Offical AMC 8 Transition Thread (was Sat. AMC-8)

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Shane
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by Shane » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:14 pm

Here ya go!

1998: a satellite dish is moved to a new mount and location as part of a parking lot project. One afternoon, the feeds are missing and it turns out that the guy grading the lot bumped the dish enough to move it. (He said, "I didn't think I hit it very hard.")

A day or two later, same symptoms. I return from wherever I was to the site to find the GM attempting to aim the dish with help from my compatriot engineer who is talking to Mr. GM through his cell phone and they aren't having any luck.

They figured the grader guy hit the dish again. Nope. It was the day that one Galaxy (4?) satellite fell out of orbit. So the grader guy must have hit the dish REALLY hard that time! Knocked that satellite clear out of the sky.

Seriously, I had heard the news about the bird on the radio, IIRC, on the way there. I don't remember how we got the Brewers on that night. Mike Kelly was very resourceful. AND, I actually appreciated the GM willing to dig in and get his hands dirty. Wisconsinites can probably figure out who this was.
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by kkiddkkidd » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:20 am

Shane wrote:Here ya go!

1998: a satellite dish is moved to a new mount and location as part of a parking lot project. One afternoon, the feeds are missing and it turns out that the guy grading the lot bumped the dish enough to move it. (He said, "I didn't think I hit it very hard.")

A day or two later, same symptoms. I return from wherever I was to the site to find the GM attempting to aim the dish with help from my compatriot engineer who is talking to Mr. GM through his cell phone and they aren't having any luck.

They figured the grader guy hit the dish again. Nope. It was the day that one Galaxy (4?) satellite fell out of orbit. So the grader guy must have hit the dish REALLY hard that time! Knocked that satellite clear out of the sky.

Seriously, I had heard the news about the bird on the radio, IIRC, on the way there. I don't remember how we got the Brewers on that night. Mike Kelly was very resourceful. AND, I actually appreciated the GM willing to dig in and get his hands dirty. Wisconsinites can probably figure out who this was.
I had just the evening before installed a new dish for a small station and it was working fine when I left but was out when the station needed it the next day... I earlier had gotten a call from a large client that some of their receivers were out. We determined that it was not C5/
GE8/AMC8 and I was driving to the big station when I got the call that the new system was down as well. It didn't really click immediately that I had 2 widely separated systems down. During the hour drive to my big client, I received several more calls from various clients and could only surmise that there was a broken bird. It was several hours until we had confirmation from the networks that there was indeed a little problem.

Ironically, receivers attached to the large dish at client #1 would occasionally lock onto something and then seconds later drop off again. At least until they shut it down completely...
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by RodeoJack » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:55 pm

Today, one of my client stations got ahold of the "Regional Director of Affiliate Sales" at WW1 (for what this might be worth)...

He says, "According to our engineers, they have not heard any sort of news."

Interesting, because I started hearing this same speculation from some fairly solid engineers a couple of months back, though, as appears to be the case here, nothing you could really put your thumb on.

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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by awsherrill » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:08 pm

Mark Johnson of Ka You Communications provided a sort of explanation and update, on another list. To paraphrase, the bird at 139 West used to carry a lot of voice/data traffic between Alaska and the continental US, as part of a cooperative venture between Alascom and the then-owners of that satellite.

In the years since the current bird at 139 was launched, most or all of the voice and data traffic has been moved elsewhere, as has the cable TV programming that used to be there. Now what's left is mostly syndicated audio programming for radio, and it takes up a relatively small amount of the satellite's capacity.

Thus, launching another multi-million-dollar bird to that location does not seem to make much financial sense. Current thinking is that the existing audio bandwidth will be moved to some other bird at a different location, sometime in late 2017 or early 2018.

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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by ChuckG » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:41 pm

RodeoJack wrote:He says, "According to our engineers, they have not heard any sort of news.".
I think that's a standard answer over there. Seems the networks are the last to know about problems affecting their own networks.
Some day I'll tell the story about the WOR radio network, double audio off the satellite and their former ass't dir of engineering's less than receptive attitude when I pointed it out. Wasn't about to be told they had a problem by a backwoods, barefoot, corncob-pipe smoking Hick from Wisconsin :lol: (not Tom Ray, who's a super guy)
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:54 pm

ChuckG wrote:
RodeoJack wrote:He says, "According to our engineers, they have not heard any sort of news.".
I think that's a standard answer over there. Seems the networks are the last to know about problems affecting their own networks.
Some day I'll tell the story about the WOR radio network, double audio off the satellite and their former ass't dir of engineering's less than receptive attitude when I pointed it out. Wasn't about to be told they had a problem by a backwoods, barefoot, corncob-pipe smoking Hick from Wisconsin :lol: (not Tom Ray, who's a super guy)
One of the more interesting experiences making and selling subaudible tone decoders was coming into the office in the morning and finding 10 phone calls from customers whose tone decoder had "stopped working". I'd call them back and every one of them would be on the same network. I'd then call the network to tell them their encoding was on vacation and usually got the same answer: "we see nothing wrong on our end". Of course, about 15 minutes later everyone would suddenly start getting cue tones again. :roll:
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:49 am

I'm getting waaaayyy off topic now...

