Satellite technology

Why Streaming & the Old Fashioned Telephone Party Line Are A Lot Alike

By | News, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

Remember the telephone party line? You don’t?! Ouch!

You see kids, it was called a party line because we all shared a single phone line that ran in and out of the neighborhood. Each home had a different phone number so we could be reached separately, but when anyone called out they had to wait until the line was cleared before making a call. Similarly, if someone was calling a home on our party line, they had to wait until the line was clear to make the connection.

Kind of awkward, right?

So why would anyone voluntarily share a phone line with their neighbors, you ask? The cost. It was more economical to share a single line. And with five kids, my dad was all about the economics. It was a smart move for him.

Not so much for our neighbors. Remember, five kids lived in our rambling green ranch. As you can guess, we were on the telephone, A LOT. And – much to the irritation of our neighbors – we monopolized the line from time to time, especially during the hours of three to six pm. (Sorry, Mrs. Cooksey)

There’s a trend I’m seeing in the industry – a trend to label every transport of video and audio files via the Internet as “streaming”. Kind of like using the brand name “Kleenex” for all tissues, or – like we do in the South – refer to all soft drinks as “coke”. Like, “What kind of coke would you like?” See what I mean?

Yet, streaming is a particular method of getting audio and video files from Point A to Points B, C, D and on. Never, ever should it be confused with dedicated band width or – I shudder at the thought – satellite bandwidth. Let me explain.

Think about the telephone party line – that’s basically how real streaming works. And for our discussion, that’s what I’m focusing on – a business application that requires a streaming server on site.

Streaming video and audio files is an economical way to get information from point to multi-point via the Internet, but it has it’s limitations that you need to understand.

It’s a shared resource, meaning there is never enough bandwidth for all customers to effectively stream their files SIMULTANEOUSLY – the limited bandwidth has to cover everyone. So the streaming provider is, in essence, gambling that not everyone will need to access bandwidth at the same time.

In contrast, a dedicated bandwidth or line is an Internet connection dedicated to a specific application. I’m not saying these services are provided a single, seamless end-to-end solution, but they do provide guarantees of constant bandwidth availability and near-constant latency – stuff that can’t be guaranteed with streaming.

Of course, you’ll pay more for dedicated bandwidth, but with additional cost comes the security of knowing your files are getting from point to multi-point.

Dedicated bandwidth is an improvement over streaming, as much the same way as the dedicated telephone line was an improvement for our neighbors over sharing with the five kids in the rambling green ranch. But when comparing cost, reliability and availability between streaming, dedicated bandwidth and satellite bandwidth, there are multiple components to evaluate.

You know the old adage, “You get what you pay for.”” Similarly, you need to understand what you’re asking for to get the answers needed to produce an effective risk assessment of each application.

Just like a Coke is not a Pepsi, streaming refers to a specific method of transporting audio and video files that has it’s own specific pros and cons. Got it?

Saying “Buh-bye” to AMC-8

By | News, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

The rumors you have heard are true. AMC-8 is being retired and will not be replaced in it’s orbital slot, Apparently there will be some major reshuffling going on as the 8000 AMC-8 radio downlinks pointing to this bird will need to be moved sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.

Why is it not being replaced? Simply put, there are not enough customers on the orbital satellite to financially make a replacement viable.

After the launch of AMC-8 in 2000, the even numbered transponders at the 139 degree orbital slot were identified as Alascom (Aurora 3), while the odd numbered transponders were owned and leased by GE, and then SES under AMC-8. The popular bird was not only home for telephone communications for the state of Alaska, but for radio broadcasters and cable networks in the lower 48, as well.

But things have changed over the last 15 years. In favor of fiber and microwave, Alascom has been moving all voice and data traffic off the satellite. For Alascom, there is no need to purchase 12 transponders on a satellite at 139 degrees.

The radio portion of the neighborhood is a fraction of the remaining 12 odd transponders, now more efficient due to new satellite technology. Much of what is AMC-8’s current radio neighborhood had previously been allocated to cable networks, but most of the cable networks have migrated away from 139 degrees, as well.

So what does this mean for AMC-8’s current customers? Pack your bags, we’re moving. When and where has yet to be determined.

