Isn't Technology Something... by
New technology has always fascinated me . Ham radio and
electronics have been hobbies of mine so I try to keep up with the new stuff
that comes out. I remember so well back in 1952 when I was 8 yrs. old, we got
our first television set. My Dad hooked it up and we watched in amazement any
thing that would come on. This was in Iowa and TV signals where on the weak side
you had to have a good antenna up 30 feet to get a descent picture.
My son Scot got a new 18 inch satellite TV dish. It is great a super sharp
picture and great sound using the latest digital signal and data compression
technology from a satellite in geo-synchronous orbit. He had it installed at his
house. He has recently moved into my basement apartment and moved his satellite
system with him. I said I would help him put it up. Now I must tell you a little
about Scot. He is a lot like my wife, what he lacks in technical skills, he
makes up in determination. If he decides to do something it gets done, even if
he hasn't planned it out or has all the right stuff to do the job . I, on the
other hand like to plan things out look at the pros and cons get everything
together put things off until we have all the stuff to do the job.
One evening in June '97 I came home fairly late from work and Scot was up on the
roof putting up the dish antenna and hooking up the system. But he was having
trouble and running out of daylight so I thought I had better help.
Now the dish receiver has a neat feature to aim the dish antenna you enter your
zip code and it gives you the azimuth (compass direction) and elevation angle (
how high up in the sky ) and a on screen signal strength bar that goes from 0 to
100 %. The mounting hardware has the elevation degrees marked on it but you need
a level to "plumb" or calibrate the mount. You need a compass to set the
direction. We needed to aim the antenna 41 degrees elevation and 172 degrees
But we didn't have or couldn't find a level or a compass. Scot said " we could
just guess at it." I said " we are trying to point the antenna to a dot in the
sky 22,000 miles high and you want to guess at it ! " But guess is what I did .
I was up on the roof with a cell phone and Scot was down in the basement looking
at the signal bar and we started. I guessed at where due south ( 180 Degrees )
was and I moved a little east and guessed at 41 degrees up and said on the phone
"anything " ? Scot said " no. " I moved a little and it was 5% then 10% then 20%
then 15% and so on .Each time I moved the dish I would ask Scot on the phone
"how is it now ?" and he would tell me what the signal bar showed. I tipped and
moved the dish back and forth until we got up to 82% signal strength.
Later that night as I was watching in amazement this neat ,sharp ,great sound
,high tech TV system . I was thinking back to 1952 when my Dad was on the roof
aiming the TV antenna , my Mother was inside by the TV set , and I was in the
front yard relaying the messages back on forth.
My Dad would say "any better ?".
I would say " Dad says is it any better ? " .
Mom would say "a little bit.".
I would say " Mom says it is a little better"
and it would go back and forth until we got a
good picture . So other than for the cell phone and the signal strength bar Scot
and I where doing exactly the same thing. So some things haven't changed at all.