Out With the Bad (Cable) ...In with the good...

Discussion in 'C-BAND Satellite Discussion' started by radio, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. radio

    radio Topic Starter "On the Air" in MI
    Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Posts:
    3,633
    Likes Received:
    847
    Location:
    West Central Michigan
    My C and Ku dish farm has been idle all summer, but with the pending colder weather, it was finally time to go out and make some changes. The only feeds in use right now from the picture include ..Birdview on fixed 103, Fixed 103ku, Motorized C/Ku Birdview, Fixed 125 ku, Fixed 97ku, (probably changing that one, there's nothing there for me) and space for 2 other Ku's...but next spring we plant two more Birdviews..
    satellite farm.jpg
    I had issues with intermittent signal loss on any selected satellite, had tried various (Amiko only) 8-place diseqc switches, and knew "someday" I'd get to working on the system, which is run from an Amiko MiniHD unit. The last of the issues occurring before going idle was the loss of either horizontal or vertical channels and having to reboot the receiver if changing polarities once the motorized dish settled, or once we switched to an opposite polarity channel on a stationary dish.

    Last week, with the help of our Monday night announcer, the old coax was pulled up from the ground and replaced. It's entirely possible it had been nicked by a snowplower when they weren't careful and dug-in then mounded-up earth near the cable in previous years. Since then, I had bought and buried some black "direct bury" cable from Amazon, but ...it was awful! Stiff plastic, not very flexible on the outer jacket and it didn't like the compression fittings at all. Pulled that run from the ground as well, never having deployed it, and replaced both the original cable and that stiff-jacket stuff with some American made orange-jacketed/direct bury from Amazon dot com.
    cable1.jpg
    One straight line from inside the apartment's positioner to the diseqc outside at the Birdview dish. The first thing immediately noticed was that I could switch from stationary dishes to motorized and switch polarities without loss of signal, meaning the feedline we dug up did, indeed have issues. I obviously can't speak to the longevity of this cable, but, it was heavy enough, flexible, and had good end connectors. Having one pre-made cable seemed one way to eliminate issues. Cost was reasonable, and it was good to work with.

    The first thing that popped in on my screen was the test transmissions ahead of the World Series, and after that, changing back and forth, horizontal to vertical, and dish to dish, signals seem stronger than in a very long time.
    world series test screen.jpg
    In the past, I'd posted about odd scans, signal loss, and even how factory resetting seemed to help. I'd reached wit's end. Moral of the story to me: Cable makes ALL the difference. Funny thing is, after buying this cable, I realized I had plenty of original direct-bury Birdview cable from my various BV dish purchases over the past year or two I could have used...but, that can be deployed elsewhere.

    This morning, some dropouts came on the music feeds on 105 C-band, but after a while, things stabilized. The receiver was parked overnight on one of the fixed Ku dishes. All I can think is that with the LNB de-energized on the movable Birdview, it drifted in the cold and was warming up. A change to Titanium's best C-band with filter is next, I have one here, and if my guess is right, That should stabilize things if drift was the issue. We'll test that theory maybe yet this weekend....But, one issue at a time. Nice having the system going for autumn and winter!

    Next on the list is a positioner from Titanium with enough "oomph" for a heavy Birdview. My Vbox has never been good at this. Once it's going it's okay....but getting it to work against gravity is tough, and often I get an Error message before it kicks in again. I think I just need something stronger.

    It's fun being back "at it" with satellite. I also found that this must truly be my hobby, even though I'm around broadcast electronics 24/7......because I found it relaxing to work on! Friends always tell me I need more hobbies...they don't see FTA as one. I do! It's the fun of building the system and the fun of the (signal) hunt!

    "Stay tuned..."
     
  2. primestar31

    primestar31 SatelliteGuys Master

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Posts:
    8,080
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    Location:
    Beta Omicron Delta III
    I don't trust direct bury cable myself. I use solid copper quad-shield for coax, and always run it through buried black plastic coiled water pipe you buy from Home Depot or Lowes. It's not all that expensive and offers a lot of protection. Also protects it from the wife and her shovel...
     
