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Use the Sun to Site New Satellite Dish

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by litzdog911, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. Sep 3, 2006 #1 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Twice each year, in March and October, the sun is your friend when it comes to finding the ideal location for a new or upgraded satellite dish. In early March and October, the sun sweeps across the sky in the same line as the earth's geosynchronous satellites, including DirecTV's satellites. This means that at various times during the day the sun will appear to shine from the exact locations of DirecTV's satellites. Once you know the correct times, you can walk around your house taking photos and looking for spots where there are NO shadows. The "shadow-free" areas mean that a dish mounted there has a clear line-of-site to that particular satellite. By taking photos at each of the exact times-of-day for each satellite location, you can compare the photos to find those shadow-free spots on your house at all of relevant times, indicating spots where your dish can "see" all of the desired satellites.

    Fortunately, there's a handy web site to determine the correct dates and times-of-day based on your location's latitude and longitude. Here's how to use it ....

    1. Surf to http://gjullien.fr/satellite.htm (you'll need Java enabled on your PC for this page to work)

    2. Find your latitude and longitude (Google makes it easy). Enter your latitude/longitude on the web page where indicated. For example, for my location in Seattle I enter Longitude = 122ºW, Latitude = 48ºN

    3. Enter the desired satellite. For DirecTV's 5-LNB dish (Ka/Ku AT9 or SlimLine AU9), you'll need to perform this step five times, once for each satellite location. For the newer 3-LNB Slimline, you only need to worry about the first three locations. Those satellite locations are:
    99.2ºW (new Ka-band satellite beaming many national HD channels and HD Locals to certain cities)
    101.0ºW (SatA: main DirecTV satellite)
    102.8ºW (new Ka-band satellite beaming national HD channels and HD Locals to certain cities)
    109.8ºW (SatC: some MPEG2 HDTV channels, but now mirrored from the 99.2ºW satellite. Not needed with SlimLine3 dish.)
    119.0ºW (SatB: international Spanish channels, local channels for some cities. Not needed with SlimLine3 dish.)

    This is a bit easier as the new SlimLine3 3-LNB HD dish because you only need to worry about receiving the 99º, 101º, and 103º satellites.

    In addition, for DirecTV's International Channel Package you also need:
    95.0ºW (international channels)

    If you're not sure which satellites beam channels you require, check out this web site
    http://www.lyngsat.com/packages/america.html
    Just realize that DirecTV often moves channels between satellites (especially HiDef channels), so ideally you'll want a clear view of ALL FIVE of the main satellites.

    4. Press "Calculate first date". The table below will update with dates and times when the sun (or moon) will appear at that location in the sky. It will also provide the azimuth and elevation for the exact satellite location. For example, for my location in Seattle when I enter "101 W" and press "Calculate first date", I see the following ....

    Satellite position is: 152.68ºAZ, 31.23ºEL
    Wed, Oct 10, 11:22:03 PDT 2007 Sun Position is 152.61ºAZ, 31.62ºEL
    Thur, Oct 11, 11:21:34 PDT 2007 Sun Position is 152.68ºAZ, 31.24ºEL

    These mean that on either of October 10 or 11 at 11:22AM local Pacific Time, the sun will be at nearly the exact location where DirecTV's SatA 101-deg W satellite "beams" its signal from the sky. Any spots on my house NOT covered by shadows can "see" that satellite.

    5. Repeat step 4 for each of the desired satellites.

    6. On the specified dates and times, go outside with your camera. Hopefully the sun is shining! Simply take pictures at the correct times. Study them to find spots on your house without shadows. Those will make good dish mounting locations.

    By the way, these times and dates actually don't change much for a few days before and after the "exact" times/dates. So you have a bit of leeway if the weather doesn't cooperate on the exact days, or you can't be home from work.

