Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Roof matters

Help Sought:  We seek assistance from any specialist RF cable company in the Derby/Matlock area, willing to replace and recrimp a faulty male RP-TNC plug onto a length of low loss aerial cabling  (Cisco AIR-CAB050LL-R) working at 2.5Ghz. 
We believe this requires a crimping tool with a hexagonal die of 0.429" (10.9mm). We already have the replacement RP-TNC plug.

Alternatively we would seek to borrow or - if we have to - buy an additional 50ft (15m) of low loss RP-TNC-terminated cabling to enable us to temporarily relocate the  aerial from our Cisco Aironet 1200 wireless bridge aerial whilst scaffolding is in place from now until August 2017.
If you can help us in either matter, please contact us on 
peregrines@derbyshirewt.co.uk, or ring Derbyshire Wildlife Trust: 01773 881188.

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We've known for some time now that the cathedral's nave roof has been leaking. Temporary repairs were tried a year ago but only with partial success. Eventually it became clear to the cathedral authorities that a completely new roof would be the only way to solve the leaking problems for good.
So the Cathedral submitted a funding bid to the WW1 Cathedrals Repair Fund for £750,000 to carry out this work, and was delighted last summer to receive the go-ahead.

This has given us plenty of time to work with the Cathedral staff, and liaise with Natural England officers, to ensure the best outcomes for the building as well as its breeding peregrine falcons. The law says it's illegal to disturb peregrine falcons once they have started nesting, so it was important that Natural England was happy with the timing of the 9-month work that was being planned.

Nick Moyes and Nick Evans fix the new
platform in place, 20 Dec 2016.
Blog readers will know that we recently replaced our wooden nest platform and its cameras on the tower in advance of this work starting (Scroll down tow posts to read all about how it was done). The entire nave is now about to be scaffolded over and will then be covered in opaque sheeting to create a sealed environment  under which the roofing work can progress. This scaffolding work began last week, and should be finished by early March (a few weeks before egg-laying is expected).

Roof lead removal and replacement will then take place entirely under the sheeting from March through to July. As well as keeping the exposed roof dry, the sheeting will prevent the peregrines above seeing anyone working below.


Scaffold in place along the south side of the nave, 9th January 2017.
Natural England is aware of these plans and is happy, given that the work on the roof simply has to be done asap, that the timing is as good as it possibly could be. The sheeting won't be removed until late July at the earliest, so any chicks that might be reared this year will have fledged and probably moved to the roof of Jurys Inn well before the sheeting is taken away.

That's the theory anyway. A long spell of snow might delay the initial scaffold and sheeting works but hopefully by only a week or so.  If the worst came to pass, the birds might simply decide not to breed this year (maybe they could do with a year off?), but the work will have been done with full regard to the law, and scheduled with the best of intentions to reduce any potential impact.

Both male and female peregrines have been at the cathedral since 2005 and probably even before then, So they are getting on in peregrine years now. At some point we would expect one or other parent either to die from natural causes or perhaps become infertile with old age. So having a year with no eggs to lay might just extend the female (the falcon's) life span....and may just happen naturally at some time.

Hopefully their desire to produce even more young (they've reared 37 so far since 2006!) will ensure that they ignore the works below them and nest again. We know that noise doesn't bother them - it's the sight of people that does  -whether it's a gamekeeper with a gun or a builder with a wrench. By keeping the two visually separated, we think they will still be minded to nest here again.  Egg-laying takes place normally at the end of March or the first week of April. Fingers crossed that they do nest successfully again.

We've had meetings with the contractors yesterday who are aware of the birds presence and needs and will be doing everything they can to minimise disturbance throughout.  Already, scaffolding has been erected along the south side of the nave. The north side will follow and then scaffold on the edges of the roof will eventually support the opaque, heavy duty plastic sheeting which will entirely envelope the whole of the nave, allowing the lengthy works below to continue unaffected by the weather.

Brand new Cisco cable, RP-TNC terminated,
but (see right) lacking any screw thread milled
on the interior of the male plug!
Meanwhile Nick Moyes and Connect Derby are progressing well with getting connectivity for the web cams, though another challenge we were not expecting is the need to reposition the aerial we use to get ourselves to the internet. We knew we needed to replace one existing cable, but also have to extend it by a further 15metres. All that metalwork seems likely to interrupt our wireless connection. And, as noted above, we found that the brand new cabling we purchased was incorrectly manufactured by Cisco/Times Microwave Systems. Unbelievable quality control issue for such a  respected company. But, being legacy equipment, bought by our supplier at reduced price, it can't go back to the manufacturer. However, we were most impressed by Ed Sinton from www.netgun.co.uk who immediately sent us a replacement cable the next day once we'd forwarded  him the picture above - but that still leaves us needing an additional  further 15metres to extend our aerial out beyond the scaffolding. So its either repair or replace - and these thick RF cables really don't come cheap!

Watch this space for further updates...

The Project Team
PS: We've invited Alex Rock from the cathedral staff to update us on the work as it progresses, and will post his updates here.

PPS: ON Tuesday 10th, we spent a day in the cathedral tower with Tim from Connect Derby, configuring our cameras equipment on a completely new network equipment. So, we're now one step further forward to getting back live webcam pictures, with a bit more work still to do to allocate IP addresses and allow Network Webcams to pull video from our equipment again. Sadly, we're also one step backwards with a fault developing in the aerial cable from our 2.5GHz Cisco 1200 series wireless access point - hence the appeal for help at the top of this post.


6 comments:

kate said...

Oh dear, why does life always have to throw in complications.
Thank you for all the work you and all, are doing, as I have said before we watchers are REALLY REALLY grateful.

Kate( Devon)

Sue Peregrino said...

You know I'd be the first to offer help, if only I could. I'm just so not a tekkie though, I don't fully understand the question let alone can't provide the answer. If no fairy godmothers emerge to magic the stuff out of the air for free, I guess it'll just have to be a fundraiser. IF the birds breed and IF any watchpoints are run and IF it's a good idea to fundraise at them, count me in as a helper, I still owe the project bigtime for what you've given me over the years.

Paul said...

Both birds were on the tower today at 2:00. She was sitting on the nest platform, male was on top of the louvres directly above it. Male flew out calling then landed on tower below the platform.

Anonymous said...

We are slowly getting there, and have a replacement new aerial cable arriving today and a potential offer of technical help from a local company who configures wireless equipment for the city council. This means we might be able to get the old aerial cable plug replaced and used this repaired cable to extend our aerial to avoid interference from all the new scaffolding that's going up. The cameras now have new IP addresses and await ports being opened on the new network so that Network Webcams can start to pull our live web feeds again. One piece of kit is currently inaccessible for technical reasons (i.e. it won't accept the password we've used for the last few years!), so may have to be completely reset). All in all, we are making progress in the right direction.

Sue - thank you for your support, not only now, but in the past. You've given generously to our project, and it has been a pleasure to have your and, indeed, everyone else's support and encouragement. We have news to follow shortly of a funder for our new platform - so watch this space or - better still - if you're in Derby do watch the tower. As Paul has indicated, they're clearly around now, and seemingly aren't too put off by the presence of the workmen erecting the scaffolding below.

Nick Moyes
Technical Advisor

kate said...

Thanks Nick, for updating, looks good news , fingers crossed.

Nick B (DWT) said...


FYI: News of a juvenile peregrine ringed at Salisbury Cathedral this summer by Ed Drewitt and seen recently in Milton Keynes:

http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/salisbury-peregrine-falcon-spotted-in-milton-keynes-1-7776504?platform=hootsuite

Nick B