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Can I get a straight answer here?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by PTravel, Oct 13, 2007.

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  1. PTravel

    PTravel Legend

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    Oct 5, 2007
    I've just gotten off the phone with DirecTV.

    Again.

    I spoke to three "technicians" who, while polite, apparently lack sufficient technical knowledge to change a light bulb.

    Perhaps someone here can answer these two questions (please????):

    1. Last Sunday (after two visits from an installer), I started losing high-def channels on my HR20-700. Specifically, I lost SmithsonianHD, National GeographicHD and HDDiscovery Theater (later in the week, I started getting periodic pixelation and black screens on my local HDs and on HBOHD). I checked the signal and transponder strength and found that 103b transponders were in the 20s through 40s, and 99b varied between 12 and 66. Overall signal strength was 60% for 103b and 11% for 99b. I called DTV and they sent out a pair technicians who showed up 2-1/2 hours late for their 8-12 window. They realigned the dish, rebooted the box, and said everything was now fine. They also said that the problems I had been experiencing were due to the box being set to "native on," I should set it to off and manually change the format whenever I change channels. They said that it was my TV (!!!!) that was causing the problem. This set off my BS meter, so I checked the signal and transponder strengths. 103b was looking pretty good, but 99b is now at 7%, with individual transponder varying between 20 and 40 (not counting 0 transponders which I understand to be normal).

    Are these transponder and signal strengths correct for 99b? None of the 3 "technicians" I spoke with at DTV had the slightest idea whether these numbers were correct or not.

    2. Back to installer BS. In my conversations with the 3 "techs," I asked them why native had to be set to off. Two of them simply parroted, "That's the setting that DirecTV recommends" over and over again. The third told me it was due to "incompatibility issues" with TVs. I said my TV is not incompatible with anything -- of all my HD signal sources, only the DTV box has trouble. He finally admitted that was all the information he had.

    So what's the deal with "native"? Is this a design issue? Bad firmware? Defective box?

    The fact that I have to turn to this (excellent) resource to get a straight answer is a sad commentary on DTV.
     
  2. moparman76_69

    moparman76_69 Cool Member

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    Aug 15, 2007
    With native on, the box will output whatever resolution the station is broadcasting. They recommend you turn it to off so that A. If your tv doesn't support all resolutions, you don't get a messed up picture or no picture and B. Changing from a std. to hd channel takes an extra 5 seconds or so for the TV to change resolutions.

    As for your 99b signal strength. Do your HD locals come in? If so the you are more than likely not using the 99 signal and it is low because no spotbeams are close enough to pick up. If they do not, then the dish still needs to be realigned. All new HD content is on 103b and 103a and 99b broacast spotbeams for HD local.
     
  3. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Nov 15, 2005
    First off, Native on or off won't affect your signal strengths and is poor diagnosis/analysis on the part of the techs.

    So onward to real diagnosis. :)

    Today, satellite 99° is all spotbeams. Your numbers will only relate correctly against a close neighbor and not with anyone else. I don't suggest we worry about that signal strength. When we get 101° and 103°(b) correct, 99° will also be correct.

    Now some questions. Do you have a multiswitch? Is it a Zinwell WB68 or less likely WB616? Most other switches can produce weaker signals on 99° and 103°

    What are your signal strengths on 101°? There are a few spotbeams at the satellite slot, you can ignore them. But the rest are important.

    The 60% for 103°(b) is very low. If the multswitch is correct, then the next step typically is to realign the dish as described in the installation videos: http://www.solidsignal.com/satellite/at9_install_videos.asp

    The fine tuning is very important to be centered on the narrow Ka band signals.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  4. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    What are your readings on 103(b) after the installers realigned your dish? Those are the readings that matter the most.
     
  5. PTravel

    PTravel Legend

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    Oct 5, 2007
    I know what native does. What I don't understand is why the native setting would result in black-screens and channel loss, which is what the installers told me.

    My locals were coming in, but mid-week I started getting sporadic pixelization and signal loss. They're coming in now.
     
  6. PTravel

    PTravel Legend

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    Oct 5, 2007
    Thank you! That's what I wanted -- a clear answer.

    I do have a multiswitch, but I'm not sure which one. I'll have to check.

    They were pretty good -- mostly 80s and 90s, though with the occasional 40 and 50 mixed in. Oversal strength is 91% on tuner 1, 92% on tuner 2.

    103(b) is now showing 95 and 96%, which I guess is quite good. Individual transponders are in the 50s and 60s, with a couple in the 70s.

    It's impossible for me to align the dish myself, as it's on the roof of my apartment building and I have no way of attaching it to a television that I can see.

    Thanks, Tom. I appreciate it!
     
  7. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    All of the active transponders on 103(b) should be in the high 80's or 90's. If you have multiple individual transponders that are below that, you have a problem.

    In earlier posts you talk about average or overall readings. That is kind of meaningless. Specific values are much more helpful. For example, here are my readings, in the format we can make best use of:

    101:
    1-8: 88, 89, 88, 0, 88, 95, 89, 92
    9-16: 91, 87, 91, 0, 90, 95, 85, 95
    17-24: 86, 100, 87, 35, 91, 95, 88, 96
    25-32: 88, 61, 85, 100, 91, 92, 87, 95
    110:
    8=95, 10=95, 12=95
    119:
    22-24: 86, 0, 88
    25-32: 82, 89, 92, 88, 0, 89, 95, 82
    99(b):
    1-6: 19, 100, 0, 99, 16, 0
    103(a):
    1-6: 0, 0, 69, 0, 0, 0
    17: 0
    103(b):
    1-8: 97, 95, 95, 94, 95, 95, 94, 94
    9-16: 96, 95, 95, 95, 96, 96, NA, NA
    17-24: 98, NA, NA, NA, NA, 97, NA

    On all of the satellites, the signals I have that are very low or zero are all spot beams that are not for my location. Those are acceptable readings for those spots. The readings that are 100 are typically spot beams that do serve my location. All of the remaining readings are national or CONUS beams, and for those my readings are all good.

