NEWS AND VIEWS                     
October 13, 2006 update

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



October 13, 2006

Some of you may be wondering why there has been a delay in this month's issue and catalog update.  If things had gone to plan, I would have taken a trip overseas, completed some survey and installation work, and returned already.  My air freight has been out of my hands for a month as of this writing, and has not yet cleared customs in its destination.  Until it does, my travel plans are on hold.  This is extremely frustrating, as my bags have been packed and ready to go for nearly two months, only to encounter delays.  Winter is coming, and let's just say that it is in a place with much shorter summers than we experience in Wisconsin.  Hopefully I will have a report in early to mid November...but we shall see what each week brings.  Buffalo, New York, which is famous for heavy lake-effect snow, got an unusual surprise yesterday, with about 24 inches of snow in an early storm.  You can't predict the weather, but there's certainly a lot to discuss with the results of Mother Nature.

The fall TV season is upon us.  Thursday nights are a major challenge in our house, with way too many shows competing for our attention on a single night.  I have found six one hour shows that are "must see TV" for me, in addition to devoting the 9 to 10 pm hour for preparation and broadcast of my Thursday evening satellite radio segment with Dean Spratt.  And there are some nights of the week where I do not even turn on the television for entertainment, because there isn't anything meeting that description. 

Time to winterize your dish, and also survey your location for possible tree blockage.  Last weekend would have been better in most locations to do a survey, since there were more leaves in the way, and the sun actually matched the angle of the satellite arc throughout the day.  If you follow the path of the sun this weekend (Oct 14-15), the sun will actually be a degree or two lower in elevation than the satellite arc in most locations, so if you can see it without obstruction now, it's guaranteed that you have no tree problems, and have a bit of margin to compensate for next year's tree growing season.  We have noticed that evergreens seem to be much quicker in our moderately wet climate than conventional deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in the winter) at increasing in height.  When I bought our property back in 1993, I had a clear shot at Hispasat (30 West), with an elevation about 12 degrees above the horizon, through some gaps in the trees to the east.  If we had not built an elevated platform for our antenna farm over four years ago, I would not now have the privilege of seeing Cuban television.  The Primestar dish is about 28 feet above ground level, and just clears the trees.  The area around the evergreens has filled in quite dramatically, and the bright maple tree just to the east of the tower is almost as tall as the tower itself;  more than doubling in size in just over ten years.

Star Choice HDTV news.  October 12th brought the debut of three new high definition services, which are in a free preview mode to HD-equipped qualifying subscribers until January.  DISCOVERY-HD.  A & E - HD.  RADIO-CANADA HD (French CBC Service).  Look for two more HD channels in November, including NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC-HD and SHOWCASE-HD.  It keeps getting better!

Intelsat Americas 5 (IA-5) news.  All but one of the previously free-to-air MUSIC CHOICE audio channels have now been scrambled.  Quite a blow to the free to air hobbyist, especially after losing all of the Bell ExpressVu radio channels earlier in the summer.  If you are addicted to Canadian radio, or other high quality audio, consider a subscription to STAR CHOICE.  Some other channel re-arranging has also taken place on IA-5, with Dutch and Polish services moving to a new transponder at 12084 MHz vertical.  More foreign language channels are going into subscription mode, but still more new channels are coming on the air, thereby increasing your choice from voices around the world.  Qatar-based AL JAZEERA TELEVISION is now transmitting promos for their new English based news channel, which appears to be available on Ku-band from IA-5 at 97 West, and on C-band from IA-13 at 121 West.  All MPEG-2 channel charts have just been updated, so take a look and make appropriate adjustments or scans on your free to air receiver.  Our catalog has also been delayed a few days for the October issue.  Look for it to be completely updated after this weekend.

We appreciate your patience, and thank you for visiting this website, which is constantly in a state of change, despite occasional delays.

Until next time,