As space segment providers, we are just as concerned as you. That’s why we are actively seeking answers from SES. As soon as WE know the plan, you will know the plan.

If you have any concerns about this transition, give Ka You a call or drop us an email. Though there is no time frame as yet, we can trouble-shoot with you on how best to tackle moving your downlinks. Now and in the future, we are engaged in the process.

The Complete List of Can’t-Do-Without Tools for Anyone Who Maintains a Satellite Antenna

By | Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

superman-w-toolsAt Ka You Communications, we take our tools seriously. Categorized and inventoried after every install, our installation tools are carefully organized in our office on their own ridiculously expensive heavy-duty shelves.

Like you, we know that having the right tool – not just something that will “do” – saves you from a whole lot of angst and frustration. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be essential items and tools for constructing and maintaining satellite uplinks and downlinks.

You’ll want to keep these items in your tool box. Trust me.


Such a very cool website. Before we at Ka You Communications even arrive on site, we spend a few minutes on because we know those few minutes will save us hours of hassle later.

Here’s how you use Go to the site, plug in your address – city, state and zip code – then choose the particular satellite you’d like to look at. Dish pointer will tell you the direction of the satellite. It will give you everything you need to locate the satellite you’re looking for – the latitude, longitude, elevation of my dish, azimuth (both true and magnetic) and also the LNB offset. also helps identify any line-of-site issues before you even arrive on site. It has a small line-of-site checker which can assist you in determining whether or not the object that you think might be an issue actually IS a line-of-site conflict. can determine how far away an object is from your potential uplink site and how high it would need to be to interfere with your look angle.

What’s more, has a convenient APP for your smart phone that you can use on-site. Using a live shot from your camera, can once again give you all pertinent information to locate the satellite you need. You can look through it and get a VERY good idea where your ideal satellite is located so you know where to plant your new uplink or downlink.


Channel your inner Boy Scout. Typically your IPhone or Android has a compass application, but it doesn’t hurt to have an old fashioned “analog” compass as a back up to your app.


You can find a magnetic Angle Finder at any major home improvement/hardware store. It has a magnetic base, so you can put it against the back of the dish or in the location recommended by the antenna manufacturer and you can read the actual angle of elevation. It can tell you specifically – and more accurately – the angle of elevation better than any graduated numbers on the azimuth and elevation mount. You can use this tool in concert with the dish pointer app to, again, narrow the search for “your” satellite.


BORROW OR BUY one, but this baby is essential. It’s usually a fairly small, hand-held device with a screen that provides essential data. There are all sorts of sat finders available. The less expensive Bird Dog, to the Super Buddy by Applied Instruments – their latest version is the VSAT XR-3, to the Schomandl SM120 (which not only has the sat finder app but also has an spectrum analyzer and video decoder built in.) The SM120 IS a bit complicated to use. So if you simply want something you can shoot, point and click, the Super Buddy VSAT XR-3 is our second fav.


A spectrum analyzer is on our must-have list of tools because it can tell you so much more than a satellite meter. A satellite meter will give you the basics – whether or not you have a good signal, if you’ve found the right satellite and if you are on the right polarity. The spectrum analyzer gives you this information, and MORE .Think of it as the difference between viewing a far-away object with magnification versus the naked eye. As you adjust your azimuth, polarity and elevation the spectrum analyzer reveals the information with real-time clarity.

Another plus. A spectrum analyzer can give you second-by-second readings regarding any type of noise level issues you are experiencing – even cross-pole noise. With a spectrum analyzer you can visibly “see” the signal and instantly view the impact of your adjustments with more detail.

There is no satellite tool as versatile as a spectrum analyzer. Not only can it be used for aligning uplinks and downlinks, but you can use it to locate any interference issues later on.


Always use compression connectors when you are putting together a satellite uplink or downlink. ALWAYS. Why? Because your F-connectors become much more reliable when a compression tool is used. You can use compression tools that are unique to the type of  connectors used on a satellite dish. These compression connectors assist in making a more solid, reliable connection, less likely to introduce noise. Plus, as your antenna ages, the connections made with a compression tool will last longer than the old crimp-on connectors -saving you from future failures. When done correctly, connections made with a compression tool will literally last years.


