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Selected channels out in storm. Why?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by JohnS, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. JohnS

    JohnS New Member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Hi guys,

    I've visited this forum a few times and it's obvious that many of you REALLY know this stuff. So if this is a "dumb newbie" question, just let me know.

    Today's NJ snowstorm knocked out our Directv signal due to the heavy, wet snow that accumulated on the dish. (And maybe even the thickness of the falling snow had something to do with it, too.) Not unusual for us. I usually just climb the ladder and use the broom to sweep the dish and the small pickup unit free from the snow build-up.

    But what was unusual today was that after sweeping the dish clear, not all my channels returned. Some of our locals came in (CBS-2, WOR-9, WPIX-11) while others (NBC-4, FOX-5, ABC-7) did not. None of the "Directv channels" in the 200's, 300's, etc. came in either.

    Just before coming to the forum, all our channels have returned to normal.

    So my question is: What would cause that? I understand that snow build-up, very heavy rain, lightning storms, etc. can knock out the signal. But when that's happened in the past, either ALL the channels went off or they didn't. Why would some come in, some not? We don't have a separate antenna or anything for local channels...everything comes through the dish.

    Can anyone help me out with an explanation in layman's terms that this newbie would understand?

    Thanking you in advance,
    John
     
  2. houskamp

    houskamp Active Member

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    Sep 14, 2006
    depends on where and how much snow is on the dish.. also the newer sats are more sensitive to loss..
     
  3. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

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    Mar 18, 2008
    Without seeing how the snow was it will be hard to speculate but it could be a couple of things.

    Snow was built up on your lnb for that satellite and others were ok.(assuming HD vs SD)

    You didn't get all the snow off.

    You had water get into a connection and it dried out.

    Your normal signal strengths are low and therefor more receptive to interuption than a properly aligned dish.
     
  4. JohnS

    JohnS New Member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks for the quick response, hous.

    Didn't take a picture, but I can get right up close to the dish and broom the entire face and the pickup unit completely clear of snow. Came down from the ladder and checked the reception immediately before any snow could re-accumulate.

    My satellite dish was installed about 10 years ago.

    John
     
  5. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

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    Mar 18, 2008
    What are your signal strengths?
     
  6. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    Nov 13, 2007
    If your dish is 10 or so years old, it's likely just a basic 18", single-LNB dish. The reason you'd get some of the locals and not everything else is simply because your locals are delivered via spot beams, while the nationals are much wider "CONUS" (continental US) beams. The signal strength on the spot beams aimed at you are going to be higher than CONUS beams, and not all of the spots will be exactly the same strength, so you were right at the threshold where the hottest spot beams could get a usable signal through the snow and clouds, but the slightly weaker CONUS beams couldn't.
     
  7. JohnS

    JohnS New Member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks for the quick reply, Shades.

    As mentioned to hous, I didn't take a picture but I can get close enough to the dish to completely broom it off. No snow on the dish or pickup after cleaning it and I came inside immediately after to check reception.

    Not sure about the HD vs. SD that you mentioned. I assume that means there would be two different lnbs (is that what you call the pickup unit?) on the dish? I only have one.

    Maybe water getting into a connection. Although the snow continues and it's still pretty wet out there. Could a faulty connection dry out that quickly in such conditions?

    Can the signal strengths change over time? Hadn't run into this problem in the ten years or so that we've had Directv. Today is first time for the "selected channel outages". What would be considered an acceptable signal strength?

    Thanks,
    John
     
  8. JohnS

    JohnS New Member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Shades...

    Hope this is what you mean:

    1-8: range is 85-96
    9-16: 82-96
    17-24: 77-98
    25-32: 78-96 (although there was one "0" in that range).

    Most of the signal strengths seemed to be in mid-80's.

    John
     
  9. JohnS

    JohnS New Member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks for the reply, Battle...

    I do have the older 18" dish (just saw it when checking my dish/signal info screen as Shades suggested). And it does have just a single-LNB. The snowfall was pretty thick, as was the cloud cover.

    Sounds like a logical explanation to me. It would certainly account for why my locals came in and not the others.

    Now the question is: Would getting a newer dish/LNB setup solve that problem? And would you know if Directv charges for updating a dish that old?

    Thanks for the help,
    John
     
  10. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    A newer dish would give exactly the same performance. You could buy a LARGER dish, though, and probably improve things. There are 24" and 30" dishes that will likely fit on the same mast (depending on the clearance around the current dish) that will gather more signal and thus counteract a lot of the rain/snow/ice fade, though at the same time, wet, sticky snow would have a larger area to get caught on.

    DirecTV doesn't provide larger dishes, but they are available on the market, and any installer could install it for you (heck, you could do it yourself pretty easily; a single-LNB dish is dirt simple). And, while they'll replace your dish with another just like it if it breaks, they otherwise won't replace the dish with something else unless you subscribe to programming that needs it, in which case the dish upgrade is usually free, assuming you ordered your upgrade with DirecTV.
     
  11. matt

    matt New Member

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    Theres a dish for sale in the buy/sell/trade forum :D
     
  12. cashoe

    cashoe Legend

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    More than likely, looking at the satellite weather maps of this storm, you experienced "rain fade", or snow fade as the case may be. There was just too much precipitation in the atmosphere for enough of a signal to get through to be usable.
     
  13. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

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    With lower 80's and high 70's you probably had cashoe stated as the snow was off of the dish but the los to the satellite was still blocked by heavy clouds that were dense with water.
     
  14. JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

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    10 year old single LNB dish, you are missing out on a lot of new stuff. I'd call and ask for an upgrade. It's likely to be free, in exchange for a 2 year commitment. Plus, it could probably be aimed better than what you have. My 101 has nothing lower than 95, and most at 99-100.
     
  15. JohnS

    JohnS New Member

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks to Shades, hous, Battle, matt, cash and Jeff...

    I'm thinking that it must have been the thickness/consistency of that snowstorm. It was really wet and coming down like a son-of-a-gun that afternoon and night.

    I appreciate the explanations and the advice about getting a larger dish to try to achieve some higher signal strength.

    If I can impose on you guys for one more piece of advice: We currently don't have DVR/Tivo here (sometimes I feel like we are the only people left on the planet who are DVR-less) but we have been talking about getting it sometime this year.

    Question: I realize that we'll need new inside receivers to use the DVR service. But does that mean we need a completely different dish setup? If so, I suppose that it wouldn't make sense to harass directv for a newer/larger dish at this point...we'd just get that as part of the DVR upgrade, right?

    Thanks again. All your help/advice has been great!

    John
     
  16. 2dogz

    2dogz Godfather

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    If I may toss out my opinion, it's time to treat yourself to a taste of the 21st century. For that, you'll need to invest in a new HD TV. It doesn't need to be the biggest, badest theater size TV out there and cost thousands. A smallish size LCD, about same or slightly larger that your current CRT tvs, will do the job nicely for low hundreds of dollars. Try Walmart or Costco.

    After that call DTV and order a HD DVR with dish upgrade. DTV will take care of wiring, dish, everything. If you're a ten year customer that hasn't received a bunch of perks over the years, DTV should charge a minimal fee, like $99 for the DVR to cover everything (maybe even $0 for some lucky dogs).

    A few years ago one thought long and hard on HD investment. Now it's the only game in town. Today no one should invest a single penny in the old SD TV technology.

    I'm 63 years old and retired. Not some kid with iPod and iPhone wires hanging out my ears. Just to give you a idea where my opinion is coming from.

    Mike
     
  17. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    2dogz is a wise old man... :)

    I agree completely: not a penny for SD. Go HD or keep what you have.
     

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