Newbie with(out) a stolen Dish seeking advice

T

TruckStuff

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Feb 10, 2004
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Dallas
Hi, first post here seeking some advice or links. :)

My wife and I awoke Sunday morning to find that our Dish Network Twin LNBF 500 dish had been stolen off of our patio. Dish Network wants close to $200 for new equipment; even refurbed is close to $150. After searching Google and eBay, I've found that I can get the same dish off of eBay for ~$40.

The physical installation of the dish should be easy. The thieves were real nice and undid the bolts and cut the wires, so we still have a nice, clean mount kit out there. ;) My question is about the calibration (e.g. positioning) of the dish. The Dish Network CS rep told me that that would be the hard part.

I'm wondering how hard it could be? I've been searching Google for a while and everything I've read says "just do it slowly". I'm hoping someone here has some better advice than or could point me to a more detailed website about the calibration process. From what I am reading, it sounds like there is a "calibration channel" on my reciever (Dish Network 300) that I can just tune into while I make the neccesary adjustments. Any advice is appreciated. TIA.
 
cdru

cdru

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TruckStuff said:
I'm wondering how hard it could be? I've been searching Google for a while and everything I've read says "just do it slowly". I'm hoping someone here has some better advice than or could point me to a more detailed website about the calibration process. From what I am reading, it sounds like there is a "calibration channel" on my reciever (Dish Network 300) that I can just tune into while I make the neccesary adjustments. Any advice is appreciated. TIA.
Your receiver's setup menu will give you your azimuth, elevation, and skew (assuming it's a dish 500). You will need a compass and some wrenches to tighten nuts. First start off by setting the elevation on the bracket to what your receiver indicated you should have. Sung up the bolts, but don't tighten. Next, set the skew by rotating your dish clockwise or counterclockwise to what your receiver indicated (assuming it's a Dish 500 dish). Again, sung up the bolts, but don't tighten yet.

Next, use the compass to find magnetic north. Remember to stay away from metal objects as they can be magnetic and will cause problems. Once you find north, then figure out your azimuth direction. For my area, it's 226 so I basically aim it southwest. Your setting will be different. Compasses with degree markings are nice here obviously. Once you get the general direction, mount the dish on what ever type of mast you are using (wall, railing, bucket-o-concrete). Aim it in the direction of the aziumth Snug up the bolts, but don't tighten yet.

Now, screw in the coax cable and go to the peak signal screen. Choose one of the satellites. Slowly rotate the dish to the left and right until you get the strongest signal. Then slowly raise and lower the dish's elevation to improve the signal. Once you get it into the high 80's or better you should be fine. Now switch over to the other satellite (assuming Dish 500) and check your signal there. If it's low, you may need to adjust your skew slightly to increase your strength. If it's still low, you may need to repeat the begining steps of turning left and right and raising/lowering it to increase the strength. Once you are happy, go back and check the other satellite. You are trying to find a happy median between the two strengths so that you are maximizing the signal on one without effecting the other's strength.

Once everything is working, carefully tighten everything down and you are set. To help prevent theft, you might be able to drill a small hole or use a gap on the bracket to run a steel cable through and lock it with a padlock.
 
T

TruckStuff

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Feb 10, 2004
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Now, screw in the coax cable and go to the peak signal screen. Choose one of the satellites. Slowly rotate the dish to the left and right until you get the strongest signal. Then slowly raise and lower the dish's elevation to improve the signal. Once you get it into the high 80's or better you should be fine. Now switch over to the other satellite (assuming Dish 500) and check your signal there. If it's low, you may need to adjust your skew slightly to increase your strength. If it's still low, you may need to repeat the begining steps of turning left and right and raising/lowering it to increase the strength. Once you are happy, go back and check the other satellite. You are trying to find a happy median between the two strengths so that you are maximizing the signal on one without effecting the other's strength.
Could you please clarify this: When you say "now switch over to the other satellite," what exactly do you mean? Do you mean "check the signal strength on the other receiver"? Or does this mean the other LNBF? Or is this actually selecting a different satellite (other than the 119 West the manual says to use)? Thanks!
 
gpflepsen

gpflepsen

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He means check signal strength with the receiver.

Another tip, how I like to do it, take the compass as far away from the dish as possible and look back on the dish through the opposite bearing. Then shoot the dish over that spot.
 
cdru

cdru

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TruckStuff said:
Could you please clarify this: When you say "now switch over to the other satellite," what exactly do you mean? Do you mean "check the signal strength on the other receiver"? Or does this mean the other LNBF? Or is this actually selecting a different satellite (other than the 119 West the manual says to use)? Thanks!
On my recivers under the Peak Signal menu, there is a list of the 6 or 7 satellites. You have to choose one and it will show your signal strength for that satellite. You are going to be concerned with 110 and 119.

Once you think you have it in the general direction correctly, you will have to run a switch check so that the receiver can correctly "tune" to the correct LNB to get that satellite.
 
L

lapplegate

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VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that the "pole" is level & plum before mounting the dish and aiming.
 
T

TruckStuff

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VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that the "pole" is level & plum before mounting the dish and aiming.
That's what I've read. I did the first part of my new install last night and moved the mounting bracket to a new location that should be a LOT harder for someone to steal. I reran the cabling and I'm probably going to have to spring for some short RG6 cables since the existing cable came up about 2 feet short of where I need it to be. :rolleyes: I found a NIB Dish Pro 500 dish on eBay last night; does anyone know if this comes with any RG6 or will I have to buy some?

The mast is not quite plumb yet. I've gotten it vertial on one axis, but getting it vertical on the other is going to be a little tricky. The railing I am mounting it to isn't plumb, so it will take some fidgeting.

