December 2018

Spend a day with Peter Ritch, Senior Broadcast Wireman at dB Broadcast.

05:30 It’s an early start today as my taxi arrives; I need to make sure to catch the 06:12 London train. I shall be spending the day at a large broadcast client’s site in West London, carrying out several relatively small jobs. Fortunately, I’m travelling light as I can manage with just a limited selection of tools and test equipment, all of the installation materials having already been shipped to site.

08:00 Arrive at client site and go through the usual security formalities. I spend most of my time working in the field, and this site is quite familiar since I was part of the team that implemented one of the UK’s largest digital broadcasting projects a year ago. Remember to log in to our mobile time management system so that my time is correctly allocated against the client.

10:00 Consult my Plan of Works to see what is required on the first job. This document has been drawn up by a dB engineer based on client requirements, and specifies a schedule with the details of work required. I need to install a patch panel and 24 video cables into an existing video system. There are around 1000 cables in a single rack, and I need add more without disturbing important connections. So it’s on with the hard hat as I get my head inside the racking! Often, we are modifying or adding to systems we’ve previously installed to add new functionality, in this case new services. I fully test the system and check with a System Engineer before leaving the job.

13:00 First job complete, I decide to have lunch in the staff restaurant (not as glamourous as it sounds!). I know that there are other members of the dB Broadcast team on site today working on different projects, so it’s great to connect with them. Often, I’ll bump into engineers from the client side, and always make sure to have a quick chat with them.

14:00 At the same site, I have work to do on a completely new system installation within a new apparatus room. This must be fitted out with an additional ethernet switch and new Cat6A and fibre cables, and will be controlled from a central location. This involves working with a large company that is sub-contracted by the end client to run their network including cabling between rooms, so good communication is extremely important.

15:30 Get a call from Paul Turner, my Wiring Shop Manager, asking me to check some cable lengths in another part of the site, but this doesn’t take too long. Often, clients will ask for other small jobs to be carried out while we’re on site, and I hope to be able to complete those using materials already there.

17:00 I’ve done as much as I can today, so I prepare to head back to the station. If I had been on a bigger job, I would be working Monday to Friday and staying locally in London overnight. After ten years on the team at dB, and several more as a contractor before that, I still find this a fascinating industry and enjoy working at the cutting edge of broadcast system design.