NEWS AND VIEWS January 15, 2013
Mike and Laurel Kohl
S-9141 State Road 23
Plain, Wisconsin 53577-9612
January 15, 2013 C-Band Antennas Almost Here!
Greetings and a belated Happy New Year! I would have written two weeks ago, but had a lot of things going on, including taking advantage of a break after the Christmas cold snap to get some outdoor work accomplished. During the last two months, I have been rearranging and upgrading the antenna farm. There will be some new pictures soon to show you how to do a 13 LNBF installation on one 180 cm offset dish, and then customize it with a piece of scrap metal saved for some unknown reason about 10 years ago. Think flying saucer! Come back to the main page later this week and see if you notice any changes.
We had a rather mild November as well as parts of December, so I continued to plant new antennas with non-penetrating mounts weighted with heavy timbers, cement blocks, and whatever else was handy. A bit of a cut in the trees now gets 40.5 West with a 7.5 foot mesh antenna, and despite using a Dielectric Plate type C-band LNBF on this circularly polarized satellite, I am probably getting 80% of its channels already. This gives me confidence to put up a slightly larger antenna in that spot, on another temporary mount, in the spring, because NSS806 is an extremely busy satellite that brings a huge number of channels from Latin America, and other unique channels found nowhere else. Such as BFBS Radio for British forces in Canada, Belize, the Falklands, and elsewhere. Also USIA WORLDNET and several Voice Of America radio channels. While I was playing, and now that the leaves are gone from the trees, I accidentally found that I can now get 43 and 45 West on my 10-foot motorized dish, before a wall of nearly 40-foot evergreens blocks things to the east. Perhaps a tree can be sacrificed to retain these signals in the spring. I can now get Teletica/Costa Rica and a number of channels from the Dominican Republic. New signals have come in on 45 and 50 West, and for some reason, the new spacecraft at 53 West is strong enough to allow a few channels through. Clear winners in getting this part of the sky working include lots of winter baseball from the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. An inordinate number of music video channels from Latin America. Even if you only speak English, there are a lot of interesting things to see.
Back to the Offset antenna projects. I used some weighted mounts to add two more of these dishes, in addition to making use of a 5-1/2 inch pipe for still another, with the intention of locking in every Ku-band satellite in the sky in chunks of about 25 degrees of sky per dish. No motor drives to maintain, and lots of signal, even after 15 inches of snow buried the then 12-LNBF structure. Now it's getting 89 through 105 W in 2 degree hops for an MPEG collection of several switches and receivers, two more LNBFs at 107 and 111 for tons of signal from Shaw Direct, 113 West from Mexico, and a spare LNBF just for grins on 119 DBS to mark the spot, though there's nothing in the clear worth watching there. A second dish is now set up and centered around 121 West, with a C-band LNBF with a conical scalar fixed on Galaxy 23, in the hopes of getting a number of news channels that have shown up there. Plus Russia Today's new set of 3 HD channels---their Documentary Channel is superb! Two more of these six foot offset dishes are waiting for the 70 to 90 degree part of the arc, and 45 to 70 degrees, respectively. Perhaps at least one of these will include another C-band feed for one of the busy Atlantic birds, where I do not wish to tie up my motorized systems. What to do with HISPASAT at 30 West? Still blocked by trees and seeking an aerial solution from somewhere in the yard that does not put another antenna in a dangerous place. But I'll figure something out sooner or later! All of this playing is in support of future things to do with Manhattan Digital. Our preload files are now accurate down to 40.5 West with all channels ready to go, so if you would like C band from 139 to 40.5 West, and Ku-band from 129 to 50 West, we have it ready and on sale. 25.00 for an Email copy on its own, or 20.00 when purchased with a new Manhattan RS-1933 receiver, at its regular price of 149.00.
There has been some recent unwanted political skirmishing on Ralf Black's ACCESS AMERICA news group, and I need to shake some heads for a moment. Since we have gone off satellite for financial reasons, and have only been available on the Internet, the potential audience has dipped, and I fear that there are a number of people that are trolling around looking for trouble, and do not have an actual satellite antenna in use. An incident occurred after we announced a news story about Al Jazeera purchasing Current TV for about $500 million, and our crime was to make some positive comments about AJ and its recent work during the multiple revolutions in the Middle East. A few right wing leaning folks simply could not stand for us to say something good about this news service based in Qatar, and started demonizing it, and otherwise tying up our news group. Ralf is not happy that he cannot state his honest opinion on an Internet radio channel and associated chat group that he personally organized and is paying for, without be hijacked by some that don't agree with his political opinions. Perhaps we have said too much about politics lately, in part because there has not been much feedback either via EMail, phone calls or otherwise, when we have requested input on topics to discuss on the air. Politics is easy to slip into, but the election season is finally over---and all I am interested in doing is in the healing process---getting past all of this, and back to satellite technology. Manhattan-Digital could soon be in the center of some great things for the satellite industry, and I want to be able to spread the news to the rest of the world by educating everyone on the basics of satellite communications and related technologies.
We are very close to being able to ship the 7.5 foot Paraclipse HYDRO antennas, with the last hurdle being decisions on how to secure this one piece dish for shipping. It will be on a wooden pallet, strapped under some plastic sheeting. We have about 200 antennas whose reflectors were stamped in the old Paraclipse facility, which we have added tripod feed support legs and a polar mount. There may be some slight imperfections in the paint, but there is nothing wrong with the antennas, and they will be sold at a reduced price prior to making a new run of these solid antennas, as well as getting a production line going for mesh satellite antennas. Because of the shipping dimensions, these will only be available to be shipped via motor freight, and there will be some sticker shock on freight if you are thinking of getting one of these antennas. If that is a problem, wait a few weeks for our mesh antenna line to appear. Otherwise, shipping 3, 5 or 10 antennas on a skid at a time is going to take about the same amount of space on a truck, so that will be the ideal way for satellite dealers and installers to acquire a supply of this easy-to-install, highly efficient 7.5 foot dish. Bring a batch in to your location, and hand them out to individual customers or to each installation.
Our supply of 85 cm PATRIOT Elliptical Ku-band antennas (with multifeed hardware) is shrinking, so if you need a well-made bargain on this easy to ship antenna, hurry while they are available. 199.00 plus freight gets you this antenna, a Manhattan RS-1933 receiver, and a Pansat PF-7600 Ku-band LNBF. Order the system and get the latest preprogrammed memory without further charge. 299.00 plus shipping gets you TWO antennas and LNBFs, if you cannot decide on which Ku-band satellite is the most important. Good old reliable 97 West for the entire world, 125 West for PBS, 83 West for Luken channels including PBJ, Retro TV and Tuff TV. 103 West for a number of things. One caution about 103, however. You will need at least a 4-foot offset to get reliable results from the new COZI TV service from NBC. I ended up using a six foot offset to get a great signal, and only after seriously tweeking the skew adjustment did I break a 70 Quality reading. One of our listeners measured the carrier with a spectrum analyzer and found that he could not get the picture to unlock unless he had a carrier to noise (C/N) of greater than 14.0 dB. This is insane, given that Ku-band signals from SHAW DIRECT will work perfectly with only 2.0 dB C/N level. Do you realize how much more antenna it takes to deliver this 12 dB of missing signal? Don't spend too much time trying to get COZI with a 30 or 36 inch dish, but if you do have good results, please let me know.
We will have larger offset Ku-band antennas from our Michigan facility in a few weeks. Just remember that they also will need to be shipped by truck, so save your spare change for the freight.
We go back to Daylight
Time in less than 2 months, with Spring only a few days later. Think