So now I'm just waiting for the dish to showup. Will keep posting back if I have problems. Thanks!
 
Mike500

Mike500

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Sep 7, 2003
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TruckStuff said:
That's what I've read. I did the first part of my new install last night and moved the mounting bracket to a new location that should be a LOT harder for someone to steal. I reran the cabling and I'm probably going to have to spring for some short RG6 cables since the existing cable came up about 2 feet short of where I need it to be. :rolleyes: I found a NIB Dish Pro 500 dish on eBay last night; does anyone know if this comes with any RG6 or will I have to buy some?

The mast is not quite plumb yet. I've gotten it vertial on one axis, but getting it vertical on the other is going to be a little tricky. The railing I am mounting it to isn't plumb, so it will take some fidgeting.

So now I'm just waiting for the dish to showup. Will keep posting back if I have problems. Thanks!

No,

The DishPro twin does not come with RG6 cables. E-mail me at Mhz500@aol.com/ I have plenty of RG^ and compression connectors. I'll send you a few at cost by Priority Mail. You could have them in 2 days. Maybe, before you get the twin lnb.
 
Scott Greczkowski

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Guys this is one of the best threads I can recall here on SatelliteGuys.US

I love it because it's users helping users, and thats what SatelliteGuys is all about.

Good job all!
 
M

Mr Tony

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When you are tuning in the signal, after selecting a satellite (110 or 119), use Transponder 11..You don't want to pick a TP that is a spot beam (and you're not in the beam signal) because you'll be there all day. :)
 
B

BarryO

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Oct 11, 2003
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Suggestion: If you have a portable TV handly, take it out on the patio. You can use long cables with RCA connectors for the composite video and audio, if you can't take the receiver out there also; Cable quality doesn't matter for this, you can use ultra-cheap ones. Or at least position the TV inside so you can see it through a window. It's pretty easy to aim the dish if you can see the TV; 'not so easy if you have to depend on a spouse sitting inside and yelling when the signal strength looks good.

A couple of True Value hardware stores around here sell anti-tamper screws (and the tools for them); you might to look into it.
 
K

kn6k

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Sep 16, 2003
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My technique for dish aiming/peaking is to use a handheld Casio TV and connect it to the receiver using the RF output. It is much easier to bring just the handheld TV outside than a large set and/or the receiver also. This will work with any receiver with an RF output. I have a 75 foot piece of RG-6 for this purpose
 
orcatek

orcatek

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I use the handheld TV too. Lets me tweak the dish until its "perfect".
 
T

TruckStuff

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Feb 10, 2004
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Mike500 said:
The DishPro twin does not come with RG6 cables. E-mail me at Mhz500@aol.com/ I have plenty of RG^ and compression connectors. I'll send you a few at cost by Priority Mail. You could have them in 2 days. Maybe, before you get the twin lnb.
YGM. Thanks Mike!

That handheld TV is a great suggestion. I used to have one laying around, but I don't know where it is now. I'll have to go looking for it.

Side Note for future installations: the back pieces that you screw to the mounting base when installing it are kind of flimsy. I broke one of them by (apparently) overtightening one of the screws. :shocked It didn't take too much effort either. Fortunately the new dish has a set in there, but I thought I'd throw that out there. :)
 
T

TruckStuff

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Iceberg said:
When you are tuning in the signal, after selecting a satellite (110 or 119), use Transponder 11..You don't want to pick a TP that is a spot beam (and you're not in the beam signal) because you'll be there all day. :)
Thanks for the transponder info... but what is a TP? :confused:
 
M

Mr Tony

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TP=transponder

Some TP's are "spot beams" and can only be picked up in specific areas.... TP 11 on both 110 & 119 are CONUS (CONtinental US) and can be picked up anywhere in the US
 
T

TruckStuff

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Hi all, I'm back with a question. :) First let me say thanks to Mike for hooking me up with some supplies! Dish should be here tomorrow and I'll install it then.

I've got a question about grounding. I've been looking at the installs of some neighbors and noticed that all of them have the grounding block attached to the mast. Is this required? The owner's manual indicates that it can be attached to a wall or anything nearby. Does it matter where the grounding block attaches to the system? Thanks!
 
A

aperry

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Sep 26, 2003
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Attaching it to the mast or running your coax through a grounding block should both be effective. Grounding blocks can be found at Lowes and Home Depot.
 
T

TruckStuff

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Well I'm up and running with the new dish! :yes I (finally) got it this evening (despite it being on the UPS truck for almost 18 hours :shocked ). It took less than an hour to put together and install on the mast thanks to the great tips and pointers I got here. Calibration didn't take any time at all once I found the signal. I'm sitting on two (what I thank are) solid signals: 122-123 on 119W and ~108 on 110W. :) Cables are all bundled up and everything looks nice and clean! Thanks again for all the advice and help offered here! Great forum. :yes
 
Stargazer

Stargazer

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I have been concerned a while back because of the Dish500 having a high value. I know of a customer that had someone move her Dish500, perhaps they were trying to steal it or something and ran before taking it. Now with these expensive SuperDishes out that are even more valuable with valuable components, I wonder how many of these are going to end up being stolen. This could end up being a problem in some areas if people were to catch on and cause a loss of business for Dish Network and retailers.

Things that make an install easy is to make sure the mast is plumb in all directions to make sure the skew and elevation numbers will be true, make sure there are no trees blocking the way, use walkie talkies to listen to the signal meter from the tv, a signal meter helps, use transponder 14 for satellites 110 and 119 since other transponders have spotbeams, and do NOT move the skew once you set it because it will cause problems such as a low signal on the other satellite when you go to check it.
 

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