NEWS AND VIEWS April 12, 2007
Mike and Laurel Kohl
S-9141 State Highway 23
Plain, Wisconsin 53577-9612
April 12, 2007
Talk about false alarms...was I hallucinating about 3 weeks ago, or did we have temperatures almost touching the 80-degree mark? Memory tells me that it was super warm for a few days, and I actually got up on top of "The Tower" to do some badly needed realignments. And repositioned the 6-1/2 foot mesh antenna to 139 West, so that I could sneak a listen at some digital audio on that satellite. So what's with the 4 inches of white stuff on the ground this morning? People from northern California as well as the suburbs of Atlanta have told me that they have seen snow in the past few days. What is going on???
I am hoping for a break in the wintry pattern next week so that I can make a snow-free drive to Atlanta and back for the SBE (Satellite and Broadband Expo) trade show and the Satellite Pioneer's Dinner. Last year's show had hot steamy weather (into the 80s at times) and lots of thunderstorms in the evening. I learned my lesson about sunburn on cloudy days last year, so am not volunteering for any extensive outdoor displays this time. This year's plans include a lot of indoor socializing. Who knows what kind of deals that I have missed in the past while turning wrenches and getting solar radiated outside? The show should start with helping give some indoor seminars on Free To Air reception with Tim from DMS International, and I will be wandering around the show floor, probably parking at his booth as well as Volunteer Satellite's next door, as well as the Bob Cooper-arranged Satellite Pioneers area. Hopefully it will turn into old home week, with many faces from the past 20 years and more showing up for the dinner on Friday evening, as well as wandering the show floor. A full report in next month's edition.
Siberia. It's still on my plate, with a tentative trip scheduled starting sometime in June. The logic has been to find the best time of the year with most possible daylight and best working conditions, so that we can do our work properly the first time. The logistics should be much easier this time, with more advance planning and end runs around red tape. That should make an incredibly interesting story whenever this project is completed. As the Satellite Pioneer's Dinner will be a once in a lifetime event this month, the satellite and cable project for some Siberian mining facilities should also bring once in a lifetime opportunities to innovate and create something where nothing exists at the present.
Most of you have probably heard the old saying "necessity is the mother of invention". It was proven again this past week, when I spent four days with bug-eyes in front of a Traxis DBS-3500 satellite receiver, going back and forth between the satellite antenna complex and a computer. DMS International had just released some new software for the receiver, which made some minor improvements such as allowing simultaneous use of DiSEqC switches as well as DiSEqC motors at the same time in the receiver memory. A quick testing and attempt at transferring the satellite memory from my existing "Master" receiver to a brand new receiver equipped with the new software failed immediately. Nor did I have any luck using the Channel Editor to make same transfer. Tim told me to wait until Monday, and he might have an answer from China. I really could not wait over the weekend for an answer, and started what amounted to four solid days of data entry, from scratch. A Channel Editor gives one the freedom to create a lot of changes in the format of a satellite receiver's memory. So I decided to go through all satellites from 1 West to 148 West, and list them in order, starting with C band, followed by Ku-band and DBS satellites with MPEG-2 content. Then add more satellites in the Asia-Pacific region, which might be of use to those in Alaska and Hawaii, plus occupants of eastern Siberia. I started with 94 satellites in memory, out of a total capacity of 100 in the DBS-3500 receiver. Studies of Lyngsat, SatcoDX, my own lists, and actual observation of signals through my antenna farm then created a list of every possible transponder that might be in service. This list was whittled down on many satellites, as my intention was to try and have transponders in memory on every satellite, even on satellites without FTA content. This left some Internet data carriers, which can be used as "markers" to find satellites that may not have fulltime (or anytime) free-to-air signals. One can engage the satellite memory in TP SCAN mode, and look at the Quality meter to see if there is active signal. The scanning continued on live transponders, which produced channel lists. I then dug deeper to ferret out any unusual or sometimes hidden audio signals, and some ended up only being listed as "Radio". Back and forth between the dishes and the Channel Editor, cleaning up and making more uniform the format and order of things. Mostly Capital letters on television signals, and small case on radio or other audio services. Putting transponders in numerical order by frequency and on the same polarity. Lots of functions that you simply cannot do with the receiver itself.
