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Help me check my signal strengths

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by dsw2112, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Jun 12, 2009
    Hey folks, I'm getting an alignment error under system test:

    "1. Satellite dish alignment problem
    Your satellite dish may need a pointing adjustment that might be causing searching for sat..."

    I don't deal with the signal strengths much and I know many of you can look at these and determine whether there's a problem fairly quickly. I understand many of these numbers don't even pertain to channels I get, I'm just not smart enough to determine what's what beyond the 101... Any help would be appreciated!

    101º

    1-8 95 96 95 0 95 99 95 98
    9-16 95 95 95 0 96 99 95 99
    17-24 95 99 94 0 95 99 95 99
    25-32 94 100 91 83 95 99 90 99

    110º

    1-8 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA 80
    9-16 NA 82 NA 83 NA NA NA NA

    119º

    17-24 NA NA NA NA NA 95 0 94
    25-32 95 95 95 94 86 95 0 96

    99º(c)

    1-8 79 84 77 81 80 84 80 82
    9-16 82 86 83 82 86 86 NA NA


    99(s)
    1-8 97 0 96 0 95 50 NA NA
    9-16 NA NA NA NA NA NA 77 83
    17-24 81 84 83 81 69 74 78 63
    25-32 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA

    103º(s)
    1-8 0 72 0 81 0 0 NA NA
    9-16 NA NA NA NA NA NA 35 97
    17-24 0 88 95 96 0 0 41 46


    103(ca)

    1-8 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
    9-16 83 74 81 74 80 72 79 72
    17-24 78 70 79 70 75 69 77 69

    103(cb)

    1-8 83 74 80 74 82 74 80 74
    9-16 81 74 82 76 79 75 NA NA
     
  2. matt

    matt New Member

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    Jan 11, 2010
  3. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Jun 12, 2009
    Thanks, do I even need to worry about anything on the 119 or 110 here in Chicago? I don't have any of the foreign packages, and if I remember right most of the stuff on those sats falls under that category?
     
  4. matt

    matt New Member

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    Jan 11, 2010
    The 101 is all the SD stuff and guide data, 110 is basically empty and 119 has locals and I think some guide data. If your locals come on the 119 then you need the 5 LNB.

    All the ones that have an (s) are spotbeams, and you just kinda ignore those, they will fall into place when you tweak in the (c) sats, which are the national feeds, particularly in HD.

    You have the 101 fine, I would mess around with the skew and try to get the 110 and 119 a little tighter (they are probably close enough though since the 110 is empty), then when you dither, your focus is the 99(c), 103(ca), and 103(cb). All the (s) numbers will work themselves out as needed when the (c) birds are good. You definitely need 99(c).
     
  5. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Jun 12, 2009
    Pretty sure I don't have locals on the 119, so I guess I'll give dithering a shot this weekend. Looks like 99 and 103 are my problem then, that's what I needed to know.
     
  6. Tech_1438

    Tech_1438 Legend

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    Jun 1, 2008
    The above referenced installation video is for the original "sidecar" Ka/Ku dish. The principles are the same but the Az/El assembly on the current dishes are completely different.

    Here are some dithering tips for the new Slimline ODU:

    I have attached pics of the right/left and under side of the AZ/EL Back Assembly with nuts and adjustment screws labeled. You will be loosening the (2) Azimuth Lock Nuts and the (2) Elevation Lock Nuts. You will be using the Fine Tune Screws ONLY to make minor adjustments to the alignment.

    You will need a ½” wrench. You will need somebody inside in front of the TV communicating to you at the dish via cell phone, walkie-talkie, telepathy, etc. They will be reading numbers to you as you make MINOR adjustments with the Fine Tune Screws.

    Enter the Satellite Signal Meter screen via remote control.

    Menu
    Parental, Fav’s, & Setup
    System Setup
    Satellite
    View Signal Strength
    Signal Meters

    Use the “+” to choose the 99(c) satellite, transponder 1.