A long time ago, I added a second SCPC rx for a client to automate a baseball team. They already had an early model tunable SCPC rx for their regular satellite programming and had been manually tuning between their regular sat feed and whatever sports team they were running. Early the next morning the GM called and gave me one of the worst ass chewings that I have ever gotten from a client. The station was supposed to be running a fly-by-night sports network but there was a religious program on the air. The GM was jumping up and down about me leaving the RX on some other BS program and wouldn't listen as I told him that it was indeed airing sports when I left and drove 45 minutes the evening before.

I was running to the truck when he called back a little less angry saying that he had checked another station several miles away that ran the same sports network and they also had the same religious program on the air... Hmmmm...

I ran back in the office and called the NOC (somewhere out west as I recall) and the young operator said that everything looked fine. I asked to speak to the engineer on duty and he too said that everything was fine on their end. The engineer was just barely civil. As I was talking to him, I heard a loud mechanical interlocked switch type click over the telephone and voila... We had sports on the air. I sort of snickered and asked the engineer what was wrong and he said "nothing".

We argued about it for a couple minutes and he never admitted that they had a patch or router in the wrong position. Neither he nor the GM offered any kind of apology. I got the last laugh in that the GM was fired a few weeks later for a bunch of bad decisions and the station dumped the sports network and went back to music.

That was one of the many things that convinced me to never say "that can't happen".
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by ChuckG » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:44 pm

kkiddkkidd wrote:never say "that can't happen".
In this business that's a daily revelation. :lol:

Was that one of those (I forget the manufacturer), white faced, single rack height SCPC receivers with little chrome handles and thumbwheels?
There were some real fire-and-brimstone preachers up on that bird. We accidentally aired more than one. Or maybe not accidentally, after reading your story :lol:

Even Learfield, who IMHO runs one of the best network operations around isn't immune.
One morning the newscasts were low and distorted. NOC says they don't see anything wrong. They even sent some test audio, which got here in perfect condition. <shrug>
Next newscast was even lower and more distorted. Called back. Of course nobody else had..... still can't find anything wrong, test audio again arrived here perfectly.
Then I discovered the audio they upload to their own website was also low and distorted. Turns out it was a bad audio card way over in a newsroom PC.
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by Shane » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:47 pm

Since you mention Learfield, I read this week that Learfield is up for sale. $3B neighborhood.
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:29 pm

ChuckG wrote:
kkiddkkidd wrote:never say "that can't happen".
In this business that's a daily revelation. :lol:

Was that one of those (I forget the manufacturer), white faced, single rack height SCPC receivers with little chrome handles and thumbwheels?
There were some real fire-and-brimstone preachers up on that bird. We accidentally aired more than one. Or maybe not accidentally, after reading your story :lol:
Ain't that the truth... Every time I think that I have seen it all, someone invents a new "all"...

This was probably early to mid-90's and as I recall it was a 2 rack unit, black rx with an LED display of the SCPC freq and maybe a set of thumb wheels to set the transponder frequency. The subcarrier frequency was set by up / down buttons iirc. They really looked like they were built in someone's garage.

This station was my very first run in with LNB frequency stability. The original receiver was connected to a typical LNB of the time but they had to go hunting the SCPC signal that they wanted if it unlocked. After a lot of talking to more experienced engineers, I learned that the old direct conversion LNB just wasn't going to cut it and finally talked management into one of those new-fangled PLL units. It was about $400 and something like 500kc tolerance IIRC. Upon installation of the new LNB, signals could be dialed in directly and the staff though that I was a genius.

New digital receivers are wanting 5-10khz stability and still cost about $400...

They ended up with 2 or 3 of those receivers for various programs. I don't have a clue what bird they would have been on but would guess probably G4 or G6 at the time.

That was about the 4th station that I had added to my contract list since beginning this arduous journey in 1983... My how times have changed. Forget signal strengths and worry about EbNo's...

Later,
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by awsherrill » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:44 pm

Was that one of those (I forget the manufacturer), white faced, single rack height SCPC receivers with little chrome handles and thumbwheels?
Micro Phase?

I remember buying one of those in the early 90s to get Iowa Hawkeye sports coverage.

Worked at a news talk station that wanted to carry CNN Headline News after the (first) Gulf War started. Didn't have the budget for the proper Wegener receiver, so I used a home satellite receiver that we had lying around. CNN was on a video subcarrier on G4 (I think) and the receiver worked...kind of.

Later on we switched to CNN's radio service and got the proper receiver. I could always tell when we were locked on the proper subcarrier for CNN, because there was always sync buzz on it.

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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by ChuckG » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:38 pm

awsherrill wrote:
Micro Phase?.
No, but that jogged the memory. It was Microdyne. Two single-rack height boxes, a thumbwheel tuner and a 70Mhz IF demodulator.
Milwaukee Brewers and Interstate Radio Network among other things, depending on where the dish was aimed.
Sat in the rack next to a Fairchild DART, since the thread has drifted to boats, or at least the things that anchor them. :lol:
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by AltheEngineer » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:50 am

Was that the time we were at the Broadcasters Clinic: Fortunately because when the Bird went down, it took all the paging services along with it. There was an announcement that everyone might want to "Phone Home".

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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by Shane » Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:37 am

Had to be between April and June 1998.
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Re: Sat. AMC-8

Post by RodeoJack » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:52 pm

It's official

www.amc8migration.com

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