Invest in a great socket set, which can be used on the majority of nuts and bolts on any dish between one meter and 4.5 meters in size. In addition, you may want to have some open-end racketed wrenches and box racketed wrenches – anything to move standard and metered bolts and connectors.

dataandroidWASP SPRAY

No matter what kind of antenna you have – C-Band or Ku-Band – you don’t want to inspect your satellite uplink or downlink without it.

As mentioned in one of our previous blogs wasps love to nest in compromised feed horns where the clear plastic cover is either cracked or gone. As the nest gets a little bigger and it’s residents gain in numbers (and in activity) your ebno losses begin a downhill spiral.

They can also bed down in the azimuth/elevation mechanical components on the back of the dish.

Our advice: make them regret squatting on your turf. “Kill zem. You must kill zem all, before it’s too late.” Sigmund Freud to Data, Star Trek TNG Phantasms.


Whether you are putting in a new site or maintaining a current site, tree fade happens. Given time, those inconsequential saplings become a problem. Keep a chain saw handy. (Added bonus: storing it in a place of prominence in your office may keep pesky co-workers at bay.)


A really cool, stretchy waterproof silicon tape that is typically used for plumbing, Tommy Tape is Ka You’s go-to tape for sealing up those outside connections on LNB’s, BUC’s, etc. It’s flexible, holds tight, and yet it’s not as “gunky” as some tapes can be. We use it on everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – located on your antenna that may be susceptible to the elements.

Does this list get you thinking about your own toolbox? We hope so. We think these 10 items make up a pretty comprehensive list of essential satellite tools, but if you think of something that is on your personal go-to list that we may have overlooked, let us know. With scheduled maintenance and the right tools, your satellite uplink and downlinks should continue to function for years.

5 Avoidable Uplink Disasters

By | Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology, Video

AvoidableUplinkDisasters1And What You Can Do To Prevent Them

Can a little thing like a strategically-placed sapling bring your audio or video network to it’s proverbial knees? Yes, it can!

The health of your satellite uplink isn’t something to take lightly, since there are all sorts of wacky things that can affect transmission.

Over the years we’ve seen it all. You may have experienced a few of these issues yourself!

So here is our Top 5 Avoidable Uplink Disasters, with suggestions from us on how to keep these potential disasters at bay.


Water in a feed horn, waveguide or connectors will produce fade and reduce performance. Water can get into the feed horn through a broken or damaged plastic cover.

Even a little water in the waveguide will reduce performance, even at a C-band uplink site. And if the water sits in the waveguide for too long it can be damaging to the copper plating inside the waveguide.

SOLUTION. Water damage usually goes hand in hand with a lack of adequate taping. Inspect your connections, waveguide and feed horn on a regular basis to ensure everything is sealed up solid.

We like to use an item called tommy tape; it’s a stretchy tape that keeps water out of those places where it can cause the most damage – like your connectors.

Keep these areas water tight, and any time your replacing connectors don’t forget to tape up afterwards.

AvoidableUplinkDisasters2#4. LAWN DEBRIS

Lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers all produce debris that can be damaging for the cooling system of the amplifier. Uplink amplifiers are usually mounted on the king post or the feed arm. They produce high frequency transmissions, and get hot in the process. Fans are used to pull heat away from the amplifier, while cooling fins allow air to circulate through the unit.

The same fan designed to cool the unit can pull yard clippings, leaves and trash into amplifier, blocking the fan and causing the unit to run hot – ultimately damaging the power supply and possibly the RF components as well.

SOLUTION. Try to keep lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers away from the uplink amplifier.

Inspect the amplifier visually for debris in the unit. If there is junk around the fan, you should be able to see it. You’ll probably also notice that the fan will be running slower than usual – hotter than usual, as well.

If you do need to clean it out, shut down the uplink, pull the cover off and use a paint brush and/or a shop vac to clean out the system.


Death by lawn tractor is a particularly painful way to lose network lock. A less-than-careful lawn guy gets too close and either bends the feed arm or cuts a cable. Both spell disaster for your network, since a new feed arm can take up to two weeks to replace.

SOLUTION. In a word? Fencing. Not only does it keep the riffraff out, it keeps these types of accidents from occurring in the first place.