    You'll also see that there are dates/times each month when the moon can be used for this. It's a bit trickier since the moon doesn't cast much shadow, but you can look straight at the moon without killing your eyes. So just walk around your house at night at the correct time/date and you can eyeball where the satellites would be located if you could see them.

    NOTE: With the changes in Daylight Savings Time dates, be sure to use the GMT time to verify the local times shown.

    Hope you find this information useful.
     
  2. Sep 8, 2006 #2 of 131
    Thinker3932

    Thinker3932 Legend

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    Apr 12, 2006
    So, what do these other dates mean? Tonight, in about 4 hours, there should be some red constellation or something exactly where the sat is? What the heck? I need to wait for the year 2010 for this approach to work? What am I reading wrong on this report?

    Anyone want to run this Java for me for the 99*, etc, etc for an AT9 dish in Peoria, Illinois? I can't get the Java ap to work now. It worked once and now wont (even after a reboot).
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Sep 9, 2006 #3 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Mill Creek, WA
    Not sure why you're getting goofy info. Here's what I get with your numbers ....
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Sep 9, 2006 #4 of 131
    Thinker3932

    Thinker3932 Legend

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    Apr 12, 2006
    Ah, much better, must have been my Java engine. I was scratching my head at why in 2010 the sun would be in the right position in the evening--I thought maybe the apocolypse was coming....

    Thank you so much for doing this.

    OK, so 101 is where I point my dish--would you mind showing me what you get for the 99* and the 119* locations?
     
  5. Sep 9, 2006 #5 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Mill Creek, WA
    When you enter the other satellite locations (99-deg, 119-deg, etc), use the web site above, the first line in the report is the satellite's location from your house (azimuth, elevation). It's where it says "Satellite location is: ...."

    Remember, even though the AT9 Ka/Ku dish is pointed at 101-deg W for proper alignment, that dish's location will still need a clear line-of-site to ALL FIVE of DirecTV's satellites (99, 101, 103, 110, and 119-deg) to receive all of the HiDef channels from the various satellites.
     
  6. Sep 17, 2006 #6 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Bump ....
    The optimum dates are getting closer.
     
  7. Sep 23, 2006 #7 of 131
    irish65

    irish65 New Member

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    Jan 27, 2006
    This is a great tool. Although the ideal date Oct 7 for my location is not here yet the elevation is the same. This for me is the determining factor. I see now I will clear my trees by a big margin. I was worried about getting all the satellites but now I see there is no problem. I am going to take down my old direcway dish and put up my new HD dish on a well secured 10ft pole.
     
  8. Sep 25, 2006 #8 of 131
    rwbuck

    rwbuck Mentor

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    Sep 25, 2006
    My PC will not run the program - must be something wrong with my PC. This is my location - Danville, PA 17821 - 41.0117 North - 76.6578 West

    I have some big trees and I'm hoping I can receive with no problems. Thanks so much!!!!


     
  9. Sep 25, 2006 #9 of 131
    Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    Remember these are the same dates and times in which the sun can overload your dish causing a loss of signal.
     
  10. Sep 26, 2006 #10 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    If your PC uses Windows XP, you might need to install the Java application ....
    http://www.java.com/en/

    Java used to be included with Windows until Windows XP when Microsoft and Sun Microsystems had a falling out.
     
  11. Sep 26, 2006 #11 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    I went ahead and ran your location ....

    99-deg W Satellite is at 212-deg Azimuth, 38-deg Elevation
    October 8 & 9 at 2:34pm EDT

    101-deg W Satellite ("Sat A") is at 215-deg AZ, 37-deg EL
    Oct 8 & 9 at 2:43pm EDT

    103-deg W Satellite is at 217-deg AZ, 36-deg EL
    Oct 8 & 9 at 2:52pm EDT

    110-deg W Satellite ("Sat C") is at 225-deg AZ, 32-deg EL
    Oct 8 & 9 at 3:23pm EDT

    119-deg W Satellite ("Sat B") is at 234-deg AZ, 26-deg EL
    Oct 8 & 9 at 4:02pm EDT
     
  12. Sep 26, 2006 #12 of 131
    carl6

    carl6 Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Just south of you in Seattle proper. Ran the program for all 5 sat's and noticed the timing was a bit different than what you posted above. Then I noticed that in the one paragraph you referred to "109.8W", but in your example of Seattle data you referred to "109.2W" - which accounts for the difference I saw.

