NEWS AND VIEWS                     
June 12, 2006 update

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





June 12, 2006

Sorry for the late appearance of this month's editorial.  If anything, you got a few more days to look at the pictures from the April Satellite Expo trade show.  Summer is now upon us, and we are "trying to make hay while the sun shines".  As always, there are usually a few obstacles to every plan.

The Traxis DBS-3500, which we have been promising you more of since running out BEFORE the April trade show, had more delays in shipment from the factory, mostly due to parts shortages.  We sincerely hope that they will appear on our doorstep before the end of June.  This is an extremely friendly receiver, for those that appreciate logical and easy access to editing and scanning functions.  We will be offering them at 109.00 plus shipping, and including a downloaded memory transfer from our master receiver, freeing your time to watch television instead of push buttons.  Pre-orders are being accepted;  just Email or fax your request in, to be in line for the next large shipment of these machines.

In the meantime, we found a new receiver for the middle-to-high-end of the spectrum.  Fortec has a winner with their Mercury II free-to-air receiver.  It comes in at ten dollars more than the Pansat 2700, but has a number of features to fight for.  6000 channel, 100 satellite memory.  Like the above Traxis DBS-3500, it has the ability to select or edit individual satellites.  The blind search functions are known as POWER SCAN, and are able to be set by the end user in three different configurations.  This gives great flexibility in the Speed versus Accuracy race.  The ZOOM and multi-picture functions found on the DBS-3500 are also available on the Fortec Mercury II.  Channel editing on this new receiver is as friendly as anything I have ever seen.  AC-3 Dolby Digital audio can be accessed from pass-through jacks on back, on the way to a separate Dolby equipped stereo receiver.  If you don't mind paying a little more for something that resembles a Cadillac in its functions and abilities, you should consider the Mercury II.

If you are counting pennies, wait a few more days and the Traxis DBS-3500 will become available again.  Get on the list so you are not disappointed when they inevitably sell out quickly.

As of this writing we are down to ONE Ajak "Patriot" horizon to horizon motor left.  We thank you all for taking part in our sale of these now-rare antenna positioning devices.  As we said, when they're gone, there will be no more.  It is highly unlikely that there is another stash of these sitting in anyone's warehouse.

We regret to inform you that some prices on antennas have increased with this edition of our monthly catalog.  Metals prices are still escalating, forcing Superior Antenna (SAMI) to make a second increase since January.  We are compelled to pass it on, as we also must do on many of our Star Choice products.  In that department, we were hit with a triple whammy.  The Canadian dollar is near an all-time high in recent memory, and a combination of increased costs from U.S. Customs and United Parcel Service has added to the misery.  Our average cost of a system with the Elliptical antenna and Quad LNBF has increased over 50.00 this month.  One way to lower the potential cost is to consider other antennas besides those offered by Star Choice.  If you are only looking for standard definition English language fare, you only need one antenna for the Anik F1R satellite.  We have many cost-effective alternatives such as round offset dishes in the 75 and 76 cm sizes, or the Patriot 70 or 85 cm elliptical antennas, all of which can be obtained in the U.S., and not have to literally be shipped twice.  Should you want High Definition options, or foreign language,  access to 2 satellites is necessary.  We still suggest looking at two antennas from a standpoint of reliability;  using separate 22 KHz switches to access both satellites.  The cost effective method would be two HOT DISH 75 cm antennas, each with an Xtreme II LNBF rated at 0.3 dB.  Those needing two receivers can substitute a 2 output LNBF on one or both satellites, depending on your requirements.

Please look at our latest technical addition, which is a link to an independent testing of small and medium sized offset antennas, which we did during the month of May.  The following antennas were tested:  Primestar 75 and 84 cm elliptical antennas, Patriot 85 cm elliptical antenna, Fortec Star 80 cm round offset antenna, Hot Dish 75 cm round offset antenna, Winegard 2076  76 cm round offset antenna, Paraclipse 90 cm Millennium round offset type.  All were tested for reception of Star Choice, and they work well.  The numbers tell the story...if you need any further technical interpretation, call or Email for my opinions.

We have three 10-foot PERFECT TEN sectional antennas left, at the bargain price of 400.00 (pick up in Plain, WI).  You could use BAX GLOBAL economy air freight, but they might not be a bargain to some locations, due to the dimensional surcharges that are given to sectional type antennas.  When you ship a preassembled antenna, you literally pay good money to ship much of the space outside the antenna box, but within the grasp of the parabolic curve.  Contact us for these remaining antennas---unless you want to pay full retail for a new one.  A basic SAMI SI-10 starts at 679.00 plus motor freight, from Arkansas.

Need some weather covers.....look at our "BARGAINS" section....there are over a hundred of them left.  Cover your LNBs and feedhorn connections from sun and weather.  Things last longer if they are covered up and otherwise weatherproofed.

A repeat from last month:  Anyone interested in acquiring a 1.8 meter commercial offset dish from which to build a multifeed Ku/DBS platform of LNBFs?  If you have the ability to travel to Plain, Wisconsin, to pick them up (trailer or flatbed suggested), we are now investigating a source in the region.  IF enough inquiries justify it, we will bring in a few for your pickup, at a cost of under 200 dollars an antenna.  Price a new one, even without the freight, and ask whether or not that is a bargain.  Contact GLOBAL to get on the list of interested customers.

Still another area we are investigating is wireless Internet reception.  If you have a wireless router and wish to expand coverage a few hundred feet to a thousand feet and more, grid as well as parabolic antennas with appropriate feedhorns are available.  Let us know your requirements, and we may add those items to our offerings.

Wondering about the picture on top?  In July, 1987, I worked on a crew to refurbish a 60 foot X 290 foot "backstop" tropo antenna, just south of Bakersfield, California.  Pictured is an array of 60 foot steel towers, each spaced about 30 feet apart, originally joined with steel wires strung horizontally at 4-inch intervals.  Our successful project involved removing and replacing those wires with new stainless steel wire, properly tensioned to allow continuous reception of all seven Los Angeles VHF stations (2-4-5-7-9-11 & 13) for Cox Cable in Bakersfield.  When completed, they were able to "downgrade" from a microwave service that had been costing them 1500 dollars a month per channel, to only needing microwave relay for UHF channel 28, KCET, a PBS affiliate in Los Angeles.  Funny how times change.  This structure was built sometime in the sixties.  Resurfaced in 1987, and now 19 years later---nobody even knows it existed.  Bob Cooper was investigating how to find this structure recently, and I was fortunate enough to have saved color slides in a secret place so that I would not lose them.  It took about six weeks to remember where that secret place was---but here it is.  Visit Mr. Cooper's fascinating website at and consider ordering some of the many materials he has put together, chronicling the history of television reception.  If you dig deep enough, you may see this photo in a few days on that website. 

Until JULY,