Yep. Few horses or cows can resist using a well-placed feed arm as a back scratch. And since feed arms aren’t designed to hold up to bovine wear and tear, it bends. (See DEATH BY LAWN TRACTOR above.)

Along the same vein, if your feed horn cover isn’t solid, secure and sealed, you may end up hosting a colony of wasps. (If you’re experiencing fade at specific times of the day – like when flying insects would likely be active -then wasps could be the culprit.)

SOLUTION. Fencing to eliminate bovine and equine fade, and a solid, secure feed horn to keep wasps at bay.

AvoidableUplinkDisasters3#1. TREE FADE

A common issue at uplinks and downlinks, yet it never fails to take us all by surprise.

That sapling, barely more than a stick when your uplink was originally installed, is 60 – maybe even 70 FEET away – yet it has the audacity to grow…right smack dab into your uplink’s line of site. The tree that wasn’t an issue, suddenly IS.

When do folks first notice tree fade? Usually in the spring, when the tree is starting to leaf out.

SOLUTION. Walk the property and make note of plantings, and take care of them before they become problematic. For optimal transmission, keeping line of site clear is imperative.

Your satellite uplink is outside, constantly exposed to wildlife, the elements, and changing landscape. Your best offense is a good defense. Keep your uplink in tip-top shape by frequently inspecting the equipment and surrounding area.

Let’s keep your transmission performing at it’s best.

The Most Ridiculous Advice EVER About Satellite

By | Satellite technology

Ever met a satellite technology naysayer? We have. Satellite naysayers believe that delivering audio or video content via satellite is antiquated. You see, only they can accurately read the future of telecommunications and – according to the naysayers – satellite is on its deathbed, being given its last rites.

Satellite technology naysayers like to share their opinions about the future of satellite with me, with you, and with anyone else within earshot. They like to make broad, sweeping statements, like:

“Satellite is old technology.”

“No one uses satellite for content delivery any more.”

“Satellite will be obsolete in the next few years; Internet is our future.”

Really?! Puh-leease!

It floors me when I hear these talking points from folks who are looking for a reliable, cost-effective content delivery method. Satellite has been around for a long time – over 50 years – yet I think it’s safe to say it is just now hitting it’s stride.

The very first orbital satellite, Telstar 1, was launched in 1962. It forever changed the way people could receive images and content from around the world. A joint venture between the US, France and Britain, the first satellite in space was aluminum and used only 14 watts of power (most laptops currently use 65 or 90 watts).

The first working satellite was only able to carry 600 phone calls and a single black-and-white TV channel, but hey – it WAS the 60’s, right? Not much was needed then.

Now there are countless commercial satellites orbiting the globe, providing everything from Ultra HD TV services and satellite radio to satellite-delivered broadband. Satellite delivers to every county, parish, small town and major city in the US, and to every continent on earth.

It may have all started with a hunk of metal 54 years ago, but this is really just the beginning of big things to come.

So what “big things” should our customers who use satellite for audio and video transmissions expect to see now and in the near future?

  • DVB-SX for satellite transmissions. Benefits include smaller roll-off options of 5% and 10% (in addition to 20%, 25% and 35% in DVB-S2). Finer gradation and extension of number of modulation and coding modes, plus new constellation options for linear and non-linear channels. Additional scrambling options for critical co-channel interference situations. Channel bonding of up to 3 channels. Very Low SNR operation support down to -10 dB SNR super-frame option.
  • DVB-S is now available for “Low Bit Rate” decoders in satellite audio network delivery. Gives small program providers all of the features and benefits once only available to the large national networks.
  • A global broadband communications platform. Earlier this year ViaSat announced plans to design and deliver affordable, high-speed Internet connectivity and video streaming.
  • An expansion of the development and broadcast of Ultra-HD/4K services. Ultra-HD has been used successfully in transmitting sporting events to all corners of the globe, helping grow events like the World Cup and Pan Am Games into truly global spectacles. Expect more development of Ultra-HD/4K in the future.

With any technology, there are naysayers. No matter. You can be confident that there are big things in the future for those of us who love the reliability, effectiveness and security of satellite.

The Greatest Audio Product to Come Out of This Year’s NAB

By | Multisite church, Satellite technology

Think of it as an early Christmas gift.

