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Guest Message by DevFuse

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satellite dish aiming


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23 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:14 PM

I'm responding to an old thread here, but the warning I got made me think it would be better to start off anew....


......having a signal meter sure makes it easier. If you drag a small TV set out to the dish location with you, using the built in signal meters works pretty well......



Maybe I can ask what is probably a kid-level question here....

I am trying to aim a slim-line oval dish, which has the SWM, etc., all hooked up. I have a TV aimed at my balcony so I can see the signal level meters. How close does the dish have to get to "correct" before the signal level meters show anything (even a beep from the speakers), so I know I'm getting closer.

Also, there are so many choices in the menus - what is the easiest way to get "close", so I can try to improve things, rather than just guessing in the dark? (I hope to have the dish mounted securely in a few days - right now, I just want to get enough of a signal, for a long enough time, that my DVR will start functioning again, so I can be watching the programs already stored on it.... I don't need to actually be downloading anything.)

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#2 OFFLINE   Davenlr

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

Easiest way is to tune a single transponder on satellite 101. The dish will need to be about plus or minus 1.5 degrees from center to get any signal at all.

Make sure the pole is plumb.
Preset the tilt.
Preset the elevation.
Then slowly (SLOWLY) rotate the AZ from about 10 degrees east of where you think the satellite is, to about 10 degrees past where you think it should be.
If you dont get anything, increase the elevation one turn on the adjuster and start again.
If you get more than 10 turns, return it to the preset location of elevation, and start decreasing it one turn at a time as you sweep back and forth.
If the electronics are working, and the receiver has the correct dish setup in the satellite setup, you should find it.

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#3 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

Thanks for the feedback; maybe I should just give up for now. My dish isn't on a pole, it's sitting on a chair, and after trying to set the elevation, I turned the chair back and forth as you suggested. Never got any indication anything is working at all - maybe I just never got within that 1.5 degree range.

How about something like this?
http://www.radioshac...oductId=3264941

Will it give some indication maybe within a 10 or even 5 degree range?

You're going to tell me I'm wasting my time, and until I get the dish mounted on a pole, this is all fruitless. I guess I'll be waiting another week or so.

(If I had any brains, I never, ever, NEVER would have loosened up any of the screws on the mounting assembly when the dish was taken down, which would have helped me get it oriented now, but I don't really even have a starting point.

#4 OFFLINE   supermod38

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:29 AM

that meter you show is not worth that kind of money...................... i have one that i paid less than $5.00 for from e-bay.

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#5 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

it's sitting on a chair, .


This is your problem. you cannot adjust the elevation on the dish as the reflector is on the arm rest of the chair (I am trying to picture this). you would then have to adjust the elevation on the chair itself :confused:

#6 OFFLINE   br408408

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

Thanks for the feedback; maybe I should just give up for now. My dish isn't on a pole, it's sitting on a chair


The chair is the problem, not the lack of a meter. I have set up many dishes without a meter. As Davenir said, the pole must be plumb, and stable...and I can't see anything being very stable by having the dish in a chair and then rotating the chair around. You said it yourself.... "I'm wasting my time, and until I get the dish mounted on a pole, this is all fruitless". Don't waste your money on a meter just to aim one dish, if you're on a balcony, get a bucket and some concrete if you aren't allowed to mount it. But until you have a solid and plumb pole, you are just wasting your time IMO

Edited by br408408, 24 February 2013 - 01:37 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

This is your problem. you cannot adjust the elevation on the dish as the reflector is on the arm rest of the chair (I am trying to picture this). you would then have to adjust the elevation on the chair itself :confused:



Actually, it's on a big, soft, squishy cushion, and can slide it around in a way that the elevation changes just slightly up or down..... but you're right. Unless there is something else going on that I'm not aware of, I was never able to get any sign that I was even close, and I've given up on this.

Years ago, this was quite easy.

#8 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:09 AM

.....until you have a solid and plumb pole, you are just wasting your time IMO


Your response snuck in while I was typing mine. I agree.

My plan now is to get a non penetrating sled mount that uses concrete blocks. Maybe sometime this decade, it will even be installed.....

#9 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:12 PM

Actually, it's on a big, soft, squishy cushion, and can slide it around in a way that the elevation changes just slightly up or down.....

Years ago, this was quite easy.


moving the pillow around will not get you the elevation that you need.

#10 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:46 PM

moving the pillow around will not get you the elevation that you need.



I should have taken a photo of it.... what the cushion did, was to keep the dish in whatever orientation I moved it to. That worked fine.

