FTA in Chattanooga (1 Viewer)

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Trip

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Jun 21, 2008
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Hello, all:

For those who do not already know, I began working at Luken Communications two months ago (November 14), and details can be found here. The Big Announcement - RabbitEars Blog As a result, I now live in Chattanooga, Tennessee near the top of a mountain, which makes me happy as I always wanted to live on the top of a mountain. :)

Anyway, a friend of mine from Wisconsin with whom I attended UVA came down to visit around New Year's to go to the UVA sportball game in Atlanta. He is the person who got me into FTA in the first place, so between his visit and the recent endless pledge drives on both local PBS stations, I decided I needed a motorized FTA setup here in addition to the one I left at home. I had brought my receivers and LNBF down with me, but the dish and pole would not fit. The day before his arrival, I drove down to Galaxy Marketing in Atlanta and picked up the "Economy Pack" that they offer. It features a 9120 motor and 90cm dish, plus an LNBF that I have yet to open.

On Saturday morning before the game, we went over to Lowes and got appropriate containers, poles, and Quikrete to create a pole for my antenna and a pole for my dish. Everything was poured, checked, and leveled, then left to set while we went to the game that evening. On Sunday, we went to assemble the motor and discovered that the bracket was folded in the wrong place, resulting in the holes being very out of alignment. A call down to Atlanta later in the week and an e-mail of a picture got me a free bracket, but my friend had to leave on Monday morning, so he carefully aimed the dish at 125W for me and it has turned out to be very reliable. I've attached several photos of this setup.

My replacement bracket came early this week and today I went ahead and installed it today. I checked that the pole was level after I attached the motor and dish, and after adding two shims it seems pretty close, but I'm having the exact same issue with it that I had in Virginia, which is that 125W wants the dish pulled back, while 97W wants the dish pushed forward, and I cannot find a good compromise position. I eventually just peaked 125W and came inside because I was getting cold, but at some point I will have to tinker with it some more. I know my Virginia setup needed to be rotated west a few degrees to clean it up, so I may have to give that a try.

While I was out playing with it, I went as far east as to get the Luken mux on 83W (needed to test that a dish of that size would pick it up) and as far west as 127W, albeit not without tweaking, and so far it looks like I have a good line of sight. I need to see just how far east my line of sight will go, though I am looking to the east off my deck, so I am imagining 30W should be doable.

One other thing, I was trying to aim at 85W (my due south sat) but couldn't find any signal on the mux listed as "strong" in the "strong transponder" thread here. Anyone seeing it? 85 (AMC16 formerly AMC2)-12195 H 3978

Any thoughts or opinions for me? :)

- Trip
 

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FaT Air

HOA Free Zone
Feb 27, 2010
6,668
913
97W 48N
Your azimuth is off a bit. Just like on a bud. Your "indicators" up on one side and down on the other says the azimuth needs tweaking, and in the same direction. This Azimuth adjustment would be the motor on the pole. This, in turn, would require re-aiming your dish at zenith. (dish Position on the arm)
A motor is nothing but a mini polar mount. So the rule azimuth rotated towards what needs higher applies.
west needs higher, east needs lower, = azimuth needs to be rotated west.
I don't have anything strong, much less at all on 85°W. The echo* slate recently changed TP, and I haven't entered it. I'd probably use 87°W - 11717 H 4858; 11735 V 8332; 11744 H 3977 are what I have.
 
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Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
287
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Mankato, MN
the test card is there....normally

The issue is right now there is a HD feed at 12180 which takes up the whole TP (12180-12200) so the test card gets turned off. I know tonight it should be back up
 

Trip

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Okay, so I tweaked the azimuth westward and now I think everything is right! Got good strength on PBS and 97 and RTV, all without going outside to touch the dish! :D

And yes, I now have that TP on 85 W. Just checked it. Thanks! :)

- Trip
 

SatelliteAV

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 3, 2004
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Roseville, CA
So you are using DiSEqC 1.2 and not USALS? That is most likely the problem. The motor may not have been correctly aimed. Does that dish have an elevation scale stamped on the rear bracket? If so, what is the Motor Latitude scale and the Dish Elevation scale set to?

I may be in Chattanooga next month after the NRB convention. My daughter is enrolled at Southern and if she doesn't make it over to Nashville, I will be driving over for a few days.

