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January 17, 2014

Ronn Mott: Snow vs. the satellite dish

TERRE HAUTE — Like so many of you, at my house we get our entertainment feed (mostly television) via satellite. We happened to have the one that gives us many sports channels, including the Big Ten Network, many kinds of news feeds, and more entertainment in a single night than any ancient emperor could have conjured up in a given year.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? And, for the most part, it is. The rub comes if there’s too much precipitation to the point it clogs up the receiver. It happened to us that Sunday morning when a large winter storm was dropping most of its measurable snow. We lost our TV coverage. As they say, blacker than the darkest night. So, my wife got her window washing extension together … I held the ladder and her as she went up a couple of steps and brushed the snow from the dish. Problem solved.

I called my cousin, Doris, who lives out in the country in Illinois and asked if she was getting TV signals from her satellite. It turns out her dish was stopped up as well and she wanted to know what to do since her husband did not want her to go up on a ladder. I suggested a toy squirt gun, a rifle type that would shoot anti-freezing, but cleaning liquid, off the dish. (The kind you spray on your car windshield in the winter.) So that’s what she did and, once the snow was removed, she had no more problems.

My stepson’s dish is mounted on the ground within easy reach and before the weather turns bad he sprays the dish with Pam, the product you spray on your cooking utensils so your food doesn’t stick. In this case, the Pam is sprayed on the dish and the snow slides right off. Ingenious, really. He has not had a single problem.

I suppose having Cable or some other way of receiving a signal without a dish that is exposed to the elements would be another way of doing this. In the three years or so we have been in this house with a satellite dish that is on top of our garage, we have only had to clean off the dish because of snow twice. As much as we enjoy it, it hardly seems like a problem. But, of course, when it happens it is quite a problem.  

I’m not advocating one system over another. We have the system that fulfills our particular needs and wants. And that’s about it. These little things that we know of being done might assist you in case you have a problem and have a similar receiving system.

I suppose I could contact the satellite company and see if there is anything one could put over the dish to keep this from occurring. Since I haven’t done that, and since I probably won’t, I’ll just leave it at that and hope for better weather.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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