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Coop's publications have always been "two-way" in dialogue from his flying finger tips at the keyboard to readers world-wide. If you have comments, suggestions, critiques, send them along (email@example.com) for consideration here.
YES - that is Senator Barry Goldwater (K7UGA) inspecting the world's first consumer computer controlled TVRO receiver, ending with the pointed query, "Where the hell are the knobs???" Oh yes, the tall guy to the right is Astronaut Gene Cernan, the "last man on the moon". And you might recognize David McClaskey (center) from the front cover of PORTOBELLO: Two (with his lobster). There's a well known 'ham' behind Goldwater in top three photos - can you work out who that is? In fact - three other 'hams' in photos including a VK2!
"I noticed on your 'Who's on First?' page the mention of Slingbox. Until now I did not realise how up to date that you have managed to make the book and wrongly thought it would end with Rolf/MadMax." (Ian Fisher, NSW, Australia) In fact the last chapters take the reader into February 2006 including the TV2Me and TelePhoSee Internet creations as well as 3G delivery on cell phones.
"It has been 20 years since I spoke with Coop. When looking at the 5th Birthday Party video, I was in the third row of the audience. I remember to this day the feeling of 'validation' I felt for our industry to have such a simple thing as a Pioneer's recognition ceremony. You bring a lot of memories spread over many years!" (Ted aka Alpha - "still careful")
"BUY THE BOOK! Just buy the book. You'll be very glad you did. Having been involved in many areas of the satellite industry for most of its history, and having known Coop personally, I knew I had to have a copy, but I thought its appeal would be fairly limited. I was wrong.
"It is so well written and has such great appeal that I think someone who was never in the business would enjoy reading this entertaining story of how an industry was born. Though it can be technical and historical in places, Bob (like a color commentator at the super bowl) has woven together the personalities and characters who brought this new technology into the world kicking and screaming. Hilarious in places, totally crazy in others, Coop's special brand of humor made the pages fly by.
"This is the inside story, told by the only man who could. The good, the bad and the ugly are laid out for all to see, and it's an entertaining trip. For me it was a 'Who's Who' of many old friends and business colleagues, and a real hoot to take a walk down memory lane. "My wife just said . . . . 'Are you carrying that same book around again?' Yes I am; one reading wasn't enough, I had to go back and read the good parts again; I had so many pages turned down at special spots to be revisited. "Just BUY THE BOOK, you'll be glad you did." Larry James, Ex Patmar/Satellite Financial Planning/SatFinder-Tulsa (Oklahoma) "As the Director of Flight Operations for RCA Satcom (F1-F4) at Vernon Valley, I wanted to thank Coop for his generous assist in reconstructing 'my past' while there in the late 70s. The DVD ('Visit to RCA Vernon Valley”) see Alternate here for all six segments – a once in a lifetime inside look at what made an uplink terminal work in 1978.
you supplied was a tremendous assist in creating my own memoirs of RCA's first leap into space! Thank you again." Archie Miller, Manchester, NJ
Miller has been asked by his grandchildren to "write it all down" from his discharge (US Navy) to the first-ever-RCA-jump into space; a book anticipate sometime in 2011! To: was issued in 2011 (Amazon search Archie Miller).
"I have often wondered what happened to Coop - so good to see you alive and well in NZ! David Brough stayed with us for 2 or 3 months a few years back, was working on a small swimming pool idea for exercise. In 1989 I built a new cable TV system here in Salem, my son Monty owns it and is doing OK. The main dish is a 16 foot '8-BALL'; HA! I thought this would be my last major project but in 2002 I bought 80 of the old AT&T tower sites; got the towers, land, buildings and everything in the buildings - paid scrap prices and gonna do OK on these. These are huge 175-360 foot high four legged towers - really BIG!" Haden McCullough, Salem, Arkansas
"Just stumbled across your website. I started a company in the early 80s with a fellow CATV buddy, Frank Abruzzo, called 'Satellite Link' and we played the Miami home shows and the like. Hired another buddy working at Sensormatic, Alli Lake, who was good with an iron. I built the entire CATV system in South Caicos (for Turks Islander Eben Mills) from the headend down to the taps - lacking hardware we wrapped .540 and .412 around each pole and ran on to the next one! We are currently building a home on the north coast of St. Lucia off-the-grid with a 1kw helical wind generator, a cistern, and an uplink through my 'friends' at Hughes for Data/Telephony." Steve Freidah.
