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From: Carl J.
Subject: Broadcast Tech - RC
Date: November 25, 2012
I start as a Broadcast Tech for Royal Caribbean soon. The ship leaves from New Orleans and does its thing in the Caribbean until April, then it hops over to the Mediterranean. I want to thank you for the content on your site; it's given me a lot of insight as the the potential possibilities of what ship life will be like. I was wondering if you could give me an suggestions, tips, or insight as to what to expect or make my experience more enjoyable, whether it's position specific or not.
Thanks. I hope to hear from you soon; if not, thanks a lot for your site!
Thank you for reading and taking the time to let me know that this site has not gone unnoticed. Honestly, the best thing you can do is to share these opportunities to work and travel by sending this website to your friends or family who might be interested in working abroad. Facebook it, Tweet it, Digg it, Reddit, do whatever you do and share the knowledge.
As for the job, that is excellent news. I can't speak for what RCI does with their broadcast technicians, but I can speak from experience as to what we did on NCL and HAL.
The most interesting skill I learned onboard was more to do with satellite acquisition. We were always redirecting the satellite dishes onboard to avoid blockages and to pick up different birds as we traveled from continent to continent, out of one satellite footprint and into another. I had never done this before working onboard, and I learned everything on the job. You will likely be able to figure that part out while you're there. That is, if they don't give that responsibility to the Communication Officer. Some ships I did it, others I didn't.
Understand the satellites and related rack equipment. When you lose a satellite, it will only take a matter of minutes before the front desk calls to complain. The better you understand the ways the AV signals are being sent from your Broadcast Center, as well as how to fix it, the sooner you can get back into the crew bar.
I think you might have to shoot some of the events and activities onboard for playback on the TV system. I did that on NCL, not on HAL. Actually on HAL we had an onboard videographer and that poor sap had to run around and shoot nothing but overweight holiday makers, trying to make them look pretty. It's not what I want out of life, but some enjoy it. It's really run and gun shooting and you work with very little equipment. That was always my issue with it.
1. If the equipment worked perfectly all the time,
they wouldn't pay you to sit there
2. As a BT people don't know what you do
until you don't do it or until it breaks.
In my experience, the job was just challenging enough to keep me interested for 3 years. After I got very good at understanding satellites, directing the dishes and getting a solid automated schedule for the onboard TV system, it was a super easy job. In my prime, when nothing was broken or breaking, I worked maybe 4 hours a day. Some days even less especially on HAL. Most of that time was sending emails to shore side or doing simple office work.
When something breaks or needs attention, I was in demand having to get on top of whatever was wrong and troubleshoot it enough to make it not noticeable to the guests.
Important: the more you understand the broadcast center's equipment the better off you will be.
Read the manuals and learn everything about your racks of equipment. Find out if it can be used more efficiently or serve a better purpose. Learn the scheduling and programming inside and out. The more you learn about how your racks are set up the better you can troubleshoot when they break. As well, you can also take that knowledge to make your job easier.
I made a good name for myself in the fleet when I would walk onboard and fix things that the last broadcast technician couldn't fix. I made it look easy, and consequently, it made my value as an employee go up. That means I had more sway with shore side and can ask to work on the better itineraries.
And finally, it doesn't matter how much you drink or party as long as it doesn't affect your job. My friends on ships were always making a night of it, each and every night. We partied hard and played hard. Management onboard never cared until someone dropped the ball. Drink to your hearts content, just don't let it affect your work.
I wish you the best in life and in career. And please, if you remember and find time, I would love to here a few updates on how your finding ship life! Also, if you know of anyone hiring, let me know.
Editor/Author/Question Answerer/Travel Dropper
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