Each day at Dielectric brings something new. Since many of the workers have been with the company for 15 to 20 years, they’ve seen it all. Busy times building antennas for the ATSC and HDTV transitions of the 1990s, followed by slow times when everyone on the shop floor was waiting for new jobs to ramp up. Now, the work is picking up again as broadcasters prepare for the U.S. spectrum repack, which will likely get into full swing later this year.
“The work here is always changing, which keeps us on our toes,” said Jeff Kimball, a lead assembler who’s worked at Dielectric for 22 years. “When I get here in the morning, I don’t always know what I’ll be working on. It might be components, transmission line, or FM and TV antennas. I also drive the crane in the test area out back. Many of us crossover into different jobs, depending on where our skills are needed.”
Jeff’s coworker, David Murch, a welder with a 20-year history at Dielectric, agrees that the nature of the work is always changing. “A typical day for me is to come in and, if we have any hot jobs, our supervisor John Mayhan, tells me we have this or that to do. It might be welding elbows, grinding joints, building connectors, soldering or assembling components.”
Whether the project is aluminum transmission line, FM antennas, high-powered TV antennas, or any of Dielectric’s many products, both Kimball and Murch take pride in their craftsmanship and doing their part to make the company’s best-in-class transmission products.
“I’ve seen our competitors’ transmission line, for example, and theirs is nowhere near as good as ours,” said Kimball. “We take a lot more time and effort, washing the line and prepping it so that when it goes out, it looks sharp. We wash every stick of line and then grind the inside. A lot goes into our products to make sure they look as good as they perform.”
Both men see business picking up across the company, including research and development, sales and engineering. The plant floor is beginning to build and fulfill orders that customers have placed in preparation for the repack.
“We’ve always been told that we sell the Cadillac of antennas. Shoddy workmanship is unacceptable here,” said Murch. “As a company, we’re accelerating and refining our antenna designs, improving our production processes, and working to decrease the time it takes to produce and deliver our products. We’re proud that the transmission products we build are in use all around the world—and that they’re all made in the USA, right here in Raymond, Maine.