Is Chaparral Communications Out of Business?

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Is Chaparral Communications Out of Business?

Post by tvroadmin » Tue May 21, 2019 10:08 pm

Their website seems to be down

These guys made feed horns. They go back to the 80s. Are the Trump tariffs starting to bite? If so, what's left of the C-band industry should flee to Canada for safety, like Norsat and our sponsors. No tariffs with China and the CAD dollar is a fraction of the USD. Just saying...

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Re: Is Chaparral Communications Out of Business?

Post by fatso » Wed May 22, 2019 1:08 am

RIP. Another great company gone. :frown

If you don't already know it was Taylor Howard's company. He was the first person to use a big dish to receive TV in the USA.

Code: Select all


H. Taylor Howard, Emeritus Professor (Research) in the Electrical Engineering
Department of the School of Engineering, died on 13 November 2002 in the crash of his
Beechcraft Bonanza minutes after taking off from the Calavaras County airport near his
ranch in San Andreas, California. He was 70. His stepson Bryan Files, 37, perished with
him. Howard is survived by his wife, Ann, four children, and a brother.

Though officially retired, Howard was continuing a distinguished Stanford career in
radio engineering and space sciences that spanned 50 years, and a separate pursuit involving
communications, invention, entrepreneurship, and advocacy that resulted in his wide
recognition as the "father" of the satellite-to-home television industry.
Howard is remembered fondly as "Tay," or Taylor, by the many friends and
colleagues with whom he interacted during these several careers. Highlights of his
professional recognitions include election to the National Academy of Engineering, selection
as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, leadership of the Radio
Science Experiment on NASA's Galileo Spacecraft that orbited the planet Jupiter, recipient of
a NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, co-founder of Chaparral
Communications, and Founding Chairman, Chairman Emeritus, and recipient of the Arthur
C. Clarke Award of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association. This last
association honored Tay by the creation of the T. Howard Foundation, whose mission is to
increase the number of women and people of color in the satellite telecommunications field.
He was also a key contributor to the establishment of a fellowship at Stanford for students
interested in radio science. Tay was an author on more than 40 scientific journal publications
and held ten patents for inventions related to his research and business endeavors.
Notwithstanding his many accomplishments, Tay was an anomaly amongst the
Stanford engineering faculty in that he held no graduate degrees and was not involved in
regular classroom teaching. As Professor for Research, course lecturing was not a
requirement. His ways of contributing to graduate school programs and education in
Electrical Engineering were in one-on-one interaction with graduate students and research
assistants, teaching by example and in research seminars, leading research projects, and
obtaining government research funding.

The 50-year association of Professor Howard with Stanford started when he found a
natural niche in the university's rapidly expanding presence in all aspects of the electronic
revolution. While still an undergraduate in the Department of Electrical Engineering, he
joined a small group of faculty and student researchers in the department's Radio
Propagation Laboratory, now called the STAR (Space, Telecommunications, and Radio
Science) Laboratory. This was one of several research groups set up when F. E. Terman
returned to Stanford as Dean of Engineering, after leading the national WW II wartime
effort in radar countermeasures at Harvard's Radio Research Laboratory. Terman and
several other Stanford returnees had been introduced to radio at a young age by having
been licensed amateur radio operators. Tay shared this background in so-called "ham"
radio. While many hams pursued amateur radio as an end in itself, Tay was among those
who used it as an opening to the future commercial and research world of electronics.
One example of Tay's earliest research contributions was his role in the 1954
experiment that first demonstrated the level of privacy inherent in "meteor-burst"
communications. This technique involves radio wave reflections from the transient trails of
ionization formed by meteors in the upper atmosphere. Tay and two other students were
tasked with building equipment and planning and conducting a weeklong campaign of
radio transmissions to Stanford from seven sites in Utah. Each night of tests involved
simultaneous transmissions from two locations at a time and at three sequential radio
frequencies, with a total of 42 independent radio links involved during the week. The
measured signal correlations revealed the key features of the susceptibility of this method of
communications to eavesdropping and jamming, and how to minimize this vulnerability.
Tay was a regular user of the Big Dish (46 meters in diameter) on the hills behind
Stanford, which was completed in early 1963. It was built for both separate and joint
research programs of SRI International of Menlo Park and Stanford University. Tay
installed a very powerful transmitter in a nearby structure and arranged to use it
simultaneously with an SRI transmitter at the base of the dish. This dual-frequency radio
facility was then employed for radar studies of the moon and for transmission experiments
to Pioneer and Mariner spacecraft, aimed at determining the ionized wind flowing from the
sun. Radio receiving instruments on several interplanetary Pioneer spacecraft and on the
Mariner spacecraft sent to the planet Venus were also a joint Stanford-SRI responsibility,
where Howard was one of the principal participants. The 1967 results of the Venus
investigation were part of the radio evidence that indicated that the Soviet Venera
spacecraft, which reached Venus at nearly the same time, did not measure the pressure and
temperature of the Venus atmosphere at the surface as first claimed, but rather failed at an
altitude of about 25 kilometers.