"Wanted to let you know I received my copy of Television's Pirates today - and as this was my day off, I started with chapter one. This is really great - I have never read anything so detailed on the television reception business - and now with copies of the CATJ/CSD DVD, I have it all - what an amazing collection of everything ever known or important about television reception!" James Stanley Barr, Texas
"To My Old Friend Bob Cooper. Do you remember me from bygone days of SPACE, the original 'Dealer Board', VideoCipher receiver compatibility trials conducted by myself and Frank Abruzzo in Miami, Florida? I remember fondly times spent with you, Bob, both on and off the air before SPACE and then later at trade shows doing tongue and cheek bantering while you lampooned the likes of John Sie and other pompous moguls of the day. How I always enjoyed your quick wit, your verbal skills and your keen technical intellect. How time flies." Jerry Fischette CEO, TechNet International,Inc.
Jerry - the John Sie "incident" you recall is related starting on page 713 of "Television's Pirates". It was a 'turning point' for the attitude trade Association SPACE carried towards the programming world - TVRO would never be the same, again!
"Just ordered the book from your site and will give it to Dad on father's day. We put together an Orbitron SX-10 back around 1986, still in good shape. He scans the birds every day, has 3 receivers, even a Universal SCPC 200 but very little left on that format. He is WA2HDQ, and 86 years young. We built the antenna on a hangman looking stand, set it up in the backyard. Before long I was watching 'Entertainment Tonight' test pattern at 3:30PM - VERY COOL! We had created a 25' pole at the back of the house, using a rope hoisted the dish to the roof and a welder made brackets allowing us to drop the dish right into the slot on the pole. My father let out a 'YAHOO!' while I'm on the ground looking up at my 10' Orbitron atop a 25' pole. THIS IS REALLY COOL! thought I - and I still do. Oh yes, Dad was the editor of Radio Electronics (RE) and Popular Electronics (PE) back in the 60s." Gary Cornell
Gary - Coop's first-ever published major magazine article appeared in PE (June 1956) at the tender age of 18. And RE was his 'home' from 1957 onward as the TV-FM DX editor and well into the 80s with dozens and dozens of articles including several that made the front cover. It is a 'small world' my friend!
"We met briefly at one of the Las Vegas TVRO shows, 84-85, during the wild years of TVRO. We all have our stories from those days right up until that fateful day when the dreaded scrambling announcements were published. Hundreds of pissed-off customers, reels of cables, boxes of LNBs and receivers lying around getting dusty, laborers getting laid off...but look what we have in the USA now - 6 bucks of programming for 35 bucks a month and the public seems to eat it up. Makes me sad that the modern industry was born via the broken backs of the pioneers. But then, look at what Tesla accomplished. I was so pleased to find your site and it's a bit ironic that I was just in the basement last night pondering what to do with all of the CSDs I accumulated over those 6 or 7 years. I learned a great deal from those magazines, both about writing and technology. You were (are) a great inspiration to me." Ron Krauss, Chief Engineer, WYSU-FM
"Book Review: Television's Pirates: Hiding Behind your Picture Tube by Robert B. Cooper reviewed by H. Paul Shuch, N6TX Copyright © 2006 Far North Cablevision, Ltd. (New Zealand) ISBN 0-9777980-3 $29.95 US. Updates and ordering: firstname.lastname@example.org. At the May, 2006 Dayton (Ohio) Hamvention, the world's largest amateur radio convention, I had the pleasure of running into an old friend, journalist and TV technologist Bob Cooper, K6EDX/ZL4AAA. Although never a SETI League member, Bob is owed a huge debt of gratitude by those of us who repurpose surplus satellite TV dishes to our particular interest. Almost single-handedly, Bob gave birth to the industry that created our dishes. This book, his personal memoir and a history of the satellite TV revolution, is must reading for those of us who point parabolic reflectors at the stars. "Television's Pirates" traces the development of satellite TV from the early days of cable television (Coop was himself an early cable TV system designer and operator), all the way through to today's ubiquitous half-meter offset-fed dishes feeding Direct Broadcast video to hundreds of millions of households worldwide. Along the path, he reveals inside secrets of the pirates who brought about this technological revolution, motivated by fame, fortune, and the challenge of the game. It should surprise no reader that many of the original satellite pirates are now SETI League members. But some of what happened along the road, as revealed by Coop for perhaps the first time, impresses even me (and I was there!). During the 1970s, a handful of hams (your humble reporter included) vied for the honor of becoming the first to intercept and decode video-modulated photons from space. It's reminiscent of our present race to be the first to detect ETI, and the parallels will amaze you. One of our number (now sadly departed) early declared himself the 'Father of Satellite Television'. Bob Cooper examines Tay (W6HD) Howard's claim, and makes a good case that the title rightly belongs to our very own life member and Advisory Board stalwart, Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Coop also makes-public the intrigue, subterfuge, competition, and cutthroat commercialism that have led to competing claims and counter-claims, even up to the present. On a personal note: in his book, Bob Cooper generously helps me to secure my own small place in Satellite TV history. Most of his facts are accurate. Most of his words are eloquent (even those that are unfortunately misspelled, due in part to this publication having been rushed to market without the benefit of additional proofreading). Most of his recollections are clouded by Coop's peculiar brand of selective memory. And most of his pages are so engaging that you won't want to put the book down until you have devoured them; all 928."
