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Low 103b Signal Strength On CalAmp LNBs - Confirming Theory

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by pjschwartz, Oct 27, 2007.

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  1. pjschwartz

    pjschwartz AllStar

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    Jul 13, 2007
    There have been some post theorizing that the CalAmp version of the LNB used on the slimline dish is the cause of low signal strength readings on the 103b satellite. I can confirm that this theory has merit.

    I live in the Minneapolis, MN area and am using a Slimline dish (with a CalAmp LNB) running into two HR20-700 HD DVR units. There is no multi swith involved other than the one built into the LNB.

    After doing my dish alignment using the recommended process (Accutrac 22 Pro / dither approach), and then doing some additional "tweaking" for the 103(b) satellite using the HR20's built in signal meter, my best signal strengths across all 103(b) transponder ranges were just 74 to 84, with an overall average of only 76. My signal strength readings on the other satellites (101, 110, 119, etc) averaged in the low 90's. Readings were similiar on both tuners on both receivers.

    After reading posts theorizing low KA band signal strengths on slimlines were due to issues with the CalAmp LNB, I ordered the WNC (Wistron NeWeb Corp) version off of eBay.

    I just completed the replacement of the CalAmp LNB with the WNC LNB. Without doing any additional tweaking of the dish, the replacement yielded SIGNIFICANT positive results on my 103b signal strengths. My signal strengths now range from 89 to 96 across all transponders, with an overall average of 92 . . . an increase of over 21%. Average signal strength on the other satellites also increased a few points.

    Soooooo, if you continue to have unacceptable signal strength readings on the 103b satellite no matter how much dish tweaking you have done, you may want to confirm if you have a CalAmp LNB, and if you do, replace it with a WNC LNB (they are $30 on ebay and bolt up directly to the LNB arm without any modfication)
     
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Thanks for the information!
     
  3. pdawg17

    pdawg17 Hall Of Fame

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    Jul 17, 2006
    That's great news...I have one getting shipped to me as well...I have the same "pre-WNC" numbers that you had even after realigning so I hope I have the same story to tell as you...thanks for the info...
     
  4. oakwcj

    oakwcj Lower Echelon

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    Sep 28, 2006
    My CalAmp readings are also mostly in the 70's, but I've seen a few posts from people with much higher signal levels, so it may be a question of poor quality control at CalAmp or some bad batches. I'd pay the $30 for a WNC too, if I could climb a ladder to my dish. I hope we can collect more data and see if there is a clear pattern. Maybe DirecTV will be able to get CalAmp to "recall" the defective units and maybe DirecTV will then replace them for us. Just dreaming.
     
  5. K4SMX

    K4SMX Hall Of Fame

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    May 19, 2007
    I doubt if they're all bad, but I honestly don't remember any posts with great 103(b) Calamp signals, especially on the AT-9's. If you have them, please post them.

    Regarding the 103(b) pixelation problems, it looks like it's coming down to this:

    1. Replace your BBC's

    2. Check all your cables for diplexers and cable TV splitters and re-tighten all connectors.

    3. If you have a Calamp LNB replace it.

    4. If you have a WB68, replace it with a WB616.
     
  6. donshan

    donshan Godfather

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    Jun 18, 2007
    Is there any easy way to identify if I have a CalAmp LNB such as an external label or external design difference without doing any disassembly ?

    My 5 lnb Slimline dish was just tweaked by a D* installer who really tried and used the 103(b) transponder page to peak it, but 83-89 is as high as 103(b) readings would go. All HD locks in OK, but I am wondering if I might have this issue. He did not have a Ka band meter, but the tweaking did get about plus 5 points above the standard D* alignment procedure that centers the azimuth between the two stops.
     
  7. oakwcj

    oakwcj Lower Echelon

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    Sep 28, 2006
    There is a label. I was able to identify mine from the ground with the aid of a digital camera with a telephoto lens.
     
  8. hiker

    hiker Icon

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    Mar 1, 2006
    Wow, now that's what I call using technology to your advantage. If it was a WNC, could you see the revision? ;)
     
  9. oakwcj

    oakwcj Lower Echelon

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    Sep 28, 2006
    I'm not sure. If you install one for me, I'll give it a shot.:)
     
  10. K4SMX

    K4SMX Hall Of Fame

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    The print is about 12pt., so you'd need something more than the zoom lens on a digital camera. I'm sure someone at the Pentagon could help you with that. :)
     
  11. michaelyork29

    michaelyork29 Godfather

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    Jun 22, 2007
    Does D* distribute these LNB's if I ask them to come and install a new dish?
     
  12. cygnusloop

    cygnusloop Hall Of Fame

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    Jan 26, 2007
    I have the exact same issue with the CalAmp LNB. I am glad to know that there is a reasonably priced solution. It would, however, be nice if DIRECTV would get on top of this one and go after the supplier (CalAmp) to provide a solution. But, as was said above, that is, I think, unlikely.

    All that said, I have yet to see a problem with my 103b signals breaking up (mid-high 70's across the board), but the snow is coming....
     
  13. shedberg

    shedberg Icon

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    Jan 20, 2007

    My 103(b) signals with an AT-9 are between 90 and 95. I have a WB68. Not sure what brand LNB I have but got the dish in August of 2006.
     
  14. redwoode

    redwoode AllStar

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    Oct 16, 2007
    On 103b I have two at a low of 90 and all others higher in 94 to 95 range. Only label I see on LNB say Eagle Aspen. That a third LNB manufacturer? Dish new 9/07.
     
  15. Soulweeper

    Soulweeper Icon

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    Jan 9, 2005
    Now I really know I need to get out more lol.........this thread got me wondering what lnb I have, since I recently got a dish swap to a slimline. So, up on the roof I went haha! I have a WNC lnb on mine.
     
  16. pdawg17

    pdawg17 Hall Of Fame

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    Jul 17, 2006
    So what are your 103b signal strengths? If you've already posted them let me know...it's been a long Halloween and I'm too lazy to search...
     
  17. Soulweeper

    Soulweeper Icon

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    Jan 9, 2005
    I'll post them tomorrow........can't remember off the top of my head, but I seem to remember them being pretty good. I will check though.
     
  18. sponmd2

    sponmd2 New Member

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    Sep 20, 2007
    Had a tech out recently to fix some other issues, while here he did a LNB exchange. My numbers went from 60's and 70's on 103b to all in the mid 90's. Not sure which one I had or what he switched to, just know that the only other thing he did at the SAT was put new ends on the wires. Didn't do any tweaking as I was very satisfied with new numbers.
     
  19. firedog1

    firedog1 Legend

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    Mar 19, 2007
    pdawg17, have you replaced your CALAMP with a WNC yet? Any improvement?
     
  20. Kiteflyer

    Kiteflyer AllStar

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    Sep 16, 2007
    If you don't need the 16 line output, wouldn't a Sonora Design Phase Locker (basically a power inserter) work better, at less cost?
     
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