    The spot beams on 101 are 4, 12, 18, 20, 26 and 28.
    The spot beams on 119 are 25, 27, 29 and 31.
    All of 99(a) and 103(a) are spot beams.

    Carl
     
  8. gphvid

    gphvid Godfather

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    Jun 19, 2007
    Thousand...
    Actually, I wouldn't say it is a sad commentary on DirecTV, but the installers and techs themselves.

    I have pretty much the same experience you are having and have already had two techs out to try and re-align the dish. One was a senior tech who, upon seeing the strength of 103(b) as being 30%-50% with all the others in the 90%-100%, declared to me eye to eye that all is well and that D10 is still in testing mode and when they go full on with the new channels, the strength will go up. That's when I knew he was clueless.

    I called DirecTV and asked for Technical Support ("low signal strength" is what I said) and a guy came on and I told him this story and how clueless I thought the senior tech for Ironwood was in telling me that these low signal strengths are just fine. He agreed with me that the tech should not have done that and should have resolved the problem on that call, seeing that it was the third attempt to do the re-alignment. He wrote down the information and said he was forwarding it to a new department, Case Management Group, who apparently deals with these situations where the field techs just do not solve certain issues. I then got a call from a Joe with this group and he said that the engineer was out for the weekend but that he would call back on Monday to work on resolving this issue.

    So at least for now, I did get a response from DirecTV regarding this problem and they are looking like they want to get it resolved. I will know more come Monday, but I just don't want this same senior tech to come in here and tell me that 30% is just fine for D10 reception.
     
  9. K4SMX

    K4SMX Hall Of Fame

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    If you guys run into this tech again or another of his ilk, I suggest you show him texasbrit's signal strength panel which he posted at #48 (six days ago) in the Advisory to Do-It-Yourself Dish Re-aligners thread. There are many more like this scattered around, but you get the idea...
     
  10. PTravel

    PTravel Legend

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    Oct 5, 2007
    99(b)
    Transponders:

    15 64 0 64 17 0
    All other transponders N/A

    Signal Strength: 14% on both tuners

    103(b)

    71 54 62 48 66 56 60 51
    68 60 65 56 66 58
    70 59

    Signal Strength: 70% on both tuners
     
  11. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    Mill Creek, WA
    Those readings are still a bit low.
     
  12. PTravel

    PTravel Legend

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    Oct 5, 2007
    That's what I thought. Oh, and one other thing: there's no ground on the dish. According to the latest duo of installers, "there's no ground nearby." That's not true -- it just means running about 20 feet of wire. I'm concerned, not only about performance, but about safety.

    So, what should I do? Talking to three reps at DTV accomplished nothing -- they said if I'm losing channels, they'll schedule another service call, but this is three separate installers from the local contractor (Connect TV in Santa Monica, CA), that couldn't get it right.
     
  13. gully_foyle

    gully_foyle Hall Of Fame

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    PTravel--

    I live just down the road from you in West LA. Forget 99b -- spot beams for other people (San Diego, Ventura, etc). 103(a) has our locals. 119 & 110 have the original national HD channels, and 103(b) has the new ones.

    My readings:

    99(b) 14 74 26 75 35 0, all meaningless for us

    103(a): 97 73 0 95 95 80 .... 0

    110: 95 95 96

    119: all but #29 are between 76-92. #29 is 40. I assume it's a spot.

    103(b): all signals between 75-85. I've never seen a reading in the 90's posted by someone on the left coast. Yours seem a little low and may suffer rain fade should we ever get a real hard rain.
     
  14. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    Yes, your signals are low on 103°. Some things I'd suggest are to call DIRECTV and as for Installation Tech support or the new Case Management team.

    Then ask DIRECTV to call ConnectTV to schedule a supervisor tech to do the job right. There is no reason for all this.

    I fully understand your frustration. My sense is DIRECTV is very frustrated with their installation contractors as well.

    Good luck,
    Tom
     
  15. PTravel

    PTravel Legend

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    Oct 5, 2007
    Thanks, Tom (and everyone else who replied). I'll call DTV tomorrow.
     
  16. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    Seattle, WA
    Left Coast (Seattle) on 103(b): 96, 95, 94, 89, 94, 88, 91, 85, 94, 87, 92, 83, 94, 85, 98 and 97. A couple are actually reading lower than normal, first time I've seen any in the 80's at all.

    Carl
     
  17. gully_foyle

    gully_foyle Hall Of Fame

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    Must give you Seattle guys extra due to the rain thing. I stand corrected.
     
  18. gphvid

    gphvid Godfather

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    Thousand...
    Oh, the dream of having a signal strength on 103(b) of at least 80%...

    Maybe I'll try another avenue to get this resolve.

    Dear Santa, I've got this HD dish...
     
  19. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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  20. K4SMX

    K4SMX Hall Of Fame

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    I don't buy this "signals lower on the west coast" thing either. I've seen too many reports of signals comparable to the east coast. I think it's an LNB issue.
     
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