Don’t forget the ‘Fishbone’ when filleting interference problems, author urges

An increase in terrestrial interference in the C- and Ku-band as well as a growing number of users is requiring those involved with uplinking to identify and correct problems on a much more frequent basis.

An article in the Society of Satellite Professional newsletter “The Orbiter” by Sidney Skjei offers a solution to expedite identifying the source of such problems. In “Using a Fishbone Diagram to Troubleshoot a Satellite Link,” Skjei describes how using a technique that’s been around since 1943 can assist satellite uplinkers with a 21st Century problem.

According to the author, Fishbone Diagrams, also known as “Cause and Effect Diagrams,” are valuable because they put the potential reasons for a problem into categories. Additionally they provide “a comprehensive view of all the causes of a particular outcome,” he wrote.

In a Fishbone Diagram, an outcome — in this instance a satellite interference problem — is represented as a trunk. From that truck — branches representing major categories of potential problems — emanate. From each major branch — twigs representing individual potential sources of the problem — occur.

In the article, the author discusses the steps required in developing a Fishbone Diagram and the process to use in applying one to an existing problem.

When used properly, Fishbone Diagrams offer a means of “rigorous analysis” that overlook nothing in seeking to find the source of a problem, he said. Not using this approach can make problem solving a “hit or miss” proposition.

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