Motorized 6foot issues (1 Viewer)

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Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Ok guys I'm looking for ideas. I motorized the six foot Fortec dish months ago. I know its on the arc and working correctly more or less. I've tried adjusting the dish elevation and the declination with pretty much the same results. I aligned it on my true south which I used 87W close as I could get to true south sat. If raise or lower the declination or the dish, about 1/4", I either gain or lose the stuff to the east or to the west. Example if I lock in on TVU at 87W and peak the signal then everything above 101w suffers. If I peak the dish on 121w and lock in Setanta, France 24 etc...weaker ones for me, then I lose everything below 95west. I'm beginning to think the 6 footer is just to small to scan the arc and get it all. I checked the pole and the mount and I'm within a half a bubble on the level? I'm wondering if that the issue? I can manually raise or lower the dish and increase the signal on any sat up there. I just can't keep everything in at once without manual adjustments. Any ideas of something to try?
I'm probably going to try and motorize my old Paraclipse 8.5 footer in the spring as it should way outperform the 6 footer anyway. Thanks Blind
 

Lak7

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 28, 2008
5,451
7
Near Chicago, Illinois
Drive Dish to it's highest point
Set elevation to proper setting
Set Declination to proper
Loosen mount, adjust Azimuth to peak signal, and tighten
Recheck elevation, adjust to peak
Drive, and check Sats to the west, make note if lifting or lowering the Dish improves
Repeat for Sats in the East

If Sats to the East AND West improve by lifting, adjust declination
If Sats to the East AND West improve by lowering, adjust declination
If Sats are improved by opposite elevation adjustments, then adjust Azimuth
 

Lone Cloud

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2008
701
18
What does "within a half a bubble" mean? do you mean your pole or mast is out of plumb by half a bubble?

if you mean that, I would say that is likely your probem. Can you adjust a guy wire or honk that thing plumb with a comealong? Forget half a bubble, use at least a 30 inch level that measures exactly the same using both edges.

Get it plumb by hook or crook.
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Thanks guys. Lone Cloud yes the pole is mounted on a concrete base and I've been looking to raise it just a little. The ground is frozen and the concrete pad is frozen to the ground. Hopefully today it will hit 42 degrees and I'll check the pole again and raise the pad. I'm pretty sure with the 30" level it was out a half a bubble. I wasn't sure a half a bubble or less would make that much of a difference. Last time I messed with it was too cold (10 degrees) to stay outside too long. I've done everything that LAK7 suggested a couple of times and if you lower the dish you get the lower sats 87/91w and lose the upper 131/135W. If you raise it you get the upper sats and lose the lower ones. It's mostly the weaker channels I lose. Sadly I can't get anything below 87W cband due to tree issues. Danged 40 foot trees.... We'll check and report back lol. Blind
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Well guys I tried all adjustments that could be done. Leveled the pole too. No difference no matter what. I'm convinced the 6 footer is too small to properly track the arc. I know someone else who tried the exact same dish with similar results. They appear to be great as a fixed dish though. I either gain the west and lose the east or vice versa. I think I'll wait til spring and either motorize the Paraclipse or replace the six footer with an eight footer. Time and money not enough of either lol...Blind
 

capned

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 31, 2009
47
11
Southeastern Arizona
Blind,
Don't throw in the towel yet. Shure, a larger dish would be better, but the fact that you can get a lock on some of your East and West sats by tweaking, but not both sides of the arc at the same time, indicates the problem is with your mount and/or mount alignment. I know good mount alignment can be a PITA, especially when the weather doesn't cooperate. Why not wait for a half decent day and give it another shot, starting with the basic correct elevation, and declination settings for your lat, with the mount motored to zenith and then, progressing with what Lak7 suggested, except for the last line, I think he meant declination adjustment instead of elevation:

If Sats to the East AND West improve by lifting, adjust declination
If Sats to the East AND West improve by lowering, adjust declination
If Sats are improved by opposite elevation adjustments, then adjust Azimuth

This is how I do it:
1) From the start setting, get your South sat dialed in using only the elevation adjustment and moving the mount on the pole.
2) Then motor over East and use only the motor and moving the mount on the pole to get your east sat. Then draw a line on the pole and the mount to show the the position of the mount relative to the pole.
3) Then motor over West and use only the motor and moving the mount on the pole to get your West sat. Now put another mark on the pole to line up with the mark you put on the mount when you did your East sat, then move the mount on the pole so the mark on the mount is half way between the marks on the pole and snug the mount to the pole.
4) Then re-peak your west sat using only the motor and the declination adjustment, and the do the same for the East sat.
5) Now go to your South sat and peak it using only the motor and elevation adjustment.
6) Repeat steps 2 thru 5 until you are peaked on your farthest East, West, and South sats.
One other thing to know is, if your pole is out of plumb true North to South it can be compensated for when you adjust the elevation. If it's out very much East to West it could be a problem.

