NEWS AND VIEWS
          March 15, 2008

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



March 15, 2008

As the old saying goes, you cannot really do anything about the weather, except talk about it or travel somewhere else.  After breaking the 90-inch mark for snowfall during a single season, Mother Nature is giving southern Wisconsin a bit of a break.  Columbus, Ohio got over 20 inches last week, and we were barely dusted.  Enough of this stuff already!

I am still on hold for a trip to Siberia, and it may be spring even there before I finally arrive.  Logistics are again the reason for travel delays.  Lots of things to do here in the meantime while watching the snowbanks shrink.  The new home for HITS on the C-band side of AMC-18 at 105 West appears to becoming a revival for the fortunes of C-band.  This new satellite is extremely powerful, and those with a six foot C-band antenna should have no problem getting reception in much of North America.  Outlying areas will naturally need a larger antenna, but those outlying areas include a much wider area of geographic coverage than any other recent "cable" satellite in memory.  Very doable in places that will include all of the Caribbean and Mexico, Central America, Alaska, Hawaii, and even some fringe possibilities in Greenland and northern regions of South America.  The DSR-922 "4DTV" has already been mapped successfully for digital reception on this satellite, and we expect that the DSR-410 receiver will also have mapping done before the end of the month.  This will allow a six foot antenna with LNBF and digital receiver to be had at an unheard of low combination price, for C-band equipment.  You might even want to consider getting away from DISH Network or DirecTV, or at the very least supplementing their reception.  Digicipher 2 picture quality is much better than either of those two alternatives.  We will be working with Skyvision to supply the DSR-410 receiver to all interested customers.

Still no firm news on a one-way satellite receive, dialup Internet alternative, but we are hopeful that negotiations will make a reliable and cost-effective alternative to 2-way satellite Internet delivery available in a few short weeks.  We will let you know when it is a reality.

PATRIOT has just released their new catalog, and while it is unfortunate that the price of many things with heavy steel content have had some price increases, there are a few items that have actually dropped in price, and some new products available.  Take a look at our monthly catalog thoroughly.  Those considering use of an Offset antenna for C-band reception might be interested in some new Patriot feedhorns for just that purpose.  Linear offset feedhorns are now available for one or two outputs, and a 2-output circular model is also on the market.  We have tested an offset feedhorn on a 1.8 meter offset for AMC-18 C-band reception, and can confirm that when properly fixed (and you may have to do some light machining to match your dish), it performs comparable to man 7-1/2 mesh antennas on C-band.  Plus you have the bonus of being able to "rig" some Ku band or DBS LNBFs on either side of this C-band feedhorn at the same time.  Those in the Caribbean and other outlying areas that have a 2.4 meter offset being used for DBS reception might consider such a modification for 105 West C-band, and when completed, see if they can also get some Ku-band or DBS afterwards.  105 is about halfway between 101 and 110, so it may be possible to do both with the same antenna after simply adding a dual output linear offset C-band feedhorn.  Experimenting is really the best way to find out how many uses you can have with your large offset antenna.

PATRIOT has also revamped a number of feedhorns within their ADL division, with new models and greater capabilities now available.

The price of cable is going up as fast as the price of oil, gold, and naturally (copper)....but we have partnered with SKYVISION to provide All-In-One Satellite Ribbon Cable in convenient lengths so that you are not faced with having to purchase an entire 350 foot roll.  Now available in lengths that include 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 250, 300 and 350 feet.  Shipped from a Minnesota warehouse direct to you.  Check the monthly catalog update for pricing.

Commercial antenna users will find a fully updated section providing PATRIOT 3.1, 3.8, 4.5, 5.0, 6.3 and 7.5 meter Prime Focus antennas, with a number of options including special HIGH WIND modifications or specific HIGH WIND models in the case of their 3.8 and 4.5 m sizes.  TRUE FOCUS antennas from Andersen Manufacturing in Idaho also produce some fine heavy duty prime focus antennas in models ranging from 1.2 to 4.2 meters.  Both companies make excellent high quality antennas for your CATV, broadcast, or other commercial situation.

The march towards the February 2009 shutoff of full-powered analog TV channels in the United States continues.  It is becoming at least a minor fiasco as we expected, with delays and confusion ruling the day.  Once you get your coupon, it is good for only 90 days for a 40.00 discount on a qualified ATSC converter box.  DISH Network has been getting a lot of press lately for their 39.99 box, but in the same press releases they quietly mention it will be available in "Summer 2008".  Those people that have already received coupons will find that they expire before these 39.99 units come onto the consumer market.  But it steals the thunder of the rest of the suppliers that have already stepped up to the table, with typical units selling for between 49 and 69 dollars before the 40 dollar coupon.  None of them are getting rich, and there are actually members of the public so used to entitlements from their government, that they are complaining that the 40 dollar coupon does not cover the full price of these converters.  We recommend that you search out a unit made under the ZENITH/LG name, which has reportedly got the most sensitive tuner (a plus in rural areas away from the transmitter locations), and also includes a pass through loop for analog signals to other devices.  Due to the many strings involved in the federal program, we will not be participating, but are passing on this information as a public service for those needing a basic converter, especially for a bedroom or spare TV set.

Until next month,