Need help really bad, most of my channels don't come in

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cptpooface

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May 23, 2008
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For three months of the summer my family and I live in West Glacier, in northwest Montana. We live in a really nice trailer. When I bought the trailer I got an option put on the roof called a king-dome. It's a plastic dome covering a satellite dish. For the first few years I had great reception with no problems. Last year I had to move my trailer to a different spot in the campground, and unfortunately there were two many trees in the way of the dish. So I got another dish to set up away from the trees and obstructions. To accomplish that I had to move my dish a good distance away from my trailer.

I was finally able to get reception from my dish. I set the transponder on number 1 or 2, I can't remember, but after moving the dish around for a while I finally got a signal in the 70's on one of the transponders. However, this is when some strange things started happening. My problem was that I only got good signal strength on half the transponders, the strong signal would come in on only the evens or odds, unfortunately I can't remember which. What I mean is, I would get good signal strength (mid 70's) on the even numbered transponders, but I would get a signal strenght of 0 on the odd numbered transponders. I can't remember if the odd transponder numbers were getting 0 or the even numbered transponders. I don't know if it matters, but I don't think it does.

Since I got a good signal strenght on half the transponders I was able to pick up some of the channels. I would usually always get the history, discovery and science type channels. I would get TBS, Comedy, TNT and sometimes USA. It was really weird because some channels kind of came in for a while, then for what seemed like no reason, the channel would go out. At the very best I might have barely gotten a third of the channels I am supposed to get. But most times I would only get about 25% of the channels I was supposed to get. There were a ton of channels that I would never get. At home I usually get all the NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC east and west feeds, but while living in my trailer I never got any of these networks ever. I am pretty sure I never got any of the movie channles I was supposed to get.

I called directv for some help and they tried a few different things and nothing worked. They told me it must be the receiver, because it's pretty old, so I swapped out my old receiver for my newer TIVO receiver, and it didn't fix anything. The directv tech I was talking to didn't seem to know what was happening. He told me that if you can get a strong signal on any of the transponders that nothing is blocking the signal to your dish. So he said moving the dish around wouldn't help anything because it was already getting the signal from the satellite. I don't think there could be any problems with the receivers because they all work fine at home and I tried them all at the trailer, and they all did the same thing. The only thing that I thought might be causing the problem was the lnb. I was using a different dish than the one I had at home. So I swapped the lnb out from the dish on top of my trailer. I know it works because I have used it a lot and never had any problems with it. But this still didn't fix the problem.

So all of this troubleshooting left me with only one other possible problem, and that is the coaxil cable connecting the dish to the receiver. I had to get a really long bit of cable because I had to put the dish in a place where the signal wasn't blocked by trees. I'm not sure how long the cable is, but I think it is probably around 150 yards long. So I thought the cable might be so long that it could cause problems. But if the cable was the problem, wouldn't it cause problems for all the transponders equally, not just the odd transponders? I am really perplexed by this problem, and I have no idea what to do to fix the problem.

I am really sorry for making this post so long, I just want to make sure I put in all of the information I possibly can. The reason I am posting now is because I am going to glacier in about a week and I am hoping I can somehow fix the problem before I go, or when I first get there. I would really appreciate any ideas from anybody, even if an idea seems really obvious to you, I probably haven't thought of it so post it anyway. I will really appreciate any help that anyone can offer. Maybe someone knows of a web site that explains a lot about problems like this, if so, please tell me so I can find more info. My trailer is parked by a lot of trees, and I can't seem to get a signal any where close to my trailer, I have to go out to the nearest road to mount the dish there away from the trees. So if you have any ideas about how to get a good signal closer to the trailer please let me know. I am really hoping that someone might be able to tell me why I am only able to get a good signal strength on half of my transponders, and only get about a quarter of my channles. Again, sorry for making this post so dang long, and thank you for spending the time to read through it and help me out with any info you can think of.
 
charper1

charper1

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May 18, 2004
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How far is the cable run from the dish to the receiver?

