by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

The Crow and the DTH


The relationship between the pigeons and the statues is well known.  In fact, whenever I see statutes of leaders, which are like daffodils in spring in Madras, now Chennai, I feel both grief and glee.  Grieve to see the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, with a fair bit of ‘work’ by the pigeons.  Gleeful to see the statues of some politicians (who shall remain unnamed), and wish there were more pigeons in the area.

Where there are less pigeons, and traditionally Chennai was a pigeon free territory till 15 or 20 years ago, the crows used to fill in.  The crows are seen not as pests, but as a insect control and clean-up worker.  If not for them, the rats, the cats, and et. al, which die off on the roads would stink the town down.  There is also a tradition in some families of feeding the crows every morning with a spoonful of fresh cooked food, in memory of the ancestors.

You may wonder where this ramble about the pigeons and crows is leading to, and how it is connected with the modern DTH broadcast.  DTH is Direct-To-Home broadcast of usually TV signals from satellite, and also called satellite TV.  The terrace equipment consists of the parabolic dish antenna of around 1-1/2 feet diameter, with a contraption on a bracket at its focal point called LNB.  That contraption is a wave guide and a LNB (Low Noise Block downconverter) and the waveguide side which faces the dish has a plastic like cap of special material.

My DTH installation is around 10 years old.  After cyclone Vardah in December 2016, me and my bro found a wooden twig which had pierced the cap leaving a hole of 1 inch or so.  We removed the twig and did not cover the hole, and there has been no problems till now.

Yesterday early morning, my mom switched on the TV and found that there was no reception.  Surprised, I checked up the connections which were all OK, including a cursory inspection of the dish antenna, and raised a complaint with the service provider.

After brunch, once again, I investigated the antenna.  And the culprit was a Crow.  A neighbour is in the habit of feeding the crows early in the morning around six.  He usually scatters bits of bread, biscuits, wafers, savouries, or whatever is in hand.  Yesterday, he had scattered a savoury called ‘Ribbon Pakoda’ – a rice & gram flour fry shaped like a ribbon.

A crow had taken a piece of that ribbon pakoda and stuffed it into the hole in the LNB assembly.  Whether it got stuck there, or the crow had stuffed it there deliberately for later retrieval is not known.  But that ribbon pakoda made my mom’s life miserable for about 6 hours, disrupting the DTH TV.  Here is the image of the ribbon pakoda, partially out from the hole in the LNB.  I removed it, and made my mom happy.

crow-dth-ribbon-pakoda

BTW, the technician did turn up today, and after seeing the condition of the old LNB, I had it replaced with a new one.

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