The weekend came and went, and Tim at DMS informed me that the new program DID work transferring channel lists and satellite info from old into new. Since I had gotten this deep, why not go further, and refine as much as possible. This gave me the inspiration to create some new options for my customers, as well as a new Service for anyone that has a Traxis DBS-3500. We have always provided Memory Transfer service from our master receiver to new receivers at customer request, and will continue to do so. Only they have some choices to think about. Here is the proposed list, and data transfer will be available after the show, starting on April 23rd:
SINGLE KU-BAND RECEPTION of Galaxy 25 satellite at 97 West.
CUSTOM MEMORY of any other single C or Ku-Band satellite in North America.
KU-BAND RECEPTION FROM 4 POPULAR SATELLITES: 87, 97, 101 and 123 West.
KU-BAND RECEPTION FROM MOTORIZED SYSTEM: 15 West to 129 West.
C-BAND RECEPTION FROM MOTORIZED SYSTEM: 1 West to 139 West.
C and KU-BAND RECEPTION from 45 West to 139 West.
C, KU and DBS RECEPTION from 1 West to 148 West.
C, KU and DBS RECEPTION for ALASKA: 83 West to 140 East.
C, KU and DBS RECEPTION for HAWAII: 83 West to 128 East.
C and Ku RECEPTION for EASTERN SIBERIA: Selected Asian and extreme western U.S. Satellites
Supply a Traxis DBS-3500 Satellite Receiver with one of the above Memory Transfers 109.00 + 12.00 s&h
Supply the above and include a CD Copy of that memory transfer 119.00 + 12.00 s&h
MENTION THIS COLUMN BETWEEN NOW AND MAY 15, AND RECEIVE 10.00 OFF THE ABOVE PRICES.
Those with existing Traxis DBS-3500 receivers can make one of the same above Memory Transfer choices,
and send their receiver in to GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS for Memory Transfer Service.
20.00 plus 12.00 Priority Mail shipping to U.S. Locations
29.00 plus 12.00 Priority Mail shipping to U.S. Locations also includes a CD Copy of that memory transfer.
Please E-Mail your request prior to shipping to confirm and schedule the availability of services being requested.
No, we are not offering CDs or Files for Do-It-Yourselfers. The first reason is that we do not want to be blamed by those that mess up their receiver in failed attempts to do it themselves. Data Transfer is an exact science, and if you don't know what you are doing, it is best left to experts. While we do offer a CD copy of the file, we make no warranties or guarantees about its operation other than the fact that it was previously used to make a successful transfer to your receiver by us at our facility. Receivers are tested after the data transfer for proper operation, including S-video output. Please note that we can only offer service for receivers that were made after last spring (some earlier units in the first batch of DBS-3500 receivers did not have S-video).
There may otherwise be some compatibility problems between our new files and those first receivers.
Second reason for this procedure is that it took hundreds of hours of work over the past year to create the information that has resulted in our ability to offer this service. If you are too cheap to consider a 20.00 labor charge, it is probably advisable that you do things yourself without our help. (hope nobody is offended by that remark, but there are some people that have little or no respect for the work of others, and we see no reason to provide this amazing service to them for free).
One final note for this month. I visited Carolyn Spratt a few days ago (Dean's wife). She has the unenviable job of going through Dean's things and deciding what to keep and what does not stay. Dean purchased one of the few 12-foot ORBITRON antennas (back in late 1998 or early 1999) that had the Commercial style T-mount polar mount. It is still in the original boxes, and considering what little competition is left, and the fact that SAMI 12-foot antennas (much inferior quality to this Orbitron antenna) are going for 1300 and 1400 dollars plus freight....Carolyn would like to get a thousand dollars from this antenna. If you have any interest in having something that simply cannot be purchased any more (who knows what they would have to charge now, if Orbitron was still in business?), please drop me an E-mail, and I will put you together to make your deal.