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Help - Low Strength on 119W

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by rs0905, Feb 27, 2006.

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  1. rs0905

    rs0905 New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    I recently upgraded to a Phase III dish for HDTV, feeding into a powered 5x8 multiswitch. I installed it myself on the roof of my house in place of the old 18" dish. Cable run is probably 60' or so. My southern exposure is heavily wooded with the neighbors' 75'+ pine trees and only one small break for the dish to peek through, so I've got the dish in the only workable location on my property.

    Problem is this: I can get good, solid 85+ signals on 101W and 110W, but the best I can do on 119W is 45 to 50, with frequent dropouts. The mast is perfectly plumb, I used a signal meter and swept azimuth and elevation slowly, carefully, in small increments, followed all the tuning advice on these boards, but couldn't get the 119W sat with any kind of workable signal (the picture on the 119 sat's HD channels has frequent pixellation, dropouts, etc). It was a sunny and cloudless day. Since I'm shooting through a small tree break, my guess is that there is some tree interference that affects the 119W, but not the other two.

    I can live with this if I have to, since the 119 sat only carries 3 of the HD channels, but I'd really like to pick them up if I can. My questions are:

    1 - Could this possibly be a bad 119 LNB, or would that only manifest itself as no signal at all?

    2 - Since I can get a signal on 119W, would upgrading to a GainMaster dish give me enough additional signal to make it worth the expense?

    If anyone has any insight on this, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
  2. Proc

    Proc Godfather

    Jan 19, 2006
    I had a similar problem last summer. The neighbors tree partially blocked the view to the 119. I ended up moving the Triple LNB off the house and out back to the roof of the garage. I hear the 119 sits a bit lower in the sky, which may be why those trees are giving you such a problem.

    Line of sight issues are frustrating.
  3. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

    Nov 7, 2003
    Make sure that the skew/tilt setting is exact. This is very important in aligning the Phase III dish. Are you sure that there isn't a tree partially blocking the view to 119? Remember, it is lower in the sky for your location.
  4. Igor

    Igor Godfather

    Jan 3, 2005
    If you want to make sure your 119 deg pointing is maximized, you could try to peak the 119 (eventhough it may screw up 101/110).

    If you are successful, it is not coming from obstruction but to mast or tilt alignment.

    If it is indeed coming from tree obstruction I would not purchase any other antenna, you are not likely to resolve the issue that way (trees grow and so do the leaves ;-))
  5. rs0905

    rs0905 New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Thanks for your replies. If the 119W sat is lower in the sky, then it seems likely that tree blockage is the culprit because the dish is pointing just over the top of the tree line.

    FWIW, I tried peaking the dish exclusively for the 119W sat and double-checked the tilt, and was able to get 119W at a strength of about 40-45 on a sunny day, with intermittent total dropouts. However, to do that I had to sacrifice some strength on 101 and 110 which didn't seem worth it on a 40-45 signal that wasn't too stable even in perfect weather.

    That's why I wondered about the GainMaster. If there is enough signal getting through to peak an "ordinary" phase III dish at 40-45, and the GainMaster advertises a 65% increase in gain at the antenna, then I thought maybe it would bump that singal strength up enough to make it usable (into the 70's) Growth of the trees is not an issue - they are mature pines, so they are the same year round.

    Does anyone have an opinion on whether a GainMaster could bump a signal that much and eliminate random dropouts, or is that asking too much of the thing?
  6. boba

    boba Hall Of Fame

    May 23, 2003
    I don't know about Atlanta but here in North Texas the leaves are just starting to bud out. If you are having signal loss due to trees it will get worse over the next two months as the leaves fill out the crowns of the trees. A gainmaster will help because the dish has more surface area but I would guess you would be wasting your money. You may be better off putting up three 18" dishes in different locations where you can get clear lines of sight to the three satellites or putting up a AT9 dish for the Ka HDTV broadcasts that will be either side of 101, 99 & 103.:)
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