• Quite (unregistered)

    "We put the satellite on the quayside of the Clyde River."

    I sincerely hope that by "satellite", the muggle in question means the satellite dish.

  • gcc (unregistered) in reply to Quite

    my thoughts exactly. I went "now that's TRWTF" while reading.

  • Biggest WTF (unregistered)

    Probably the biggest WTF here, ever.

  • qGa (unregistered)

    The customer is not the one who started it: "Is there any chance you could go look at the satellite..." (you can't see geostationary satellites with your naked eye).

  • The Original Fritz (unregistered)

    This is the worst.

  • Quite (unregistered)

    It is to be pointed out that actually placing the satellite on the Clyde dockyard, it still technically is a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. At least, it it going round and round in space at the same orbital velocity as the dock it is placed on.

  • JustSomeDudette (unregistered)

    TRWFT is that the dish wasn't stolen.

  • David (unregistered) in reply to qGa

    That depends on the size of the satellite

  • Brian Boorman (google)

    Looking at Clyde River (in Nunavut, Canada), I don't really see a quay on Google satellite view, unless it's near the petroleum tanks. This far north, you have to point those dishes almost horizontal to the ground to see a geo-stationary beam over the Equator. So this would certainly exacerbate the problem of a ship moored there because you're pointed at the ship, not up over it.

  • ipguru (unregistered)

    Clyde side it was lucky the SHIP wasnt stolen :-)

  • jmm (unregistered)

    Reminds me of a cruise I took in northern latitudes-- the cruise ship internet was down for most of a day once because it had anchored in a harbor area where a mountain blocked line of sight

  • Quite (unregistered) in reply to Brian Boorman

    Well they'll just have to fly their silly satellites in a geosynchronous orbit a bit higher in the sky then! Du-uh!

  • Jimmy Reid (unregistered)

    The real WTF is calling it the "Clyde River". Anyone working in that area (or any other part of the country) knows it's referred to as the "River Clyde".

  • AW (unregistered) in reply to Jimmy Reid

    Unless it is one of the other Clyde Rivers around the world. I suspect that there is little need for satellite broadband on the River Clyde, Scotland.

  • Jared (unregistered)

    Actually worked at a call center similar to this story. I hate to admit this was 99% of the calls. "Somethings wrong with your stuff" / "The internet is down ... again" "Ok lets check that everything is working properly... ok it is, is anything blocking it?" "Is anything blocking the dish?" "No" "Are you sure?" "Let Me Check... oh yeah a ________ is in the way, does that matter?"

  • Ed Catmur (github) in reply to Quite

    Nah, it's a statite, not a satellite; its geosynchronous orbit is non-Keplerian, as it's (partially) supported by electromagnetic forces.

  • Jerepp (unregistered)

    When I was working in Iqaluit, also on Baffin Island, we had a problem with the uplink from the big 38 metre dish during some bad weather. After the winds settled down and we got a cherry picker up there it turned out that the ravens had been stashing seal skulls, pickle jars and other assorted food stuffs in the feed horn. Not only did we have to add 'Check for raven's stash random junk in feed horn' to the problem diagnosis checklist but also had to invent and fabricate something to keep the birds out of there while not interfering with an already borderline signal.

  • FuuzyFoo (unregistered) in reply to AW

    Actually, the River Clyde goes through Glasgow (population 2M), so there is a good chance someone might have a broadband satellite dish.

  • FuuzyFoo (unregistered) in reply to AW

    Apart from the River Clyde goes through Glasgow (population 2M), so there may indeed be a demand for satellite broadband there.

  • TV John (unregistered) in reply to Jimmy Reid

    Unless it's some other Clyde. My sister lives on the Clyde River in New South Wales, Australia. There's also one in Canada and doubtless others that are called The Clyde River.

  • Carl Witthoft (google)

    TRWTF, IMHO, is installing a satellite dish where the line of sight could be blocked by rather obvious things like transport ships which frequent the local waterway. Tell the installer dude next time mount the dish maybe 30 feet up so it can clear the transient blocking items.
    I mean, really -- what would have the installer done if he needed a low-angle sighting that crossed an interstate highway? I can just imagine the service call "My satellite signal keeps flashing on and off like crazy, and it's worst during rush hour"

  • I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯ (unregistered) in reply to Ed Catmur

    Except there are no actual statites, they are still theoretical.


  • Michael (unregistered)

    Some of my old buddies from up Northern Canada had a satellite beam that seemed to drop out at random intervals for no apparent reason. When they finally checked the situation, it turned out the beam grazed the top of a hill and the local moose figured out if he or she stood in the beam they could get warmed up by the microwaves. This led to many jokes around the office about 60 decibel moose fade as an excuse for any random radio failure.

  • _that_guy_ (unregistered) in reply to Michael

    Now that's a good story.

  • Decius (unregistered) in reply to Michael

    That's a great story made much better by the fact that the moose was blocking the uplink to the satellite, if your antenna was transmitting.

    Are you sure it wasn't just a microwave tower though? Those also have elliptical antennas.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Carl Witthoft

    Given that Omar was asking about toys and lawn furniture, I assume this is a home based satellite dish. As a home owner, you generally put this at the highest point on your property. You can ask the installer to put up a tower, but that costs $$$.

