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
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,