• To anyone looking to acquire commercial radio programming software:

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Technical Training

Dtg8

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
6
email me, my first name at tacticalrf.com
We are capable of doing online training, Tom and I both have home studios with ATEM mini pro video switchers so we can use any of 4 HDMI inputs to switch from PC display to us to whiteboard for quick drawings to make it seem more personal and interactive.
Actually we bought them because they are cool tech guy toys but we needed an excuse to write them off our taxes.

We usually ask for 5 or more students if we travel to your site, otherwise travel costs make it hard to make a profit.

I am working on doing LAS online, the hard part is the hands on testing. I'm putting a kit together with antennas and coax with known VNA responses so I can send it to you and do a zoom interaction to verify you get the results you should.
Just sent it off to you! I really appreciate it!
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
4,522
I had one applicant that the department manager had flown in from NJ to interview and we were in CA. This guy knew his stuff and technically could have run the place. I had to take him to lunch and knowing he did well and would probably be hired he started asking if we can accommodate him as a "state citizen" as far as not taking out any federal income taxes from his paycheck. I've dealt with so called state citizens before and told him that's up to HR or some other group.

Then I had to take him to lunch, which runs through some rough neighborhoods to get to the nice restaurants. He asked how the neighborhoods were around here to live in. I mentioned we were passing through a "rough" one and as he looked out the window at the people in the neighborhood he made a comment about a particular race using a word that is very uncomfortable to repeat and how they seem to multiply like cockroaches. We went to lunch and as soon as we got back to the facility I informed the hiring manager that this guy isn't going to make it due to some things he said. The manager insisted he's hiring and I took it to HR. With the hiring manager present HR asked what did he say, so I told them. Eyes went big, mouths wide open, manager now with his head in his hands. Guy got sent back home with no explanation.

Another time the hiring manager was a very difficult person that should never been placed in that position and he went way out of his way to promote his race and everyone else was just raciest. He gave me a person to interview, of his race of course and the person was very knowledgeable but had some very bizarre social problems. They wouldn't really look you in the eye, very nervous, extremely feminine and it appeared to be a male but with a very soft female voice for a large male.

After the interview I goggle searched their name and found reference to them thanking some TV show about a makeover as they were making the transition from a male to a female. Very interesting and sad at the same time. I informed the hiring manager of this, not as a reason to not hire the person but just as a heads up. The manager started screaming no way, I'm not doing that to my guys, I'll never hire that, bla bla bla. I had to inform him he can't discriminate and he/she is the best candidate so far. More screaming. I told him if that's the only reason he doesn't hire the person we would be discussing this with HR to protect the company. Eventually another candidate more qualified was interviewed and was hired.

None of this has anything to do with training or certificates, but it is a real part of the hiring process and keeping your job. And hopefully it was fun to read.
While I was working at /\/\ in an engineering position, one day my engineering manager asks me to show a potential new hire around. "show him around" This guy was an apparently experienced engineer and was Jamaican which was a bit refreshing as we had nobody but white males in the entire section. So in "showing him around" I took him around the department lab and introduced him and showed him what each engineer was responsible for. He asked a lot of good questions and was knowledgeable. Well they did not hire the guy and I got chastised for showing him the crown jewels because apparently they were worried he would work for the competition. If he was good enough for the competition, they should have hired him. I guess showing him around was supposed to be a tour of the cafeteria and the wire loft.
 

wcu02mpa

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
401
Location
Asheville,NC
I have a GROL with RADAR, Certified Broadcast Technologisn’t from SBE, and just took my GCT1 yesterday; passed with an 88%. My RADAR endorsement auto rolls into a ETA RADAR cert. You are good in Your thinking to certification stack. One reason is while studying I am learning something new everyday. My job is definitely noticing and liking that I am doing this. The GCT1 test wasn’t that bad, but also I have been doing RF for quite awhile. I finished the test in 25 minutes. I am going for the line-antenna sweep and microwave certs next.

For BDA/DAS the GROL is the key. I have been offered jobs just because I have it and the national fire code requires it. PM me with any questions
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
10,993
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
I spent the last 18 working years of my life in satellite broadcast. When I transitioned from aerospace as a research and design engineer position topped out due to no degree in anything then started as a "maintenance technician" in broadcast just to get in the door, my pay went up 38% overnight. I did well in broadcast and retired as a principal engineer and the RF engineer for a large uplink facility. That company was very good to me and I am forever grateful.

With your credentials I think it would be wise to look at the broadcast industry in general and satellite broadcast gets away from a single channel of raw unimaginable power and allows you to play with lots of smaller systems at lower power. I was ultimately responsible for about 100 high power uplink chains from C-band through Ka band with some between 2.5kW and 3.5kW and hundreds of receive paths. With all the stuff I learned on the job over the years I still do occasional broadcast jobs in retirement for terrestrial TV and FM stations and get flown all over the world to do little satellite jobs.

Broadcast can be a great career if you can get your foot in the door.

