arc set (1 Viewer)

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shankle

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 10, 2010
338
0
florida
Has anybody ever heard of an Arc Set made by a guy in California?
He also will generate an analysisa of the sats in your area. Which if I understand
it correctly, gives the slope of the dish face for a particular satellite based on my latitude and longitude. Once you move the dish face to that slope then all you have to do is swing the dish left or right to get the signal. This is an explanation by a novice. That's quite different from all the other stuff that I have read.
I have a Pico-Peaker and IMHO it is worthless.
Web site address is: gourmet-ent.com.

Reason I am investigating this is because after months of trying to
get my 10 footer aligned I am dead in my tracks.
 
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shankle

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 10, 2010
338
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florida
Thanks for replying Lak7.
Yes I did put the dish at true south facing straight up on Nimik4.
This sat has nothing on it I can use.
 

shankle

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 10, 2010
338
0
florida
Yes I have read that page several times.
The sats that are visable to me at my latitude are Galaxy 13 (127W)
thru intelsat 805 (55.5W).
Remember you are talking to a novice.
Most of these sites tell you what to do but not how to do it. They are
generally over the head of guys like me.
My tools to work with are a compass, inclinator and a Pico-peaker.
I was able to aim my previous dish years ago because I could find
analog signals on the Uniden sq530. Now I don't have that luxury.

Beware of trees that fall on your dish or you will be in my pickle.
 

fastscirocco

SatelliteGuys Family
May 1, 2010
35
0
Kalamazoo
Has anybody ever heard of an Arc Set made by a guy in California?
He also will generate an analysisa of the sats in your area. Which if I understand
it correctly, gives the slope of the dish face for a particular satellite based on my latitude and longitude. Once you move the dish face to that slope then all you have to do is swing the dish left or right to get the signal. This is an explanation by a novice. That's quite different from all the other stuff that I have read.
I have a Pico-Peaker and IMHO it is worthless.
Web site address is: gourmet-ent.com.

Reason I am investigating this is because after months of trying to
get my 10 footer aligned I am dead in my tracks.


Here is the Arc Set he is talking about, I'd would also welcome thoughts on the Arc Set.

Code:
http://www.gourmet-ent.com/products/arc_ext.html
 

Covack

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 4, 2004
301
2
Down South
I bought one from Him about 5 years ago,
works great
I just used it last week, on my niece's 10', I found for her
tracking in no time
 

B.J.

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 15, 2008
2,029
1
Western Maine
He's been selling those Arc-Set things for a long time. He used to occasionally post in a TVRO group I was in back in the early 90s. The people who used the Arc-Set really liked it. Basically it's a level with 3 bubbles. One gives you the angle of your rotation axis, the second gives the angle for the actual aim of the dish when aimed south, this gives the declination. I forget exactly how to use the 3rd bubble, but it's used when aiming at an extreme east or west sat.
8 or 10 years ago, I finally picked up a used ARC set with an old dish I got with a receiver I bought. It was set up for another location, so I put it on my already aligned dish, and adjusted the 3 levels based on that dish, then moved it over to the new dish I was putting up, and the new dish was pretty well aligned using it, so it does seem to be helpful, assuming that you understand which surfaces you're supposed to use with each bubble.

The bubble levels in the Arc-Set used to be pretty cheaply made, of plastic, and I've read posts from people who said that they leaked. After reading that, I looked at mine, and sure enough, one of the bubbles had leaked, and was pretty much half empty. I drilled a small hole in the end, and tried to inject new fluid, but I found out that it had a liquid in there that wasn't miscible with water, and when I tried IPA it kind of started disolving the plastic, so I pretty much made a mess of the darn thing.

The other two levels on mine are still fine, so I've taken them apart, and now have 1 little level that gives me the rotation axis angle, and another one that gives me the dish aim for the declination. They seem to be helpful because taken apart, they are small enough to fit into small places that the Arc-Set couldn't fit when all together.
 

shankle

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 10, 2010
338
0
florida
I am not able to pick up any C/ku band.
My receiver is a Pansat 2800a and a Uniden sq530 pusher.
lnb bsc621-2d.
This means that I have to be right on a bird before the
Pansat can scan to see if anything is there.
 

