Multiple tests are done and then a couple more and some re-measuring of everything. Then, once more we hoist the 30ft pole. Only now the ground is soft and muddy and pole is slippery. But we get it up! As I am clinging to the bottom pole I notice the plethora of warning stickers decorating it. I read as the breeze blew, under the YOU COULD BE KILLED! sticker another one that said "Do NOT attempt to erect or disassemble this pole when it is wet or windy." and one that said "Only knowledgeable trained professional technicians should install this pole." I'm not sure how much knowledge & training you actually need to hang on to a pole, assuming you are outside, fully clothed and no one is waiting to stick dollar bills in your G string. But there it is.
Eventually the pole was fully erect, the wires were re-adjusted and re-tightened and thank you JEEZUS! the internet works! It is even better than before. Previously I had about 700 download and 250 up. Now I have 1000 down and almost 600 up.
That was a hell of a lot of work for free internet.

BTW - the internet is free because DH is a director at our ISP. We did not erect a 50ft eyesore on our property just to pirate the neighbors unsecured wireless network.

No comments: