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Two transponder questions

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Dr_J, Apr 22, 2007.

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  1. Dr_J

    Dr_J Icon

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    1. I used to get strong signal strength on all my 101 satellite transponders. Yestarday, after I upgraded to the HR20 and 5-LNB dish, I'm now getting weaker signal strength (average in the 70's) on the odd-numbered transponders on the 101 satellite than on the even-numbered transponders (average in the 90's). (Actual strength numbers from transponders 1-32: 83, 84, 80, 100, 79, 94, 79, 91, 76, 86, 77, 100, 74, 90, 76, 92, 75, 97, 76, 99, 71, 95, 79, 95, 79, 85, 75, 94, 75, 88, 75, 95.) I mentioned this to the installer, who said he had to set it up that way in order to make the HD picture look smooth around the edges or something like that. :confused: This guy seemed to know what he was doing, so I took it at face value. Does this make sense to anyone? I'm just concerned with losing half my channels with the next rainstorm.

    2. The other thing he said was if a storm is approaching, "switch to transponder 4," which tends to get better signals in bad weather. He said the box automatically "resets to transponder 1" at shutdown and not to leave it on transponder 4 for a long time because it puts a strain on the LNB, leading to early failure. I tried to figure it out after he left, but I can't make heads or tails of it. Does this make sense to anyone? :confused:
     
  2. PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

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    Aug 19, 2006
    Those signal levels may be of concern, I know my HR20 and H20 both get high 80s at least for all broadcasting transponders from 101. As for "switching transponders", this cannot be done. For example, Discovery Channel is broadcast from transponder "X" and only transponder "X". Each transponder has a certain number of channels tied with it. The receiver needs to switch which transponder it is looking at when you change channels in order to receive the channel you tuned to. Switching transponders in the signal strength screen only checks the signal on that single transponder, nothing more. Sounds like this installer was either misinformed or was trying to blow some smoke up your...
     
  3. Supervolcano

    Supervolcano Hall Of Fame

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    Your installer has no clue what he was talking about and should be fired.
     
  4. PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

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    This is what the signal levels on a perfectly aligned dish should look like (my dish :) ):
    101:
    Transponders 1 - 32: 97, 97, 95, 97, 95, 100, 95, 100, 95, 97, 95, 100, 95, 100, 96, 100, 95, 100, 96, 95, 96, 98, 97, 100, 96, 100, 96, 69, 98, 100, 95, 98

    110:
    Transponder 8: 96, T10: 94, T12: 96

    119:
    Transponders 22 - 32: 94, 95, 95, 97, 97, 98, 95, 97, 94, 50, 97

    The 99 and 103 sats will vary with transponder strength by location, but you should have at the very least 1 or 2 on each of them with signal levels in the 90s.

    Dr_J: Those signal levels you're getting could be multiswitch related. Did the installer put in a multiswitch? If so try and connect your HR20 directly to the dish and bypass the multiswitch and see if your signal levels go up.
     
  5. Dr_J

    Dr_J Icon

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    Apr 15, 2007
    I just ran the 101 signal test again, and most of the odd-numbered transponders now range from the mid-60's to low-70's.

    From last night: 99b strengths were 86, 67, 15, 73, 80, 67 on transponders 1-6; and 103a strengths were 24, 0, 0, 0, 19, 0, 0 on transponders 1-6 and 17. I'm screwed. :mad:
     
  6. Michael D'Angelo

    Michael D'Angelo Lifetime Achiever

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    You need to call D* and get a TECH out to your house or you are going to have problems. When the TECH comes out I would not let them leave to you are happy with the signals you are getting.
     
  7. Dr_J

    Dr_J Icon

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    Apr 15, 2007
    He did put in a multiswitch. I had never needed one before. I don't know how to connect the HR20 directly to the dish. Just eliminate the multiswitch?
     
  8. PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

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    Yep, just hook the coax up directly with a coupler and see what happens.
     
  9. Dr_J

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    Apr 15, 2007
    Thanks. I'll see if I can get at it and post later.
     
  10. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    "Just jumper across" the multi-switch [with what's called a barrel connector --female on both ends]. Also check [before] to see if all you cables are "snug" as installer tend to leave them loose [as they only hand tighten them]. I've needed to "snug" all of my [cable] connections. I use a 7/16 wrench & turn it until I feel the connector mate and STOP [you don't want to over tighten, so "snug" not TIGHT].
     