Beautiful area!
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Tripinva,

A long time back, I found a website that tracked all the satellite positions precisely. I cannot remember the site by name and have lost the link, but I remember that a few Ku band sats were not located exactly where Lyngsat or other sources tell us. For instance, AMC 21 at 125.0°W was actually tracked to be closer to 124.9°W. Also, the old sat at 101.0°W was tracking closer to 101.1°W (that was before SES 1 replaced it). SES 1 now seems to me to be back nearer to 101.0°W.

I found that if I used the orbitals from that site in my IRD's setup menu for USALS that I could eek out a couple of extra points on my quality meter. It wasn't very much, but if you are really trying to squeeze every point to improve your signal, it is a tip that may help you. You can probably google for that site.

I am also getting the Echostar test card on AMC 16, 85.0°W on TP 12195 H, symbol rate 3978. VPID is 1623 and APID is 1624.

Just blind scanned that sat and am also picking up the sports feed for the womens Ohio St vs Michigan St basketball game on TP 12160 (sr 29267, VPID 49, APID 52).

From your location, you will definitely get 30W (Hispasat). Subract 67 degrees from your longitude and you should have no problems getting a LOS for any sats as far to the east as that. Add 67 degrees to your longitude and that will tell you how far west you can expect. That 67 degree figure may vary depending upon your equipment, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb. If 85 is your closest due south sat, then 85 - 67 = 18 and 85 + 67 = 152. So you should have a LOS for any sats between 18 W and 152 W, if there are sats all through that range.

Whether those sats beam any signal towards you is another matter, of course. Also, USALS only calculates out so far to the east and west from your longitude, so if you go a bit over that, USALS ceases to function and the motor won't move. You would have to switch over to DiSEqC 1.2 motor control to eek out the last few degrees. I have to do this with Hispasat at 30W from my location in Nebraska (96.4°W).

EDIT: You should at some time of the day be able to register the test card channel on 85.0°W. But, if you have troubles, I wouldn't worry too much as long as you are able to pick out the RTV TP on 83.0°W. That's close enough to get started.

RADAR
 
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Lone Gunman

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Mar 19, 2010
3,063
756
southeast
Hey Trip, good to see you back into FTA! Now you got something to waste that spare time on when you're off. ;-) Also good to see you're still employed! Ya never know how them "new jobs" are going to work out.
 

Pixl

Senior Member
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Feb 27, 2010
1,902
66
Traverse City, Michigan
For those who do not already know, I began working at Luken Communications two months ago (November 14), and details can be found here. The Big Announcement - RabbitEars Blog As a result, I now live in Chattanooga, Tennessee near the top of a mountain, which makes me happy as I always wanted to live on the top of a mountain. :)

Congrats on your new job. Nice to hear about people getting into hi-tech jobs in the current job market we have.

Can you stay loyal to us FTA'ers and slip us some info occasionally.

Thank You and God be with you.
 

Trip

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RabbitEars Webmaster
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Jun 21, 2008
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Alexandria, VA, US
So you are using DiSEqC 1.2 and not USALS? That is most likely the problem. The motor may not have been correctly aimed. Does that dish have an elevation scale stamped on the rear bracket? If so, what is the Motor Latitude scale and the Dish Elevation scale set to?

No, I'm using USALS. I originally had the motor set to 35 but it's now somewhat closer to 40 as that's where it wanted to be to get the signals I needed. The dish itself is as low as it gets, off the scale entirely.

I may be in Chattanooga next month after the NRB convention. My daughter is enrolled at Southern and if she doesn't make it over to Nashville, I will be driving over for a few days.

Beautiful area!

Indeed, it is! :)

I am also getting the Echostar test card on AMC 16, 85.0°W on TP 12195 H, symbol rate 3978. VPID is 1623 and APID is 1624.

I've got it now that it's actually up and running.

From your location, you will definitely get 30W (Hispasat). Subract 67 degrees from your longitude and you should have no problems getting a LOS for any sats as far to the east as that. Add 67 degrees to your longitude and that will tell you how far west you can expect. That 67 degree figure may vary depending upon your equipment, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb. If 85 is your closest due south sat, then 85 - 67 = 18 and 85 + 67 = 152. So you should have a LOS for any sats between 18 W and 152 W, if there are sats all through that range.

The bigger issue is that part of the arc is right through a piece of the deck, as you may be able to see in the picture. I'm not 100% sure what it's blocking yet, though I can't help but notice that 72W seems dead.

Oh, and by the way, congrats on working for Luken! That's cool.

Thanks! :)

Hey Trip, good to see you back into FTA! Now you got something to waste that spare time on when you're off. ;-) Also good to see you're still employed! Ya never know how them "new jobs" are going to work out.

