PERSPECTIVE One (Volume 2, Number 1) Updated November, 2010.How it all began.
Note: New 'Perspective 1' material November, 2010. C-band TVRO was a deliberate plan covertly funded largely by Microwave Associates (headed by Dana Atchley, Jr; W1CF) starting in 1977. At that time, the FCC would only allow receiving dishes 9-11 meters in size following a licensing procedure; upwards of $125,000 each. By 1979, technical efforts to reduce the dish size significantly (to 2 meters!) and eliminate the licensing requirement had proven successful laying the foundation for the 'birth' of (home) C-band TVRO not only in the United States but worldwide (downwards of $2,000 each). Alas, until 1984 it was still considered by some (read: HBO) as an 'illegal' (read: 'pirate') industry!
In the 180 page October 1984 issue of CSD (Coop's Satellite Digest; front cover here), the home dish industry 'celebrated' the 5th anniversary of the FCC decision (October 18, 1979) which basically eliminated the feds from the home-dish world (the FCC voting to no longer require mandatory receiving dish-by-receiving-dish federal licensing). If no license was required, the 'only' aspect of home C-band that remained 'clouded' was the thorny problem of 'copyright', which ultimately (with cable TV prodding) would bury home C-band TVRO.
CATJ's Fifth Birthday issue traced the convoluted history of home dishes from the mid 70's through 1984, at a time when individual home systems were going in at breath-taking rates as high as 75,000 in a single month. The industry was also invading 'townies' (homes inside of towns and cities rather than rural-only users) and for that, by 1985, the home dish world would pay the ultimate price: crossing swords with the politically powerful and heavy-handed cable TV operators. That "minor" 'copyright cloud' would finally grow into a Level Five hurricane. Oh yes - that is Coop (left) with (Sir) Arthur C. Clarke and Dr. Konishi of Uniden in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1984 (right).
It is October 1986. The United States Government has finally recognised the reality of C-band home dishes (estimates vary upward to 3 million in service) and after adopting the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 home satellite dishes are now considered a legal segment of the television distribution system. Alas, the cable TV powers have decided that satellite subscribers to HBO et al are not the same as cable subscribers and a war is underway - an attempt to get satellite TV payments in line with the much lower cable TV payments for the same services. This is where you need access to "Television's Pirates" - the book and/or copies of Coop's Satellite Digest (CSD) for the period 1983-1987 (available on DVD from Jim Vines at email@example.com). .