With no post with angle markings, and with the dish tilted the way it needs to be (meaning the support bar for the sensors was also at an angle) I couldn't figure out any good way to know where the dish was really pointing, so I moved the dish around in small increments. This was on a chair with flexible straps under the cushion, so I really could aim the dish anywhere. ...not that it helped.

#11 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:07 PM

get from www.dishpointer.com values first, use compass, your tablet or smartphone with many SatFinder apps

#12 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:37 PM

Right. but you are still shooting in the dark. unless you have something(more cushions :confused:) to elevate the reflector at the appropriate elevation and keep it that way
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#13 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

he [OP] got very flexible chair, what is capable to hold the dish in any position


so, just follow [professional] recommendation: imagine a box 10x10° around 101W position in a sky (use compass, protractor, tablet, smartphone), then start making filling the box by lines (as old CRT), slow while watching signal strength screen...

#14 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:58 AM

he [OP] got very flexible chair, what is capable to hold the dish in any position


so, just follow [professional] recommendation: imagine a box 10x10° around 101W position in a sky (use compass, protractor, tablet, smartphone), then start making filling the box by lines (as old CRT), slow while watching signal strength screen...



  • I think I know "where" the satellites are (see image below).
  • There are "obstructions", but from what I've read here, they are far enough out of the way for me not to be concerned about them.
  • I've got a wall full of electronics that the signal has to go through before it reaches the receiver - never had this in the old days.
  • In the old days, with a round dish, and the small inexpensive DirecTV compass, setting the azimuth was easy. With the new oval dish, which is tilted, I really don't know "where" it is aimed, which is why I tried to "sweep" the sky back and forth, and up and down.
  • Sweeping right to left was easy - just rotate the chair and keep checking, while watching the signal strength meters on the TV.
  • Sweeping up and down was very difficult - I could move the dish that way, but it was hard to do this in tiny increments.

Posted Image

I found a friend who had an old round disk still sitting in the yard behind his home. I seriously thought of getting that for testing, and then to activate the DVR. As I recall, aiming the old round dish was pretty easy.

Also, thanks to what the last technician left me with, I have a four foot round pole here. I could re-assemble the whole thing properly, and use that for the temporary alignment, but I can't think of any way to rigidly support the thing, without any chance of it toppling over and damaging something. I have an old, heavy-duty photography tripod, but I can't think of any way to use it supporting the post somehow.

I have an appointment this coming Thursday for the technician to install the non-penetrating "sled" mount that DTV uses. Based on the satellite view above, that "should" work. The dish will be in the same location as it used to be, but lower. The test photo of the sky shown above was taken with the camera at the height I expect to have the dish at.

I suspect what is going on, is that with the dish "tilted", I have no good way to align the azimuth accurately. I just don't know enough. If I had a post I could use, I think with the advice you guys have given me, I should be able to do this.

#15 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:44 AM

dishpointer.com will give the tilt angle if you will select 3 or 5 LNBF config

#16 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

dishpointer.com will give the tilt angle if you will select 3 or 5 LNBF config




True, but here's where I get stuck. With the round dish, or the oval dish mounted non-tilted, the azimuth of the bar that points outwards will be the same as the azimuth.

When the dish is tilted, this bar aims somewhere off to the right. It's no longer obvious to me where the dish is aimed.


Then, the elevation angle is where the satellite is, not the angle at which the dish is leaning backwards.


In short, I no longer have any confidence that I can hook this thing up, doing it in such a "wrong" manner. I'm resigned to waiting for the installer to arrive, which is now set for March 5. (I sure have learned a lot though!!)

#17 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:14 PM

If you are using the LNB support arm to determine elevation, you'll be pointing high by quite a bit. The LNB points at the reflector at an angle, so the look angle of the dish is above the angle of the LNB arm by twice that angle (sorry, I don't know what the angle is).

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#18 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

If you are using the LNB support arm to determine elevation, you'll be pointing high by quite a bit. The LNB points at the reflector at an angle, so the look angle of the dish is above the angle of the LNB arm by twice that angle (sorry, I don't know what the angle is).




I think it's 22 degrees, but what I was referring to is to use the LNB support arm to line up the azimuth. That no longer works, if the dish is tilted. If you tilt the dish to the right, the arm starts to move to the right, regardless of where the dish is aimed. Once the dish mount is on a post, this should no longer be a problem.

#19 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

it's not that complicated as you do scarce yourself :D
forget the bar leveling, just imagine center line going thru big LNBF (101W/99/103 combo) and "scan" that box - you'll find it !

#20 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:43 PM

.....imagine center line going thru big LNBF .......



Thanks!! I didn't realize that. Good idea!




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