Could be bad dish alignment as well. Too many variables to guess at and likely should call an installer out.
 
harshness

harshness

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May 5, 2007
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Take your time composing your messages. The time you spend won't have to be spent by each of us trying to figure out what you're saying.

Your problem is that your cable run is about 250' farther than the safe distance. At that distance, you need to consider using RG11 cable ($$$). The problem isn't so much with the signal traveling through the cable as it is getting the DC control voltages all the way out to the dish.

I'm not sure that even RG11 will save your bacon at this distance.
 
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charper1

charper1

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Oh sorry, my eyes crossed at some point; might that be an issue? Too long of a run maybe?
 
harshness

harshness

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Oh sorry, my eyes crossed at some point; might that be an issue? Too long of a run maybe?
Much, much too long. Conventional wisdom holds that the maximum distance for an old school DIRECTV cable run is 200'.
 
jporter

jporter

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Jun 5, 2008
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Well now, approach this problem scientifically. First go to aTV repair shop or Radio Shack and buy a small instrument that measures TV satellite signals. Use this small electronic measuring device to determine, first is the dish receiving the adequate amount of signal. The measuring device should tell you. Then if the signal is strong, go to the end of the 150 foot cable and measure the signal at its end. If there is enough signal according to this measuring device, hook the cable to the receiver. Before you do this, change out the cable connecting fittings replacing the old ones with new ones. Measure the signal coming out of the receiver and see if it has enough power coming through. If so connect the TV cable to the receiver, measure the signal for strength, if it is okay, hook the cable to the TV; all with new cable connector fittings. Everything should then work. If it does not, think, think. What could be the problem? If power is coming out of the receiver to the cable to the TV you probably have to reload the software from the satellite. Use the standard shutting off the receiver, holding the button down till the light goes off. Then let go of it. The software will reload. If that does not work, think, think some more. What could be wrong? Strong signal to the TV but no picture. Something in the receiver, something. Think, think think. Sleep on it at night, then approach it again in the morning.
 
Zynergi

Zynergi

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Aug 20, 2007
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450' is definitely pushing it too far, you are voltage locking the receivers. I assume at that distance you also have a few splices in there. You will definitely need to use RG11 for the entire run, un-cut. But, even at 450' that is pushing what that cable can handle at such a low voltage, so RG11 would be a rather expensive experiment. Double check all connectors are "compression" type fittings and the dielectric (white part inside) is flush with the inside hole of the connector. If you have crimp-on or screw-on type connectors replace them with compression PPC fittings. If you have ay barrel splices, remove them and make sure they and the stingers are not corroded or damaged in any way.

Is it possible for D* to send a tech out there to assist you setting this up? Keep in mind the chances of him having RG11 on his truck is less than .05% and it may be a $70+ service call. Any chance you could move spots again?

Also you could try this.. Peak the dish the best you can, then disconnect the lines at the LNB. Grab a Multi-Meter and set the Receiver to view Transponder 1, do you have 13v? then put on Transponder 2 and see if you have 18v.
 
Jimbo

Jimbo

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450' is definitely pushing it too far, you are voltage locking the receivers. I assume at that distance you also have a few splices in there. You will definitely need to use RG11 for the entire run, un-cut. But, even at 450' that is pushing what that cable can handle at such a low voltage, so RG11 would be a rather expensive experiment. Double check all connectors are "compression" type fittings and the dielectric (white part inside) is flush with the inside hole of the connector. If you have crimp-on or screw-on type connectors replace them with compression PPC fittings. If you have ay barrel splices, remove them and make sure they and the stingers are not corroded or damaged in any way.

Is it possible for D* to send a tech out there to assist you setting this up? Keep in mind the chances of him having RG11 on his truck is less than .05% and it may be a $70+ service call. Any chance you could move spots again?

