It all started a few years back when I applied for a job at a small telecommunications company which primarily services 2-way radio network clients, digital infrastructure, and building radio networks. Back then, I was a lowly clerk, learning the ropes from inside a warehouse, understanding day-to-day operations, invoicing and having an extremely small understanding of what “radio communications” actually is. This is when the occasional “hello” in the hallway or lunchroom would occur. To me, a tech and an engineer were just a 2-digit code for entering into the database. Jump forward roughly four years and, I have been promoted to a Project Manager. This is where the real fun in the company begins, as you now get to rub shoulders with the “smart people” of the company; Engineers and Technicians.
The difficult part is my background is not in telecommunications and now as the Project Manager, I have become the hub of information between the client and our company by passing along emails, drawings, diagrams, hosting meetings, scheduling and relaying amplitudes of data back and forth. The tough part is when the client asks a direct question and since my understanding is at the layman’s level, I need to constantly go for support to ensure all responses are correct responses.
However, there are those days or weeks when the support person is not their; sick, on holiday, in another meeting or else where. And you need to provide a clear statement back to the client. So, having a better understanding of the basic technical language, can be helpful. Especially when it comes to sitting in on a conference call listening to the Engineer spout off terminology such as “the uplink is to be four-nines and the downlink will have a 10-percent loss at the 100mb. It is impossible for their system to achieve multiple channels in those talk groups. There are too many issues with their multi-coupler and expanding the coax will not increase the percentages. They have already exceeded the maximum bandwidth for the area they are in. Perhaps they should have gone with the VOIP instead of a ROIP” or something like that.
It is all a bit confusing, as the layman. This is when I started researching in the local library, ordering books, trying to read up on terminology to understand this technical language. I went online and listened to courses, hooked up to some podcasts and put myself out there to absorb the telecomm-culture through any means necessary to understand the many channels of 2-way radio communications and network systems.
One day towards the end of this past summer, I was shooting the breeze with a tech in our warehouse. He was explaining how he got some site guys at this big oil refinery to be on our side. Said they were “ham radio operators” so, he offered them a really old repeater which he had lying around his property as a “peace offering” and this one item has assisted in building the bridge of friendship between our techs and their onsite personnel.
The tech explained that “ham radio operators” are amateur radio operators. They have all the same gear and equipment its just individuals using radio, to communicate with other operators all over the world. This is when the “EUREKA!” light bulb went off in my head. Ham Operators are people who have radio knowledge! That was it! This is what I had been looking for. A group of people who were not in the business and still know the lingo. These people could teach me this language and assist me in my educational pursuits of the telecommunications industry.