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DIY Dish Alignment


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5 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   birdie_ace

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:59 AM

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©
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%

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#2 OFFLINE   revolg

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:11 PM

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 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:41 PM

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© 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 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:55 PM

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.

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. -- JFK


#5 OFFLINE   west99999

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 05:03 PM

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 OFFLINE   birdie_ace

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:54 AM

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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