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Inspector Sands13,896 posts since 25 Aug 2004
Yeah, they'd probably just update them when they replace them. Wouldn't surprise me if ITV still have cameras with the regional branding on them, that disappeared on air 17 years ago.
This particular dish is more than 22 years old.

Unlikely as ENG and news production technology has moved on since - tapeless and HD. They'd probably have been replaced twice since.



The equipment feeding the signal into the dish would have changed as would the nature of the signal, but as long as the range of frequencies you're using haven't a dish like that doesn't become obsolete as quickly
Markymark7,213 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today


That van with its taped up MCR dish, must have been 'hidden in plain sight' for a good couple of hours before the start of the live programme.
The team must have pretty good at poker face excuses when the enviable 'tap on the window' came every so often for the curious local residents.


....and a rush on TV Licenses at the local post office !
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TIGHazard534 posts since 3 Jan 2014
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
That's the thing I always wondered - it's one thing hiding a van on a residential street, another thing entirely hiding a crane with a load of antenna on top. Maybe commseng can help explain, but how exactly did they get the signal out from the target street? Maybe a low power link to a crane a couple of streets away / other side of a field that could then boost to a proper mid-point? Or were targets chosen based on whether they could get a link out without needing height?


And not only that, but once the tech team had hid and placed the cameras, wired them up, and (somehow, which is the bit I'm still struggling with) powered up and got the cables out of the targets room and to the OB van, they then had to get the signal back to TVC.

That van with its taped up MCR dish, must have been 'hidden in plain sight' for a good couple of hours before the start of the live programme.
The team must have pretty good at poker face excuses when the enviable 'tap on the window' came every so often for the curious local residents.


I mean, technically they could have fudged the truth

"We're sending a regional contribution back to television centre". Most people I would assume would guess that's some kind of news report, not NTV
commseng288 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
Here's a shot of some BBC OBs microwave antennae from a London Marathon OB. I was told that the tape marks around the BBC logo were from the NTV days - they'd cover it up so as not to arouse suspicion. (Because obviously an unbranded dish is absolutely unremarkable...)

*


They're still using dishes with the pre-1997 logo on? Or is that an old photo?

Yes it was still the old logo.
I know that this site is very branding orientated, but when you are trying to get things to work, the last thing on your mind is what the age of the logo on the kit is.
I did appear on the cover of the BBC staff paper once, we were doing a programme for NHK which was a little ground breaking.
I was pictured with a large backpack including a fibre box and radio mic receivers.
When we'd built it, we stuck the coloured slopping BBC logo on it as those were the stickers we had available.
The new Gill Sans logo had just come in.
When I appeared on the cover with the old logo the branding police were straight on the phone to my line manager asking how on earth this had occured!
Last edited by commseng on 9 November 2019 8:43am
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commseng288 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
That's the thing I always wondered - it's one thing hiding a van on a residential street, another thing entirely hiding a crane with a load of antenna on top. Maybe commseng can help explain, but how exactly did they get the signal out from the target street? Maybe a low power link to a crane a couple of streets away / other side of a field that could then boost to a proper mid-point? Or were targets chosen based on whether they could get a link out without needing height?

Although nowadays, a semi decent 4G signal is all you'd need, probably not even needing any sort of antenna, so dead easy to hide the transmitter, but guess you do have the latency issue instead.

You only need line of sight - and the van had a 15m telescopic mast which would be enough to see over the average house.
The mast could hold a 2' dish, which at 7GHz would give a range of quite a few miles, plus the VHF antenna to receive the clean feed. If you were in Birmingham (say) and were line of sight to the Sutton Coldfield mast head receiver, then no mid point would be required. Somewhere I may have an old planning sheet - if I can find it, I'll add some detail from a real example - but I need to go up to the loft!
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commseng288 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London
That's the thing I always wondered - it's one thing hiding a van on a residential street, another thing entirely hiding a crane with a load of antenna on top. Maybe commseng can help explain, but how exactly did they get the signal out from the target street? Maybe a low power link to a crane a couple of streets away / other side of a field that could then boost to a proper mid-point? Or were targets chosen based on whether they could get a link out without needing height?


