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Project Blog

This project blog gives ACI the opportunity to proudly showcase the work we perform for our clients in and around Dade Broward and Palm Beach. Our two way radio systems savvy runs from the top of the tower down to the circuit boards component level.  Experience, design before you build strategy, use of high quality materials, and attention to detail is what makes a high quality, resilient two way radio system.

The City of Sunrise Florida was experiencing severe degradation to its wastewater SCADA radio network that has several hundred RTUs running on it.  The SCADA system was 10 years old and had a long history of providing a reliable SCADA communications network.  After testing, ACI found that a co spectrum user was causing harmful interference to the link radios that carried data to and from remote submaster collection centers back to the HMI computer.  We evaluated the links by utilizing several strategies and found intermittent degradation to the links.  Since this was a license free 900 MHz system, interference resolution would be difficult.  We recommended changing the link antennas from the common vertical signal polarization to the less common horizontal polarization, this decoupled the interference by 20 dB in cross polarization, this reduced the interference levels to 1% of the vertically polarized values.  The link radio network antenna systems had some damage to them from past hurricane seasons and upgrading the antennas systems to provide more signal for the link budgets helped as well.  These improvements were made and now there are no longer any data losses due to interference problems.  The photos were antenna installations while in process.  Custom heavy duty galvanized steel mounting brackets were made to attach the antennas to their concrete pole masts and to augment the strength of the directional antennas.  Stiff arms will also be provided to these directional antenna systems so that their directional qualities will be remain intact during extreme wind events.                                                                                                                         November 2009
SCADA radio system   Custom SCADA Radio Antenna System

The City of Cape Coral Utilities Department contracted ACI through MWH Americas to provide a series of consulting projects including FCC Licensing for two new unique 900 MHz SCADA radio systems, the radio propagation studies associated with these SCADA new networks and a multi band (6 and 11 GHz) microwave multi path Harris system.   ACI performed both computer modeled and in field real world studies.   Infield tests of microwave links are atypical, but when as critical to the project as this project, the choice was easy.  The data yielded some discrepancies between the computer modeled study and proved to be worth its weight in gold.  Custom crane to microwave dish brackets were fabricated for this study.  Photos below show an active path under test and real world radio signal amplitude were measured and documented for the study.  The cost of the entire water infrastructure upgrade exceeded $ 1 Billion.  This is a flagship project for ACI and was performed over the course of an entire year.

                                                                                                                                                 January 2009
Microwave consulting    Microwave Engineer

The City of West Palm Beach Utilities
Department asked ACI to trouble shoot a SCADA Radio Network outage.  We found the entire antenna system for the master radio was destroyed by lightning (antenna, coaxial transmission line, and surge protector were all burnt).  We also identified the antenna tower was ungrounded, this likely lead to the original lightning damage.  We provided a three leg ground system and a protective piece of conduit to protect the fragile coaxial transmission line from the grass cutting equipment. The legs of the tower were also suffering from corrosion that was caused by a variety of different metals in contact with each other, a non present ground path for the tower itself, and a lack of corrosion protection finishing on the tower base.  Drainage channels were sliced into the concrete to facilitate water drainage also.   

                                                                                                                                           December 2008
SCADA Antenna  SCADA Antenna Tower  Tower

SCADA Tower Base

Highlands Wireless Services (HWS) System Interference Troubleshoot,  HWS has a T-Band UHF LTR and Passport system in Miami Dade County.  The systems receivers were being negatively impacted by on channel interference.  ACI performed a troubleshoot and provided advise to manage the problem.
                                                                                                                                                October 2008
 Hewlet Packard Mark Lavallee  RF Interferance Troubleshooting Analysis

The South Broward Hospital District tasked ACI to install Iridium Satellite Telephone system at each of its 5 hospitals.  This system was designed to survive 200 MPH of wind and still operate, all power is generator backed up.  ACI designed the custom extra heavy duty galvanized steel antenna mounting brackets, and project managed the building's telephone wiring installation.  
                                                                                                                                                 August 2008
Satellite Antenna  Satellite Antenna Mounts  RF Technician Mark Lavallee

Iridium Satellite Telelphones

The City of Sunrise Utilities had several of their water sites suffering from poor SCADA communications.  ACI diagnosed the problem to be low RF carrier levels and designed a custom antenna mast extension and up gained the stations antenna for increased reliability.  Antenna height was increased 5'-8' and gain was increased by 5 dB.  All site communications were returned to normal.
                                                                                                                                                         July 2008
Custom Antenna  SCADA Antenna

The City of Pembroke Pines Water Department purchased a 50' tall custom mono pole mast to support a 20' tall VHF 9dBd gain SCADA antenna used for the safe water distribution systems monitoring.  This mono pole mast is a custom heavy-duty galvanized steel with steps.  The top of this antenna is located 70' above ground level.  RF filtering reduces NOAA weather transmissions by 50 dB assuring  interference free operation.  
                                                                                                                                                           July 2008
Custom Antenna Support  SCADA Antenna System RF Filters

The City of Port Saint Lucie's Water Department purchased a 100' tall monopole for their new Glades Service Area SCADA System.  This turn key project includes a 20' tall VHF 6 dBd Gain Antenna system.  The monopole was installed in two segments, the photos below show the upper segment being hoisted.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                    June 2008
Antenna System  Tower Stack

Tower foundation Tower Flange  VHF Antenna

 Office:         954-961-2642