Finding baby Jesus in the King cake.

The equivalent to hitting the jackpot.

If your network operates on one of the lower data rates – like 128 to the 192 kbps range – there is now a new receiver on the market, customized with your network’s specific needs in mind.

It’s the XDS Pro 1R Digital Media Receiver with low bit rate decoding. Debuted at NAB 2016, the Pro 1R will be available in the marketplace in June.

Make no mistake, Pro 1R is BIG NEWS for many of our customers still operating on the Comstream ABR platform. Before now, these broadcasters could not justify the increase in monthly space segment costs to update their current out-dated receivers to more efficient units with DVB and AAC.

Like the Pro 1Q, the Pro 1R has all the features and benefits that radio networks operating on higher bandwidths have enjoyed, like:

  • Low bitrate down to 100 Ksps
  • Can fit in a 200 KHz carrier
  • DVB S/S2 – QPSK/8PSK
  • MPEG2, AAC-LC, HEv1, and HV2
  • Locally input LIDs, liners, spots
  • Import/export content locally
  • And (drum-roll, please) Store and forward

Before we go further, here’s the back story. Earlier this year management at Pico Digital – the guys who manufacture the XDS platform – asked us for feedback. Specifically, what would compel the smaller religious networks to make the move and update their satellite platforms?

We explained the remaining marketplace is in the 128-192 kbps range, and – for stewardship reasons – have no intention of purchasing more space segment to adapt to the Pro 1Q. These smaller networks need the same features and benefits that the larger networks enjoy, we reasoned, but with the ability to lock on to a small carrier with a receiver.

In other words, we asked. Nicely.

Pro 1R@NABLet’s talk price tag. There is a slight premium on these receivers since they specifically function in the 128-192 kbps range. However, by not having to graduate to a higher bandwidth, the small networks make up the financial difference by being able to stay with the lower space segment.

The switch to this new platform only requires a few new pieces of equipment at the uplink – replace the current encoder with an XDS encoder and upgrade the DMD modem. No change in bandwidth necessary, since the expanded range of the new Pro 1R takes care of that. After these updates at the uplink, the installation of the new receivers can begin.

Here’s the cool part: you can start off linear, then adapt to the network management system (Store and forward) when your network is ready. But even in linear mode, you are enjoying features not even dreamed of with the ABR, including the ability to pre-record and play out station ID’s from the Pro 1R. For unattended stations, this is your way of “dipping your toes” into the localization waters.

Amazing. Right?

Like more info about the Pro 1R? Ask us anything – we’d like to help. Besides the benefit of finally putting your obsolete ABR platform to rest, this product can deliver a whole new range of possibilities for your network.

Give us a call. We’re here to facilitate your network transition.

4 Essential Troubleshooting Strategies for Your Network

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

Houston, We Have a ProblemTroubleshooting. Tech types know this verb well. It refers to the logical, systematic search that must be conducted to make a product or system operational again.

How do you proceed in a logical, systematic way when exploring problems at your audio or video uplink? For either, the troubleshooting is basically the same. Here are our best suggestions for getting to the root of the problem.


At the equipment rack. Start at the encoder and make sure the power is on. Don’t laugh – some folks have been known to skip this step! Take a look at the front panel and make a note of what lights are on.

Now check your modulator or modem. Is it on? What lights are illuminated on the front panel?

Before your network is in hot water, do this: Make a complete record today of all of the correct settings in your encoder and modulator/modem. When you have a problem you can then easily compare the original parameters to the settings during any troubleshooting episode.

At the uplink antenna. Double-checking the operational health of an amplifier or BUC is a little different, as there are multiple ways to detect whether or not the equipment has power. Some amplifiers have small LED lights that indicate power while others have fans, so if either of these are off you can infer that there is no power. Of course, some amplifiers have nothing that readily indicates power, so you may be required to use a volt meter to make sure there is not a blown circuit at the BUC or amplifier at the dish.


Only with a computer or terminal do you have the ability to check your amplifier or BUC for alarms. Checking for alarms is easier with encoders and modulators. Lacking a computer or terminal, you can go through the front panel to find answers. Are any alarms lit? If so, go through them one by one. With any luck, an indicator will steer you towards the issue, which could be resolved in the next step:


Yep. We’ve seen entire networks go down due to a single loose connector. Start with your cable connectors and work your way through each, making sure each connection is tight.


