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Acutrac Pro vs III

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by TriggerDeems, Jul 15, 2007.

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  1. TriggerDeems

    TriggerDeems Godfather

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    Mar 1, 2007
    I am considering buying either of these, primarily for the day that the D10 starts broadcasting, in case I have issues with all the new HD channels that day. I aligned my own dish using the recievers in the house and two walkie/talkies between me at the dish and the wife at the reciever. So, I understand the aligning procedure using the 101 (for rough az/el) and 119 (for tilt), and then the "dither" method tweaking the az about the 101 to SUPPOSEDLY dial in the 99/103.

    I understand that either of the two meters above (Acutrac Pro and III) will do that, and the instructions are posted for the Acutrac Pro, and it works fine for this method. I also understand that the III is more than twice the price of the Pro. My question is related to my word SUPPOSEDLY above. Using the III, will you be able to tweak the 99 and 103 better than the simple "dither" method of the Pro? Do you think it is worth twice the price for that tweaking? Anyone have experience with the III? I am only talking about using it primarily for myself (and maybe helping a friend occasionally--I'm not an installer). I can afford either, but don't want to throw money away if I don't have to. Thanks
     
  2. Teronzhul

    Teronzhul Godfather

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    Sep 20, 2006
    I have the accutrac 3. The nicest thing about it is that the battery pack lasts considerably longer so I can use it most all week without a recharge. This obviously is of dubious value to you since you'll only be aligning a single dish. Seeing the Ka sat signal strength also is essentially useless since you'll still be peaking on 101. The pro will be more than sufficient for your needs.
     
  3. jhillestad

    jhillestad Godfather

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    Jan 13, 2007
    I have the accutrack III and it worked great - I bought it specifically because it was designed for Ka and I loved the signal meter for it..... I did all the standard peaks and then fine tuned my Ka using the meter signal I did not use the dither method since I could actually see the strength of the Ka.... I must say that if you peak right you really need little adjustment after that... so peaking is the super critical step so peak and tilt as best you can and the Ka will practically be there with just a smidgen of tweaking after that..... Since your buying a new meter its about a hundred more and you'll have it a long time so I'd buy the III verse Pro ..... lets face it not many home users by a meter of this caliber and since you really care about your dish you might as well go all the way and get that Ka functionality ... I have three dishes and like to do all the setups myself so it was worth it to me... its nice not having to rely on an installer if my dish gets messed up....
     
  4. Racer88

    Racer88 Icon

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    Sep 12, 2006
    I'd say if money is no object then get the Accutrac III. It has standard sized, rechargeable AA batteries that can be easily replaced if the need arises and it is software upgradeable. Tho I have yet to see even a programming cable for one, but I've not really looked for one either. But the option is there if again the need arises.
     
  5. TriggerDeems

    TriggerDeems Godfather

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    Mar 1, 2007
    Great comments--thanks to you three, and as usual no "right answer". I'm probably going to order in the next day or so, if anyone else has any comments.
     
  6. fullcourt81

    fullcourt81 Legend

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    Sep 8, 2005
    I am a homeowner, who also owns a sports bar, so I bought the Pro. It is all you need, the III is for installers.

    DirecTV might come out with a new system in a couple of years, so don't spend more money than you have to.

    What is critical is to insure that once you tune your dish, it won't be moved by wind or anything else. So use monopoles, and a firm mount.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Skip Towne

    Skip Towne Godfather

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    Dec 20, 2003
    How much do these meters cost?
     
  8. CobraGuy

    CobraGuy Godfather

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    Apr 23, 2007
    I have the III. I wanted programmability. With the new bird in the sky, I'm thinking we may need some new software.
     
  9. jhillestad

    jhillestad Godfather

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    Jan 13, 2007
    I guess the bottom line is if you can afford the extra hundred bucks just buy the III and be done with it... the pro works too but think of the III as the ' leather option ' on your car.... you may not totally need it but it sure is nice.....
     
  10. TriggerDeems

    TriggerDeems Godfather

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    Mar 1, 2007
    About $100 for the Pro and about $225 for the III.

    PS: I ordered a III today. Thanks all for the suggestions.
     
  11. Michael H..

    Michael H.. Member

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    May 31, 2007
    Two part question...

    1) Since the Acutrac III has Ka Lo inputs, can it double as a signal meter for OTA UHF antenna channels 14-60 ?

    2) Is there a 22kHz switching (DTV) Ka Lo/Hi Ku signal meter that combines, in decreasing order of importance, some or all of
    a) OTA UHF antenna channels 14-60
    b) OTA UHF antenna channels 60-83
    c) OTA VHF antenna channels 07-13
    d) OTA VHF antenna channels 02-06

    Everybody already KNOWS that there are OTA VHF/UHF signal meters, so please don't feel compelled to suggest that option... or $$$ spectrum analyzers. Since I'm contemplating picking up a DTV meter, I would like to know if one also covers the OTA frequencies, rather than have separate units.
     
  12. jhillestad

    jhillestad Godfather

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    Jan 13, 2007
    The meter does not cover any over the air metering .

    All the OTA meters that I have seen are super expensive . I would love a all in one meter like you described.... My only solution for OTA has been to install an antenna rotator to my mast and I move the antenna based on the signal meter from the receiver . The main problem is always making compromises to accommodate stations that are in different locations - so you cannot just peak on one but find that happy middle of the road setting so you do not multipath.... the biggest problem stations always seem to be the ones that are using VHF instead of UHF. I have 2 vhf stations and once I have set them the uhf's usually are fine... but never the other way around... Most OTA hd antenna's are geared for uhf only.