Good luck, I hope this helps, Greg
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
This web page on Geo Orbit is pretty old-school, but the drawing at the bottom shows you what to do to dial in your mount.

Of course, starting very close to the correct settings is of significant help! - :cool:
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Thanks Guys I may play with it again this weekend. My south sat is more or less 87W. I can't get anything else east of there. As the dish drops in elevation it's shooting thru the neighbors trees at that point. What I can't figure out is...I'm having to adjust either the declination or dish elevation only about 1/4 to get the best signal either on 87W or 133W. The biggest problem I'm having is that if I get TVU or This Tv on 87W peaked- lower the dish, then the stuff on 121W for example is really weak or non existent- raise the dish or elevation. Some of the signals Setanta, America One, France 24, Biz Tv etc...seem to be very weak anyway. There's one sweet spot that holds them in at just above threshold. Of course everything else suffers on the other sats.
Perhaps it's lined up but some of the stuff is just too weak to hold in as I pan the arc. I do know making sure the pole was 100% level instead of a half a bubble out, made no difference at all. Oh well into the lower 40's for the next few days I'll try some things. I'm not sweating over it as spring will be here hopefully soon enough. Thanks Blind
 

stogie5150

Crazed Cajun Rebel
Jan 7, 2007
3,816
39
Slidell,LA
1) IMO, the pole has to be absolutely plumb for the dish to track. Don't let anyone tell you different. I don't have 25 years of this like some of the fellas, but this I know and have experienced. Yes pulling the pole or re shimming it is a PIA, but the pole MUST be plumb in all directions, or you will be urinating in a tornado.

2) As a wise man told me once, and over a couple c-band dishes proven to be true, SET THE DECLINATION AND DO NOT TOUCH IT AGAIN! EVER! Get a digital level or angle finder from Harbor Freight ( best 30 bucks you will ever spend in this hobby, hands down) , and set your declination to a TENTH of a degree. Then run the dish to TS, zero that puppy on TS, tighten the mount to pole bolts, then drive to the westernmost satellite that will come in, THEN loosen the bolts and GENTLY turn the whole dish on the pole to tweak that westernmost sat. Tighten, then keep going west after that to see if your tweak worked.

3) This I know: if you do your part, and nothing's bent or tweaked in any way, your pole is plumb ( not half assed plumb, dead on plumb) , your angles are right, and you use the instructions on the aiming page referenced earlier, the dish will track. :D

Keep at it. I had many of days that I came in from the back yard like this: :rant:

But once I got it, I was: :D
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Lak7, Yeah read your post. I tried that yesterday as well. No difference. I figure I was outside about 3 hours lol. I hope to mess with it somewhat this weekend. I know I'm doing everything correctly..at least I think. Whatever it is it defies common sense & when I stumble on it....it will be one of those aaahaaaa moments. When I moved it slightly more to the west on the mount,and re aligned the Gbox I had the same reception issues. I can raise or lower the dish and it does affect the signal. If I line it on 87w more or less south, lowering the dish to peak signal....TVU is coming in in the mid 50's. This Tv about 43. Then I get nothing on the upper sats above 103W. If I raise the dish about 1/4....maybe closer to 3/8" I get TVU at about 33-35 and lose This Tv and anything else on 87W. But the upper sats are decent. As it stand now I'm getting TVU at 33-35...No This TV
89W Pentagon channel at threshold not watchable...weak signal anyway
91W CW 35-37.....No KHIZ....Jewelry is pixelated.....Word Net is there at 38
95W My Fam Tv at 35
99W most of it in the mid 40's KCWY at 35-37
103W Ion at 38 AAN 43 NY legis 40
107W ASN etc...low 40's
113-116 seems to be strongest some into the 50's Dominican channels at threshold
118W KDEV etc...38
121W Amer one/Mozoon/ right at threshold but there Sortsman Ch/ Sports ohio in the 40's. Setanta/France 24/TXCN are at 37-40 anything less than that and I lose them
125W similar to 121w
127 LCN 47-49
131W QVC 43-47
133W ARTS 37
135W Bloomberg/QVC are there at times but won't stay lock...trees perhaps

I'm thinking what you're thinking? that I need to shift it on the pole slightly. To the west slightly didn't seem to help. Tommorrow I'll shift it east and then west and see what happens.

