Expensive Meter Vs taking Tv and reciever (1 Viewer)

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Cband55

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 14, 2008
202
1
Any thoughts on what is better, a 400-600 dollar signal meter or just taking a small TV and receiver outside to point dishes,
 
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fanquon

SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 20, 2008
50
0
My best is a small tv with the receiver. IF you are an installer thats a difference story.

I already no use meter when I go to troubleshooting, anyone need to realight the dish I use small tv and cheap receiver, work like a charm. Ooooo I only work part time now.
 

brentb636

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 24, 2006
4,278
6
5 miles N of Saugatuck, Mi
I concur. Nothing like actually having the whole system out there in one place to debug the system. Only problem is that the receivers don't like cold weather, so for me, that's a partial year solution.
:)
 

Keith Brannen

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 2, 2006
1,851
600
Southwestern Ontario
I concur. Nothing like actually having the whole system out there in one place to debug the system. Only problem is that the receivers don't like cold weather, so for me, that's a partial year solution.
:)

I use a small TV and a coax line split off from the TV, so the receiver stays inside at all times (summer or winter). Only drawback is to change the channel/transponder I have to go inside (of course, in the winter I get a little warmth back in me). It is a mild inconvience if I am working on a satellite where I have to use a ladder, but it does give me some exercise!
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
294
42
Mankato, MN
TV & receiver all the way

as brent noted cold isnt their friend. When I work on the deck dish farm the TV stays inside. But when I move the big dish out in front of the garage the TV is already out there (old click knob TV) and the receiver is out for less than 5 minutes
 

tvropro

On Vacation
Mar 9, 2007
6,872
0
I only have to take a TV outside since my Pansat and 4dtv modulate on different channels on my Smatv system. I connect a coax in the kitchen and run it out the door to a tv by the dish. The best alignment tool though is a spectrum analyzer don't have one yet.
 

Larry1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 24, 2005
1,586
122
Port Hope, ON Canada
For a $400 - $500 meter I would say the receiver and tuner will do just as good, but for a $4000 - $5000 spectrum analyzer you can simultaneously see both horizontal and vertical frequency outputs of the LNBF at the same time while making adjustments makes peaking very quick. Very easy to see what is happening to both polarities and over the entire frequency range at once. I have seen a friend use one once, and it was very impressive. Unfortunatelly I don't have one.
 

skysurfer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 1, 2006
1,737
42
Any thoughts on what is better, a 400-600 dollar signal meter or just taking a small TV and receiver outside to point dishes,

no brainer, my $300 satfinder meter.

instead of dragging out power cords, coax extenders, and hooking up my really good spectrum analzyer or optionally unconnect and take out to the dish a sat receiver, unhook and take out to the dish a tv, set up a table, try to see everything when sunshine reflects off the tv crt, it's much easier and quicker to take out my meter (with rechargeable batteries), a short piece of coax to hook up the meter to the lnb, my diseqc motor controller, and use the rough spectrum analzyer display of the meter to find my sat, and use the ber and c/n to dial in the satellite and set crosspol.

I then go back to the sat shack and check things out on the really good spectrum analyzer to verify my polarity planes are perfect.

i've had my satfinder about 4-5 months now and I've touched up all my dishes and it's currently helping me with my 90cm to 120cm changeout on a hh120 motor as I work through the fine tuning. I can spend an hour or two every day working on the fine tuning without having to drag out everything everyday. the meter only takes 60 seconds to grab and hook up to the dish each day and another 60 seconds to disconnect when it gets too dark to work on aiming and driving my dish thoughout the arc checking out the various sats as I dial in the arc.
 

updatelee

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 22, 2006
1,604
111
CFB Edmonton
I got my satlook NIT for $300 and spent less then $50 getting it up and running (new battery and db9 serial port) that falls within your budget.

there is stuff you can do with a spectrum analyzer that you would fight for hours with on a receiver then finnaly give up and be left guessing. identfying weather a lnb has a low noise floor can only be done with a spectrum. Ive seen 0.2db lnb's with high noise floors then some 0.5db lnb's.

debuging problem lnb's, coax, switch's, etc can be determined in seconds. identifying if a sat has any new tp's takes two button push's , less then 2 seconds.

a spectrum will show the tp poping out of the noise floor before any receiver will even show signal strength.

so my vote, spectrum analyzer all the way.

btw Ive used the trimax 2500, get a satlook anyday over that thing. the spectrum analyzer on that thing is usless for anything other then a toy.
 