  11. Dr_J

    Dr_J Icon

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    Apr 15, 2007
    I'm a whimp. Everything outside seems like just a big mess of cables and switches. I'm too scared to tinker with any of it, and I don't have any barrel connectors at home. I'm not much of a handyman. I hand-tightened every connection I could find. Only one seemed to be loose, but it didn't make any difference in terms of signal strength. I'm just going to have to put in a service call under the protection plan. Hopefully, we won't have any big rain events between now and then. Thanks to everyone for the advice.
     
  12. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I wouldn't call it "wimp" as it could just as easily be "smart" & why you have "the plan".
    Some are geeks, & some are smart enough to let someone else do it...:D
    I'm not that smart.:lol:
     
  13. Dr_J

    Dr_J Icon

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    I called DirecTV tech support. They will NOT set up a service call because I'm not having any reception problems. I explained to them that the odd transponders on the 101 were never this weak before yesterday, that I was concerned that I would lose the signal on half my channels with the next rainstorm, and that I was trying to be proactive in avoiding a signal dropout. The tech support guy admitted that the signal should be above 80%, but since I wasn't having any problems now, there was nothing they could do. I asked to speak to a supervisor. A few minutes later, the supervisor came on. I explained the whole thing again to him. He explained that the HD signals are usually about 10% less than SD. I told him that the SD receivers were getting the same weak signals. In the end, he also wouldn't set up a service call. The bottom line is I have to have a reception problem before they'll send someone out. This is outrageous. This is exactly the kind of thing I was worried was going to happen when I took the plunge to upgrade. I was risking disrupting a very stable situation and swapping it for an unstable situation, all for the sake of HD, and now I'm stuck. I feel terrible right now. Terrible. :nono2:

    I've got one more ace up my sleeve. I just happen to have the installer's cell phone number on my phone. He used it to communicate with me while he was adjusting the dish. I did give him $20 and a Pepsi yesterday, so I hope he would be nice to me if I called him.
     
  14. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    Mill Creek, WA

    Just call them back and say that you are indeed having reception problems. You have the Service Protection Plan, so they should take care of you.
     
  15. Dr_J

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    I called him up. He didn't seem too purturbed and said if I had any other questions to call him back. He said that this should not be an issue for the new HD dish. He said the strongest odd 101 transponder would be #1, and that's true (low 80's) and that the strongest overall transponder would be #4, and that's true (100). He said it's impossible to get maximum strength from all transponders, and that if the #1 transponder were 100, there would be problems with all the other transponders. It had to be set up this way or there would be zig-zagging along the edge of the HD picture. He again reiterated switching to #4 in bad weather, but only temporarily lest the LNB be stressed. I asked how. He said to go to Menu-->Help and Settings-->Setup-->Sat & Ant-->View Signal Strength-->Signal Meters-->Transponder 4-->Done. I said I was under the impression that only certain channels broadcast from each transponder, so what difference would it make if I were on transponder 4 or not? He said it's not true for these new HD dishes. He said I should be fine. I didn't know what else to say. If he's spewing BS, he's got it down to a science, because there was no hesitation in his explanations. He said yesterday he was a 7-year satellite-installing veteran. I didn't even get into the whole 99/103 alignments. I can only tolerate one crisis at a time.

    At this point, I don't think there's much more that I can do but sit and wait for the next rainstorm and see what happens. If I lose signal, by the time I get through to tech support, the reception may be back, and then they won't send someone out. (Of course, I could always go outside and mess up the cables and switches that intimidated me earlier today, ruining reception, and prompting a service call.) I can't help but feel uncertain about this whole situation. As I said before, I have replaced stability with instability, certainty with uncertainty, and I feel terrible. :nono2:
     
  16. Dr_J

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    They'd try to put me through several minutes of troubleshooting, as per their protocol. I don't know if I could fudge bad reception problems for that long, unless it's real and happening during a rainstorm. I'm not a good spontaneous liar. Plus they've probably already recorded my call for today, how I insisted to speak with a supervisor and all that, and might get suspicious if I called again. It's still absurd. It's like waiting for the car engine to fail before taking action, rather than doing stuff to prevent the engine from failing in the first place.:mad:
     
  17. PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

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    Just go ahead and call again. I don't think you realize how chaotic call centers truly are. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that they won't even bother looking up that you called them earlier today or maybe even the first CSR that took your call didn't bother logging it in.
     