Blind
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Stogie, Just saw your post. Yeah I've had the angle device for a quite a while. Those things are invaluable! It stays fixed to the dish 24/7. I'm gonna try a few adjustments to the azimuth again this weekend. As I sit here this morning at work I'm sure thats the issue...it almost has to be. Thanks Blind
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Ok thanks to all! I spent about an hour this afternoon in wonderful 45 degree temps, and I think I got it darn close. I leveled the concrete pad again that the pole is mounted on. The ground here is mush in winter. Moved the dish on the pole to 87W TVU and raised the dish at least 1/2" farther up on the elevation bolt. TVU at 50 Plus now. 91w everything is staying in including KHIZ which was weak for me. Went up to 121W and 127 W everything ok there too. At 131W I had to adjust the declination up/down slightly and moved the dish farther west on the pole just a hair. QVC at 45 now. No great improvements in signal on any sats.But now I'm able to go from 87W to 133W without having to manually adjust anything. So Saturday I'm gonna fine tune at little more as I'm missing a few channels on 87W...@sports...INN etc...So looks like the concrete pad had sunk slightly, and the dish had to go a tad farther west on the pole.
Thanks for all the tips guys....Blind:)
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Well I spoke to soon! Still got issues. Ok due to trees I can't get anything east of my true south 87W. Today I noticed a drop in signal quality. I went to 87W and peaked the dish. I get TVU at 65% Nasa at 34% This TV at 47%. Going west I'm ok until 107w (ASN at 45%) after that no signal on anything. Declination was at 51. Took the declination to 48 and everything is there from 95W-My family Tv (weak) to 133W. So adjusting the declination plus or minus 3 degrees creates the above scenario. Also I can raise or lower the dish elevation plus or minus 3 degrees and get the same effect. Put everything back to correct position and adjusted the pole on the mount slightly to the west no real change there. Pole is level...Peaked LNB...Even if I try and find a sweet spot in between I end up with 95W to 133W....91W only CW and Word Net at 29-30 which is my threshold....87w is non existant. Ok guys thats the lastest scenario....Any ideas to try? What about loosening the mount and moving it on the pole to the east slightly? Instead of west? Didn't try that yet. Thanks Blind
 

arcticracer

SatelliteGuys Guru
Oct 19, 2008
125
0
Fairbanks, Ak.
I haven't installed a C-Band dish since the 80's, but I did a lot of them back in the day. Mostly 12 footers. I worked out a system that never failed me, and rarely took more than about 30 minutes, usually more like 5 minutes. Since I was working in Oregon, all the Satellites were between South, and the horizon to the East.

POLE MUST BE PERFECTLY PLUMB! YES PERFECT! 12 footers have a very narrow beamwidth, and you will not track perfectly unless you have met this requirement.

1. First, setup the feed, center and peak everything for max signal.
2. Set elevation and declination on polar mount. I used a quality compass and one of those quality surveyers inclinometers, the kind you look through. You can get OK results with the carpenter type too.
3. Lockdown the mount facing South.
4. Move the dish on polar mount to the Satellite closest to South, stop at the Azimuth setting that gives max signal, lock down Az. Peak elevation for max signal. In Oregon we were lucky to have a Sat. (F1) that was due South.
5. Move Az. to the furthest East bird (or I suppose if you are in the East, the furthest West Bird), and hopefully you have a signal. Lock down Az. on max signal. Loosen mount on pole, and slowly move entire dish and mount back and forth peaking on strongest signal. Tighten mount bolts.
6. Go back to Sat. closest to South, and lock down Az. when you get max signal. Peak signal by adjusting elevation.
7. Repeat step 5.
8. Repeat step 6.
9. Continue until there is no tracking error. I usually had it after 2 or 3 trips from East to South.

Several times I had the dish tracking perfectly just using my instruments and aligning by eyeball, but that is rare.
 

Blindowl1234

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Project is on hold guys. Basically I've given up for now. Spent 2 more hours this morning on it lol. A six foot dish will not track the arc properly and get 90% of the channels. Another guy who has been in the satellite biz since the 80's tried it and had the same issues. I've got a cousin who installed the big dishes in the hey day and I'm gonna have him physically check everything to be 100% sure. At this point with my limited experience I wouldn't try to motorize less than an 8 footer for Cband. It doesn't seem to be able to capture enough signal on everything from 87W -133W except the strong signals anyway.
Thanks again for everyones thoughts, and advice on this one. Blind
 

gmd63

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 3, 2007
205
0
blind, If you want to and keep trying you will get it. I used my 6' Fortecstar up till this November when I swapped it out with a 10 footer I found.
I had mine set from 72º AMC6 - 139º AMC8. Tracked fine, just a much lower signal then the bigger ones. Some boomed other weaker ones were right on the line where you could loose them.

All in all, if you have the bigger one, why not use that anyway? [FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
 
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