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Help with SWM 3 Dish & LNB: Pointing & Troubleshooting
Hopefully some of you can offer some advice. I'm currently trying to set up a HR21 and a SWM-3 Slimline dish in an "RV" type configuration. I know this is supposed to be difficult and to make things worse I am trying to do it on a shoestring budget. (I was laid off last year and moved to temporary housing where I can't have a dish installed professionally. I ran out of time that DirecTV would allow me to suspend my service, so I had to decide either to pay the big contract cancellation fee for no TV at all or to try and figure out a way to receive the signal. Just to make my life difficult, I figured I'd give it a try. I am also separated from most of my tools, etc. here to make things even more fun.)
I have an HR21 HD DVR connected to the SWM-3 LNB through a PI-21 power inserter. Because I have only a single receiver, I am not using a splitter and just have the power inserter between the DVR and LNB. My understanding is that this is a valid configuration...
Of course dish mounting and pointing is the biggest gotcha. Also of course, I don't have a signal meter. I can see the TV while pointing so was planning to use the receiver to point the dish. I've made a stand for the dish from PVC which has turned out pretty sturdy, but to add to the stupidity factor I don't have a bubble level or compass here. I am using dishpointer.com to sight to nearby objects for the approximate azimuth, and just eyeballed the mast to "pretty darn close" to vertical. Yes I know, bad plan, but my thinking was that I could sweep the dish slowly across my approximate azimuth. Then if I didn't get a signal, I'd adjust the elevation by a degree or two to compensate for possible off-level mast and sweep again, then repeat as necessary. Then I figured I could dither in elevation and azimuth once I got a signal to peak it, and then maybe be able to watch some TV!
So I think I must have gotten to within at most a degree or two in elevation and azimuth of the correct satellite position somewhere in this process, but I've seen nothing in the signal strength screen. I'm using 101, which I understand is Ku and thus has a wider beam width. I don't know how fast this screen updates, and I haven't seen anything but "Not Acquired" on the meters, so I'm not 100% sure this is the right approach to pointing using the receiver.
My main question is this: is the beam width so narrow that I'm probably just missing the satellite completely with my sloppy pointing, or is this evidence that maybe the LNB is bad? The power inserter and cabling are new, but I bought the dish/LNB second hand on eBay. Or do I not have the receiver set up correctly for dish pointing? I know a compass and level (not to mention a signal meter) are essential if you are going to be doing this much, but I figured with enough patience hopefully I could get the thing pointed once with this method. But maybe not if I'm not going to see anything unless my angles are within half a degree.
It is conceivable that some trees are in my LOS but I believe the elevation clears them. A neighbor is receiving SD Dish Network on a similar sight line, and her dish is closer to the trees.
Thanks for all your help, I know this is a pretty hairbrained thing to try to be doing without better equipment, but here I am... I know I probably need to ensure that the mast is completely level anyhow to be able to get good signal on all 3 satellites since otherwise the skew angle might be off, but if I should be getting something non-zero for signal once I'm in the ballpark and this is clearly a case of a dead LNB I'd like to figure that out ASAP.
Last edited by RyanBiggs; 05-01-2010 at 10:25 PM.
05-01-2010 09:58 PM