  3. wvman

    wvman SatelliteGuys Pro
    Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Posts:
    2,649
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    N. Central WV
    Nice dish farm. I can't help but think RG-11 flooded would be a great choice for that installation. Most people would wonder what the heck was going on if they looked in the satellite list on my receivers. One of the dishes in my farm is movable. When all 5 dishes are setting stationary, they all have an assigned port, 1-5, but there are 7 other satellites in the list. In order to be able to watch the other 7 satellites, I assigned all 7 with with a diseqc setting of 2CAS: Port5.

    That way I can use the movable dish to move back and forth between satellites without having seperate dishes for the others. When I want to watch Galaxy 16, I just park the movable dish back to Galaxy 16. I'm getting ready to add some Ku dishes to the 3 unused ports on my switch. Should have all the Ku channels I want, but if not, I'll add a motorized Ku dish to the setup. :)
     
  4. radio

    radio Topic Starter "On the Air" in MI
    Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Posts:
    3,633
    Likes Received:
    847
    Location:
    West Central Michigan
    No wife, I'm in charge of the shovels, but apparently not the snow plow, it would seem...lol. We're also limited in how deep we can go and what we can do due to the AM grid below this by just a few inches...it can't be broken or penetrated, so we're limited in how deep it can go.
     
    KE4EST likes this.
  5. VictoriaFTA

    VictoriaFTA SatelliteGuys Family

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2018
    Posts:
    73
    Likes Received:
    83
    Location:
    Midwest
    RG-11 is the way to go imo. Less signal loss and built in protection due to the extra thickness. I've had some direct buried for over six years without issue. Also skip using switches too so I can just run the RG-11 from LNB to tuner, lets me record H and V polarities on a satellite at the same time with no further signal loss. I'm sure this setup has saved my ass many a time on the occasional backhauls that I just *barely* have a high enough dB to lock, usually 16APSK or 32APSK, it's reassuring to know I have the best signal I'm possibly gonna get and if I miss out on being able to lock something it's due to a factor out of my control.

    Should be more than sufficient if you take the time to bury it well.
     
  6. radio

    radio Topic Starter "On the Air" in MI
    Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Posts:
    3,633
    Likes Received:
    847
    Location:
    West Central Michigan
    Interesting idea, interesting suggestion! But...in my case, there'd be too many wires to run if each LNB had it's own cable...what some here may not know is there is 5kw of RF about 150 feet away from this dish. My engineer had to custom design a rotary-encoder based pulse positioning system to make it work on the one dish. Kind of neat, however. You see, RF likes to get into this kind of electronics. The more wires, the more the chance...so, my pulse system can't run on the usual 5 volts, we've got around 4 volts in the air at any given time except night. The "on vs. off" of 5 v to 0 v wasn't enough with all the cables as antennas around our towers, so, the pulse voltae had to be upped in voltage, and the reed switch ditched for a powered rotary encoder. So, even if I wanted to "ditch the switch" I couldn't...we'd have more wires suggesting RF has a better door-in.

    Love the replies and suggestions, what's funny is, when I built this farm, NOBODY said a word about alternative ideas of cable, switches, etc. Now yes. My how times and ideas change. That's the beauty of this site...so many voices, so many ideas!

    I'm just glad to have it working with a nearly 150 foot run on the main line and our specialized motor drive.
     
  7. Cham

    Cham VE4GLS
    Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Posts:
    2,139
    Likes Received:
    707
    Location:
    Boonies
    Think RG11 is double shielded? Maybe I am wrong... I have a couple of runs between the house and box out at the dish where my switches are. Works fine but that is a 100' run, yours is longer. Other cables are either dual or single shield, but I always try to get the solid CU center conductor, not the copperweld.
    Cable companies sometimes have roll ends they sell or give away (RG-11 that is). That's how I got about 250', one of the local techs traded for some straw bales. :)
     
    Titanium likes this.

Separate names with a comma.

More...