Thanks! :)

And it looks like it's still slightly off. I can see all the DVB-S muxes just fine, but the OETA/Montana PBS muxes are missing on 125W, as is LPB on 87W and a few others along the way. I'll likely tweak it next weekend, though I suspect I will want the 125W S2 muxes before then, so I may just make those work tomorrow at the expense of everything else until I have some time to work on it next weekend.

- Trip
 

Trip

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Jun 21, 2008
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Congrats on your new job. Nice to hear about people getting into hi-tech jobs in the current job market we have.

Thanks! I'm quite enjoying it.

Can you stay loyal to us FTA'ers and slip us some info occasionally.

I will do what I can, but I'm pretty far removed from the satellite side of the company.

- Trip
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Tripinva,

Since you are using USALS, try this...

Command your motor to move east to the furthest sat away from your dead south sat that you can still pull in a signal from. Adjust your dish elevation to optimize the signal quality.

Then command your motor to move west to the furthest sat to the west from dead south that you can pick up and adjust your motor azimuth.

Return to the eastern most sat and readjust your dish elevation, then back to the west and adjust your motor azimuth.

Keep repeating this practice until you optimize the tracking of the arc from east to west and then go further east and west and continue on. Basically, you are just working your way across the whole horizon by zero and spanning your signal from each side of the center of the arc.

It requires a lot of time and patience, but in the end, it provides you with excellent results. Remember to adjust only one axis at one side of the arc and the other axis on the other side of the arc. Don't get greedy with your signal quality strength. Just peak with one axis only, then move to the other side and peak the signal using the alternate axis. Be slow and methodical. Take your time. You will be surprised at the results. Be very patient as it won't be apparent that it is working very well at the start or even half way through. You will only "get it" after you have spent some time going back and forth.

This is the BEST way that I have found to calibrate your dish and motor to the arc. Give it a try, follow my advice PRECISELY and take your time. If you try to get greedy on one satellite, and adjust to optimize all parameters for just one sat, you will defeat your purpose. Please try my method first and report back.

RADAR
 

Teehar

SatelliteGuys Master
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Sep 29, 2010
8,355
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WNC
Hey nice to see you at satguys tripinva!You answered a few questions for me over at avs forums in the antenna forums.Being up on a mtn.sure does have it's advantages when it comes to ota and most of the time sat reception as well.Wind can be an issue as I'm sure you know so tighten those bolts a little extra :)

Congrats on the new job!
 

Trip

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RabbitEars Webmaster
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Jun 21, 2008
1,300
704
Alexandria, VA, US
Hey nice to see you at satguys tripinva!You answered a few questions for me over at avs forums in the antenna forums.Being up on a mtn.sure does have it's advantages when it comes to ota and most of the time sat reception as well.Wind can be an issue as I'm sure you know so tighten those bolts a little extra :)

Congrats on the new job!

Thanks! :)

It requires a lot of time and patience, but in the end, it provides you with excellent results. Remember to adjust only one axis at one side of the arc and the other axis on the other side of the arc. Don't get greedy with your signal quality strength. Just peak with one axis only, then move to the other side and peak the signal using the alternate axis. Be slow and methodical. Take your time. You will be surprised at the results. Be very patient as it won't be apparent that it is working very well at the start or even half way through. You will only "get it" after you have spent some time going back and forth.

This is the BEST way that I have found to calibrate your dish and motor to the arc. Give it a try, follow my advice PRECISELY and take your time. If you try to get greedy on one satellite, and adjust to optimize all parameters for just one sat, you will defeat your purpose. Please try my method first and report back.

RADAR

Thank you for your advice; I will take it as soon as time permits. For clarity, you are referring specifically to the elevation of the dish and not the motor, right? I ask because I seem to be out of downward movement room on the dish itself, as you can see in the photos I just ran out and took. Not quite sure what to do about that, exactly.

In the photos, the motor is aimed at 30W trying to see how far east I can get with the current aim. It seems to end around 61W and I cannot see 30W at the moment.

- Trip
 

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Trip

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Jun 21, 2008
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Alexandria, VA, US
Now that I think about it, maybe I need to adjust the motor elevation from 40 to 35 and then give myself 5 degrees on the dish. That would better match the instructions included in the motor, if nothing else.

- Trip
 

Trip

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Jun 21, 2008
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Well, I fought with it all afternoon but I never managed to get the DVB-S2 feeds from 125W no matter what I did. I know I can get them, because I had them before I attached the motor, but now I can't seem to find a position where they work at all.

