NEWS AND VIEWS
          September 5, 2012 

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



September 5, 2012

A very record-setting summer appears to be nearly over.  If we wished to have weather that would be considered normal in west Texas, I would have moved there long ago.  But even the folks down there had more extreme drought and scorching temperatures than usual.  Let's hope we don't all have to get used to it on a long term basis...

It is only now that I have started accomplishing things on my antenna farm;  ignored for most of the summer because of the heat.  I moved the TV antenna platform about three feet further east, and raised the 5-foot UHF parabolic antenna so now it is about 35 feet off the ground.  Appears to have given me some headroom on Madison, Wisconsin digital reception.  Next project was to install a mount that would allow me to place a motorized 10-foot mesh antenna on top of the tower, with its highest reaches approaching 40 feet off the ground.  All of the bolts on the tower have been tightened up, and walkways have been reinforced with more cross beams to minimize the shaking that will inevitably result from more toys on top of this structure.  Still working on the motorized 10-footer...there is a crunch for space, and I will have to do some tricky manipulating and rearrangement of objects that are in the way of full motor drive travel.  The goal will be to start on C-band at 139 West and go as far east as I can until the dish almost runs into the mast of the TV antenna.  Gotta use every square inch if possible.

Still more projects are scheduled before the snow flies, but they are funded counting on some of you folks making purchases of satellite equipment in coming weeks.  Winter is in the not-so-distant future, so if you want some entertainment and information at your disposal, outdoor work should be done before the thermometer plunges.  

Canada has had some momentous changes in their broadcasting situation since our last writing.  At the end of July, over 620 CBC-TV transmitters were shut down permanently, rather than be upgraded to digital, for the sake of saving maybe $10 million per year in maintenance costs.  A classic case of pound foolish, considering that places such as Saskatoon, with over a quarter million residents, have now had direct off-air reception of their public broadcaster shut off because of a technicality.  Those in rural areas, many without cost-effective Internet access, really lost out in the shuffle, because CBC was sometimes the only local broadcaster, and now there is nothing without going to satellite.  This followed on the heels of Bell shutting off their coverage south of the border, with commencement of service on the new NIMIQ 6 satellite at 91 West on July 5.  At least for the present, there are HD versions of CBC-TV on C-band that can be received with our Manhattan RS-1933 free-to-air receiver and a suitable (6 to 8 foot) C-band dish.  Those wanting more on this side of the border (and southward) can also consider the expanded offerings available via SHAW DIRECT.

If you had Bell TV, or are now considering Canadian TV via Shaw Direct, time is spinning by, putting you in the unenviable position of fighting the crowds when you finally make such a decision.  There was a temporary shortage of Shaw hardware during July and early August, and this will probably be repeated from time to time as snowbirds descend upon southern climates.  If you are staying in snow-covered winter surroundings, now is the time to get any outdoor construction done.  Decisions need to be made, not only for Shaw Direct, but any Free To Air system upgrades for both C and Ku-band.

New customers to Shaw Direct need to understand that all hardware shipping from their warehouses uses the new elliptical antenna system with Xtended Ku-band Quad LNBF.  Existing customers that have "legacy" systems with conventional Ku-band LNBFs (10750 MHz local oscillator) should have no problem adding and reconfiguring hardware, but those new to the system may meet some resistance if they try using old equipment.  Since the very unusual Xtended Ku-Band Quad LNBF is part of all new installations in Canada, it is expected that you will be using this type of hardware.  You may run into a customer service type that has no idea about last year's methods of addressing receivers.  Use the path of least resistance if you are setting up a brand new system, and use the combo Xtended Ku LNBF.  All of that said, the new Anik G1 satellite scheduled for operation sometime after the first of the year will have a severely limited coverage area.  Don't expect to get service on that satellite, even with new antenna equipment, if you are south of a line running from Portland, OR eastward to Omaha, and along the Great Lakes..any more than 200 miles south of Canadian airspace.  If you are in that northern target area, now is the time to jump into the pool.  All of this said, any existing receiver that is not in the DSR-600 series will not get any new MPEG4 channels on any satellite (Anik F1R or G1 at 107.3 West, or Anik F2 at 111.1 West).  But other existing signals will work...provided that you have that older receiver reconfigured to match the frequencies on the Xtended Ku Quad LNBF.  Just remember that you won't be getting all of the channels you are paying for, and a basic DSR-600 receiver may be a very good investment to fix that situation.  Just remember--we are back in business in Wisconsin on a permanent basis.

If you need a spare dish for an existing Shaw Direct system (to add 111.1/Anik F2), we have a supply of the 85 cm Patriot Elliptical Antenna available, as well as Ku-band LNBFs for the old system that uses the 10750 MHz local oscillator.  This is the same antenna that we are now offering in a combo or separately with our Manhattan RS-1933 HD Free-To-Air receiver.  Antenna includes a 2-inch OD mounting bracket, and is now available for 99.00 plus shipping.  LNBFs and switches are sold separately.  Combination prices with receivers are available.  You might consider the package with the Manhattan receiver, to pick up hundreds of free channels (English language news from Russia Today, Al-Jazeera, Press TV, China News, JN-1 Israel, World Radio Network and others).  Adding an existing or new C-band dish will increase your variety even more.  We hope to have the 8-foot Paraclipse HYDRO one piece solid antenna in a few short weeks, with mesh antennas to follow later in the fall.  I sincerely apologize for the delays in getting a new antenna production facility going (tooling has now been in storage for 6 months), but the problems have been out of our hands and involving someone else's real estate situation.  We will sell antennas at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Manhattan RS-1933 has had a couple of important updates that have been incorporated into version 4.1 firmware, now available on the Manhattan-Digital website directly, if you feel comfortable downloading it and merging with your existing information.  Otherwise, we do sell a preprogrammed satellite and channel memory, which will minimize the time needed to properly set up your system.  It is called a Preload, and can be sent to you as an Email attachment.  Contact me by telephone or Email for details.

Due to financial issues (lack of revenue), Access America has at least temporarily discontinued their 97 West Ku-band satellite audio transmission.  Ralf regrets the situation, but has been out of pocket for quite a while, and until some advertisers can be found to cover the costs of this show, it will now be available only via the Internet stream or on an archived basis.  This is all the more reason to support Global Communications;  if we can reach a better financial result, we could be in a position to help Ralf, as an advertiser.  Think of all of the free advice that we have dispensed over the years, and consider us the next time that you need satellite hardware.  We have ambitions of regaining our position as a serious player in the home satellite industry, but we need the support of new and former customers for all of this to happen.
Thank you.

Until next month,