Also you could try this.. Peak the dish the best you can, then disconnect the lines at the LNB. Grab a Multi-Meter and set the Receiver to view Transponder 1, do you have 13v? then put on Transponder 2 and see if you have 18v.

Another thought....
If you have a portable TV, take it out to the dish, hook coax from LNB to the rec and to the TV and see that you have a good SS and a good picture.
Do you have a picture, are ALL of your channels coming in now ?
Then add the 450' of cable to it leaving the TV out there and hook the cable to it and see if it still works on all your channels, if so, proceed to the trailer.
When you hook up to the trailer, you normally have a outside connection that feed the TV area and the TV is hooked up at that point, very often there are splitters in the wall to divide between CABLE and OTA, some have a sat setting, many don't.

IF the reception is good at the dish, take the long cable that you verified works at the dish, into the receiver in the trailer, hook it up to the TV and see if it works.
IF it does, chances are there is a splitter in the wall somewhere, possibly the OTA amp is also a possibility for trouble.

Normally if you get only half your channels I would look at the LNB or for a bad cable/ connection.

If you had the dome set up on your trailer originally, theres no telling how it may be connected and to what, I have to say, I have never worked with one of them.

Jimbo
 
charper1

charper1

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I REALLY wonder if the OP meant 150 FEET as opposed to YARDS? It would be great if they would pop back online and reply.
 
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cptpooface

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May 23, 2008
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Okay, First off, thanks for all the help and responses. Using process of elimination, I was able to see that the problem is for sure the cable length. I got the same cable I used for my trailer and brought it home, then I connected it to my home system and I had the exact same problems. Nothing else was changed except the cable length.

So the only solution I know off, is to shorten the lenght of cable, and try to get a signal somewhere closer. I was a little off with my guess of the cable length. It was about 350 feet, which equals 116 yards. The cable I was using was pretty low quality cable. So I went up to the local hardware store and the owner lent me a role of RG 6/U cable. Using it I was able to get about 2/3rds of my channels, which is a huge improvement. But, the amount of cable I need would cost me $100 so I don't kn ow if it's worth the money.

I was hoping there might be some way to use this long length of cable and still get all the channels. A while ago I was looking into HDMI cable and I was told by one guy that if you tried to use a really long cable it would have problems, much like the problems I am having now. He said that the best thing to do in a situation like that was to get two cables equal to the length of the long cable you would originally use, then you could hook the two cables together with some kind of signal booster. Which would allow full signal strenth to reach whatever your connecting to the HDMI cables.

So I was wondering if there is any similar solution in this case. Is there anything I could use to negate the problems of having a cable that is too long. The lenght of cable I would need is probably a little less then 350 feet. So if anyone has any advice or tips on how to remedy this problem please let me know. Thanks for all your patience with me, and all your helpful tips, any more help would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, I forgot to mention, some of you said I should have directv come out to check the problem, well, Directv says that I am too far away from any of there service centers, and that they won't send a worker out that far, so I am kind of on my own.
 
J

Joe Diamond

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 3, 2004
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Move the trailer!
I use 250 ft because you can cut a 500 ft box (roll) in half. You are way too long on the cable run.
The other advice looks good also. Especially, peak the dish and establish a signal / pic. Add some cable.

Yer pretty fer off, pard!

Joe
 
harshness

harshness

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I was hoping there might be some way to use this long length of cable and still get all the channels.
I was hoping that some oil baron from Saudi Arabia would leave me his fortune, but it hasn't happened yet.

As I said earlier, RG11 ($$$) may carry the switching voltage that far. Electronic solutions to boost the signaling voltage would costs hundreds of dollars.

The laws of physics aren't going to bend your way no matter how much you think you need/deserve it.
 
Bill 13

Bill 13

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Apr 24, 2008
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450 feet is much too far, at that distance your voltage drop is enough to keep your
lnb from switching from even to odd transponders.
 
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