NEWS AND VIEWS                     
April 6, 2006 update

Mike and Laurel Kohl
S-9141 State Highway 23
Plain, Wisconsin   53577-9612



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April 6, 2006

Thunderstorms are now upon us, so we hope that winter is finally over.  The frost is out of the ground here in southern Wisconsin, and the ground no longer resembling Alaskan muskeg in mid-summer.  Not quite yet the time to plant any more steel and cement into the ground, but I've already been out on the antenna farm doing lots of rearranging and alignment.  An attempt to make my tower of antennas more efficient.  All of this came about after I got very deeply involved in a project to completely re-program the memory of my new Traxis DBS-3500 receiver.  Everything was erased, and I re-entered C-band, Ku-band as well as selected DBS satellites in a calculated sequential order that I hope is more logical than the factory settings.  Then came the fun of finding each satellite and scanning all available live signals to produce the most accurate channel lists possible.  After moving my Paraclipse 7.5-foot HYDRO antenna with AJAK H-180 motor onto a higher platform about three years ago, certain trees of the evergreen persuasion jumped out in the eastern sky.  When I first installed that system about 10 feet closer to the ground at least 13 years ago, much of the Atlantic arc was available.  I had nothing in the way and could even get HISPASAT (30 West) just about anywhere in the front yard at ground level.  C-band HH systems could always count on getting down to at least 27.5 West (then Intelsat 601).  So after losing the former analog channel 23/24 in PAL-N video format (Argentina) from the 40.5 West satellite, I kind of gave up looking for anything east of 55.5 West.  Just for the heck of it two Sundays ago I hooked up my spectrum analyzer while moving a little further east, and re-set the electrical limits again after finding evidence of fairly strong signals at 45 West/PAS-1R.  A study of LYNGSAT's charts on that C-band satellite confirmed everything on those listings, and even more.  45 West is at least as interesting as the Intelsat 805 satellite at 55.5 West, for sheer number of channels available.  So I have corrected my MPEG-2 charts (and will go through them again next week, before the Atlanta Satellite Expo), and added all new information.  I could not get 43 West, due to one of the evergreens being directly in the way.  A check of NSS-806 at 40.5 West shows a number of channels working, but at greatly reduced level.  Considering that it is a 10-foot ALPHA (Made by Superior Antenna for a Canadian company back in 1989), and has traveled on the roof of my old van from Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe via Death Valley, then down to Santa Barbara, and installed there in 2 different locations, disassembled in 2002 and moved to Wisconsin, and put on top of my 30-foot "deer stand", the condition of that antenna may be suspect.  It has taken a beating in the last year, and since the H-180 motor on my 10-foot Orbitron sectional antenna is absolutely shot, that antenna needs a new mission.  So next on my list of things to do will be to remove the 10-foot SAMI from the tower, panel by panel, install another AJAK motor (for the unique Orbitron mounting fixture more than the HH ability) that was recovered from another antenna that died after living a rough life (and made one too many trips on a trailer before landing with the full weight of the antenna and mount on the buttonhook feed support), and prepare to disassemble, repaint and reassemble the Orbitron SST-10 and its large mounting ring on top of the tower.  I don't really know if the stand on top of the tower is up to this challenge, but the antenna is in great parabolic shape.  Got to restore those many signals from NSS-806.

On the Ku-band side, I have taken a 1.5 meter PATRIOT offset antenna that was formerly used only to get a good PBS signal from Montana on AMC-3 Ku-band (87 West), and built a multifeed bracket for it.  A DiSEqC switch is now fed by some of the more important feed satellites from this and another antenna, adding 74, 79, 89 and 93 West to the mix.  I already had 87, 97, 101 and 123 on another 4x1 DiSEqC switch.  And a few other assorted satellites into other switches and equipment.  I then took a motorized 110 cm PATRIOT antenna (STAB HH 120) and checked out missing satellites in the rest of the arc.  The only thing missing from the middle seems to be the Ku-band side of SatMex 5, which is pretty weak in these parts anyway.  Through all of these efforts my DBS-3500 receiver now has an excellent set of scanned channels, which have been customized where I even show local FM and AM frequencies for radio stations transmitted via satellite.  The kind of detail that usually does NOT come through in an automatic scan.  We can now offer this data to all of our customers when they purchase the DBS-3500 (and other receivers, with a little warning).  Something you won't find from an E-Bay merchant, and at an extremely fair price, even without considering the time involved in my getting it right for the benefit of all.

The only negative thing that I have to report is that initial takeup of the TRAXIS DBS-3500 receiver was beyond the wildest dreams of DMS INTERNATIONAL as well as the factory in China, and no more will be available in the U.S. until early May or later.  We're ready whenever they are!  In the meantime, we have added some other TRAXIS brand receivers to our mix of products.  The DBS-4500 is available for 129.00 (20.00 more than the DBS-3500), does not have Blind Scan abilities, but does have some professional features missing from the DBS-3500.  The most noticable is that in addition to the DBS-3500 features of Coaxial as well as Optical AC-3 S/PDIF outputs, it has a true S-Video connection for professional equipment such as monitors, etc.  Memory of the 4500 is 4000 channels (same as the 3500), and it has a 63 satellite capacity. 

Those on the lower end of the market, needing just a basic receiver for one satellite might also consider the Tri-Max T-100, which has a rock solid tuner for weak signal reception.  It's 10.00 cheaper than the 3500, and in stock.  It will be offered as our entry-level receiver for basic systems.

On the commercial end of the market, we now have a DBS-2800 rack-mounted MPEG-2 commercial receiver on hand.  This is intended for unattended 24-hour operation such as that found in broadcast stations, cable TV and other headend facilities, etc.  Drop us a line if you have a need for such a receiver.

Antennas.  We have been doing some signal testing;  comparing the HOT DISH 75 cm antenna from DMS, which is our "base" antenna, along with our 70 cm and 85 cm elliptical antennas from PATRIOT.  The 70-E exhibits 0.4 dB more gain on a typical Ku-band signal, as compared to the HOT DISH 75.  The 85-E has 1.5 dB more gain than the 70-E.  We will also be carrying the WINEGARD 2076 30-inch round offset dish, in the same price range as the PATRIOT 70-E.  A full report of side-by-side comparisons of each will be listed in the near future;  after the Atlanta satellite show.

Speaking of which---go to for more details on this year's biggest satellite industry gathering, which takes place the week of April 17-22, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Technical training for pre-registered classes will take place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Actual exhibit days will be a full day on Thursday and Friday (April 20 and 21), with a half day (until 1 pm) on Saturday.  I will be working at the VOLUNTEER SATELLITE booth #604 when not out on the antenna farm, where I am scheduled to give two 3-hour instructional sessions on satellite reception (Thursday and Friday).  Check the boards if you are there, for exact times.  Another rendezvous point might be the SATELLITE GUYS booth, which will have hobbyists and dealers alike, from around the world.

See you in Atlanta!


Ready for Spring Cleaning