Dismantling the Satellite System

By , October 29, 2015

Now that we’ve solved our Internet connection wrinkles (see Well Connected) it’s time to clean up the mess from the satellite system.

The satellite dish with the modem "posed" at its base (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The satellite dish with the modem “posed” at its base (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We left our dish in place until now because another satellite provider who covers our region could apparently install their receiver on a former Starband dish and repoint slightly to their satellite. This may or may not have proved less expensive than the cellular route we chose once all costs are counted. However, it requires service from someone who lives somewhere else and travels to the area. In fact, we learned of Starband’s impending disappearance from this provider back in June or July. At the time, he said he’d come to Haines in September to install systems for people. Recently, I heard he plans to come in November.

That raised a warning in our minds. While we admit to being a long way away from true self sufficiency, we know that depending on others for our needs often creates problems. Starband had incredibly bad customer service, but we benefitted from a local installer, who bent over backward to help us out each and every time we discovered trouble!

So, we now have a pile of equipment to dismantle and remove from the property.

Tuesday, our last sunny day for a while, I took some tools out to the beach and started tearing down the dish. I removed the receiver, which will likely go to the recycling center or dump in town. I set aside the bracket that held it, and the bracing poles. They’re not too big to store. I have a feeling they’ll become part of some project on the homestead somewhere down the line. The mechanism that points the dish seems full of potential as well. I’ll certainly find uses for the yogurt tub full of nuts and bolts I collected from the disassembly. Even the improvised plastic snowshield will get reused. Most of the outside equipment seems likely to help in future projects.

Most of all, the dish and pole show promise. Our black painted dish (see Vanishing Act) could be a heat gathering lid for a compost bin. A neighbor suggested using it as a base for the solar oven on the uneven, rocky beach (see Cooking With Solar). It’s going to be extremely useful, we just haven’t decided how at the moment!

The pole, anchored by concrete on the beach, will most likely anchor a new clothes line. I’d like to stick a flag pole in the top of it as well. For now, I have a plastic container stuck on top to keep it from filling with rainwater.

The remaining pole after disassembly (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The remaining pole after disassembly (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Inside the cabin, I removed the modem and its power cords. I disconnected the cable that ran from the dish to the modem, and stuffed insulation in the hole through the cabin wall. I rolled and bundled the cable, and threw it on the pile of stuff to throw away.

I’m pretty thrilled with the finished job. Michelle has always hated the cable cutting across the front yard. I’m glad to remove it, too, although we both realize it served as a nice perch for birds, especially hummingbirds, within easy view of the windows.

I had not realized how the satellite dish occluded the view. When I took it down, it seemed to open up the vista out of proportion to its actual size. I never liked having the dish out on the beach. I’m really glad it’s gone.

For us, this seems like the end of an era. We now move to a new way of doing things on line. Hopefully, it will prove the improvement it appears to be.

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