NEWS AND VIEWS
March 2, 2006 update
Mike and Laurel Kohl
S-9141 State Highway 23
Plain, Wisconsin 53577-9612
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Another month, another winter
almost over. This column is dedicated to a friend of 20 years that
succumbed to cancer about 24 hours ago. Although he was never
directly involved in the home satellite industry, my friend was
instrumental in shaping my career. John Guerrero was his name, and
he was a very eccentric engineer that I ran into at a hospitality suite
during an SBCA show in Las Vegas in early 1986. Another friend was
offering food and drinks as an enticement to get new customers, and John
started hanging around with me, to avoid the sales pitches for satellite
equipment. He was just there for the free food and drinks.
John convinced me to take a December visit to California, and acted as
matchmaker for a match that did not work out. I ended up driving
down to his mother's house in Sunnyvale, and had Christmas Dinner.
The next couple of weeks were a long road trip, that ended up in Santa
Barbara. We even met Ted Turner at a roadside store south of
Monterey, on a remote stretch of California Highway 1. No idea who
this person was, pacing back and forth, impatiently waiting for his deli
order to be finished. John and I were simply fascinated just
watching him keep checking every 2 minutes or so, hoping his order was
ready, while seeing from our vantage point that it might have been a good
idea for him to allow a few minutes for the poor clerk to weigh and
package the food---then it might be possible to get a total. When
all was finished, he spent over 250 dollars on booze, sandwiches, and
snacks for his road trip.
When I moved down from Alaska about 2 months later, John was there to add to the atmosphere, and was instrumental in tossing information at me while we accomplished a diverse number of commercial projects while based in Southern California. He remained a fountain of information and inspiration until yesterday, when his words (borrowed from someone famous) finally caught up with him "if I would have known I was going to live this long, I would have taken care of myself years ago". He made it into his 70s...and had a rich life. Too short, but I enjoyed his company while he was here.
The catalog has been updated, and we are almost gushing with excitement about a new MPEG-2 satellite receiver. That does not happen very often, but when faced with adversity, you put on your thinking cap and look for other avenues and opportunities. The quest was to find an MPEG-2 receiver that could be sold in case lot (5 unit) quantities for 100 dollars or less each, that performed a decent blind scan function and had all of the menu features that we have come to expect from Pansat and other vendors at the pricier end of the spectrum. I have been playing with the Traxis DBS-3500 since Monday afternoon, and while it took some getting used to, I absolutely love the performance and features that it has. Blind scan that is several times faster than anything else that I have ever seen. Picture quality that is second to none. Sensitivity on weak signals that allows the receiver to stay locked on to those pictures until the last bit of signal has disappeared. 4000 channel memory. 100 satellite capacity. ZOOM function...strange, but it allows you to blow up an image up to 16 X its normal size on the TV screen, using the remote control. Multiple Pictures display, which allows one to tune in the existing signal, and have the next eight channels in the satellite memory displayed in a grid of nine pictures (3 x 3), in static format. This was kind of interesting after I had fine tuned the channel memory on Galaxy 10R so that all Retro TV Network channels were in order consecutively---this allowed me to see minute differences in broadcast time, showing all three time zone feeds, as well as local commercials. Kind of a video spreadsheet. I am certain that my imagination will find other uses for this feature. The beauty of it is that you can hook up a 4x1 DiSEqC switch, and have some of those 9 channels on different satellites. The circuit sort of takes a video "snapshot", tuning each channel in rapid succession using the switching logic, and storing the video image. Very useful if you had a number of antennas and multiswitches, which were able to access wild feeds, and you wanted to push a button every few minutes to quickly view coverage from different sources. The receiver also allows up to 8 timer events, and has a parental lock function. For the month of March, anyone that mentions this column can purchase the DBS-3500 receiver in single quantities at the caselot price of 99.00 each plus shipping. A reward for reading News & Views.
It's only the first week of
March as this is written, but if any of you are considering the next
satellite industry trade show, hurry up and register. Details can be
found at the show website: http://www.satelliteexpo2006.com/