I have a GROL with RADAR, Certified Broadcast Technologisn’t from SBE, and just took my GCT1 yesterday; passed with an 88%. My RADAR endorsement auto rolls into a ETA RADAR cert. You are good in Your thinking to certification stack. One reason is while studying I am learning something new everyday. My job is definitely noticing and liking that I am doing this. The GCT1 test wasn’t that bad, but also I have been doing RF for quite awhile. I finished the test in 25 minutes. I am going for the line-antenna sweep and microwave certs next.

For BDA/DAS the GROL is the key. I have been offered jobs just because I have it and the national fire code requires it. PM me with any questions
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
865
I am going for the line-antenna sweep and microwave certs next.
I'm teaching LAS at IWCE if it happens. I'm also working on an online version but since part of the test is hands on the ETA wants to be sure I can do a 2 way video interaction to see how you are getting return loss and DTF results. PM me if you are interested.

My training partner and I also do the microwave class, when we did this before covid Tom Dover brought 2 radio racks in and students got hands on play time, it really helps out.

One thing we found about GCT-2 is it's hard to pass if you take it right after level 1, it's over 50% failure rate.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,639
Location
Texas
I'm teaching LAS at IWCE if it happens. I'm also working on an online version but since part of the test is hands on the ETA wants to be sure I can do a 2 way video interaction to see how you are getting return loss and DTF results. PM me if you are interested.

My training partner and I also do the microwave class, when we did this before covid Tom Dover brought 2 radio racks in and students got hands on play time, it really helps out.

One thing we found about GCT-2 is it's hard to pass if you take it right after level 1, it's over 50% failure rate.
Hey, passed both exams last time I took them back to back...still feel I barely passed GCT-2 though (wording on GCT-1 isn't too bad but if you misread something on GCT-2 it will get you) but I was also trying to meet up with @mmckenna in the exhibit hall. I also did it upon request from the now president of ETA-I. I taught GCT-1 at IWCE 2019 and most of our students passed but only one felt like challenging GCT-2.

To anyone interesting in them...I do highly recommend Jay as an instructor for the courses (if you can get him).
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
865
APCO is mandating masks, one way aisles for the booths, no give a ways unless the 'hander' has gloves on, etc.
I'll pass.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,639
Location
Texas
We should do that again if IWCE happens this year. I'm planning on going (after all, I paid last year for the whole thing).

Anyone going to APCO?
I agree.

I can make a business justification for IWCE (microwave and RoIP/SIP gateways). APCO I might just do that to get out of the house (San Antonio is only 200 miles away...day trip).
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
865
How is the satellite industry doing with the increase in fiber?
I worked freelance RF for ESPN and ABC about 20 years ago, only remember 1 stadium that had fiber so sat trucks were the norm.

In 2007 I helped a buddy with his mobile ISP he set up at Indy car tracks, this was before 3G aircards for PCs were popular. We had a 1 meter dish at DS1 speed, used Motorola canopy to send it to the teams and drivers' coaches. Tuning that dish was a bee atch, turning the hex nut for elevation change would move from signal to nothing with only 10° of movement.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
10,993
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
There are big satellite dishes being installed around the world all the time and they need knowledgeable people to do the work. I'm not talking 1m, this is big stuff that starts at maybe 7m and goes up to 13m and sometimes larger. The big satellite broadcasters like DirecTV and Dish plus the satellite Internet providers like ViaSat and Hughes need people to maintain their uplink centers.

How is the satellite industry doing with the increase in fiber?
I worked freelance RF for ESPN and ABC about 20 years ago, only remember 1 stadium that had fiber so sat trucks were the norm.

In 2007 I helped a buddy with his mobile ISP he set up at Indy car tracks, this was before 3G aircards for PCs were popular. We had a 1 meter dish at DS1 speed, used Motorola canopy to send it to the teams and drivers' coaches. Tuning that dish was a bee atch, turning the hex nut for elevation change would move from signal to nothing with only 10° of movement.
 

cbehr91

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
345
I work in broadcasting (as a newscast director primarily, not engineering in title), and that industry is moving toward more I.T. as time goes on. As with a lot of industries there's a dearth of good, experienced engineers for less and less positions. People are retiring left and right, but at the same time there's a real brain drain because broadcast companies don't want to pay people their worth, and retiring folks' positions aren't being filled. It's not out of the question for radio (especially) and starting with the television side to use contract engineers. For broadcast, any engineer or anybody wanting to be an engineer needs at least basic I.T. skills.

Within the last five years fiber has really taken off in broadcasting, and it will only continue.
 

mass-man

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
1,105
Location
Parker Co., TX
I spent over 50 years in TV...most on the transmission/transmitter side! Contract/freelance is the way to go! I did finish out with 3 years fulltime employment but more just to say I did it! Good $$$, lots of travel n some great stories. Yea TV is using more fiber and bonded cell but RF won’t go anywhere soon!
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,639
Location
Texas
I work in broadcasting (as a newscast director primarily, not engineering in title), and that industry is moving toward more I.T. as time goes on. As with a lot of industries there's a dearth of good, experienced engineers for less and less positions. People are retiring left and right, but at the same time there's a real brain drain because broadcast companies don't want to pay people their worth, and retiring folks' positions aren't being filled. It's not out of the question for radio (especially) and starting with the television side to use contract engineers. For broadcast, any engineer or anybody wanting to be an engineer needs at least basic I.T. skills.

