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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Looking to upgrade our tailgate to HD. Need advice!


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#1 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:03 AM

Longtime SD tailgater, but looking to "upgrade" to HD this year. Need advice/input on the following...

1) Know I need the AU9-SL3 dish to get the 101,103 & 99 birds. Best retailer to purchase it from? Was thinking about Solid Signal or Sadoun. Wanted to buy & get setup input from a local retailer but he wasn't much help.

2) Best mounting setup for a parking lot? Was looking at the Winegard TR2000 Tripod (I'm a newbie...can't post a URL link) but the pole diameter (1.65") is too small to accommodate the AU9-SL3 dish (2" required). Does Winegard make a 2" diameter version of this or is there an easy way of adapting it? (I ain't real mechanical)

3) Can I power the AU9-SL3 off my HD receiver (H23-600) or do I need a separate power supply? (my local retailer told me I'd need a separate power supply)

4) Will I have difficulty getting good HD signal on the 99 and 103 birds using ONLY the HD receiver's built-in signal meters? My local retailer told me I'd DEFINITELY need a stand-alone signal meter. Browsing these forums, sure seems like folks ARE able to get watchable HD using only their receiver's meters. I've been getting a solid signal for years now on the 101 sat at our tailgate spot using only my SD receiver's meters.

5) Along the lines of #4, are there any good instructional videos on the web that go through the dithering process and getting good signal on the 99 and 103 sats? The videos at Solid Signal are a bit confusing for me and show the procedure using professional stand-alone meter equipment that I can't afford. I need "Setup 101 on the 99 & 103" LOL!

6) Is there an HD Spot Beam map anywhere on the web showing the coverage area of the Washington, DC locals HD spot? Here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia we get the DC locals. I can pick-up the Washington DC locals SD spot beam at our tailgate location in Morgantown, WV without a problem but don't know if I'll be able to pick-up them up in HD in Morgantown as well.

OK, think I've asked enough questions so I'll hang-up and enjoy any answers you tailgating veterans can provide. :)

Edited by EngravEER, 26 August 2010 - 11:00 AM.


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#2 OFFLINE   sweep49

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 11:38 AM

For sure your local retailer is full of it; you don't need a separate power supply and you don't need a sat meter. You can find the sats and peak them using your receiver's meter, but you must be able to see the tv as the receiver's signal meter audio has been disabled. Your receiver will power the dish.

Personally, I went the route which is detailed in this thread. In particular look at link #48 for the final setup.

http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=139735

Nice thing about this is that the old phase 3 dish uses a 1.75" mast which is easier to find a tri-pod for. I got mine on ebay and would recommend you look there for an SL3 dish or lnb depending on how you want to go with it. Also, this setup is smaller and thus easier to transport than a big slimline dish.

The main thing in getting the signal you need is to use a tripod and get the mast plumb. I use a mast end insert level which does the job nicely but a small carpenter level could be used also. Of course you need the azimuth, elevation and tilt settings for your location which can be obtained online or from your receiver when you begin the satellite setup procedure.

I used my setup at the Bristol race last weekend. I had the dish preset for elevation and tilt. Leveled the tripod, swung the dish and found the 101 bird on the first swing. I peaked it at 95% and then found the 99 and 103 to be in the 60's. I fooled with it some more but couldn't really get them any better but that was enough signal to watch the HD channels unless we got heavy rain. I'm guessing if you're in heavy rain you won't be sitting on the tailgate watching tv, so this could work well for you. We watched SD in the camper until the heavy stuff passed and the HD came back.

I hope this was of some help.

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#3 OFFLINE   doctor j

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 12:30 PM

Best advice is that whatever setup you chose, assemble it at home and make certain you can connect everthing and get your TV signals BEFORE you ever go to tailgate. DO IT SEVERAL TIMES! You'll be glad you did the preparation.

I've seen multitudes of unhappy tailgates without a clue about how to make it all work.

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#4 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 01:12 PM

Best advice is that whatever setup you chose, assemble it at home and make certain you can connect everthing and get your TV signals BEFORE you ever go to tailgate. DO IT SEVERAL TIMES! You'll be glad you did the preparation.

I've seen multitudes of unhappy tailgates without a clue about how to make it all work.

HD since 05 football season.

