Just a mention here, to honor all the people of Bonneville Satellite Co. Many years have passed since that first General Conference was uplinked from a dish parked in the middle of Temple Square.
The LDS Church decided that satellite technology was the wave of the future, and began building a worldwide satellite network. It encompassed dozens of channels on satellites serving every continent. Thousands of earth stations, located at every Church facility. Cable systems took BYU-TV Network programming for rebroadcast. The origination point was BSC in Salt Lake City. Original Technical Operations were from 19 West South Temple, with the C-Band uplink in City Creek Canyon, until the city kicked them out. The TOC moved to the Triad Center and the uplink was moved to Coon ("West") Canyon, on Kennecott property.
The network continued to grow for nearly 40 years. After the cellular industry demanded most of the C-Band spectrum for their purchase, it was decided to abandon satellite, and all LDS Church communications are now done by internet.
The day after October 2021 Conference was completed, the entire uplink facility was bulldozed and hauled away as scrap. The Triad Center facility is basically gone, the operations people were sent home, and tomorrow (12-31-2021) is the final day for the rest of the staff.
Post by amanuensis on Dec 31, 2021 10:06:14 GMT -7
I am saddened to hear of the impending demise of BSC. I have some really fond memories that I will get into below. I wonder what the Church will do with all of the earth stations still located in chapel parking lots? Will they be removed or just left there like a tv antenna on the roof of a house that years ago switched to cable? I am not at all surprised by the Church ending the use of earth stations; the handwriting was on the wall for years. But I thought that there were still countries where the amount of Internet bandwidth was insufficient or unreliable, and so I assumed that the Church would still keep satellite going for a few more years as a parallel system. But they killed their shortwave radio station back when shortwave was the only way that Church broadcasts could reach overseas members, so I guess there is that precedent.
The rest of this post is going to sound unbelievably geeky. But when I was in high school (early 1980s), I was FASCINATED by the idea of satellite broadcasting (radio on steroids). When a Church broadcast happened at our stake center, I tried to linger in the chapel afterwards in the hope of seeing what kind of messages or graphics or test patterns were displayed after the broadcast ended. I knew the name of the satellite (Satcom 3R) and the transponder number (no recollection of that now, but there were only 24 transponders, and I know it was somewhere in the middle range of numbers). I had a mini-poster on my wall that I photocopied from a National Geographic article that showed satellites and when they were launched.
I graduated from a high school in Tempe, Arizona. Sometimes I would ride my bicycle to the ASU libraries to do homework (I was taking some tough classes my senior year). I found that ASU's engineering library subscribed to a trade magazine called Satellite Communications (Library of Congress call number beginning with TK5104) in which Bonnie Sat advertised each month, trying to get commercial clients to, I suppose, bring in extra money when the Church was not using the transponder.
I work now in the Internet industry. I would have loved to have worked at Bonnie Sat (or its sister company Bonnie Dat). (Bonnie Dat was Bonneville Data Communications, which tried to make a business out of distributing high value real-time data (such as current stock prices) over side bands on the Bonneville radio stations.) I went to some public demonstration of the Bonnie Dat technology when I was a student at BYU. The Bonnie Dat employee lectured for a few minutes about how the technology worked, and then used his cell phone (which in itself was a rare bird back then) to call back to the home office on South Temple (forgot if it was in the Union Pacific Annex building or the building that has Utah Woolen Mills as the ground floor tenant) and asked someone there to click a button. The button click resulted in a greeting message immediately appearing on the real time demo data stream. Obviously, Bonnie Dat's business model (if it ever had a viable one at all) was weakened by dial-up networking and killed by the World Wide Web.
Final Note: I actually paid money to buy a copy of a masters' thesis that someone had written about Bonnie Sat. My copy of it is probably still in a box in our basement somewhere.
Personal Author: Pace, Geoffrey L. Title: The emergence of Bonneville Satellite Corporation : a study of conception and development of a new telecommunications service / by Geoffrey L. Pace. Publication info: 1983. Physical description: ix, 119 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm. Content type: text Medium: unmediated Format: volume Dissertation note: Thesis (M.A.)--Brigham Young University. Dept. of Communications, 1983 Bibliography note: Bibliography: leaves 81-84. Corporate subject: Bonneville Satellite Corporation. Subject term: Earth stations (Satellite telecommunication) Related title: A study of conception and development of a new telecommunications service.
Holdings HBLL Copy Material Location PN 29.02 .P323 1 Book Harold B. Lee Library Bookshelves
Last Edit: Dec 31, 2021 10:14:31 GMT -7 by amanuensis
Post by amanuensis on Dec 31, 2021 10:21:36 GMT -7
Hey, Ken, I was checking the Internet just now to see if there was any news articles about the demise of BSC, and I see that you posted on Youtube a video of a BSC test pattern. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRrMy2YBFCY What is the context for it? That is exactly the kind of test pattern that I lingered in the stake center chapel hoping to see back in the 1980s.
I found that video last night, while looking for anything to do with BSC. It was posted, very recently I think, by someone who does satellite dx'ing... I think he might be overseas. He probably saw something about it in a trade mag. There are quite a few people who do that.
I'm surprised that Lyngsat has not updated their listings yet. And, the FCC still lists the many downlink site licenses.