I am tracking the arc better though still not as well as I would like.

- Trip
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Now that I think about it, maybe I need to adjust the motor elevation from 40 to 35 and then give myself 5 degrees on the dish. That would better match the instructions included in the motor, if nothing else.

- Trip

Trip,

You absolutely must remember this item about setting up a H-H motor: There is only one elevation setting that you can use (set) for your motor and that is the one that corresponds to your location's geographic latitude. In order to track the arc properly, you must set the elevation or latitude angle to match this.

Use Google Earth to fly over your location and read the actual latitude coordinates. It will read out as degrees, minutes, seconds NORTH.
i.e. 35° 02' 32.82" N. You will need to convert this to decimal degrees. 35 + (2 / 60) + (32.82 / 3600) = 35 + 0.0333 + 0.0091 = 35.0424 (35.04).

So, if you lived at the Chattanooga Zoo (hee hee) you would use 35.04 degrees as your latitude. Your motor must be set to this latitude angle. If your motor doesn't have a latitude scale, only an elevation scale, you would set the elevation angle to 55° (90° - 35° = 55°). The angles of latitude and elevation for the motor add up to 90 degrees, so you have to calculate this out.

You'll have to determine your precise latitude which will be displayed at the bottom of the Google Earth screen when the mouse cursor is positioned over your dish installation site. You don't have to be really precise with where the cursor is positioned as long as you are in the neighborhood.

If you come up with a latitude (or calculated elevation angle) that is like 35.37 (54.63) or 35.24 (54.76) it will be difficult to read the accuracy of these angles on the scale of your motor to this level. You will either have to take your best shot at approximating this angle or... You can slap a high accuracy inclinometer (an angle finder with better resolution) on the flat portion of the motor belly and read out the motor ELEVATION angle from that instrument.
You can get one that is quite accurate and very acceptable from any hardware store.

Once you get this angle set, don't ever change it during your antenna's "calibration" process. This angle should be considered as a constant in the alignment formula and must remain set to reflect your site's actual geographic latitude coordinate.

The only two angles that you will adjust to calibrate the tracking of the arc from here on will be the rotation of the motor clamps on the mast (that's your azimuth angle from east to west) and the elevation angle of the dish bracket.

If you run out of mechanical adjustment for the dish elevation angle, you might have to flip the dish assembly bracket upside down (first remove the bolts that attach the dish reflector to the rest of the dish bracket and flip the dish upside down). Then remove the dish bracket where it attaches to the motor stem or tube and flip it upside down to bring the dish back to normal orientation. This sometimes provides a greater range for the dish elevation adjustment with certain assemblies. The problem with doing this is that your dish elevation scale will now be totally inaccurate and also inverted.
But, there are other means to judge the dish elevation angle than the imprinted scale.

If this method does not physically work out for your assembly, there are other methods that you might utilize to get the range of dish elevation required, but they may be more involved. Hopefully you find that it is not necessary to go any of with these avenues. I have never had to do so with my equipment, so I am only familiar with what others have written when they had to do so.

However, and most certainly, do not alter the motor elevation (latitude) angle setting as you mentioned. That will kill any chance of tracking the arc properly. That angle must be a fixed constant like having a plumb mast. Hope that makes sense and helps you with your setup.

RADAR
 

Trip

Thread Starter
RabbitEars Webmaster
Staff member
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Jun 21, 2008
1,300
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Alexandria, VA, US
The dish seems to be my issue. I have my motor latitude set at 40 instead of 35 (my latitude is 35.00) because otherwise the dish won't get low enough in angle to see any satellites at all. But it does seem to be able to track as I definitely had it pulling in 30W to 125W in a single position before I took the whole thing apart and reassembled the motor assembly to use the other set of holes in the bracket, it just wasn't good enough for OETA and Montana PBS on 125W. I'm going to study your instructions and see if I can't make the dish assembly do what it needs to do.

The thing that is really puzzling me is that when I aim at 125W, my signal strengths between my two receivers are inconsistent. I'm using my Coolsat 6000 Premium to do the aiming, and I had 12163 peaked at 93%, which somehow still wasn't bringing in anything on 12150, but when I hooked it up to my TeVii S660 without touching anything else, it would show only about 32% on 12163. On the other hand, 12180 is at 94% on the Coolsat and blows the doors off my TeVii at 99% signal, so I don't really know what to make of the whole thing. I checked all my connections between the dish and the TeVii and can't find any obvious problems.

- Trip
 
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