"I just finished reading 'Television's Pirates' last night (having picked up a copy in Atlanta) and it only multiplies the respect I have for you for the things you have done in the satellite industry. In recent years it seems that every few months I have to re-invent what I am doing or selling, because of some unexpected change in the landscape of the industry. Your experiences are at least on the level of 'Lord of The Rings', I think!" Mike Kohl, Global Communications
"I have just received the book and cannot put it down. Mike Kohl said there are plans for a satellite pioneer's convention next year. I will make a point of being there whenever and wherever it takes place. Thank you again for the great book; it will be my nightly reading!" George Richardson, Senior Partner, GWRC LLC (Las Vegas)
"Your first seminar in 1979 is the reason I am what I am today. I am still designing products for HDTV and my products are found at Walmart and most US and Canada chain stores. I hold 3 patents on the Mc44c402 MTS Stereo Encoder which is used by DirecTV and Dish." Bobby Kaylor, Dallas, Texas
"I am really getting hooked on your Pirates book; it is very interesting to say the least. I started installing C-bands in 1980 and went fulltime in 1982. The book has already inspired me to get back into ham radio. I hold a Tech license, have just ordered study guides for General and Extra. Thank you for writing the book and re-inspiring me; I love it." Vern Lemasters, Lemasters Electronics (N9KMU)
"I had the honour to meet Coop at the San Jose SPTS (July 1980) and after touring the original Dexcel factory purchased their LNA serial number 71 for $1100 (!). I also got sucked in by John Rohner (in Iowa) and while his receiver worked, sort of, the ICM I subsequently bought worked far better. I still have a 12' Lindsay in the yard, works well on C band, but replaced the feedhorn with a standard Ku LNB which I use on T5 (etc.). Welcome back!" John Shivak, Regina, Sask
"It was truly an awesome experience meeting Coop again in Atlanta. I am already to page 50 of 'Televison's Pirates' and would have read all 928 pages but have to eat and sleep sometime! " Paul Helfer, Helfer Satellite
"I took ten copies of Television's Pirates with me to Albuquerque for the National Translator Association's annual conference; folks attending who were into satellite in the 80s lapped it up! The book is of keen interest, but I suggest a more detailed table of contents and more descriptive chapter headings there." Michael Couzens, Oakland, California
Michael is well respected as 'The Father of LPTV' in America, having been the FCC staffer assigned to bring together the first rules for that service in 1981. He currently practices FCC law as a private attorney. He introduced the concept of LPTV at the fall '81 Houston SPTS Conference organised by Coop and his suggestions for improving the 'readability' of Pirates will be taken seriously when (if!) the second edition is pasted together!
"I remember vividly a meeting in 1983 when Coop, David Johnson of Paraclipse and Taylor Howard of Chaparral came to my office at National Satellite Communications (Clifton, NY) during a period when I was a Board member of SPACE. We sat in my office and talked for most of the afternoon and when it was over, I knew instinctively I was REALLY on the inside track of the TVRO world. I have stayed in the industry all of these years and have my own marketing company doing work for DirecTV and their largest distributor (DSI Systems). One of my colleagues - Chris Walczak former VP of Toshiba Satellite TV, picked up a copy of 'Television's Pirates' at Satellite Expo 2006 in Atlanta and I want one too!" Ron Bruce, CEO & President, Affinity Marketing, LLC
RB Cooper, 23B Bayside Drive. Coopers Beach 0420, New Zealand