NEWS AND VIEWS
          April 3, 2013 

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



April 3, 2013               
C-Band Antennas Almost Here!

The above headline hasn't changed --  it is just taking longer for it to happen.  A little over a year ago, we put our trust in a longtime friend, who promised to make mesh antennas for us.  His past performance and years of friendship colored our judgment, and we gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would get his act together, in a new building.  We are still waiting, and he still is not in that new building.  Perhaps he will eventually be in a position to manufacture satellite antennas, but we can wait no longer for something to sell.  If things work out later, great, but it is now time to create a Plan B.

Somehow, some way...we will have to create a series of knockdown type mesh antennas on our own.  Details are being sorted, alternate suppliers and old friends are being contacted.  Since we have now made it our responsibility to pull this together, I would hope that we are now talking weeks or a few short months to get this going.  Surveys have indicated that we have a primary demand for 10-foot antennas, closely followed by the 8.5 foot model.  After cutting myself more than once assembling a cheap flimsy Chinese-made multi-panel solid antenna, it is my humble opinion that there is also a need for a slightly smaller antenna.  If we can produce a smaller diameter that ships in small pieces, there is little difference in costs between a 6 and a 7 foot model.  Given the slightly larger dish requirements for MPEG-4  DVB-S2 digital signals, we're leaning towards slightly larger than 6 feet.  It is also my opinion that the size of the original Orbitron SX-7 was just under 7 feet  (80 inches to be precise), compared to the SX-8.5, which came in at 100 inches, and would be an ideal diameter for a starter system.  There is also some need for a 12-foot dish, comparable to Orbitron's SX-12.  

My opinions on mount design:   The ease of assembly from Orbitron's SPINCLINATION declination system makes it an attractive method for a 7, 8.5, and 10 foot antenna mounting.  I would like to also consider a heavy duty "conventional" polar mount for the 12 foot model, and make it optional for the 10-foot version, in wind prone locations.  We would appreciate some input from our readers as well as listeners to the Sat Talk Radio Show on Access America, as to what size antenna you would consider when buying a C-band or C/Ku-band system of mesh type construction.  35 years in the consumer market have given me some idea about what people want, but I humbly ask your opinions, so that we can have a more successful rollout of a new antenna product line.  At these early planning stages, concepts and ideas are very open to change, given input of good ideas that can be considered.  We appreciate any logical input.  

The past several weeks have seen very positive improvements in the distribution of our weekly radio show.  Sat Talk is now available worldwide on the ROKU system via the Internet.  We look forward to a larger and more diverse;  geographically spread audience.  Plans are also taking shape to have video enhancements available that will supplement our radio show, creating a new video channel.  More in coming weeks and months as we grow!

The MADISON, Wisconsin TV market is now even more blessed with Classic TV options.  ANTENNA TV now fills our airwaves, after being introduced to our local viewers in the midst of a 3 Stooges marathon on April Fool's Day.  We already have THIS TV and ME TV from Weigel Broadcasting.

Once winter has set in, I have found time to do some badly needed updates to our website.  Go to the Off-Air antenna section and look at the new state-by-state TV station listings.  We have done the entire country, now adding low power TV and translator stations to the existing full power TV channel listings, and shown what channels can be received in each community.  Months of work went into this project, and there is still a bit of reformatting left on a few states, but you should now have a much better idea about what local signals are available in your location.

Our ace software programmer has delivered a new firmware update (version 4.4) for the Manhattan RS1933 receiver.  It can be downloaded at in basic form (satellites and transponders with embedded version 4.4 firmware).  The major update is that C and Ku-band switching is finally possible during motorized operation.  Many lines of computer code needed to be searched to find a solution, and we sincerely thank our software guru.  The receiver is also now capable of tuning symbol rates as low as 500 (previous lower limit was 1000), allowing a few exotic radio feeds to now be available.  Please be warned that these channels must be entered with a channel editor and then the entire file (Preload) put into the receiver with a USB memory stick.  The receiver itself will not complete a scan on something this narrow, but if the information is already in memory, it will play those channels.  Another caution is that one needs to get a Phase Locked Loop (PLL) C-band LNB for such channels to stay locked, and it should have a local oscillator stability of 25 KHz or better.  Global Communications has a new Preload that includes all of this, and can customize with some sample audio channels upon request.  Price is 25.00 by itself, or 20.00 when purchasing a receiver (or to my existing receiver customers), and free with the purchase of a preloaded receiver and Ku-band antenna system (still 199.00 plus shipping, but hurry while these antennas are still available).

Shaw Direct enthusiasts:  if you are getting ready for an MPEG-4 receiver such as the DSR-600, you will need to think about the Anik G1 satellite (assuming that you are within its coverage area).  We now have a separate special Ku-band LNBF that will work on an existing single satellite Ku-band antenna now parked on 107.3 West.  Uses the same conventional 40 mm neck as previous LNBFs from Pansat and DMS, but has an unusual Ku-band conversion that gets both Anik G1 and Anik F1R from the 107.3 satellite position, when the receiver is mapped with the configuration for the new Xtended Quad Ku-band LNBF.  Add a second dish for 111.1, connect a 22 KHz switch and you are ready for HD from all of their satellites.  Please contact us if you are in the market for an upgrade, or considering getting into the Shaw Direct community.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day, and stay warm!

Until next time,