Inno

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 13, 2006
1,596
5
NW Ontario, Canada
I concur. Nothing like actually having the whole system out there in one place to debug the system. Only problem is that the receivers don't like cold weather, so for me, that's a partial year solution.
:)

What sort of problems do you have with receivers in the cold? I was working on mine and had the Pansat out there for 3-4 hours with seemingly no ill effect.
I did make sure it was good and warm (condensation gone) before plugging it in again. I think it was about 10° F that day.
Although now that I think about it I was having some trouble locking certain satellites but I did manage to get it all tweaked in the end.

Oh, and back to the original question, in a previous job I used a Birdog meter and it was very nice to use but of course I was only installing Bell dishes then so there was no need for any other satellites.............actually that's not quite true, I did have to do a repoint for the Safeway supermarket here and I used it for that too. For convenience it's hard to beat but now that I don't have it I wouldn't even think of putting out the money for one. The TV and receiver always come out with me when I'm working on the dish farm.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
294
42
Mankato, MN
I've noticed that sometimes it doesnt like to lock on the satellite even though its there.

2 weeks ago it was brutally cold. -18 to -27 in the mornings and never got above 0F. When I went out to try and work with getting the dish tuned (the one I wheel out of the garage) the TV & receiver were there. Receiver had just been brought out in the garage and it would lock a channel but if I went back to it, that channel would show 0 quality even though I was on the sat. A flip through channels on other sats then back and then it would pop in.

I know...what the heck was I doing aiming a dish when it was -20 out? ;)

This is only when it was like death cold. Today it was +6F and the receiver worked fine
 

Tron

SatelliteGuys Master
May 6, 2005
6,599
33
Metro New Orleans, LA
I would certainly recommend a TV or monitor with receiver out at the dish over the cheap meters, but if you have a more expensive positive ID meter or spectrum analyzer, use it. Dragging AC-powered equipment out to the dish can be a pain, but it works. If you don't want to take a full-sized TV out, consider a battery-operated portable DVD player or IPOD video dock that has a video input jack :)
 

Cadsulfide

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2008
1,305
0
Cavalier, North Dakota
I use my $100 Channelmaster squealer meter to find the bird, run in do a blind scan to see if I'm on the right one. If I'm off blind scan will tell me which one I'm really on. Fine tuning is done by calling the wife or daughter on the cell phone while they watch the signal Q, and peak for max Q.
 

cracklincrotch

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 28, 2007
1,026
0
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I'd say it depends on how often you plan on setting up a dish.

I bought a Birdog meter at the same time I bought my very first dish, a T90. Definitely glad I had it. But then, I was setting up a T90, which was my first dish. I've also profited (in both monetary and non-monetary platonic ways for those with dirty minds) from it by helping people out.

Worth every cent after I got the software to make up my own satellite and transponder definitions.
 

pedrogarcia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 27, 2008
630
1
Kalamazoo / Limassol
Guys, I can't believe anyone has the time and effort to line up their Ku dish farm without a Spectrum analyser with NIT. They even make motor installation easier. I personally have a Satlook NIT. Forget the ones over $1000.

Sorry Iceburg, never disagreed with you before :eek: but I have for nearly 30 years always used Ku and Ka and never used C band which I believe is probably a somewhat easier to align and will get even easier as they disappear.

With the increase in KU sats for Tv, radio ( in a country with free speech why should we have to pay to listen to radio) and data alignment becomes more difficult as the arc become more crowded.

As for Blind scan software I found this very difficult to re engineer because it was embedded in the receiver firmware and the sensitivity was poor due to its frequency scan time dependency
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
294
42
Mankato, MN
Sorry Iceburg, never disagreed with you before :eek: but I have for nearly 30 years always used Ku and Ka and never used C band which I believe is probably a somewhat easier to align and will get even easier as they disappear.

no problem : Folks disagree with me all the time. I guess I have 2 reasons why I use the receiver theory
-have done this for so long I "know" where the sats are. Heck I've moved the C-Band dish out of the garage, drop it and hook up the cable and be set to go. My buddy on Monday laughed when I hooked it up and turned on TV and had 60 quality
-I dont have the money to buy a spectrum analyzer ;)
 
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skysurfer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 1, 2006
1,737
42
btw Ive used the trimax 2500, get a satlook anyday over that thing. the spectrum analyzer on that thing is usless for anything other then a toy.

my satfinder's spec analyzer function is good enough to see signal/no signal, or weak signal at the frequency I'm using to align with, but it's fairly useless for skew. What I do is watch BER and S/N at the dish as I peak, then check skew with my good HP spectrum analyzer in the sat shack to make sure i'm where I need to be and don't need to rotate it a few more degrees to get it set right.
 
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