    In my neighborhood, we have a choice between 4G cellular Internet, or a couple of wireless antenna solutions. One of my neighbors has too many trees on his property between his rooftop and the radio tower. So his antenna is mounted about 6 feet up a tree on the edge of the property where it has a clear line of sight... usually. Fortunately there is not much traffic because most trucks are probably tall enough to block the signal.

  • Brad (unregistered)

    Ship happens.

  • Old C Hand (unregistered)

    A long time ago, I worked in a call center doing tech support for a major satellite TV provider. A major hurricane had just passed over some south eastern states and we were getting tons of calls about misaligned dishes or dishes that had completely come off their mounts. For each call, we'd basically ask for visual confirmation that the dish was still up, then run a diagnostic on the receiver to check if the dish was misaligned, then call out a tech based on that info.

    One call was especially interesting. Visual confirmation was that their dish was still mounted, but they were having trouble running the receiver diagnostic. Long story short, the storm had knocked out their power, but because their landline phone still worked, they expected their TV and satellite dish to work too.

  • Gordon JC Pearce (github) in reply to AW

    Failover. If you lose landline connectivity, and 3G/4G connectivitiy, you've got satellite.

    I suspect I know exactly what site this WTF is about, and a satellite network link isn't nearly the most WTF thing about it.

  • Doug (unregistered)

    In 2003 I drove from Darwin to Adelaide in the World Solar Challenge. At a middle-of-nowhere roadhouse called Aileron we fished our 1.8m satellite dish out of the back of the van, and set it up. We found the satellite by raster-scanning the dish back and forth across the sky: turn this nut an eighth of a turn to move the dish very slightly down the sky, swing the dish from left to right while watching for signal strength, repeat.

    That night we strung a sheet across the back of the van to act as a movie screen, and watched The Dish, which tells the story of Parkes Observatory relaying signals for Apollo 11. Partway through the movie, their computer crashes and they lose pointing on the dish. So they find Apollo 11 by raster-scanning the sky, exactly as we had just done.

  • löchlein deluxe (unregistered)

    Yeah, the customer will be back, because helpdesk just had him change alignment away from the good-apart-from-ship settings for fifteen minutes.

  • Donald (unregistered)

    I enjoyed this story even though it's just borderline "IT" related ... the comments remind me of TDWTF of old ... hehe... ship happens, more chatter about the missing "dish" in the story than the story itself... but that's enough from me for now: I need to go get my satellite off of the barbeque.

  • Paul M (unregistered)

    Long ago I worked for an ISP who provided services on the Island of Jersey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey), and the local circuit was provided by Jersey Telecom.

    We had customers complain of rare short periods of total packet loss. The customers were usually fobbed off. I discovered some time later that there was a microwave link which cut across the main harbour entrance, and very occasionally a particularly tall ship would pass through the mouth of the harbour and briefly block the signal. I don't have any authoritative source for this, but it is quite plausible.

  • Ed Catmur (github) in reply to I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯


    The joke is that there are statites; it's just that they're all supported by electromagnetic interaction with the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere or atmosphere rather than solar radiation.

  • Discouraged (unregistered) in reply to Carl Witthoft

    I think you underestimate the height of some ships - 30 feet would be insufficient to clear quite a few ships.

  • (nodebb)

    There's nothing between our tv dish and the satellite in winter, only an inch of snow or so.

    And there are trees (fortunately cut down a bit meanwhile). Trees have the nasty habits of growing, and of getting moist bark when it rains, and moist barks are impertinent enough to short-circuit microwaves.

    Heavy rain does the trick, too. Blocks cell phones, as well.

    Then there was that guy living on a street where they build a house twice as tall as his on the other side of the street.

    I half wondered what a supporter would do when a satellite dish near a big water surface works just fine for horizontally polarized waves, but hardly at all for vertically ones. Or works only for horizontal and only after rain.

  • Mike a Person (unregistered)

    We had this problem with analog TV and now digital TV. When cruise liners leave the port of Southampton, UK they completely block the line of sight to the local TV transmitter, leaving us with a ghost signal with about 2/3 of a line extra delay, probably bouncing off a tower in the oil refinery just across the water. Nowadays with digital TV it just freezes.

    And when I was working on oil survey, the cricket loving Australian and British navigators used to hate it when we went along the survey lines in one direction because the ship pointed exactly in the correct direction for the superstructure of the ship to get in the way of the vital Inmarsat data link relaying the news of the latest score in the Ashes (England vs Australia) cricket match.

  • progger (unregistered) in reply to Michael

    Local Moose :"D

  • (nodebb)

    It's warmer in the sun.

  • Omar. (unregistered)

    Can confirm that this was the River Clyde, Scotland. The WTF? moment for me was the sudden realisation that the customer had simply failed to notice a huge, blooming great ship in the way ....

    We had other wonder calls, but this one is from a few years ago, and for some reason, despite other "Holy cow! What the ..." moments, this one still puts a smile on my face, just for the "oh.... wait ... ah" moment when the penny dropped.

  • (nodebb)

    Oh "Daily Gosips", your programmer is good.

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