Day 8: Satellite Dish!

Monday morning, and it's back to Linux training. I still haven't got to fly yet, but I'm sure it will happen in the next day or so.

However, it's shortlived because an exciting event has finally happened. After months of bureacratic wrangling and delays, the satellite dish is finally ready to be commissioned!

Now, to all you folks who have 6Mbit DSL to your home, this might not sound much, but when your entire office's Internet (and head office VPN) goes out one very dodgy phone line that is lucky to get 24kbs on a good day (and continually needs to be swapped with a second phone line because the local exchange keeps crashing the line) at mucho dinero per megabyte, then an independent satellite link providing 128Kbs unlimited Internet is a Godsend. So Bonn (the one on the stepladder) is very excited, and has dug the trench for the cabling himself weeks ago in preparation for this day.

So in very typical PNG style, the commissioning engineer who has flown up from Moresby says he is missing two brackets, and can't complete the installation. Not to be daunted at this last hurdle, Phil (the Engineering Manager) says, "Well, what are we? We're an aircraft engineering site!", asks to see where the brackets would go, and says he'll have them made in under an hour. He also makes the helpful comment that the dish is pointing the wrong way, not realising we need to have it pointed that way temporarily to construct the dish. A real Dilbert moment. He's just joking though, and off he goes to make some brackets.

So, after an hour of frenetic activity, brackets are on, the dish is aligned (the right way), and the installation engineer is doing the fine tuning.

Bonn greases the control screws, perhaps in an attempt to make the bits come out faster. Even the visiting IT Linux expert gets into the picture, trying to sound knowledgeable about networking, perhaps even configuring the router to install the new network parameters. I don't know what they would have done without me. Perhaps read the manual or something.

The team effort pays off, and with bated breath we plug the Ethernet cable into the BBSB (Big Blue Satellite Box), and we're up and running immediately. A real Internet connection, at long last! Now Phil is talking about a point-to-point wireless link to the nearby airport compound and Wi-Fi to the houses there. Hmmm... I'm getting out of here before I get given more jobs to do.

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get to fly...

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