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WLNS Stays on Target with Dawnco Meter

(L-R) Scott Andres, WLNS-TV assistant chief engineer; Ken Orlich, maintenance engineer; John Moore, station IT director; Fran Warchala, antenna installer; David Slater, maintenance engineer; Cory Cumming, chief engineer and Rich Hanovich, maintenance engineer

LANSING, MICH.—Last year WLNS-TV purchased four new Dawnco five-meter satellite antennas and DawnNco’s BestBuddy Turbo S2 satellite meter to help us set up these systems.

The satellite meter we’d been using was rather antiquated and not that reliable, so I wanted something more modern and easy to use. Thanks to the new meter we were able to install and align our dishes in an amazingly short amount of time. The Turbo S2 identifies satellites by name and also gives you C/N and signal level data, making antenna peaking nearly effortless.

One of the biggest differences between the S2 and the older satellite meter was in updating satellite information. With satellites seeming to appear and disappear at rather frequent intervals, being able to load new orbital information is really a key requirement for any satellite meter. The Dawnco S2 makes this easy. Its spectrum analyzer function is also easy to read, another bonus feature when you’re aligning a dish.

In addition to carrying a full slate of satellite-delivered network programming, we also record a large volume of syndicated programming for the stations. And just as with most television stations, in addition to this regular programming we also have some peak traffic periods that keep us busy.

A case in point was this year’s “March Madness.” Our sports department is really voracious when it comes to special feeds, pulling in content from just about any bird they can book time on. Manually hunting for some of these lesser used satellites used to take too much time; however, now with the Turbo S2 we can quickly identify just about any satellite and keep the sports director smiling.

Dawnco’s Turbo S2 satellite meter Obviously, we place a lot of dependence on our satellite antennas and receivers, and if a downlink system should fail it’s imperative to get it back on line quickly. Having the proper diagnostic tools to do so greatly enhances our ability to make sure that all of our satellite-delivered programming is available and Dawnco’s Turbo S2 has proven to be a really big help in that regard.

The Turbo S2 arrived in a very well-constructed carrying case and has proven to be very rugged, in one case surviving a 20-foot fall to the ground. (I wouldn’t want to have had such an accident with our old meter.)

The Turbo S2 is protected by rubber armor on all sides, so this explains a lot about its robustness.

It’s also completely portable, operating on rechargeable batteries (which provide quite a long run time), and can supply power to the antenna’s LNB too. You can take it right to the dish to immediately troubleshoot a cable problem, allowing you to rule this out before looking at other areas in which the problem may lie.

Dawnco has been our source for satellite gear for a long time. They’ve always provided excellent information and planning assistance when we’ve needed it and the Turbo S2 is just one of the many quality products we’ve purchased from them.

Cory Cumming is chief engineer at WLNS-TV/WLAJ-DT and has been in broadcasting since 1989. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Dawnco at 248-391-9200 or