Blog Archive

Friday, September 28, 2012

Arrival of Fall Means Some Cable Interruptions

The delivery of cable television programming bounced off of an orbiting satellite is an amazingly useful and reliable way to get a wide variety of entertainment, but, twice a year, it has some hiccups. Over the next several days those hiccups will affect your television viewing for ten to fifteen minutes per day. Then it will happen again in late spring as we look forward to summer again.

During the equinoxes, as the apparent path of the sun across our sky moves from the northern latitudes toward the southern ones (bringing with it Autumn), our satellite dish has trouble picking up the signals from the satellites out in space which are transmitting the cable programming. Anyone who has driven by our offices, and observed the giant dish looking at the southern sky, has seen the technology we use to deliver most of the cable channels you see in your homes. Except for about eighteen days per year, that dish easily receives those signals from a number of satellites parked out about 22,000 miles in the sky. Of course this applies only to the cable channels delivered via satellite. The ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and other network channels come in over the air to a conventional antenna and that transmission is not seasonally affected.

On those other days, the sun actually moves directly into a line stretching from the sun, to the satellites and then to our dish behind 100 Mallory Drive in Glasgow, Kentucky. For the time that those three elements line up (normally about 20 minutes per day), the satellite dish is blinded by the sun and cannot "see" the satellite. That results in your cable programming getting sparkles in it, then progressively getting worse until it actually falls apart for a few minutes. Then, as the earth rotates and the satellite reappears from the glare, the programming starts returning to normal gradually.

So, over the next few days, anytime between 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. you might see this happening. Do not be alarmed. It just means that Fall is arriving in Glasgow!