Patriot Antenna Systems Inc. was headquartered in Albion, Michigan, USA and designed and manufactured parabolic antennas, utilizing its patented dual skin technology, and a range of specialist Radio Frequency (RF) equipment. The antennas range from very large 12m antennas for deep space communications to military and civilian satellite communication antennas. Patriot also designed and manufactured innovative satellite communication products, focused on the medium and large antennas market, including high accuracy positioning systems, portable and flyway antenna systems as well as die cast microwave feed components.
Patriot was founded in 1992 by Jeff Mathie. In the following years business grew rapidly and over 8 million systems were deployed worldwide and the company had contracts with NASA and other federal agencies. Mathie lead company to the top of the telecommunications industry reaching 40 million USD in Annuals Sales and was recognized as a Fortune 500 company. At the peak, Patriot employed 200 employees.
In 2002 Patriot acquired tooling and production rights for the 6.1m Rx-only Earth Station Antenna from Vertex Corporation (GDSatcom). In the same year Patriot also bought new tooling, inventory and other assets from Eagle Communications, a satellite antenna manufacturer located in Jackson, Michigan, USA. The purchase included tooling equipment and an inventory of 3.7m and 4.5m antennas, in addition to a set of high-volume production tools for a commercial-quality 75cm antenna. The assets were transferred to the Patriot facility in Albion. The Eagle products were rebranded under the Patriot name.
Patriot was planning to use the acquisitions to expand its offerings in commercial-grade satellite antennas for broadcast and cable applications. The 75cm antenna, suited to DTH and broadband satellite services applications, was upgraded to a two-way VSAT ground station antenna for Ku- and Ka-Band satellite Internet applications.
Although the international satellite industry saw unprecedented growth, it took a significant decline since the worldwide recession. Many staffing reductions occurred over the years and in 2006 the company operated with only 70 staff members.
In 2007 Patriot was acquired by Cobham SATCOM, an UK-based Military and Defence company and merged Patriot in their SATCOM division. Cobham was manufacturer and supplier of satellite tracking antennas and communications systems for military and civil applications. Cobham SATCOM had been a market leader for 30 years.
After the merge Mathie left Patriot in December of 2009 and started Patriot Solar Group in Albion that is manufacturing solar trackers and other solar products.
In 2010 Cobham announced the closure of the Patriot facility in Albion and all 70 employees lost their jobs. The remaining work was consolidated at the Cobham’s facilities in Orlando, Florida. The closure left a void in the industry for quality-made antennas.
In March 2014 Challenger Communications, founded in 2011 by former Patriot VP Manufacturing Gene Sorgi, acquired all assets and tooling of former Patriot Antenna Systems. The assets included the 300,000 sq. foot manufacturing facility in Albion and tooling for the high-quality antennas known in the satellite antenna industry. The acquisition would allow Challenger Communications to supply these industry-proven products to the market once again.
These antennas will include:
• 3.8m and 4.5m Prime Focus antennas in fixed and motorized configurations,
• 3.8m Deployable Trailer Mount Offset RxTx antenna systems,
• Quick Deploy antennas in offset sizes of 1.0m, 1.2m, 1.8m and 2.4m,
• 5.0m, 6.3m, 7.5m, 9.0m, 11m and 12m Earth Station Antennas.
www.tvtechnology.com edition 13 June 2002
www.mlive.com edition 10 Sept 2010