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New Customer Antenna Self Install

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by scchang, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. scchang

    scchang Cool Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    I'm hoping to return to D* when we move next month. Unfortunately, LOS may be an issue. I may need to trim trees. I will probably need to mount the antenna on a shingled roof. I've had good luck with the Commdeck in the past and would like to use it again. I'll drop coax into the the Commdeck, through the roof and into the attic.

    I want to establish LOS and mount the Commdeck prior to the installer arriving. Final antenna will be a SWM 5 LNB. I have experience mounting and aiming antennas. Most recently, I aimed a 5 LNB dish using an Accutrac meter with the receiver powering the dish in 2007. In this case, I have no equipment yet.

    I am considering buying a Slimline SWM 5 LNB and an AIM or Birdog or Acutrac III. I have a SWM power inserter. I think I would need an ASL for the Accutrac as well. I'm not excited about spending that much though.

    I would appreciate your recommendations for cost-effective approaches to this problem.
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Unless you'll be doing lots of installs, just use the receivers built in signal meter. No need for an expensive meter.
  3. scchang

    scchang Cool Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Agreed. I actually have an old receiver (HR10-250 iirc). Could I use that with a cheap antenna from eBay to establish LOS? If so, which?

    99-101 will be the issue. LOS to 119 is good.
  4. peds48

    peds48 Genius.

    Jan 10, 2008
  5. scchang

    scchang Cool Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    I've done both and see possibilities, but I'd hate to have the installer come out and tell me otherwise. I feel that those options are only gross estimates while my situation (I believe) requires more precision.

    Thanks for your reply though.
  6. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

    Mar 3, 2008
    Your best option is probably to pay for a local installer to come out. A free "standard" install from directv is probably just going to be a waste. Their installers don't have the time or inclination to do a real survey to establish LOS or not. They'll just look at it and say the odds are low on a successful install and even if they do get it installed it will take a long time so they won't make much on it and just put the job in as No Line of Sight so they can move on to the next one. You might eventually be able to get someone out to do a proper install after complaining about the issue and probably taking two or three days off work to get through the initial no LOS blow offs. It's sad but that's probably the reality of it. It know there are good installers out there, several who frequent the boards, but they seem to be the exception and DirecTV doesn't really reward their installers for handling the tough cases.

    To establish LoS on 99/103 you'll need a modern HD receiver as those are really the only signals up there. You'd also need an actual dish with an LNB not just a cheap antenna from Radio Shack.

    An HR10 should be able to establish LOS on 101. I'm not too sure about how it works but with a HR-2X it's pretty easy to get a fake signal by pointing at the wrong spot. You'll get signal on the meters but it won't work to actually tune channels but you can't tell that with out the receiver being active.
  7. scchang

    scchang Cool Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    All good useful advice. Thank you.

    If you're suggesting that I shouldn't need a meter to find 99/103, I think I'll get an LNB and connect to the HR10 and TV and see if I can find them.
  8. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

    Jul 19, 2005
    If you truly have an HR10, it wont find 99 or 103. It was obsoleted when 99 and 103 came out and it cant see them through its built-in signal meters.
  9. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 16, 2005
    While you will may be able to receive signals from 101 on the old deactivated HR10-250 as the satellite signals there still use MPEG-2 compression on the Ku band which the HR10 can receive.

    It can not receive signals at 99 and 103 however since those use MPEG-4 compression and operate on the higher Ka band, neither of which the HR10 is capable of receiving.
  10. BobStokesbary

    BobStokesbary Legend

    Oct 24, 2010
    OK. If you have a smart phone I strongly recommend the free app Satelliite AR for your LOS issue. This uses your smart phone's camera to give you an excellent picture of where the satellites are and what obstructions you might have in the way. You can do all this before you ever do any positioning of any hardware. This will give you a great way to estimate problems before they arrive.

    Beyond that, I tend to agree with evan_s that a local installer would probably be your best option for the rest of the work. Given today's technology you will seriously want to have SWM technology. That takes some sophistication in terms of equipment and setup experience. For a one-shot affair it is very difficult to justify the meter and/or meter/ASL equipment necessary. Yes, you can do it with the meter in the receiver, but your dish is usually on the roof and the receiver in a room of the house and that can get just nasty. Yes, you can have someone on a cellphone giving you the readings, but it is a real pain unless you have "hands free" technology on the phone.

    As for the Commdeck setup, you would seriously have to talk with your installer in advance about that option. With a D* installer he needs to know that any equipment you supply will pass a QA inspection by his co. And you also need to remember that Slimline dishes use two additional support struts so you have to allow for those as well.

    Just some thoughts.
  11. studechip

    studechip Godfather

    Apr 16, 2012
    If the op is using one of the newer stubby mounts he wouldn't need the support struts, although I don't know if they are acceptable to use with a Commdeck mount.
  12. peds48

    peds48 Genius.

    Jan 10, 2008
    Since the inception of IV, a clear line of sight is a MUST. The days where you slapped a dish on a house and called it a day are gone. so if the odds of an unsuccessful install is low is probably because a clean clear line of sight is not possible.

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