Doctor j


Wish I would've known about you last year, before we headed to Auburn for the WVU-Auburn game. Would've loved to have stopped by and checked-out your operation. Fantastic trip for us... minus the final score of course LOL! (we had you on the ropes early and took our foot off your jugular). By far the best away game venue we've ever experienced.

Yes, I learned with my basic SD setup many moons ago... experiment in your driveway before making a fool of yourself on gameday LOL! No way I head to Morgantown with an HD setup without first working-out the kinks :nono:

What tripod/mounting do you recommend for the Slimline? Because that dish is larger, I know many tripods won't accommodate it. I liked that Winegard tripod I mentioned in my OP but it's only 1.65" diameter and the Slimline needs 2".

Lastly, are you using a stand-along meter to get the 99 and 103 sats or just using your receiver's meter? Would love to have a Birdog meter but the "Director of Procurement" (i.e. wifey) doesn't have it in my tailgating budget :lol:

#5 OFFLINE   eakes

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 02:05 PM

Here's one that will work: http://www.solidsign...g Supplies&sku=

You will need a 2" OD mast (try a local muffler shop) and will need to attach some 'feet'.

The key to aligning the Slimline is to have the mast plumb. You can find a cheap level at HomeDepot/Lowes that has a magnet in its base or you can get a post level - has two levels mounted at right angles to each other - that you can strap on to the mast.

With a plumb mast and elevation and tilt pre-set, use a compass to find the azimuth and rotate the dish to that setting. Check a 101 transponder and you will likely have a signal, if not move the dish slowly back and forth until you obtain signal. You will probably have a signal somewhere in the 90s on 101. Now look at a 99c or 103c transponder, if its in the 70s you should be good to go. However, if you are fussy, loosen the az and el lock downs and use the fine adjustments to peak a signal on 99 or 103.

If you tailgate from the same spot often, you probably won't have to touch the fine adjustments after the first or second trip.

#6 OFFLINE   bakers12

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 03:05 PM

Make sure you get a SL3 Slimline without SWiM. It has four coax connectors on it and gets its power from the receiver(s). The SL3 with SWiM has one coax connector and needs a separate power supply.

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#7 OFFLINE   doctor j

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 04:14 PM

Wish I would've known about you last year, before we headed to Auburn for the WVU-Auburn game. Would've loved to have stopped by and checked-out your operation. Fantastic trip for us... minus the final score of course LOL! (we had you on the ropes early and took our foot off your jugular). By far the best away game venue we've ever experienced.

Yes, I learned with my basic SD setup many moons ago... experiment in your driveway before making a fool of yourself on gameday LOL! No way I head to Morgantown with an HD setup without first working-out the kinks :nono:

What tripod/mounting do you recommend for the Slimline? Because that dish is larger, I know many tripods won't accommodate it. I liked that Winegard tripod I mentioned in my OP but it's only 1.65" diameter and the Slimline needs 2".

Lastly, are you using a stand-along meter to get the 99 and 103 sats or just using your receiver's meter? Would love to have a Birdog meter but the "Director of Procurement" (i.e. wifey) doesn't have it in my tailgating budget :lol:


Thank you for the kind words.

I was at the WVU-AU game and it was an entirely different game in the second half. Either team could have won and WVU probably should have won.
Auburn "the loveliest village on the plains" is a beautiful campus and usually very hospitable place to be. I will admit a divided family , however, 5 children : 2 ALA fanatics and 3 Dye_hard Auburnites. My blood is red, but you'll find me in Auburn every fall weekend!??

Having been at this for years, I did invest in a Birddog and it helps especially with all the "lost" tailgaters that frequently find me to "help".
The receiver signal meter will do fine especially if the dish has been "sighted in" at home. Once the Elevation and Tilt has been set. A compass and Azmuith in the general direction with a bit of slow Left/Right movement will find 101 and gentle fine tuning on 103 or 99 will get "installer grade" numbers in minutes. I always use the receiver SS to fine tune 99/103 after peaking 101 with the Birddog. Having a signal meter that ID's the sat solves one of the biggest tailgate problems which is centering on 110 for the slimline not 101. It will drive you crazy it not recognized as a possible flaw.

