$0 Soda Straw Inclinometer for Line of Sight, With Pictures (1 Viewer)

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thisBUDsforyou

SatelliteGuys Guru
Dec 9, 2007
141
0
I was having trouble with trees blocking my LOS so did some hunting around on the Internet and found plans for a paper inclinometer here:
Math Explorer: How High? Making Your Inclinometers
I wanted something a little more durable than paper so made one out of wood, plus a plastic drinking straw for sighting. I made mine out of a scrap of pine, cutting a groove on the top edge to glue the straw into. For the protractor, I printed out the one included with the link above, cut it out, and glued it to the side of the block of wood. What you do is sight through the straw to the top of the tree or other obstacle, allowing the weight to swing freely, clamp the string against the protractor with your finger, then read the angle. If the angle of the obstacle is lower than the elevation of the satellite you're trying to get in that direction, you have LOS. You use this in conjuction with a compass to see which direction to look for obstacles. I had two straws to choose from; I used the Dunkin Donuts one because it was the thinner than the Wendy's straw. For the weight I used a washer but you could use just about anything to weight down the string. In the best FTA tradition I used only materials on hand so out of pocket cost was zero. If you're a professional installer you probably want to spring for the $150 model so that people won't look at you funny but we hobbyists can get away with this sort of thing. Using this I was finally able to find a spot where I could see G10.
 

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Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
nice find !

Good work, and thanks for sharing. - :up
Loved the pictures!
Oh, and having seen the red straw, I'll be encouraged to find a suitable color, too!
Anyone wanna build a Pyramid, now? I think we got the tools! - :eek:

Now, I may have to document one of my little tricks for sighting distant objects on the way to my favorite bird. :cool:
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,586
122
Port Hope, ON Canada
I'll be encouraged to find a suitable color, too!

Our local Macs Milk has some lime green straws....

I have made simplier versions by folding a paper to the close to proper angle and viewing down the end of the fold. Simple to get close just by folding a paper. One fold 45 deg, another fold 22.5 deg, and easy to fill inbetween with a pencil.
thisBUDsforyou, yours looks more like the professional model. Now just need a disc on the base marked out with the compass headings to turn the device to sight multiple sats in the arc.
 

Woofle

SatelliteGuys Family
Nov 24, 2007
105
0
That's awesome.

Do you think Dunkin Donuts will experience a sudden shortage of straws now? ;D
 

empiretc

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 4, 2008
1,657
51
I used my laser level when I originally set my dish up. This is an awesome idea for anyone who doesn't have any type of laser pointer!
 
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avg1joe

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 27, 2006
677
0
Southern Maine
I have a cheapo camera tripod which rotates and has a level built in.

1) I attached a ruler flat to the top to give it some extra length.

2) Taped a compass to the top of the ruler.

3) Taped a cardboard wedge of the correct angle to the top of this contraption.

4) Wound black electrical tape around a straw to make its sides more opaque.

5) Taped the straw to the top of the wedge.

Everyone who saw it had a good laugh but I knew I had a clear line of sight to most of the belt (43w-135w) before buying my first system. I didn't bother with all the possible elevations just checked the lowest across the arc and it was clear at that elevation all the way across. This obviously won't work for everyone.
 

FTABman0

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 13, 2006
818
1
Lat 39.2°N WV Lo 81.5°W
Poor Mans Inclinometer!

I have a cheapo camera tripod which rotates and has a level built in.

1) I attached a ruler flat to the top to give it some extra length.

2) Taped a compass to the top of the ruler.

3) Taped a cardboard wedge of the correct angle to the top of this contraption.

4) Wound black electrical tape around a straw to make its sides more opaque.

5) Taped the straw to the top of the wedge.

Everyone who saw it had a good laugh but I knew I had a clear line of sight to most of the belt (43w-135w) before buying my first system. I didn't bother with all the possible elevations just checked the lowest across the arc and it was clear at that elevation all the way across. This obviously won't work for everyone.


avg1joe,
Great instuctions!!


This post was suggested to me last month for my Hispasat problems an a hill issue I had! Made one and found out that the hill was not the issue at all!

Great idea!! :up to the person who found it and posed it first!!

Yours gives "arts & crafts" something to really try! :)

Kevin
 
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