Microwave communications allow modern phones, many televisions, and other communication devices to function. Many of them rely on directional antennas, which means that the precise alignment of the antenna can have a serious impact on the quality of the signal. Since antennas are so vital to modern life, this can impact a person’s daily business in a huge variety of ways.
Most people who use satellite TV depend on a directional antenna in the dish to receive the signal. Since the signal travels for a long distance before it reaches the antenna, the alignments needs to be highly precise to avoid degradation. A slight misalignment will lead to a loss of quality, while a massive one will completely eliminate the signal.
A GPS is similar to a mobile satellite dish, but it needs to stay in contact with more than one satellite at a time. That makes proper alignment even more important and makes them very vulnerable to obstructions. Going out of alignment often means losing the signal entirely, which is why GPS devices often gain and lose their signal many times as they move across the wilderness. In most cases, only the satellite will have a directional antenna. The GPS will use a non-directed variant. That gives it slightly more tolerance for a misalignment, since only the satellite’s end needs to be precisely oriented, and only enough to get a signal in the general area of the GPS.
Enabling Satellite Radio
Satellite radio systems work on the same principle as satellite television, but they often carry less data at any one time. That means that going slightly out of alignment hurts them less than other satellite systems, although they do suffer some degradation.
Wireless Internet systems tend to be slower than wired ones, but an optimized network can negate that disadvantage. A directed system will need precise calibration, but once it gets properly aligned it will work much faster than other wireless systems.
Cell phones have a complex relationship with antenna alignment. The phone’s alignment relative to the antenna array is largely irrelevant, but the array itself needs to be precisely aligned. A misalignment can weaken the signal or expose it to materials that block the signal altogether, which can take an entire tower out of the network until it is repaired.
Weather stations use a variety of tools to keep an eye on emerging patterns. Not all of them use an antenna, but many of them do. Since many of the points that transmit data are either satellites or fairly far away from the data’s collection point, directional antennas with proper alignments are vital for carrying the information. That’s especially true if there is bad weather that is weakening the signal!
Some people use radio communications in their workplace, especially at construction sites and other areas where lots of people need to coordinate in a small area. Most of those locations are prone to interference and signal loss from their surroundings, so aligning antennas to avoid those obstacles can be vital for getting a clear signal.