     
  13. Teronzhul

    Teronzhul Godfather

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    Sep 20, 2006
    The Digiair ota meter isn't "super" expensive.

    http://www.sadoun.com/Sat/Products/Perfect/DigiAir-signal-meter.htm

    There are also regular ebay auctions going for a combo accutrac pro/digiair for $245 shipped. I've been seriously considering picking that box set up for a backup sat meter and off air meter. I just don't do many off air antennas and it would probably be a waste of money for me.
     
  14. jhillestad

    jhillestad Godfather

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    Jan 13, 2007
    Interesting meter for OTA .... I wonder how it works with amplified antenna's ... does it pass the voltage thru and meters the output....
     
  15. fullcourt81

    fullcourt81 Legend

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    Sep 8, 2005
    It looks like an Accutrac pro.
    If somebody put the two products together in one meter, they would sell a million of them.
     
  16. dave29

    dave29 New Member

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    Feb 18, 2007
    i have the III and love it. you do not need an ota meter. use your receiver, it is simple and easy to tune in
     
  17. TriggerDeems

    TriggerDeems Godfather

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    Mar 1, 2007
    Back to the original post.

    I can confirm for those in the future that you really don't need a meter, if you are patient and your partner is patient. I originally re-aligned my dish after the installer slapped it up, using only my HR20 inside the house with the Wife on a walkie talkie telling me about the signals on the HR20 graphic signal meter. After doing it once, I immediately redid it that day (figuring I got real close the first time, so it would be even closer the second), and my values were very good, in the mid to upper 90s--much better than the installer.

    Just because I am an engineer and like to fiddle with things, I bought a Acutrac III after some deliberation (see above). I thought I'd be able to nail things into the upper 90s, so I decided to get it. It arrived yesterday, so I charged it and today jotted down all my values from above on the HR20s summary screen. After using the meter, my values are basically the same....

    So, if you have patience, and do the following with your HR20 and a partner with walkie talkie, and a 1/2" socket with extension, you will be very close.

    1. loosen all the adjustment screws
    2. rotate the dish on the mount with the 101 odd transponder selected on the HR20 signal meter page (or 13v no tone on an acutrac pro meter, or satellite setup #1 on an acutrac III paying attention to the ku signal meter) and coarse align the signal, then lock the screws on the mount.
    3. using the elevation fine adjustment screw, peak the reading in 2 above.
    4. rotate the tilt with a 119 odd transponder selected on the HR20 meter page (or 13 v with tone on an acutrac pro meter, or satellite setup #3 on an acutrac III paying attention to the ku signal) to peak the value. By the way, on the acutrac III the values are low, but just peak them. lock the tilt screws.
    5. Fine tune the elevation with the 101 and odd transponder selected on the HR20 signal meters (or 13v no tone on an acutrac pro meter or satellite setup #1 on the III paying attention to the ku) using a dither method around the peak obtained in 3 above. Lock the elevation screws.
    6. fine tune the azimuth for the ka signals on the 99 and 103, with the 101 and odd transponder selected on the HR20 signal meters (or again, 13 v no tone an acutrac pro, or go back and forth between satellite setup #1 and #3, paying attention to the ka signals on the III) using a dither method around the value found in 5 above. lock down all screws and go enjoy.
     
  18. jhillestad

    jhillestad Godfather

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    Jan 13, 2007
    Trigger , did you notice on the meter that if you peaked 101 and then tilted to the best peak there was ka signal ready to go.... I barely had to dither... the easiest way to get ka is to be sure you peak and center on 101 then tilt peak the 119.. after that the ka signal is practically there .... other people have reported using the older dtv receivers to peak the 101 and 119 then hook up your hr20 to dither.... I think the older receivers have better signal meters but its true you can install an AU9 without a meter if your patient and take your time... this has been done by several posters here.

    I have tuned dtv sats in the past by using my old hughes receiver and a small tv hooked right to the dish with a long extension cord right at the dish sight so I could see the meter on the receiver so I could make small adjustments... in the super old days back in '94 with the original RCA I would crank the volume on the tv as loud as I could and move the dish til the meter tone was screaming... real scientific of me.
     
  19. TriggerDeems

    TriggerDeems Godfather

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    Mar 1, 2007
    I agree with a careful peak on the 101 and careful tilt on the 119 that it will almost nail the ka on the 99 and 103, with very minor tweaks by dithering making a small difference. That is what I did with simply my HR20 signal meter screen with the walkie talkies. Again, I wasn't able to do any better today with my new acutrac III--the only thing these meters do is make it a little simpler and quicker to do, but not really any more accurate, and the best benefit: you don't have to get the wife mad at you for wasting her time on the other end of the walkie talkie.
     
  20. TriggerDeems

    TriggerDeems Godfather

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    Mar 1, 2007

    Update:
    Today I went out with the new acutrac III meter, and after spending about 1 hour very precisely peaking the az and el on the 101, then the tilt on the 119, and messing with the az/el very slightly while on the 119, and bouncing back and forth checking all signals (ku on 101, ku on 119, ka hi (for future readers, ka low not active til Sept) on the 103 and 99) while making very small tweaks, I was able to raise my signal levels by a point or two on the 110 and 119, while maintaining peaks on the 101 and 99/103.

    In other words, carefully following directvs Slimline adjustment directions in my quote above even using the built in HR20 signal meter, will certainly get you very close, and with a meter such as the acutrac III, you can maybe make a very minor 1-2% tweak...a tweak that is probably not worth over $200.
     
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