Within the last five years fiber has really taken off in broadcasting, and it will only continue.
I'd go with IP over IT. I've been watching this issue propagate across the industry. A lot of systems have migrated from circuit switched designs to IP routed and it's created a large void in the industry. While I fully think IP is the way to go...letting your IT department control you RF infrastructure is just dumb (I went through this myself working for a one of the big energy companies in West Texas) and often leads to gross overcomplication of systems and lack of proper cross training. You almost can't get into system admin/engineering side of the industry now without an understanding of IP.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
15,541
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
You almost can't get into system admin/engineering side of the industry now without an understanding of IP.
Yeah, I can't agree enough with this. I migrated our PBX from full TDM to a VoIP backbone in 2008 and had to work closely with our Network Engineers. We had one or two really good guys that made it easy. They listened to our needs, our concerns about E911 and security and we all worked together to make it happen. We had a few guys that didn't want to play along, but luckily they are no longer working there. Took a while, but we're all on the same page.
As part of the VoIP projects, we had to learn IP, and our network guys had to learn about telecom. That actually went really well. They moved us all into one location, and myself and the network manager are in next door offices. My staff on the telecom side are mixed in with the network guys, and it works well. They all get along and they all cooperate.

When I had to hire a new engineer, I was able to get a young guy that had worked at our IT help desk and knew his way around IP. He new networking and server farms and was an great resource. I hired him for his IP skills and we trained him on telecom and radio. He's become indispensable. Our network engineers even borrow him periodically to do router upgrades and other tasks. He has full access into the network side and the telecom side.
I'd not hire another person that didn't have a lot of solid background in IP.

As we migrate our analog radio system to P25 with an IP backbone, I'll have to brush up on my IP skills and draw on various resources.
For anyone wanting to get into the industry now, they wouldn't get too far without some serious IP skills.

On the other hand, I feel pretty secure in my traditional telecom background. We'll always have some analog phone service somewhere, and we'll have various mixes of digital and analog radio systems for the foreseeable future. I figure I'm good for another 10 years at least, and about that time, I'll be ready to retire.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,639
Location
Texas
Me and a few others over at ETA have been talking about creating an IP Networking course (or series) as it commonly relates to two-way radio systems. The big problems you run into are everything gets so vendor specific. For example, Motorola's Networking Essentials course really dives into L2 domains for switching with the HP/Aruba 2620 (which is a favorite of Motorola but also EOL from HPE) and static routing with some OSPF in Cisco with a 1900 series router (or something similar). Then you jump into Astro 25 Applied Networking where it's all about that HPE 2620 and the Motorola GGM8000 router (which is a very stripped down product that I would almost swear is running DOS). While the courses are very practical (especially if you are working on Motorola Astro 25 systems) you run into to the issue some agencies are Juniper shops where some are
Cisco where others are Arista or HPE, or Nokia, etc. They are all different in their own ways.
 

mmckenna

I ♥ Ø
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
15,541
Location
SNCZCA01DS0
Big issue we have is with our network security folks. Access Control Lists, opening ports, etc. are all a big deal. Most of our stuff is buried behind firewalls and carefully set up ACL's. When we have to transit multiple parts of the network, it turns into a big challenge. We don't get to make changes on that level and it requires some careful considerations.

We've gone as far as to build out our own servers and avoid our data centers, but we can only go so far.

Still requires input from a lot of other network folks in most cases. Most of them barely know which end of the telephone handset to talk into, and have no idea what the differences are between FRS, CB or a trunked radio system.

Other issue is the security updates on servers. More often than not, some template gets pushed out that will impact our systems. It's required us to spend a lot of money on our own systems, but ultimately it is worth it.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
865
When I did the ESPYs in 2018 it was my first TV job in about 15 years. I was surprised how much change there was in the TV compound from thick analog audio mults and coax/triax to cat5.
I told my boss 'the last show I worked IP was something I did on a break.'
 

davidgcet

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 17, 2010
Messages
1,287
when my family had a batwing shop I had a CET Sr level due to holding R56 installer, WCM, my GROL, and a couple other minor certs(mostly moto specific). When we shut it down and I applied at a local cell carrier my now manager was impressed with my certs but more so my experience. those above his level could care less about the certs and the system actually kicked them back out when I uploaded them. So while the certs DO show something, they may or may not count at all depending on where you end up trying to work. I honestly wish I had kept them up because if i understood it correctly by now I could easily move on up to a CET-MA by now with all the additional certs from my new fiber training as well as some various network certs my current company has us all do. Of course my current employer does not use ETA for their certifications, but likely at least some of it would transfer.


saying all that, definitely if you can find a way to take a class online or in person do so. honestly even if it doesn't help with an ETA cert just remember that any cert that is applicable to your line of work can never hurt.
 
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