31 July 2012

Give me a spanner, Ralph

In search of a solution to poor TV reception (and an antenna for the recently-repaired Quad kit, the tuner never having been used for want of an aerial), I visited the excellent ATV Aerial Sales website to which Google led me. Unsure whether I need a better aerial, a longer pole, a masthead or mains amplifier, or just a Freesat system, I spent [wasted] an hour or so reading through their website, and came to a couple of conclusions.

  • There is too much to know about television reception. The amount of information on the website is overwhelming, in a good way of course provided you have the time and inclination to get to grips with it. Personally, I don't even want to climb a ladder to the top of the chimney, where the aerial is, as I'd have to buy a ladder first and wouldn't know what I was doing when I got to the top of it.
  • However, presenting mundane technical information with wit makes for a winning website. Among other things, the table showing the relative times that it would take a combination spanner to reach the ground from the top of selected television masts is just brilliant. The table also gives terminal velocities, and provides alternative figures depending on whether the spanner falls end-first or with its flat face to the direction of travel - with the observation that relative drag and weight distribution makes it likely that the spanner will assume a ring-end-first position.

The prose is also grammatically correct, which sets this website apart from about 99.9 per cent of all sites and adds considerably to my delight. There's a note on the site saying that scholars are welcome, but much more so if they proceed to buy something rather than merely take the free information - together with a request for a link should the site prove useful. Well, it has convinced me that I should not meddle with things I don't understand, and has demonstrated my lack of understanding, so a link from this blog is well-deserved.

When I realised that reading through more information on this arcane subject was not the most profitable use of my time, I booked a professional installer to come and give me an estimate. And tomorrow I have someone who actually understands Briggs & Stratton engines to come and look at the tractors. I'm learning.

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