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Aligning a SWM3 without a meter

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by fairsailing, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. fairsailing

    fairsailing Cool Member

    26
    0
    Nov 12, 2009
    I still have an 18" SD dish on my house, originally DTV installed, but I had to move it to a new area to maintain LOS (an area that DTV would not support due to access problems), but growing trees will soon render all of the roof unusable. The DTV contractor has already failed the house for an HD upgrade, and did not mention the garage as an option.

    When our roof is redone in late winter, I am planning to setup a SWM3 dish on our detached garage 40 ft from the house (which does have nice LOS), and upgrade to HD. I have already run 100 feet of copper core Belden from the existing grounding block to the garage (40 ft is overhead), and have purchased a DTV SWM3 dish and PI. I am not planning on ordering a SWM capable receiver until I am ready to do the upgrade.

    My questions:

    1) It was simple to do a "cell phone" alignment with the SD dish and the meter in the receiver. Is this even possible with SWM3, I have read some comments that the SWM3 dish switches from alignment mode to receiving mode once the receiver is connected?

    2) If the answer to 1 is no, what are peoples experience getting DTV to come out and perform an alignment on a SWM3 customer install? I am 10+ year DTV customer, and I am sure show up pretty well in their customer data base.

    3) If the answer to 2 is yes, I am assuming that no installed receiver is required to do the alignment (technically), though from a business standpoint they may not want to do it unless their monthly fee is going up.

    (My experience with the local DTV contractor in central city Mpls has been pretty bad recently, and I would prefer not to deal with them at all. I may end up just hiring out an alignment if I can't do it myself, probably would be cheaper than buying the meter.)
     
  2. eakes

    eakes Godfather

    354
    2
    Sep 21, 2007
    First, it is not difficult to align the Slimline dish using the receive meter. The presence of the fine tuning adjustments make it easier to peak on the signal than the 18" dish.

    Start with a plumb mast (very important, invest in a cheapo 1 ft level at your local hardware store). In the setup menu you are requested to enter your zip code then the receiver lists tilt, azimuth and elevation for your location. Set the antenna for the specified tilt and elevation and eyeball the azimuth (the slimline is centered on 101, same as the 18", so point the Slimline in the same direction).

    If your eyeball of the azimuth is good, you will have a signal when you connect the receiver. Probably somewhere in the 80-90 range on 101. Check 103 and 99, their readings should be in the 60s. While looking at the signal meter on 103 or 99 adjust the fine adjustments for a peak signal. There is a lag between adjustment and results being seen on the meter, so make small adjustments and wait a few seconds to see your results.

    Only concern yourself with the 'c' satellites the 's' satellites are spot beam and you will see signals ranging from 0 to 100 on transponders on those satellites even with a correctly aligned antenna. Spots pointed at your location will read 90-100, those not pointed toward your location will read low or 0.

    If you want to get a jump start, purchase a 'normal' Slimline LNB (non-SWM). Install that LNB and mount the antenna. Align and peak the dish on 101 using your present receiver. Once you are ready to go HD, swap the SWM LNB onto the dish and connect the new receiver. You will likely need to revisit the fine tuning adjustments to peak 99/103 but most of the work will already be done.
     
  3. Manctech

    Manctech Icon

    542
    0
    Jul 5, 2010
    Run a line from the garage to your house, before the tech gets there. Then request a second opinion on the NLOS. Sounds like you had a lazy tech if it really is only 40' feet.

    The HSP I work for will charge to bury cable after 20ft. Then it's 1$ per foot in 10 foot increments. So 20$ to bury the rest. This is not universal.

    But I would call D* and request a second opinion on the NLOS. I would also make the tech show you why it can't go on the garage. As a customer you should never be forced to install your own dish, but you are more than welcome to.

    Do you have the protection plan? If you do, then you can install the dish/cables yourself and setup a service call to have it peaked. You might even be able to get a loyal customer service call if you have not had one in the past year.


    If you decide to install it yourself, don't forget to level the mast, and don't forget the monopoles!


    Happy cabling!
     
  4. fairsailing

    fairsailing Cool Member

    26
    0
    Nov 12, 2009
    eakes - Thanks for the pointers, I've already input my presets based on location. Peaking sounds almost as straight forward as with my SD dish, with just an extra satellite in close proximity to the two I've already worked with. Maybe when 119 and others sats were required, it was more challenging. I am in Minneapolis, and I don't think we use spot beams for locals, so that's another simplification.

    Manctech - I know DTV traditionally uses the best installers in major markets, not sure that is true here in Mpls. I've had missed appointments, unsteady installers, and contradictory "policy" statements from one installer to the next. To wit, for 3 years I've been looking at an empty 5 ft tripod mounted tube sitting on my roof peak (kindly given to me by DTV installer #1), that I paid to have a private installer put up, based on the advice of DTV installer #1, only to have DTV installer #2 say that will not do tripod installs a month later. Maybe things are better now, and 119 is no longer in play as a required sat, but I just don't really want to try again. Too much water over the dam as it were.
     
  5. Manctech

    Manctech Icon

    542
    0
    Jul 5, 2010
    Fair enough! I understand completely. As a service tech I have to clean up the mess Subs and Careless HSP techs make. Good luck and post more if you need any more help!
     

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