Friday, August 5, 2011

Verizon Wireless Service at The Land

I finally decided I really needed to figure out why Verizon didn’t work at the land even though our phones would show signal.  I think I figured it out.

Simple Explanation:  There is Verizon signal, but it’s actually incredibly weak.  With the house being positioned at the top of hill there are clear communication paths for radio frequencies (RF) so your phone gets the best possible signal.  You can “hear” the signal but it’s not strong enough for communication.

More Complex Explanation:  Again, the open air hill position is optimal for receiving RF signals (even though there might not be much to receive).  The closest Verizon towers are 13 and 17 miles away, too far to work.  Many cell towers operate a pilot channel that has more range than the other channels because it doesn’t carry traffic.  It identifies you and assigns your traffic to one of the operating channels, much like a control channel.  On one of the calls I attempted while I was there Verizon was able to look at the switch logs and see that my signal was -93dBM and my SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) was -19dB which is over 10 times an acceptable rate.  So, there’s signal around but it’s not usable. 

Furthermore, there is a US Cellular tower that is closer than Verizon that your phone could roam on.  However, even though the US Cellular signal is stronger since there is still the presence of native Verizon service the PRL (Preferred Roaming (tower) List) will not switch down to the US Cellular network.  This seems to explain the “random” inbound data occasionally received—there must have been times when my phone would cease to see the Verizon signal (possibly due to cell “breathing” or additional interference) and successfully roam onto the US Cellular service for a few moments or minutes.  I think this also explains how Sprint service previously worked for me—it must have been roaming on US Cellular and was not set to prefer Verizon over another carrier.

There may be a chance that the Verizon signal can be amplified by using the booster Steve has there but the antenna needs to be pointed at one of the towers.  Below is the tower information and GPS coordinates.  I’ve also attached google earth .kmz files of these locations.

·         27078 Tabor Ridge Rd House:  39.731194, -81.336422
·         Verizon Wireless “Warner” Cell Site #1152 13 miles SW  39.585008, -81.453342
·         Verizon Wireless “Buffalo” Cell Site #1130 16.74 miles NW  39.854394, -81.546272

Conclusion:  Use laser assistance to align the rooftop antenna towards one of the Verizon towers…or use AT&T or US Cellular.

Reddy Kilowatt

Our intranet “Portal” has a weekly changing feature called “wild cuts” which is supposed to be cool pictures taken by employees relating to Duke Energy.  I had never heard of this “Reddy Kilowatt” fellow…I imagine he’s kind of scary at night!

Wild Cuts: Reddy and Belews Creek 

Created in 1926, Reddy Kilowatt was a popular figure in the electric industry in the 1950s and 1960s -- as more than 300 utilities used the symbol in advertising and marketing.
It's lightly used now. But Reddy has had a prominent spot at Belews Creek Steam Station in North Carolina since plant construction started in the early 1970s. Reddy was originally high up -- a storage water tank behind the plant, similar to water tank structures you see in local towns and communities.
When scrubbers were added to the plant, Reddy and the water tank had to move. However, one question kept coming up in discussions with community groups about the scrubber project: "What's going to happen to Reddy?"
The decision was made to basically take Reddy's head (or the top of the tank) and relocate him to another part of the plant. Judging from the big smile, Reddy is pretty happy in his new spot.
Wild Cuts photographer Paul Phillips, a line tech in Rural Hall, N.C., took this shot of Reddy and Belews Creek. Phillips has worked at Duke Energy for 22 years.
If you have a Duke Energy-related photo that might look great on the Portal's rotating promo section, contact Randy Wheeless in Internal Communications.