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Geometry Satellite Antenna Services

Geometry Satellite Antenna Installation and 5G Services

Geometry Inc. provides Satellite Antenna Installation and 5G Services to the midwest and beyond. At Geometry, we do start-to-finish installations; from concrete to peaking the antenna. We are currently engaged in many activities in support of the 5G rollout.

Clearing Part of the C-band Spectrum for 5G

The FCC has a plan to clear 280 MHz of C-band spectrum for 5G mobile services in the contiguous United States as early as December 2023, with a portion of that spectrum becoming available as early as December 2021. What that means is many, many antennas need 5G Filters Installed. So many that the worry is there are not currently enough techs to do it. At Geometry, we see it simply as a logistical puzzle begging for well crafted solutions.

 

Geometry Satellite Antenna

About Geometry

We go by “Geometry Antenna Services” or simply “Geometry” whle working in the realm of Satellite Antennas.

St. Paul Sign is actually a dba for Geometry Inc. We perform our sign and bollard services under the name, St. Paul Sign.

From the Concrete Foundation to Peaking the Dish, We Do it All.

My inclination has always been towards math and physics. Now, finding us pointing antennas at satellites has been both exciting and interesting. – John Wenzel

We entered this space when a new client approached us to see if we wanted to install the 12 foot pipes that serve as the masts that support the Antennas. Soon after, the conversation developed into us hoisting the dishes, assembling the dishes and finally, peaking the dishes too. Now we perform all the steps from start to finish.

A Quality Signal depends upon a Quality Foundation

Our ability to perform all aspects of antenna installation translates into savings by the way of efficiency. And the end-to-end knowledge we’ve acquired, enables us to deliver a better product. We have an intimate understanding of how the mechanical “dirty work” of setting the pipes in concrete, trenching and assembling the dishes affects the quality of the final product. The goal is to achieve the best carrier over noise and signal levels possible.

 

 

Satellite Antenna Installler
Wishek, North Dakota

On the right, you can see 2 dishes in their face-down assembly position. These antennas got pointed to Intelsat Galaxy 18 (123° W) and Galaxy 23 (121° W).

Satellite Antenna Installation

Antenna Placement

Beginning with the site survey, we determine the best location for the dish. The location requires that the antenna has an unobstructed line-of-sight, does not interfere with other antenna’s signals, and has, hopefully, a relatively simple trenching route. Even better is if the site happens to use aerial cable.

Locating Public and Private Utilities

Prior to our arrival, it is vital that the customer has underground public utilities located by calling 811 or equivalent website. In addition, the customer must also locate all of their private cabling for other dishes, private electrical, private propane lines etc. When this is not ready for us, we risk having nothing to do, because we cannot legally dig without the official locating of public utilities being completed. With respect to private utilities, the customer must be confident that they have located all their lines, wires and pipes so that we may trench efficiently and avoid hand trenching as much as possible.

Every Site is Unique

At times, a site is so cramped that an existing out-of-commission dish has to be dropped and foundation removed. At other times, there exists a suitable existing mast that we can reuse. For instance, while our new standard is to use the thicker, Schedule 80 Pipe, we have repurposed existing Schedule 40 by filling it with reinforced concrete. For a good signal, a dish CANNOT wiggle, and it is surprising how much they can wiggle in heavy winds.

 

 

Auger for Satellite Antenna Footing Hole

24-inch Auger on Bobcat

The foundation for the General Dynamics 3.7M Antenna is typically 24″ Dia and 6′ deep. We add a 2′ extension on the auger bit to get that deep.

Bobcat Trencher to Install PVC for Cable Feeds to Antennas

Trencher on Bobcat

The trench is usually 12″ deep but may vary depending on what’s going on underground. Typically, we hand dig the end at the point of entry (POE) into the building or vault. We also take care in hand digging over located utilities, both public and private.

Sometimes there is preexisting conduit that we may use for the entire run or just part of the run. This may reduce or altogether throw out the need for trenching.

12 foot SCH80 Pipe 6 feet deep with stabilizer rods

350 lb Satellite Mast Pipe

Here, the 12′ SCH80 Galvanized Pipe is in a 6′ deep footing. The stabilizer bars are to reduce the torsional or rotational vibration that otherwise might occur after years of wind beating on the antenna.

See our page on 6″ Schedule 80 Pipe to learn more.

Did you know pipe is measured on the inner diameter (ID)? Because you are concerned with capacity, not the outer dimension. Read More about Pipe Schedules vs Tube Gauges.

Concrete Foundation for Satellite Antenna Pipe or Mast

Concrete Footing

Here, we will embed the PVC in the footing. This isn’t critical and sometimes the order of operations makes this impossible to do within the time frame. The wood keeps the pipe steady and plumb while we pour concrete. We duct tape the PVC stub out so it is parallel with the mast pipe.

Concrete can be hard to come by on weekends, and impossible to come by on the winter weekends. When we travel an installation loop for 10 or 12 days, it is important to time things such that we stay busy on the weekends, without the ability to get a concrete truck.

PVC Conduit carrying RG11 Cable to Satellite Antenna

PVC Conduit Installation

We take pride in keeping everything level and plumb. The nice appearance of the finished product is a sign that all things have received equivalent care.