    So, just out of curiosity, is is 109.2 or 109.8?????

    Carl
    (About 10 miles SW as the Seagull flies.)
     
  13. Sep 26, 2006 #13 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Good catch. It's actually at 109.8 according to LyngSat. I fixed my numbers in the original post. Thanks!
     
  14. Sep 27, 2006 #14 of 131
    premio

    premio Godfather

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    Does this mean we should soon have service issues beause of sun spotting? :grin:
     
  15. Sep 27, 2006 #15 of 131
    Wolffpack

    Wolffpack Banned User

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    I'm not sure if it's called that but yes, you could run into signal problems during those times.
     
  16. Sep 28, 2006 #16 of 131
    carl6

    carl6 Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    It can also effect other communications that depend on satellite signals, including pagers, long distance phone calls, etc. Of course there are lots of satellites up there, and not all are effected at the same exact time, but over the next couple of weeks it is possible that sun alignment could briefly "wash out" the signal into a specific dish someplace, resulting in an interruption of service for that dish.

    Carl
     
  17. Sep 28, 2006 #17 of 131
    Rocko62580

    Rocko62580 Legend

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    What a great post! Now I can finally tell if I can clear my trees in the backyard! Nice job with this one!
     
  18. Oct 2, 2006 #18 of 131
    harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    This would be called "sun fade".
     
  19. Oct 4, 2006 #19 of 131
    Nuber

    Nuber New Member

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    Very nice to find this post now that I'm ready to ditch cable.

    But after running the numbers for all 5 satellites, I have two questions.

    First is that when I enter the satellite at 119.0, nothing happens. It seems that the largest number I can enter for the satellite is 118.2. After that there is no change. If anyone wants to check, I'm at 34.01N 118.3W

    My second question is about the numbers I receive form this page (directv.com/DTVAPP/customer/dishPointer.jsp?) when I enter my zip code. It gives me 136.3 Azimuth and 46.3 Elevation. But the numbers I receive from the French Java applet never match the azimuth from the Directv website. I can get the right elevation (with satellite at 101.0) but the the right azinuth only comes with the satellite at 90.2, which I don't think it exists.

    Since I'm a nubee regarding satellites I don't know if the non matching numbers matter or not, but I'm sure curious about what it means.

    Thanks
     
  20. Oct 4, 2006 #20 of 131
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Mill Creek, WA
    DirecTV's site provides azimuth values based on magnetic north values, while the Java applet provides true azimuth values.

    For the 119-deg W satellite, for your latitude/longitude I get ....
    Satellite is located at 181.8-deg AZ, 50.5-deg EL

    It changes if I use 118-deg instead, so I think the site is working properly.

    Here are the complete values I get for the 5 DirecTV satellites ....

    99-deg W satellite is at 148.4-deg AZ, 45.5-deg EL
    Sun is at this location on October 6 & 7 at 11:13am PDT

    101-deg W satellite is at 151.3-deg AZ, 46.5-deg EL
    Sun is at this location on Oct 6 & 7 at 11:22am PDT

    103-deg W satellite is at 154.4-deg AZ, 47.3-deg EL
    Sun is at this location on Oct 6 & 7 at 11:31am PDT

    110-deg W satellite is at 165.9-deg AZ, 49.5-deg EL
    Sun is at this location on Oct 6 & 7 at 12:03pm PDT

    119-deg W satellite is at 181.8-deg AZ, 50.5-deg EL
    Sun is at this location on Oct 6 & 7 at 12:44pm PDT
     

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