I have a personal favorite in tripods.
The Ronard 909 Extra Heavy Duty 3' tripod with custom extra length center struts (to have the tripod squat a bit more for real wind stability) and threaded home made tripod "feet" that give me 6" of adjustability for unlevel ground, (not many "flat" areas around campus) is a tried performer. Having the tripod squat with a wider stance keeps the center of gravity within the stance of the legs. I use a shorter center pole to just clear the top ring and again keep the center of gravity lower.

http://www.ronard.com/909911.html

Solid Signal sells this tripod but I order direct from Ronard and have him give me 2 to 3" extra length center struts. It will last for years and NOTHING more stable. The extra dollars are worth the stability. One "blow over" of the tripod and a bent LNB arm or warped reflector will negate any dollars saved, not even considering the instant lost of TV reception maybe permanently that day. I've seen it happen, and been part of trying to realign a bent LNB arm. Usually happens at the most critical moment!! Don't scrimp on mission critical parts.

Doctor j

Edited by doctor j, 26 August 2010 - 04:17 PM.
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#8 OFFLINE   doctor j

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 04:22 PM

See this post re "size" of mast acceptable:

http://www.dbstalk.c...86&postcount=10

One of my Ronards holds a commercial 1.2 meter dish and a 3 1/2" mast with my "modifications".

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#9 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 10:36 AM

I have a personal favorite in tripods.
The Ronard 909 Extra Heavy Duty 3' tripod with custom extra length center struts (to have the tripod squat a bit more for real wind stability) and threaded home made tripod "feet" that give me 6" of adjustability for unlevel ground, (not many "flat" areas around campus) is a tried performer. Having the tripod squat with a wider stance keeps the center of gravity within the stance of the legs. I use a shorter center pole to just clear the top ring and again keep the center of gravity lower.

Solid Signal sells this tripod but I order direct from Ronard and have him give me 2 to 3" extra length center struts. It will last for years and NOTHING more stable. The extra dollars are worth the stability. One "blow over" of the tripod and a bent LNB arm or warped reflector will negate any dollars saved, not even considering the instant lost of TV reception maybe permanently that day. I've seen it happen, and been part of trying to realign a bent LNB arm. Usually happens at the most critical moment!! Don't scrimp on mission critical parts.

Doctor j


E-mailed Ronard last night and just called them and talked with Len. I put the above quoted text in my e-mail in the hopes that he'd remember your custom order, but he said he didn't remember it. Knew what you were describing though, but said he'd have to get back to me on Monday.

Season kicks off next Saturday and time is tight (and I've procrastinated) so I'll see if I make any progress with him on Monday. If not, Solid Signal here I come!

I'm assuming the "non-custom" Ronard 909 that SS sells is still a good tripod and would be ideal for an AU9 Slimline dish?

#10 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 10:57 AM

6) Is there an HD Spot Beam map anywhere on the web showing the coverage area of the Washington, DC locals HD spot? Here in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia we get the DC locals. I can pick-up the Washington DC locals SD spot beam at our tailgate location in Morgantown, WV without a problem but don't know if I'll be able to pick-up them up in HD in Morgantown as well.


Man, I was up to all hours of the night last night trying to find a map/info on the Washington, D.C. locals HD spot beam which I THINK is on the 99 bird. No luck :( (D.C. stations are my regular HD locals here in Martinsburg, WV). Again, with my current SD tailgate setup, I get good signal in Morgantown, WV on the D.C. locals in SD off the 101 spot beam. My obvious concern -- with upgrading to HD -- is will I be able to pull them in in Morgantown in HD.

Found a map for the Baltimore, MD HD locals spot beam on the 103 sat. That map shows the B-more spot beam has a roughly 53.5 dBw signal strength in the Morgantown area which I think is fine for picking-up the HD locals (thought I read somewhere that anything higher roughly than 51.0 dBw or so would get you a decent picture). I've got to assume the Washington, D.C. spot beam coverage is similar to Baltimore's and has at least as good of coverage in the Morgantown area.

However... if for some reason I find myself outside the D.C. HD locals spot beam in Morgantown, would I still at least be able to get the SD locals (off the 101 spot) using the AU9 Slimline and my H23-600 receiver? If worse came to worst, we could live with watching games on CBS and ABC in SD, but if we couldn't pick them up AT ALL, the tailgate upgrade to HD would be a complete FAIL!

#11 OFFLINE   drpjr

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:19 AM

Longtime SD tailgater, but looking to "upgrade" to HD this year. Need advice/input on the following....

