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DIY Dish Alignment

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by birdie_ace, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. birdie_ace

    birdie_ace Mentor

    37
    0
    Apr 11, 2008
    I was cutting my grass Saturday and got too close to the Slimline SL3 SWM. It is mounted low on the side of my house. The bagger on the back end of the tractor nudged the dish. When I realized what I did I stopped and then of course did what anyone else would do – put it in reverse and clipped the damn dish again! I didn’t think much of it at the time because I barely touched it. Of course when I went inside to watch some football, I was getting the dreaded 771 error message. So I did a little research on this site (heavy emphasis on little) and tried to align the dish myself. The good news is I got it working but the bad news is that my signals are pretty low.
    Dishpointer says my elevation is 38.1, skew 67.4, AZ (true) 210.5 and AZ (magn) 219.9. Now when I bumped the dish I figured that I just knocked it a bit left and then possibly back a bit to the right when I went in reverse (not up or down). The skew was fine on the dish but the elevation was about 36 so I raised it a bit to what should be close to 38.1. My channels started to work and I was temporarily happy as I was able to watch some of the late games yesterday. The signal strengths are listed below. Is it just a matter of me moving the dish slightly left or right a bit or is it possible my elevation could still be improved? What should I do next? I would like to learn how to do this myself because I am sure that one of my kids will hit the dish in the future.

    101
    88 83 84 83 81 95 82 95
    83 82 85 88 84 95 83 95
    84 77 85 90 84 96 88 96
    86 59 83 98 85 95 85 96
    Tuner 1 88% Tuner 2 83%

    103(ca)
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    29 42 29 40 24 37 0 34
    0 33 0 33 0 32 0 28
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    Tuner 1 30% Tuner 2 29%

    103(cb)
    65 53 59 47 63 51 58 47
    64 51 59 47 64 51 n/a n/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    Tuner 1 64% Tuner 2 64%

    103(s)
    42 0 21 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a 0 0
    76 67 0 0 63 57 0 0
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    Tuner 1 41% Tuner 2 40%

    99(c)
    73 73 66 67 72 70 64 65
    69 69 63 62 70 67 n/a n/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    Tuner 1 73% Tuner 2 73%

    99(s)
    72 75 66 68 0 82 n/a n/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a 28 0
    83 78 0 0 46 0 31 30
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    Tuner 1 73% Tuner 2 72%

    SWM
    97 88 97 96 92 83 88 88
    87 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a N/a
    Tuner 1 97% Tuner 2 92%
     
  2. revolg

    revolg AllStar

    58
    0
    Apr 7, 2012
    If the installer did his Job and aligned then tightened the bolts I wouldn't be so much worried about it being an alignment problem. I would be worried you be t the reflector.
     
  3. carl6

    carl6 Moderator DBSTalk Club

    12,386
    902
    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Given how lightly you claim to have hit the dish, I think alignment is probably more likely the problem than a bent reflector.

    Alignment is tricky though, it is more precise than just moving the dish a little bit. Your signal levels are way too low. Using the 103(ca) or 99(c) screen, I would try the precision dithering adjustment for azimuth and peak for maximum signal. But you need to go really really slow, it is easy to go from no signal, past peak, and back to no signal on the other side without realizing you even went past the signal if you go too fast.


    If you can't get it peaked, then call for an alignment.
     
  4. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    21,192
    182
    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    You need to ascertain whether you tweaked the mast. If the mast isn't plumb, the scales on the dish aren't correct and you're going to be at this for a while trying to dial it in by hand.

    If you can't get the mast plumb or the LNB arm or dish itself is bent, you're looking at some replacement parts.
     
  5. west99999

    west99999 Icon

    1,344
    45
    May 11, 2007
    Even a light bump on the reflector will bend it when all the bolts are tight. If it is bent slightly you will not get a "peaked" signal.
     
  6. birdie_ace

    birdie_ace Mentor

    37
    0
    Apr 11, 2008
    I didn't hit the dish very hard. The reflector is fine. I did check the mast and it remains plumb. I tinkered with the alignment a bit today and significantly improved the signal strength by just turning the dish slightly. It is not optimal but will do until I can get an installer to fine tune it. Thanks for all the valuable reponses and input.

    Is there a signal meter that is specifically used for the SL3 (reasonably priced) and is easy to use? I am getting brave and thinking about my Sunday tailgate!
     

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