The moon was an object of special interest to Tay. One of his research investigations
at Stanford used radar reflections from the moon to measure the density of the
interplanetary medium or solar "wind" at a time when its value was uncertain by at least a
factor of a hundred. He built his own radio facility at his home laboratory in San Andreas
and communicated worldwide with other radio amateurs having similar equipment, by
means of reflections from the moon. Moon reflections obtained with several facilities were
investigated by Tay and Stanford colleagues to characterize certain properties of the lunar
surface, as an input to the planning of the manned landings on the moon with the Apollo
spacecraft. Before precursor unmanned spacecraft had been sent to the moon, there was
concern voiced by some that the craft with the astronauts might sink out of sight into the
lunar dust; the experiments at the Big Dish resolved these concerns well ahead of the first
manned lunar landing.

A property of radio waves called polarization is a common thread of connection
between several scientific and entrepreneurial aspects of Tay's career. He used the way that
nature changes the polarization of radio waves as they propagate between Earth and moon
to separate the effects of plasma in the Earth's ionosphere from the plasma of the solar
wind, in order to gain a better understanding of both. Additional polarization effects occur
during reflection from a surface. Deciphering the polarization properties of radar reflections
from the surfaces of the moon and planets was needed to maximize what could be learned
from his studies in radar astronomy.

A simple manifestation of polarization can be visualized from the early TV antennas
for home reception where, for example, the aluminum "sticks" were horizontal on American
rooftops and vertical in England. This lack of conformity occurred by the chance selection of
differently polarized transmitting antennas in the two countries and not by any significant
advantage of one over the other. It means, however, that a receiving system designed for
one country would not work in the other. A related mismatch occurred with American and
Russian satellite systems for space transmissions of TV programming to central distribution
stations on the ground. Tay took it as a challenge to demonstrate that the American satellite
transmissions could be received directly at his home without need for a ground distribution station, and he did
just that in his long-term quest to revolutionize the industry for tens of millions of
households. But Tay was also interested in the Russian programming. He could of course
build a second system or, more simply, mechanically change the small antenna "feed" at the
focus of his dish when he wanted to switch between the two satellites. He had a better idea.
He invented a feed system where the same mechanical structure could be used for either the
American or Russian standard of polarization, with the switch between the two being
accomplished electronically. He subsequently co-founded Chaparral Communications for
improving and manufacturing this invention. Chaparral became a 50 million dollar
enterprise within six years.

Tay impressed us all by his talents and ability to take charge and make things work.
While impatient with incompetence, he was unstinting as a mentor of graduate students and
in assisting researchers conducting experiments other than his own. He clearly enjoyed a
challenging task and spent many hours at the radio antennas and associated laboratories
located in the Stanford hills, and in a laboratory and workshop he created at his San Andreas
home. He was master of the tools of his trade ranging from giant antennas and powerful
transmitters to delicate electronics for complex scientific instruments destined to travel to
distant parts of the solar system on planetary spacecraft. And he was sometimes seen on his
bulldozer, building and repairing roads on his ranch. It was a privilege to have been his

Von R. Eshleman
G. Leonard Tyler
12ft Mesh Dish
C-Band Enthusiast since 1983

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Re: Is Chaparral Communications Out of Business?

Post by Arion » Wed May 22, 2019 1:53 pm

It's going to bite us in the butt if it hasn't already that just about all electronics are made overseas now.
10' Tek C-band dish, 1.2 meter KU band dish, ASC1 mover, Octagon/Zgemma/Icecrypt dual band STB's.

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