2) Best mounting setup for a parking lot? Was looking at the Winegard TR2000 Tripod (I'm a newbie...can't post a URL link) but the pole diameter (1.65") is too small to accommodate the AU9-SL3 dish (2" required). Does Winegard make a 2" diameter version of this or is there an easy way of adapting it? (I ain't real mechanical).


If you are still interested in the Winegard. The 1.65" (1 1/2") mast can be very easily adapted using a short length (6-8") of 1 1/2" PVC water or electrical conduit. Just cut one side of the conduit lengthwise with a hacksaw. This will allow the conduit to "expand". Once the cut is made slip the conduit over the end of the 1.65" mast. You now have a 2" OD mast to mount your dish on.:) D' installers did many of these with the MPEG4 push a while back before any retail adapters were available. I beleive Solid Signal sells a metal adapter for about 15$.
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#12 OFFLINE   doctor j

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:23 AM

If you've received SD local on any other dish you will get at least the same channels.

Unclear exactly what you are asking re overall likelyhood of getting HD.

You may just have to try.
In general the HD spots in Mid-Atlantic/ New England are pretty small.

If you have a sports website/blog for WVU a question on there may get a response. I'm certain someone has already done this and knows an answer.

The locals forum on AVSforum is another option for inquiry.

Just looking on the Maps, Morgantown to DC 165 miles ; Martinsburg about 1/3 of that west of DC. I'd say iffy but I've been suprised at how much bigger the HD spots are, compared to original projections, and how low a signal still gets picture. For the most part digital is all or nothing. Not much cushion for a cloudy day but clear weather just may be possible.

Good luck!!

Len is a good man and will do all he can to get you want you need.
We've had several conversations and a "lost" shipment he may remember.

Dr Jones in Birmingham may jog his memory.

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#13 OFFLINE   SkersR1

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:24 AM

After using a cheap tripod that wasn't really made to accomodate a 2" mast the last 4 years, I got a more durable one this year.

http://tv4rv.com/cgi...3&categnumber=1

I plan on getting it set up this weekend, but from first glance it seems a lot more heavy-duty and stable than the one I had cobbled together.

#14 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 02:00 PM

If you've received SD local on any other dish you will get at least the same channels.


That sentence right there is the security blanket I was looking for. Did NOT want to spend $$$ on a new dish, tripod, receiver, etc. only to get out to Morgantown and find that I can't watch games on CBS, ABC & NBC. Period. IF they're not available in HD because we're outside of the HD spot beam, I at least know we can receive them in SD, based on past experience with my SD tailgate setup in the same location.

Len is a good man and will do all he can to get you want you need.
We've had several conversations and a "lost" shipment he may remember.

Dr Jones in Birmingham may jog his memory.

Doctor j


Doc, I'll mention you to him again on Monday when I talk with him. It's Friday and I think I may have caught him on a busy day. Can't rule-out that with a week before college football season starts, he's besieged with procrastinators like myself trying to get their tailgate TV systems squared-away before kick-off. :lol:

On a personal note, I once again want to reiterate what a fantastic time we had last year down there on The Plains. WVU's been fortunate to schedule a number of SEC teams these past few years and our trips to Mississippi State and Auburn (along with our trip to Atlanta to play Georgia in the Sugar Bowl a few years back) have been nothing short of spectacular... win or lose. It's a long shot (and I think most of us are realistic about the chances of it happening), but many Mountaineers are hoping (praying?) that future conference alignment finds us a new home in the SEC. One way or another, I hope we end-up playing one another again down the road. Would love to host you and your group at our tailgate. Think you guys would find Morgantown a great "college football town" experience. And if we ever get down to Auburn again, I'm looking you up (right after we stop at Toomer's for some lemonade... LOVED that place!)

#15 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 02:16 PM

After using a cheap tripod that wasn't really made to accomodate a 2" mast the last 4 years, I got a more durable one this year.

http://tv4rv.com/cgi...3&categnumber=1

I plan on getting it set up this weekend, but from first glance it seems a lot more heavy-duty and stable than the one I had cobbled together.


Thanks for the link Mr. Husker. I like the fact that the individual legs are adjustable... the only "heavy duty" tripod I've seen like that.

Are you putting a Slimline on top of it? If so, PLEASE post back after you set it up this weekend and let me (and everyone else) know your impressions. They appear to be out-of-stock on them on their website though.