You know there’s trouble if that sucker has moved. If you have a Sat Buddy or an SM120, you should be able to plug it in and tell if the dish is out of alignment. If you find there is no lock on the orbital satellite that you are assigned to, then congratulations – you’ve found your issue.


We can help. If equipment has failed and you do not have backup, check with us. We can expedite the delivery of any replacement gear that you may need.

If your uplink has moved, we’ll contact satellite operations and assist you in successfully completing cross pole.

When your network is down, no one – least of all, your audience, is happy. If you’ve gone through all the steps above and have yet to locate the problem, we need to know this, as well. Let us add our troubleshooting skills to yours and locate the issue.

2015 Roundup – Our BEST Blog Posts of the Year!

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

Santa & CoffeeThe month of December always sneaks up on me.

I’m not sure how, since it always follows November, but I never seem to pull it all together…complete everything on my “to do” list and simply enjoy this wonderful time of year.

Maybe it’s because December is a month of contrasts; a month of excess and merriment in what seems to be direct opposition with contemplation and reflection. Speaking of reflection – indulge me as I contemplate the effectiveness of this blog. I post each and every entry with all the angst of a new parent: Is this blog topic relevant? Do the graphics enhance the content? Does anyone even READ the content?

Numbers indicate that some of y’all actually DO read my posts, which is such a relief! Thank you! After a quick analysis of these entries’ click rates, let me share – again – three of Ka You Communications most enjoyed blog posts of 2015.

Our third most read blog entry of 2015 is A Short List of What to See at NAB 2015. Published in the weeks preceding the annual Las Vegas show, the post featured our Technology Must-Sees for our broadcast customers and our video content clients. The research for this blog entry was great groundwork for my own list of must-sees on the show floor.

Number Two: We’ll NEVER Recommend Pre-recording Messages at your Multi Site Church. And Here’s Why. This post focuses on one of the most awesome aspects of using satellite to link multi site campuses: a live broadcast. Pastors aren’t relegated to pre-recorded services to ensure that their remote sites receive a quality transmission.

Our most-read blog entry? Three Smart Points to Consider When Choosing C-Band, Over the summer we tackled the age-old question: which might best meet your network broadcast needs, C-band satellite or Ku? We tried to put to rest common misconceptions, and gave specific reasons why someone would choose to operate their network in the C-band frequency range.

One more thing – as the holiday season marches forward – the tree goes up, the lights are strung and I stand in yet another queue at UPS – let me take a moment to reflect on YOU, our customer.

Thank YouThank you for allowing us the privilege of serving you. We are excited to be entering our 16th year as a company, and humbly acknowledge that we would not BE in business without those who trust us to design, build and maintain their secure audio and video satellite transmissions. We understand that we have been entrusted with the distribution of your message, and don’t take this honor for granted.

So, again, THANK YOU. And yes…your chocolate should soon be arriving in the mail. <smile>

The Brilliance of Redundancy and the Backup Quarterback

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

The BackupFunny…the things that remind you of the importance of network equipment redundancy.

A few weekends ago I was watching the football team of my alma mater on TV – that would be the Florida State Seminoles, sports fans – take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While Wake Forest was playing well, the Noles’ performance was…meh.

The Seminoles took the win, 24-16, but it wasn’t pretty. The new QB that our Head Coach JUST HAD TO RECRUIT after being dropped by from Notre Dame continues to perform less-than-stellar on the field, while the team in general seems to be plagued with injuries.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest looked good…REALLY good, in spite of an injury to one of their key players. Their starting quarterback had been injured in the previous week’s game, so Wake Forest’s second needed to step up. And he did – big time. Backup QB Kendall Hinton had 27 completions for 215 yards, threw for a touchdown, and had a 110 efficiency rating, as well – amazing for a freshman.

What does playmaker Quarterback Kendall Hinton have to do with network redundancy, you ask? Everything. Think of the Demon Deacons as a broadcast network. Follow this analogy and Hinton was the off-the-shelf redundancy that seamlessly replaced the failed piece of equipment, allowing the team – I mean network – to stay in the game (which they did – just ask us Noles).

