DirecTV Uplink Site?

raydio

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Jan 6, 2005
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I am in the Tucson, AZ area this week doing some work on Lasik Lasers and once again I have stumbled upon something cool. It's a DirecTV uplink site I believe. Five big-ass dishes and one that is quite a bit larger than the other four. The big one appears to be steerable, don't know about the other four. I could not get close enough to get any real good pictures but the internet is so cool...I was able to put the street address into Bing and got a birds-eye view. The building on this site is quite large, it does not look to be that large from the street but an aerial view does show it is big. Perhaps Brian or Kofi can chime in and let us know what they may be doing here that requires such a large building.

EDIT - - - This apparently is a Local Receive Facility for TV Stations - - -

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harshness

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May 5, 2007
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Probably not that big of space once it is divided up between uses. Office space, master control, servers, encoders, decoders, etc.
I don't imagine they have much of a staff to need office space for. The aerial photos seem to have one white pickup with a headache rack in the parking lot (Google's has it parked in a handicap spot). Mapquest adds another white pickup in the other handicap spot) One could reasonably assume that this is attended 24x7x365. Insurance often dictates that there's no parking indoors.

I'd guess that the signals are run directly into multiplexers and not buffered or "produced" locally. I don't imagine they need any decoders or a master control.

The specs on the facility say that they have two 3,000 ampere power feeds (and two backup generators to go with).
 
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goaliebob99

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-.-. .... .. -.-. .- --. ---
This is the facility I worked at up until two weeks ago. Tucson locals are collected here and sent to LABC for uplink. It’s primary mission is uplink of local channels through out the country with a secondary mission for Sky Mexico at SKY 79. I have tons of drone footage and pictures, but wont post them here as I am under NDA with ATT for that. Not much staffing as it’s pretty much remote hands to fix RF gear inside the antenna’s should an amp fail or anything like a baseball switch. There also is a diverse site in Benson.
 

Inclined Orbit

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Jan 2, 2018
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Interesting, I retired from DTV and did not have an exit interview and did not sign any NDAs. I also have lots of uplink site pictures I might share some day!

This is the facility I worked at up until two weeks ago. Tucson locals are collected here and sent to LABC for uplink. It’s primary mission is uplink of local channels through out the country with a secondary mission for Sky Mexico at SKY 79. I have tons of drone footage and pictures, but wont post them here as I am under NDA with ATT for that. Not much staffing as it’s pretty much remote hands to fix RF gear inside the antenna’s should an amp fail or anything like a baseball switch. There also is a diverse site in Benson.
 

Inclined Orbit

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Jan 2, 2018
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Here is something you don't see every day, a 13m Ku uplink dish with the elevation jack screw disconnected. This was at a DirecTV facility in So Cal and the elevation jack screw was worn and needed replacement. The jack screw probably weighs over 1,000lbs and holds up the antenna from the front and is responsible for elevation movement in general and while tracking the satellite.

The dish was pointed straight up (Zenith) and the main reflector was secured with chains and come alongs all around. Then the entire jack screw with motor and gear reduction had to be disconnected and lowered down for replacement. You don't want to do this on a windy day. If the chains failed or something went wrong during the maintenance, the reflector could fall over, pushing the jack screw through the reflector and the reflector would crash down onto something hard and probably destroy this $1million class antenna. I forget what the counterweights on this antenna weigh but its either 10,000lbs each or total. This is not your fathers back yard dish and I had to babysit this dish and all its cousins and related equipment for 18yrs.

Maybe the SatelliteGuys site needs a special section for uplink site pictures?

jack screw.jpg
 
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Inclined Orbit

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Jan 2, 2018
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A couple more pictures for today. Here I am working on a DirecTV Ka uplink dish that developed a problem in the tracking sub reflector. The mechanism that moves the sub reflector is supposed to be lubricated for the life of the product. Yea right. It takes a lot of tedious work and some gymnastics to make it play nice again. So you want to be a Satellite Broadcast Engineer? Better not be afraid of heights! And no, the antenna was not radiating when we were up there.




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Ka2.jpg
 

907TECH

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Aug 29, 2018
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Maybe we do need an uplink site folder, here is a 10 meter dish (geosynchronous) with a 26 meter in the background (tracking).

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Inclined Orbit

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Ok, thought I was done for the day. Here is a really nice 13m full motion monopulse tracking dish I worked on that got pulled out on the west coast, refurbished, repainted and installed on the east coast. Its next to a group of 20m dishes and there is a 30m dish at this site. A 30m dish is about 100ft in diameter. This is not at a DirecTV site.

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Inclined Orbit

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Here is a new 11m dish for a mystery client, I don't know who the end customer was and knew not to ask. Its probably better I don't even mention were it is. But is does have a very unusual frequency range and I'm up in the hub doing some final measurements before handing over to the customer.

Maybe some day I'll get one of these for the front yard. When the neighbors ask, its a bird bath, yea....

11m.JPG
 
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