And one more thing... once you guys begin play in the Big 10 (11, 12, ?) next year, please ask Bo to lay "half a hundred" on RichRod... IF he's still wearing the maize & blue in 2011. :lol: (West Virginians are a kind and forgiving people, but we make an exception for this particular native son!)

#16 OFFLINE   morgantown

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:58 PM

Thanks for the link Mr. Husker. I like the fact that the individual legs are adjustable... the only "heavy duty" tripod I've seen like that.

Are you putting a Slimline on top of it? If so, PLEASE post back after you set it up this weekend and let me (and everyone else) know your impressions. They appear to be out-of-stock on them on their website though.

And one more thing... once you guys begin play in the Big 10 (11, 12, ?) next year, please ask Bo to lay "half a hundred" on RichRod... IF he's still wearing the maize & blue in 2011. :lol: (West Virginians are a kind and forgiving people, but we make an exception for this particular native son!)


Hey EngravEER,

Fellow Mountaineer here. We have been tailgating for the last 21 seasons in Morgantown (wife and I work for WVU). Decided against the HD tailgate myself this season after much thought, so I'd love to hear how it all works out for you.

Good luck!
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#17 OFFLINE   RonH

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:16 PM

Our tailgate group had used DirectV SD setup for years and the small Oval dish was quick and easy setup. We decided to go to HD and used the larger dish to get HD and we had problems getting the signals we needed. I hate to say it but luckily one of our Tailgaters was a "Dish" subscriber so we went with a Vu-Cube dish which does get HD for Dish but not Directv and man what a simple setup it is. We can just set the Vu-Cube on top of our tailgate trailer and away we go.

#18 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:43 PM

Hey EngravEER,

Fellow Mountaineer here. We have been tailgating for the last 21 seasons in Morgantown (wife and I work for WVU). Decided against the HD tailgate myself this season after much thought, so I'd love to hear how it all works out for you.

Good luck!


Morgantown... you gotta come pay us a visit on gameday.

We're in the back parking lot of the Ag Annex Building (almost directly across the tracks from the Towers PRT stop). 12-15 minute walk to the Blue Lot & the Stadium but we like it that way. We're tucked back in our own little area -- for the most part away from the parking nazis and the "officials" who have a way of taking the fun out of tailgating. :lol: I've been a mobile DJ for 30+ years (specialize in weddings), so we setup the audio equipment along with our DTV system and run that (and more) off my Honda EU2000. I'm "Director of Entertainment"... others handle the cooking, tent setup, etc.

Most of our group is from the Eastern Panhandle, but we have regulars from Morgantown, Charleston, etc. Inside the stadium, almost all of our group sit in Section 130, Row 36 (lower level, press box side towards the Puskar Center).

Why did you decide against going HD for your tailgate this season? I've got no doubt I can make it work. Only thing I have "concerns" about is pulling in my HD locals (we get the Washington, D.C. locals here in the Panhandle). Does the D.C. HD locals spot beam extend out far enough to provide ample signal in the Morgantown area? I'm going to find-out next Saturday morning about 9am!

#19 OFFLINE   EngravEER

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:49 PM

Our tailgate group had used DirectV SD setup for years and the small Oval dish was quick and easy setup. We decided to go to HD and used the larger dish to get HD and we had problems getting the signals we needed. I hate to say it but luckily one of our Tailgaters was a "Dish" subscriber so we went with a Vu-Cube dish which does get HD for Dish but not Directv and man what a simple setup it is. We can just set the Vu-Cube on top of our tailgate trailer and away we go.


Yep, I looked at the VuQube option, but like you said, no HD option currently for DTV (although I think I read that the VuQube folks are working on it). Looks to be -- by far -- the easiest possible tailgate setup.

#20 OFFLINE   RonH

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:56 PM

Yep, I looked at the VuQube option, but like you said, no HD option currently for DTV (although I think I read that the VuQube folks are working on it). Looks to be -- by far -- the easiest possible tailgate setup.


Yeah we really hated that DirecTv HD couldn't be used with the Cube,hopefully they will one day get D* HD on it. The problem we always had was getting the Tripod "level" for dish placement. The Cube has some built in system that you can place it on about any surface angle and it balances itself and it too uses power from the "box" so no extra power is needed.




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