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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is off topice, but might just affect some of you here.


Many of the music systems in commercial establishments (restaurants, pubs, etc) are sourced through a company called DMX. It's a small satellite dish on the roof of the building that provides over 90 channels of commercial free music. We used to do lots of installs, and there are probably several hundred dishes in Vancouver alone. I'm guessing maybe 50K dishes in NOrth America.


Starting at 6:10 AM this moring, our phones started ringing, with people saying that their satellite music was dead. THe satellite receivers do die every once in a while, and they are suspect to sunspotting as well, but when the phone rings with many calls, it's always a source problem at one of the uplinks.


Not this time.


This time, the Telstar satellite has wobbled and is out of alignment. What I've been told by a satellite guy in the know is that these satellites are sent up with 7 years of fuel, so that they can be 'bumped' back into their proper alignment with little booster engines when solar storms send them out of alignment, or whatever the technical term is.


The issue is, Telstar is about 12 years old, and has run out of fuel. No bumpee, no workee!


Satellite and DMX installers everywhere might just be really damn busy next week realigning each and every dish to a new satellite.


I just think it's kinda funny that along with computer viruses, this is only a problem that can happen in the 21st century!


Curt
 

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Curt,


What ever happened to "Muzak" aka elevator music? My very first job was at Mickey D's and back then (early 80's) they had this Muzak receiver and I'm pretty sure it just used OTA signals to work just like a good ol transistor radio. This would seem to me a more reliable solution albeit more expensive solution for Muzak to implement. Sorry getting this even more off topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Muzak via the phone lines went the way of the dodo, and they switched to satellite as well. What came out of the telephone lines was fine, but the limited bandwidth, and the demand of the uneducated consumer that wanted 'digital' technology got them better CD quality, but problems like sunspotting and falling satellites.


Also, some of the Muzak systems used what's called SCA, (sub carrier audio) that used a special decoder off of an FM receiver. Later boxes combined the fixed frequency receiver and SCA decoder in one box, but that only offered one (and later two) channels of music.


It was really hard to compete with the 99 or so channels that DMX kicked in with in 1994.


Curt
 

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Funny how dependant we are on these damn new systems.

THX for the laugh Curt, hope it means more income for you, not more headaches.
 

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If it's Telstar4, I heard that its power regulator had failed and what systems were left were operating on unregulated battery power.
 

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Yup. Apparently Telstar 4 also carred the skin channels. I heard they had them back up and running on Telstar 6 already, bumping other stuff. Glad to see the world has its priorities...
 

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Curt,


Well, all I can say is: May 4, 1998. That's the day Galaxy V, the satellite that relayed NPR and about 80% of the nation's pager traffic, wandered off in search of some other planet. About 300 NPR member stations, including the one where I work, were stuck trying to fill time any way we could. We were re-running old shows, and taking the BBC off the internet until NPR got a realAudio feed of their own set up, and by night's end they were using a borrowed audio channel on the PBS bird.


Of course, this had to happen about 4:30 Mountain/3:30 Pacific - the middle of afternoon drive and the second feed of All Things Considered. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that it happened at such a crucial time. Maybe if it had been 3:00 in the morning, the system would have been slower to respond.


All of which is my way of saying, condolences.


- sj


P.S. Then there was the time the Associated Press dowloaded a firmware "upgrade" to all its satellite decoder boxes that contained bad code which took them all off line irretrievably. Techs had to go around installing a new rom chip in all 10,000 or so AP sat boxes around the country. Welcome to the information age!
 

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I hope the stories keep coming. This has all the makings for a classic thread.


Marvin
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SJinBoise
Well, all I can say is: May 4, 1998. That's the day Galaxy V, the satellite that relayed NPR and about 80% of the nation's pager traffic, wandered off in search of some other planet.
I remember that one. I had the pager with text for work. Turned out to be a slow day for me. If i remember correctly it took about 2 days to get the pager service back.


It just goes to show you how much we rely on high tech items in our world.


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update. We are no longer affiliated with DMX, and have not been for years, but since many of the sound systems we install use DMX as a source, we got about 50 calls yesterday and several more this morning already.


There are over 2000 dishes in Vancouver alone according to my DMX installer buddy, so my guesstimate of 50K dishes in NOrth America was way low, figure on maybe 100,000.


Each and every dish now needs to be repositioned by a DMX tech, about 4 degrees from where it is now. Not that that's bad enough, can you imagine that there's a number of dishes that have been working fine since their installation 10 years ago, and despite (mostly) galvanized hardware, a lot of these dish nuts and bolts will be frozen into place.


Not to mention the ticked off customers who have pretty dead sounding retail locations. I've told a number of them to hook up CD players, but how many non techy people (esp those cute blondes in the fitness facility) know how to do that.


But they can't be as ticked as the people that have apparently lost their nightly porn fix..;)


Curt
 

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Lyngsat.com confirms nookiesat is down. Over at slashdot one says it is still transmitting cw becons at 11700 MHz V & 12200 MHz H
 

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Some online reports the quote from skynet: "Telstar 4 experienced a short circuit of primary its power bus and is not fixable. This satellite is offline permanently
 

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Never done any DMX stuff, but I can say that MUZAK via satellite is still alive and well. Or, at least, was until T4 went down.


We installed all kinds of MUZAK receivers this past summer when I was working. We used the Encompass LE receivers on new installs, but have plenty of the older receivers still up and running all over eastern Iowa.


I'll have to call in to work on Monday and see what they did about the bird having problems. :)


- David
 
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