General Dynamics 3.7M Antenna Assembly

Careful Dish Assembly is Crucial

It is important to assemble the dish on a flat surface to ensure there is no racking. If racking occurs, then the “reflector” will not focus the signal onto the feedhorn correctly, and therefor the signal will be weakened.

LNB and 5G Filter Feedhorn Assembly

LNBs and 5G Filters

It is also crucial to take care in assembling the 5G Filters to the feedhorn, and the LNBs to the Filters. The correct gaskets must be chosen to retard moisture. Also, the bolts should be tightened incrementally and sequentially such that each interface is square and tight.

How to Hoist Large Satellite Antennas

Custom Welded Boom

We hoist the dishes with a boom we custom designed and welded.

5G Filtered Feedhorn Polarization Tuning

Completing Assembly

After hoisting the dish, we attach the feedhorn onto the spars which we attach the dish. We also install the snow cover if applicable.

Peaking the Antenna

We use a handful of tricks to get the dish close to peaked without electronics; This means to get it as close as possible to the target elevation and azimuth.

Dishpointer.com Azimuth

Using Landmarks to Aim Saddle for Azimuth

Dishpointer.com is an invaluable resource for peaking dishes. First, stand where the dish is going and get your lat and lon from Google Maps. Copy that and paste it at Dishpointer.com and select the satellite. It will give you this map that is extremely helpful, especially if there are landmarks. If you are in a field and there are no landmarks, you can try using the angle of the azimuth line and how it relates to the head end building or a fence or road.

Since the dish itself obstructs the view, we aim the saddle before hoisting the dish. We make a mark on the saddle and pipe where we think the saddle should point, so that we can then rotate the saddle to the easiest angle to hoist the dish. After hoisting, we rotate the dish back to line up the marks again.

 

Dishpointer.com Numbers

Antenna Elevation

Using a magnetic inclinometer, we place that on the main hub of the antenna dish. Then we elevate the dish to the angle given.

With Any Luck…

Quite often, we’ll hook up the XR3 Satellite Meter and BAM!, we are on the correct satellite. But other times not. If not, we adjust the azimuth and elevation til we find something. If we can identify it, then we will know what to adjust to get to our satellite by comparing offsets.

Galaxy 18 Carrier over Noise and Signal Strength

Signal Strength and Carrier over Noise Ratio

It is vital to get a C/N (Carrier over noise) ratio of 14.0 or better. We maximize this number while verifying the Signal Level is acceptable.

Galaxy 18 Satellite Spectrum on XR3

Galaxy 18 Spectrum

Here is the spectrum for the Galaxy 18 at 123° W provided by the Applied Instruments XR3 Satellite Meter. We use this signature to verify that we have locked onto the correct satellite.

Adjusting Feedhorn Skew to Optimize Polarization

Adjusting LNB Polarization

The Horizontal (H) and Vertical (V) LNBs have to be at the same angle as the H and V transponders on the Satellite. We start with a skew angle for your location which can be found at dishpointer.com. Then, by looking at the signal level on the meter which is hooked up to either the H or V, you maximize or minimize the signal level. Then verify by connecting the meter up to the other polarity. All of this is acheived by rotating the LNBs back and forth and watching levels.

RG11 cable behind GD Satcom 3.7M Antenna

Adjusting Focal Length to Maximize Signal and C/N

It maybe cannot be overstated how important focal length is to signal strength and clarity. To maximize, we adjust spar bolts and basically move the feedhorn in and out by small turns of the nuts on the bolts. This can be a pain if there is a snow cover is on already.

Cabling and Grounding

The image above shows the connections at the ground block. In this pic, we are still working so we have not finished zip tying the service loops of the cable runs yet.

Geometry Satellite Antenna

Geometry Satellite Antenna Installation and 5G Services

Resources

Below are links to useful websites, equipment suppliers, materials suppliers and services that we use often.

Geometry Satellite Antenna
USSI global
APPLIED INSTRUMENTS
COREMARK METALS
alga microwave
esri
AZZ Galvanizers
DISHPOINTER
CEMSTONE
Garelick Steel Company
General Dynamics
INTELSAT
Lowe Equipment
LyngSat
Viking Electric Supply
McMaster-Carr
Norsat International Inc.
SES
Bobcat

Let’s Talk

Have a Project in the Midwest?

We travel all over the Midwest and will travel much further for larger jobs. We’ll gladly go south during the winter where the ground isn’t so frozen.

⇒ Here’s a running list of the towns we’ve worked in followed by the number of antennas installed:

  • Holcombe, WI (2)
  • Erskine, MN (2)
  • Wishek, ND (2)
  • Birchwood, WI (1)
  • Barrett, MN (1)
  • Breda, IA (1)
  • Schaller, IA (1)
  • Diller, NE (1)
  • Aurora, NE (1)
  • Burwell, NE (1)
  • Onoway, MI (1)
  • Le Roy, MI (1)
  • White Cloud, MI (2)
  • Harmony, MN (1)
  • Lexington, MO (1)
  • Jefferson City, MO (2)
  • Wheatland, MO (1)
  • Rich Hill, MO (2)
  • Schell City, MO (2)
  • Maitland, MO (1)
  • Dickinson, ND (1)
  • Glendive, MT (1)
  • Jamestown, ND (2)

 

Geometry Satellite Antenna Services
Midwest Satellite Antenna Services

Email us at Sales@GeometryInc.com or call 651-432-4050

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