David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Satellite Television


Television, as you know, is a very chancy business in our mountains. Some folks get only Channel 4, some lucky few with a straight shot at Lookout Mountain get everything, but most of us get nothing at all unless we invest in a satellite dish. Most exasperating is getting a lousy picture with a huge mast and antenna while our next door neighbor gets a good picture on a 16-year-old Emerson with some foil wrapped around the rabbit ears.

We’ve had television sets at our place since the early seventies and we’ve been luckier than most. Still, when the Bronco’s play, it looks like there are four teams on the field because of the ghostly reflections from our mountains.

This past summer we put in a satellite dish, and it’s made a big difference in our lives. For one thing we can see the Broncos with crystal clarity, but we also get the news, weather and nearly 180 channels of stuff. So even if 90% of television is trash, that still leaves 18 channels of pretty useful and interesting things.

When we got the dish, I began looking around, and I was surprised by the number of dishes in our area; there are a couple in downtown Allenspark and many more that aren’t so obvious. Apparently our desire to get away is well tempered by our desire to stay in touch.

Prices for satellite systems keep coming down, and by 1993 more powerful satellites will be in orbit. Most now transmit at only five watts, so you have to have at least an eight foot dish for good reception. The new generation of satellites will broadcast at up to 16 watts, so a six or even four foot dish will do the job. And Colorado is right in the middle of the satellite “footprint,” so we get the highest power the satellite can deliver. Folks in California and Florida will still need fairly large dishes.

Of course, it’s a pretty big investment but over the life of the dish and receiver you pay less per year than for a basic cable hookup, and it’s much more reliable. That’s why you see a number of dishes in Estes Park.

They’re not without problems, of course. You have to keep the snow out of them, and Lillian Trevarton’s dish was hit by lightning a few years back, but they seem not to be bothered by wind; I haven’t heard of any that have been blown down.

Then there’s the aesthetic problem. It’s true that a dish is no thing of beauty, unless you’re into high-tech aesthetics. But it’s often possible to hide it pretty well. Perhaps the worst aspect of having a dish in your front yard is that you might as well hang a sign on your house that says “TV Addicts Live Here.” We don’t like to be thought of as TV addicts.

Still, I can remember when a telephone was considered a gadget we didn’t really need up here, and many of us thought long and hard before we put one in. I expect, by the turn of the century, satellite dishes will be in the same category.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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