Never doubt the importance of redundancy.

Saddleback Video ControlIn one of this year’s previous posts (Three Things to Know to Keep Your ABR Network Alive) we acknowledged not every current ABR network is financially ready to make the investment in a DVB platform, but an outlay in MULTIPLE spare DAC 7000 encoders and ABR 202 or 202A receivers MUST be made until you convert. Think two encoders and enough spare receivers to supply half of your downlink sites.

Remember: ABR equipment is no longer being manufactured and will only be repaired as long as parts are available. A missing ABR 202 with no backup will cost you a single downlink locale, yet a DAC with no backup means your entire network is indefinitely off the air!

redundancy 2Networks that have invested in the newer DVB audio or video platforms by manufacturers such as XDS, IDC, 2WComm and Ateme should not ignore the need for redundancy, either. Yes, your gear is shiny and new, but things happen. Our suggestion? One receiver for every TEN in the field. And consider budgeting for an additional encoder, modem, and amplifier, as well. Lacking these essential pieces may mean your entire network may be down for days, if not weeks.

Most FSU fans assumed the #9 ranked Seminoles would easily dominate the unranked Demon Deacons, but that was not the case. The 24-16 score does not adequately reflect how competitively the Deacons played. Wake Forest played up – hungry for a win against the Noles’ and confident in the ability of their backup – I’ll say it, redundant – quarterback.

So take a look at your network with critical eyes. Are you fully redundant?

Or, are there some improvements you can make to ensure you have backup?

Contemplating Ku-Band? Three Points That Will Make You a Fan

By | Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology, Uncategorized

Broadcasters across America frequently turn to Ku-band uplinks and their accompanying downlinks. Used for broadcasting and two-way Internet, Ku-band is cost-effective to install and functional. We recently took a closer took at the attributes of a C-band uplink; now let’s talk about Ku-band:


Because Ku-band is used by satellite communications systems, there is little interference from microwave links and other communication technologies. (Though there ARE random stories every once in a while regarding Ku-band antennas being affected by radar detectors in cars and sensors from automatic doors, but that’s another blog entry!)

Sometimes a Ku-band uplink is just the natural choice because of a lack of space. A C-band uplink antenna needs a lot more physical space – as much as three times more – than its Ku-band counterpart. While a typical C-band uplink is 3.8 meters, the average Ku-band uplink is a mere 2.4.

There’s nothing tiny about a C-band downlinks, either. In fact, they are just as big as a C-Band uplink! It’s difficult to make a 3.8 meter C-band dish look inconspicuous, while camouflaging a ku downlink is not as much of an issue.

When size matters. Note the larger size of a C-band uplink (photo left) in comparison with the Ku-band uplink on the right.

When size matters. Note the larger size of a C-band uplink (photo left) in comparison with the Ku-band uplink on the right.


Okay – if your uplink is located in a rain forest (or the deep South) you may want to go with the larger, more robust C-Band antenna, but the idea that Ku-band is constantly subject to failure during attenuation is a myth. C-band IS more reliable in areas inundated with heavy precipitation – significant attenuation of the signal is a possibility, but improvements to Ku over the years in design and equipment significantly narrowed the gap.

Even in areas that get frequent snow, Ku-Band systems perform well. The secret behind a well-functioning Ku-band uplink? Choose an integrator who installs a solid system.


Ku band downlink astride a roof peak in Southern California.

Ku band downlink astride a roof peak in Southern California.

A Ku-band system can operate with smaller antennas and less expensive equipment, so the cost of installing a Ku-band system is significantly less than C-band. Definitely a plus for the price-conscious network.

A word of caution: installing the Ku-band system may help the bottom line, but monthly bandwidth costs are slightly higher with Ku than C-band.

Every network is different and their requirements are different, as well. What are the hurdles your network needs to overcome? Important to know, since choosing whether to utilize Ku-band or C-band may not be as simple as listing the pros and cons. Contact a reputable telecommunications company that specializes in satellite integration; allow them to help you evaluate your needs before making a decision.

Know this: since its inception over 50 years ago, satellite communications technology has only gotten better – more efficient, cost-effective and reliable. Whether C-Band or Ku, you can trust the value of satellite delivery to meet your transmission demands.