    The signal level will decrease and increase as you make small adjustments using the fine tune screw. Start with the elevation fine tune screw. Look at the numbers on the dial of the screw and turn 2-3 notches and check strength, if signal gets worse, turn the other way. Once you have it as high as possible, repeat procedure for the azimuth fine tune screw. Once you have it set where you like it, be sure to check the signal on 103(cb) and 103(ca) to make sure they are close to the signals for 99(c) . Once complete, be sure to tighten the lock down nuts.

    Good Luck!!
     

    Attached Files:

  7. matt

    matt New Member

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    Jan 11, 2010
    You don't have to dither the slimline, Tech?

    Oops :rolleyes:
     
  8. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

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    Aug 9, 2006
    You don't need to dither on 99c/103ca/103cb. You use dithering to initially get the peak of the 101 signals when installing the dish, and that SHOULD give you good 99/103 signals, but to fine tune those just follow tech_1438's directions.
     
  9. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Jun 12, 2009
    Thanks guys, that's real good info. I haven't aligned a dish since the "olden" days, and this will be the first time "playing" with a slimline. Guess I'm lucky that the low signals haven't caused searching for sat errors yet. I'll try to get this done over the weekend.
     
  10. Tech_1438

    Tech_1438 Legend

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    Jun 1, 2008
    Your signals on the 99(c) and 103(cb) are what is causing the failed sytem test. Current threshold to pass Installation Verification and/or pass the system test is 85+ (I think) on the 99(c) and 103(cb). Your 101/110/119 signals are sufficient to pass the system test/IV.

    Your signals are high enough that you may have never had issues during nice weather. However you would see increased rain-fade during inclement weather, especially on the HD channels.

    Let us know how high you were able to get your strengths.

    Good Luck!!
     
  11. Tech_1438

    Tech_1438 Legend

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    Jun 1, 2008
    For what it's worth, I have attached a spreadsheet that I use to track my signal strengths. Feel free to use/modify as you like.

    Good Luck!!
     
  12. MONSTERMAN

    MONSTERMAN Godfather

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    Aug 18, 2007
    Crystal Bay...
    I have the same low signals on the (c) satellites. So, what would be the best satellite to lock in a high signal, where all the other sats would also be at their highest levels. It just used to be 103 (c), but now there are multiple (c)'s. Would locking in your highest signal at 103 (cb) or 103 (ca), lock in all the other satellites at their highest signals?

    Also, what would be good (realistic) signals for the (c) sats?
     
  13. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Jun 12, 2009
    A quick update for this thread:

    Spent about an hour and a half aligning the dish myself to no avail (could not get signals any higher than the values I listed.) Called D* and they offered a free truck roll to take a look. Tech replaced the LNB and dish to solve the problem. He tried the LNB first (which didn't make a difference) but a new dish instantly brought all values into the 90's. There wasn't anything noticably wrong with the old dish, but I'm guessing the reflector was slightly warped.

    In the end a big thumbs up to D* and the tech on this one. He was a real pro and my total out of pocket cost was a $10 tip.
     
  14. matt

    matt New Member

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    Jan 11, 2010
    Cool, sounds like it was warped. Glad you got it working, and also glad it was free!
     
  15. Manctech

    Manctech Icon

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    Jul 5, 2010
    Man o Man. I had a service call like that. They had a lightning strike that fried 3 receivers. So when I swapped em, they had low signal. I was like.. hmm. peaked the dish, changed ALL the lines, lnb, multiswitch EVERYTHING.

    Finally I was like.... What haven't i checked. The dish was slightly bent where it was hit by a tractor (and then bent back)

    I could have slapped myself!
     
  16. dsw2112

    dsw2112 Always Searching

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    Jun 12, 2009
    The tech that was out told me a similar story (everything, but the lightning, fried receivers, and tractor :lol:) His phrase was "you live and you learn," and now does the "pop & swap" stuff before doing anything too "difficult." My case was straightforward though; the signals were low at the dish itself, so the SWM8 and internal cabling were ruled out almost immediately. When it wasn't the LNB he knew it would be the dish.
     

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