  18. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    go around behind the box & remove the cables, then you will see a 771 error. Call them up & let them walk you through all of the steps [just lie that the cables are connected] and then they should send out the tech. If needed practice you story. This way you have only one "issue" & won't need to make anything up on the fly.
    Connect them after the call & you can watch TV until the tech comes out. [BTW: he is "limited" in his "line", or should I just come out & say...bull].
    The SAT signal meter only goes to 100%, so it's not that one gets 100% that counts so have him adjust the dish to a lower power transponder for the most signal, this way [as I know] more transponders will be higher [but none will ever go over 100%].
    Many ways to skin a cat....I've got more if your need them. :)
     
  19. Dr_J

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    Well, here's an update on the transponder issue. For several weeks since 4/22/07, I haven't noticed any signal breakup, even during rain events when odd-numbered transponder strengths were in the 40's and 50's. (That doesn't mean they didn't happen; I just didn't notice them.) However, my luck ran out this week. On 6/4, we had a moderate, tropical rainstorm (not severe, no thunderstorms) where I lost signal on the odd-numbered transponders (zero signal strength), and thus lost a lot of channels, for OVER AN HOUR. The even-numbered transponders were in the 50's and 60's. During this prolonged outage, I called DirecTV customer service, and I was told that when the storm passed, I would be OK. No kidding? Yesterday (6/9), we had an even lighter rainstorm, and the odd-transponder signal strength dropped to a range of 0 to the 30's and 40's with severe pixelation or outright loss of the picture on some channels for at least a half-hour. Switching to transponder #4 (spotbeam) didn't do a thing to improve the picture (as I suspected it wouldn't). Very aggravating. Everything eventually always returns to normal (if odd-numbered signal strength ranging from the mid-50's to 70's can be considered normal), indicating that the problem likely isn't water damage but improper dish alignment.

    So I sent an E-mail to customer service, since phone calls haven't done any good. The reply was what I expected it to be:

    "Thanks for taking the time to write us about your DIRECTV account. I see that you’ve been with us a while and we recognize you as a valued and loyal customer. We want you to know we appreciate it.

    I understand your concern about the technical problem you're having with your DIRECTV system and I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. Since you have the DIRECTV Protection Plan the best way for you to get help as soon as possible is to call 1-888-667-7463 and choose the option to speak to a technical assistant. Our technical asssitant will also assist you in setting up a service call.

    Again, I'm sorry for the inconvenience you're having and thanks for writing."

    (I was fortunate enough to be asked to take a survey on how well this dealt with my issue. I answered "poor.")

    So, I called in again tonight. (Interestingly, I no longer get the message that I'm on their "A-list" of customers. I guess 8 years of loyal service paying $100-$200/month goes up in smoke if one makes one too many phone calls.) After going through a long-winded explanation of my story, the CSR, a pleasant-sounding woman, asked me for my transponder strengths. On the 101 satellite, the 32 transponders registered, in order: 77, 77, 73, 100, 73, 88, 73, 87, 69, 80, 68, 99, 65, 85, 69, 86, 68, 96, 67, 98, 59, 86, 72, 88, 72, 81, 65, 92, 63, 83, 65, 93. (It's a nice, clear night outside.) Then she said that half the 101 satellite channels are on transponder #1, and half the channels are on transponder #2, and since I was getting a signal of 70+ on both, there was no problem, so there will be no service call. I explained how it dropped significantly to anywhere from 0 to the 30's, 40's, and 50's during a nonsevere rain event. The response: "That can happen." At least she agreed that there was no way to switch to transponder #4 in bad weather, like the installer said to do. I asked that if all the channels are on the first two transponders, then what's the significance of all those other numbers? No good answer. After a little bit more calm back and forth, I was just speechless. I didn't know what else to say, except goodbye.

    So, I'm in a Catch-22: DirecTV won't authorize a service call when I'm not having a reception problem because I'm not having a reception problem, and they won't authorize a service call when I AM having a reception problem because it's "weather-related" (even if there's a problem for over an hour in nonsevere weather) and when the rain passes, I'll be OK. Short of lying or sabotage, I'm out of options, and it makes me wonder what on earth I'm doing paying for the (now-reduced $5.99/month) Protection Plan when I can't get any protection, or satisfaction of still being an "A-list" customer. I don't want to switch to cable, but when/if FiOS arrives in my neck of the woods (it may take a couple of years), I'll have to give them careful consideration.

    (Sorry for the long post. I just had to get this off my chest.)
     
  20. Skip Towne

    Skip Towne Godfather

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    Then they would have to hire an adult and pay a living wage.
     
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