And not only that, but once the tech team had hid and placed the cameras, wired them up, and (somehow, which is the bit I'm still struggling with) powered up and got the cables out of the targets room and to the OB van, they then had to get the signal back to TVC.

That van with its taped up MCR dish, must have been 'hidden in plain sight' for a good couple of hours before the start of the live programme.
The team must have pretty good at poker face excuses when the enviable 'tap on the window' came every so often for the curious local residents.

Bear in mind that the van was not branded with the BBC logo - of any vintage - but "Satellite Data Systems".
The excuse given was that there was surveying work going on to offer a new data delivery and that random areas were selected.
That was vague enough for most curious folks, and the "satellite" dish that was pointing towards the horizon rather than to the sky was not remarked upon.
Cables leaving the van towards a house were more likely to lead to questions, but they could be deflected, although obviously a few guessed what was really going on. Why spoil the surprise though?
Getting the cabling into the room was obviously the more difficult bit, and that would have been part of the survey.
Must have been a lot more wooden window frames back in those days that could be adapted.
Markymark7,213 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Here's a shot of some BBC OBs microwave antennae from a London Marathon OB. I was told that the tape marks around the BBC logo were from the NTV days - they'd cover it up so as not to arouse suspicion. (Because obviously an unbranded dish is absolutely unremarkable...)

*


They're still using dishes with the pre-1997 logo on? Or is that an old photo?


It's no different to any 'plant' used by an organisation. Take a look at the logos on the manhole covers in your street
VMPhil9,909 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
Here's a shot of some BBC OBs microwave antennae from a London Marathon OB. I was told that the tape marks around the BBC logo were from the NTV days - they'd cover it up so as not to arouse suspicion. (Because obviously an unbranded dish is absolutely unremarkable...)

*


They're still using dishes with the pre-1997 logo on? Or is that an old photo?


It's no different to any 'plant' used by an organisation. Take a look at the logos on the manhole covers in your street

I think James was more surprised that the piece of equipment with the pre-97 logo was still being used in 2019, until it was clarified that the photo was very old.
Last edited by VMPhil on 9 November 2019 10:59am
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commseng288 posts since 8 Dec 2016
London London

They're still using dishes with the pre-1997 logo on? Or is that an old photo?


It's no different to any 'plant' used by an organisation. Take a look at the logos on the manhole covers in your street

I think James was more surprised the piece of equipment with the pre-97 logo was still being used in 2019, until it was clarified that the photo was very old.

"They" haven't existed since March 2008, so it was unlikely to be a recent photo!
We did have a few bits of this kit lying around, until recently but when shelf space was required for kit we actually do use it was sent for scrap.
Although the antennas and dishes would still be OK, the mounting brackets were proprietry to the older kit, and as you can see in the photo, not all the dishes were a perfect parabala even back 15 years ago.
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Steve in Pudsey10,340 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
That's the thing I always wondered - it's one thing hiding a van on a residential street, another thing entirely hiding a crane with a load of antenna on top. Maybe commseng can help explain, but how exactly did they get the signal out from the target street? Maybe a low power link to a crane a couple of streets away / other side of a field that could then boost to a proper mid-point? Or were targets chosen based on whether they could get a link out without needing height?

Although nowadays, a semi decent 4G signal is all you'd need, probably not even needing any sort of antenna, so dead easy to hide the transmitter, but guess you do have the latency issue instead.

You only need line of sight - and the van had a 15m telescopic mast which would be enough to see over the average house.
The mast could hold a 2' dish, which at 7GHz would give a range of quite a few miles, plus the VHF antenna to receive the clean feed. If you were in Birmingham (say) and were line of sight to the Sutton Coldfield mast head receiver, then no mid point would be required. Somewhere I may have an old planning sheet - if I can find it, I'll add some detail from a real example - but I need to go up to the loft!

I guess that made surveying easy, if the local houses have horizontally polarised aerials you can broadly assume line of sight to the top of the same mast from just above rooftop height.
Write that down in your copybook now.
Technologist73 posts since 10 Oct 2018
London London
But the micro wave receive dishes are not at the top of the mast as the tv transmitting aerials are ...they are quite low down
. so you may not have a path ... I remember many a happy hour with 4/3 earths radius and terrain maps ... and a bit of local knowledge as to where trees were on a hill !!
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