Sambo2

Member
Jul 16, 2009
11
0
Virginia (Near Roanoke)
I've used Gourmet Entertaining's Arc Set and think it works great. Much easier then using a compass or the north star. It works for a range of about 50 miles from where he sets it up for and you can adjust it for a new location by calibrating the bubbles to a know working dish. Once you have your dish aligned, you can check the alignment in less than five minutes. He says your post does not even have to be plumb, but I can't vouch for that.
 

skysurfer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 1, 2006
1,737
42
I would consider the arcset an expensive POS. I was using it regularly up to year 5 of ownership on my own dishes and my friends dishes and then put it away in its box in a cool, dark place. When I needed it at year 10, it was useless because two of the three vials had leaked and dried up. Only one vial was useful and the tool was useless because you need all 3. I contacted Gourmet Entertaining asking about a warranty or replacement of the tool and got no response, so he doesn't seem to stand behind his product.

For $300, you should get yourself a satfinder meter (actual receiver-like chip that will lock onto DVB-S signals and give you signal/noise figures and includes a primitive spec analyzer screen so you can check for signal at a glance even though the resolution is not good enough for signal hunting or polarity setting).

I took my satfinder and got my (new-to-me) Birdview on the arc in an hour this weekend.

Did you square up the dish on the mount before doing your due south sat? I did that first thing, then hooked up the satfinder, pulled up my entry for a DVB-S signal on my due south sat, and swung the dish about the post until I got lock. I locked down the dish to the post and checked elevation. I pulled up and pushed down on the lip of the dish and couldn't get any better signal than where the elevation was already set.

I hooked the LNB to my spectrum analyzer and actuated to the east towards my extreme sat. It was faint so I knew I was a little off the arc. I hooked up the satfinder to the LNB, pulled up the DVB-S signal for my extreme satellite, loosened the bolts holding the mount to the pole, and turned the dish about the post until my extreme sat was locked by the satfinder and then peaked up for maximum signal strength. I tightened the bolts holding the mount to the post, actuated back to due south and checked elevation. Elevation was as good as it gets so I'm done and the dish performs great for a 8.5' dish.
 

B.J.

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 15, 2008
2,029
1
Western Maine
I've used Gourmet Entertaining's Arc Set and think it works great. Much easier then using a compass or the north star. It works for a range of about 50 miles from where he sets it up for and you can adjust it for a new location by calibrating the bubbles to a know working dish. Once you have your dish aligned, you can check the alignment in less than five minutes. He says your post does not even have to be plumb, but I can't vouch for that.
I can vouch for the fact that it's possible to perfectly align a dish with a pole that is tilted significantly. Also, back in the 90s, the TVRO forum I was on had some members who were apparently at a demonstration where the Gourmet fellow (I forget his name) aligned a dish on a pole that was tilted by something like 30 degrees. At the time, I didn't believe it was possible, unless the tilt was to the south, so I made myself a little wooden model of a dish on a tilted pole, hoping to demonstrate that it WASN'T possible, but I ended up proving to myself that it was indeed possible. I never did have a real occasion to try it, except once when I put one of my dishes on the trunk of a small tree that I cut off at the 5' level, and just bolted a dish to it. It was tilted quite a bit, and I used the Gourmet thing to transfer settings from my main bud over to it, and it worked for a while until the tree grew a bit and tilted even more. But yes, I think it can work on a tilted pole.

I would consider the arcset an expensive POS. I was using it regularly up to year 5 of ownership on my own dishes and my friends dishes and then put it away in its box in a cool, dark place. When I needed it at year 10, it was useless because two of the three vials had leaked and dried up. Only one vial was useful and the tool was useless because you need all 3. I contacted Gourmet Entertaining asking about a warranty or replacement of the tool and got no response, so he doesn't seem to stand behind his product.

For $300, you should get yourself a satfinder meter (actual receiver-like chip that will lock onto DVB-S signals and give you signal/noise figures and includes a primitive spec analyzer screen so you can check for signal at a glance even though the resolution is not good enough for signal hunting or polarity setting).

.....

