Tuesday, 30 August 2011

High speed high point

The day of the site survey by RipNET, the fixed wireless internet provider, finally arrives. We are both a little nervous because if we get bad news we may as well put the place up for sale and look for another one where the internet is more accessible. Several of contractor Mark's crew have been telling us they have already had the site survey and RipNET cannot help them unless they are willing to build a tower in excess of 120 feet and the signal would only be so-so. That's a very expensive tower for just a mediocre signal!

The bucket truck finds us a good signal at 68ft.
The RipNET van pulls in and a much bigger "bucket truck" follows. The crew gets to work setting up the truck's outrigger legs and looking for the prime location for the tower. We need to get the location right since the tower also has to work with the future house as well as with Priscilla's location now. What they are doing by going up in the bucket is finding where the best signal is and how high the tower has to be. Only a few minutes go by and they are happy to report that we are receiving an excellent signal and our tower will only have to be 68 feet tall. Oh my god, I'm so ecstatic that I grabbed hold of the closest crew member and said, "Can I hug you? You can't believe how relieved and happy this makes me and I feel compelled to give you a big thank you hug." He was very obliging and possibly a little frightened by the overly affectionate crazy woman in the woods. Big sighs of relief as the trucks head off down the driveway...for us and the man that I latched onto, I'm sure.

While we were waiting for the day of the site survey to happen, my brother, Scott, had discovered that the very same service we are looking to procure is no longer working for him. The trees have grown between the signal sending tower and his receiving tower and he is not receiving a signal at all. He's lucky though; he can just switch over to the DSL service that RipNET also offers instead of having to extend his tower by another 10 feet.

Getting fitted with safety equipment
Scott kindly offers us his fixed wireless equipment he no longer needs, with one condition...I have to retrieve the receiver from the tower! He's concerned the tower won't support his weight but will be fine with mine...ya, good story Scotty. I'm game for this as I have no fear of heights and I always used to climb the TV tower at home when I was a kid, just for fun. It'll bring back fond memories and I'm always up for a good climbing adventure.

Outfitted with the safety equipment and a fanny pack with the necessary tools, up I go to get that little square box that will connect us to the rest of the world. All is good until I get above the roof line; the higher I climb the more the tower sways. Somehow, I don't remember this ever happening as a kid. The onlookers on the ground look really, really small.

Retrieving the little box at the top of the tower
The retrieval mission goes smoothly with the exception of needing a screwdriver. I climb halfway down while my nephew (he's only 12 otherwise I'd have made him do this exercise) climbs halfway up with said tool. Back up to the top I climb...wrong screwdriver! Repeat down and up for correct screwdriver. Now my legs are starting to burn and shake from all the climbing and standing on my toes on tiny little rungs while I work. The safety equipment is quickly becoming my new best friend because every muscle in my body is now shaking. The job of releasing the receiver is not a difficult task; hanging on to the tower with one hand while trying to work with the other is the tiring part. A few minutes later the job is complete and the receiver and I are safely on the ground. Ras and I are starting to envision how nice it will be to have internet service at Priscilla. No more driving around searching for a signal.

We could have just purchased our own fixed wireless equipment and not gone through this thigh-burning exercise, but why, when this equipment will do the same job at no cost. Well, ok, there was the small cost of wobbly and very sore legs for the next couple of days. Isn't it crazy what we'll do for something we really want?

One step closer to high speed!


Agnes said...

Im loving the BLOG idea. I cannot wait to see the finished product! And just as quick note: Sayulita was beautiful. Took your advice...hopped on the bus and made my way over. Completely worth it!!! -Agnes

Suzanne said...

I am loving this blog, and I cannot wait to read more
on your adventures!!!

Cheers to the modern day pioneers!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much ladies for sharing your journey with us. I can't wait for the next chapter...this is exciting stuff! RG

Anonymous said...

What an adventure your summer has been. I bet your city friends have been missing having you around though! I think you have the makings of a book here as you learn all about building and living off the grid. You are an engaging writer - perhaps you will do the occasional post over the winter sharing what you discover in your research. NjD

Mimi said...

There will definitely be more posts! Stay tuned.