Like I posted above, the same thing happened to one of the 3 vials on my ArcSet. The level vials are definately low quality. I have an antique level that belonged to my great grandfather. The level is probably something like 70-90 years old, and has a similar style of adjustable bubble, and it is still working after nearly a century of use, but that's because the bubble is glass. I think that when you put organic solvents in a plastic vial, you can't expect them to last forever. But yes, they use inexpensive parts. On the other hand, I'm not sure how reasonable it is to expect ANY item to be guaranteed for 10 years.

Also, like you, I never really saw the need to use the Arc-Set. I think that if you have a good sense for the alignment process, that it usually won't take long to get just as good or better of an alignment as you can with the ArcSet, but most beginners don't have a solid concept of what they're supposed to be doing, particularly with respect to rotation axis elevation and declination. Even with the best meter, you need to get either the rotation axis OR the declination set fairly accurately, or you're not going to track well. Depending on your dish, it may be easier to accurately set the rotation axis or with other dishes, it's easier to set the declination, but you need to set one of them or a meter won't do the job. The Arc-Set DOES give you a quick way to get both of these angles very close, and you can then use a meter to fine adjust one of the two.

I DO think, that one of those little digital square levels that people have been promoting here, can give even better results than the ArcSet, for less money, provided that you know what angles to use, and can find a good place to put them where you can read the displays, ie sometimes it's easier to see if a bubble is centered than it is to read a digital display in poor light (or when looking through a bug helmet). I haven't yet bought one of those little square digital levels, but I do have a couple 1' long digital levels, so I used those to set the bubbles on the remaining two ArcSet levels, and they DO seem to make it easier to see when I'm adjusted right. although I must say, that I do still get confused with respect to which direction to put the things, so as not to get the 90 minus angle. I got one of those neat digital lable maker things (which is also great for putting labels on cables), and put little notes on the two levels to remind me of which is for what, and which direction I should be holding it.

My big problem with using mine now, is that there is no longer any flat surface on my mount that I can put ANY level on, since it has kind of rusted under the paint some places, and one of the flat surfaces has actually warped. Ie I get different readings at different points just a half inch apart. A longer level would give better results, but there isn't any surface on any of my dishes where I can fit a long level.

Anyway, I do agree, that I don't think that I would recommend spending the money on an Arc-Set, but I think that they do work, and some people seem to like them.
 

shankle

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 10, 2010
338
0
florida
I'm very disappointed to hear of the poor quality of the Arc-Set. Is it possible
that a few just could be bad like in every thing else there are always defective
items? Or were they dropped or left in the hot sun to long?

The other items are not reasonable for a guy like me as I only have to
align my dish when a tree falls on it or a huricane decides to visit.

He also provides an analysis of the dish face for all the birds I can view.
I think my 29.6 degree latitude is set within a quarter of a degree.
The declination is 4.2 and that also is set within a quarter of a degree.
So by moving the dish west and down to the figure he gives for the face of
the dish (Galaxy 13), should put me near the arc. Now a little adjustment
east or west with the Pico-peaker should put me right on the arc.
Then blind scan with the Pansat 2800 to see if I can pick up Bethel TV or
Mega TV. Should work but who knows.....
 

Lone Cloud

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2008
701
18
I am still very much a proponent of using a "beep on scan" receiver and wireless radio headphones. This system eliminates completely the chore of taking little tvs and receivers out to the dish. You just plug your audio output into the sending unit and then get the menu where the signal strength beeps.

Then I go up to my roof where my big dish is and then I tweak it this way and that for the fastest, highest pitched beeps.

I have seen wireless radio headphones for 10 to 20 bucks. Pretty cheap and there is no rgb connection you have to undo, and you get to work with your hands free besides.

It works.
 

shankle

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 10, 2010
338
0
florida
Thanks for responding Lone Cloud.
I have no idea what you are talking about.
Can you please be more specific. Like what and where I can buy
something like what you are talking about.

What is a beep on scan receiver ???
My receiver is a Pansat 2800.
 

Lone Cloud

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2008
701
18
Thanks for responding Lone Cloud.
I have no idea what you are talking about.
Can you please be more specific. Like what and where I can buy
something like what you are talking about.

What is a beep on scan receiver ???
My receiver is a Pansat 2800.


Ok. I assume I don't have to explain what wireless radio frequency headphones are. I have recently seen them for 15 bucks at Big Lots and 10 bucks at Harbor Freight Tools.

I have two standard definition Viewsat receivers that have the beep on scan function - Ultra and Xtreme. You have to look through your menus on your Pansat to determine if your box has the function.

I hook the rgb up to - usually the Ultra, turn it on.You go into the menus and select beep on scan. You know it's on when you are on a screen where you have that signal and quality display and it is making the beep noise. You get an audio cable, red and white rca connectors on the back of the receiver and you connect those to the audio input on the wireless headphone sender. Then turn on your headphones and make sure you are hearing the beeping.

I like to start with my due south satellite and an active transponder. The advantage to this method is that it doesn't matter if the signal is encrypted or HD on an SD receiver. If it has a signal, the receiver beeps and beeps more and higher pitched when it is stronger.

My receiver is about 70 feet away from my dish and on my roof. I have concrete tile roofing, so the radio signal has to get through that, since the sending unit is in the same room as the Ultra receiver. The headphones receive the signal fine.

Before I go out to the dish I select the due south satellite, and an active transponder. Move the dish via your dish mover to due south zenith position.
Then go out to the dish and loosen all the bolts. Move the dish this way and that. tighten at the fastest, highest pitched beeping.
 
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B.J.

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 15, 2008
2,029
1
Western Maine
That beeping function is a nice feature, but most receivers don't have it. The only receiver I've had which had it was my DirecTV receiver, and that did help finding sats.
However a slightly less sophistocated way to do something similar is to tune to an already saved channel on the sat, and turn the volume up loud and open the windows (do this when XYL is away). Two problems though, first, the beeping doesn't change with quality, however you can kind of peak by splitting the difference between points where you lose reception. The second problem would be that people starting out with a new system generally don't have channels saved yet, because they haven't found the sats. If your receiver allows you to enter manual channels by entering the A/V PIDs though, you can create the channel without ever locking onto the signal. Most receivers will allow you to do this, however several won't allow you to do this with AC3 audio though, so you may have to find a channel that has MPEG audio.
This is how I've set up fixed dishes several times. Ie I already had channels saved, piped the channel to a TV in my garage, turned up the volume so loud that it could be heard half a mile away, then went out to the dish, and hand aimed the dish till the sound scared all the chipmunks back into their holes. Usually I did this in conjunction with a hand held meter, which would generally lead me to a DBS sat near where I was trying to get, then I'd move in the proper direction to get the channel I was looking for to pop in.
 

Lone Cloud

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2008
701
18
That beeping function is a nice feature, but most receivers don't have it. The only receiver I've had which had it was my DirecTV receiver, and that did help finding sats.
However a slightly less sophistocated way to do something similar is to tune to an already saved channel on the sat, and turn the volume up loud and open the windows (do this when XYL is away). Two problems though, first, the beeping doesn't change with quality, however you can kind of peak by splitting the difference between points where you lose reception. The second problem would be that people starting out with a new system generally don't have channels saved yet, because they haven't found the sats. If your receiver allows you to enter manual channels by entering the A/V PIDs though, you can create the channel without ever locking onto the signal. Most receivers will allow you to do this, however several won't allow you to do this with AC3 audio though, so you may have to find a channel that has MPEG audio.
This is how I've set up fixed dishes several times. Ie I already had channels saved, piped the channel to a TV in my garage, turned up the volume so loud that it could be heard half a mile away, then went out to the dish, and hand aimed the dish till the sound scared all the chipmunks back into their holes. Usually I did this in conjunction with a hand held meter, which would generally lead me to a DBS sat near where I was trying to get, then I'd move in the proper direction to get the channel I was looking for to pop in.


Right, I hadn't thought of that, but instead of turning the volume up, you could hook the audio directly into the wireless headphone setup. Of course in that case you would have to find a channel with sound on the satellite you were peaking, but having the headphones should make you able to approximate whare the peak position is - about midway between where the audio stops and starts.

And you won't feel in a rush to get it done before the neigbors call the cops, since your tv room would be dead quiet.
 
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