Putting in a dish motor - Finding True South Without a Compass!

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gmd63

gmd63

Thread Starter
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Sep 3, 2007
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I am going to add a motor to one of my dishes in a couple of weeks, so I have collected all the info on my longitude and latitude and adjusting for true south etc...
I came across this info for using the sun without having to piddle around with a compass. True South

Sounds a lot easier if it works. I think I am going to try both ways to see if they work out the same or which is more close.

Anyone try this yet? :eureka
 
GreatFTA

GreatFTA

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 14, 2006
1,389
15
Mississippi Delta
I have never used a compass. Not much in reading one. I have been setting up C Band systems since its beginning and learned pretty much where the satellites are located in the Clark Belt.
With the FTA dish, I eyeball about where the True South satellite is and go from there.
It is much easier to align the FTA dish than the C Band (which can be a headache because of the bulkiness of the big dish).
 
digiblur

digiblur

SatelliteGuys Master
Jun 8, 2005
14,190
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Louisiana
I don't use a compass either. Just eyeball it and find a DBS bird and then I know where I am at.
 
tracker1998

tracker1998

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Apr 6, 2008
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I found dishpointer.cxx to be a very helpful tools after loosing my compass during my motor setup.
 
Anole

Anole

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Sep 22, 2005
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L.A., Calif.
more compass bashing?

I've always used about a 3/4 inch compass, . . . laying on an 12" or 18" long level.
Recently got a proper compass in a kit from Sadoun, but haven't given it much of a try, yet.

People use their GPS, web sites with satellite-views of their neighborhood... all sorts of neat tricks.
And yes, there is a way to use the sun, too.

But for everyone who's bitched about using a compass, I've installed a dish with the smallest, crummiest one around...
They work all day long, and into the night (with a flashlight). :rolleyes:

Is there something to learn about using a compass?
If so, I didn't know.... but maybe that's because I never took a course on 'em when I was a Cub Scout... :D

So, for all you compass-bashers out there, who won't use one . . .
- It's like pounding nails, but refusing to use a hammer.
- Or hiking in the forest without shoes.
 
rv1pop

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
which north or south should I use?

I've always used about a 3/4 inch compass, . . . laying on an 12" or 18" long level.
Recently got a proper compass in a kit from Sadoun, but haven't given it much of a try, yet.

People use their GPS, web sites with satellite-views of their neighborhood... all sorts of neat tricks.
And yes, there is a way to use the sun, too.

But for everyone who's bitched about using a compass, I've installed a dish with the smallest, crummiest one around...
They work all day long, and into the night (with a flashlight). :rolleyes:

Is there something to learn about using a compass?
If so, I didn't know.... but maybe that's because I never took a course on 'em when I was a Cub Scout... :D

So, for all you compass-bashers out there, who won't use one . . .
- It's like pounding nails, but refusing to use a hammer.
- Or hiking in the forest without shoes.
I have walked around my property with a compass and I find the compass points where it wants to point. I dropped a bolt on the ground and tried to use a magnet picker to find it. I ended up with a wad of iron dirt on the magnet. So, I would rather use most anything else to find south rather than a compass. Our magnetic declination on my property is between 0 and 360 degrees!

But I will not walk outside without shoes (or boots). Although, in western Washington there is a statement "He who walks barefoot in Washington, has never stepped on a slug with bare feet." On this side of the state we have snakes - not slugs.

To the point of the thread, I use my GPS. Waypoint the dishmount and go out 30 feet or more and check for the direction back to the waypoint.... Works good.
 
Last edited:
R

red2grass

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 3, 2005
65
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SF Bay Area
I never used a compass for FTA installation and like many people have a hard time to understand how to use it. I feel lots of installation instructions over state the importance of a compass. To me it is not important, actually useless.

The game of installing FTA dish (motorized or stationary) is to set every parameter correctly except one, the azimuth angle before you do the tuning. If you know roughly where south is, it just takes a few seconds to rotate the set up around the mast and hit the bird. The caveat is to set everything else right. Almost no one can set everything else right at the very first time. When I set up my stationary dish a few years ago, I set a lot of things wrong in the receiver. When I set up my motorized system a month ago, I certainly was good at the receiver settings but screwed up the dish declination angle on the motor shaft. Again, compass would not help me in these situations.

I am going to add a motor to one of my dishes in a couple of weeks, so I have collected all the info on my longitude and latitude and adjusting for true south etc...
I came across this info for using the sun without having to piddle around with a compass. True South

Sounds a lot easier if it works. I think I am going to try both ways to see if they work out the same or which is more close.

Anyone try this yet? :eureka
 
Fizbi

Fizbi

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 16, 2008
539
78
Wild and Windy Casper, WY
Anyone try this yet? :eureka

Yea, I tried this and I couldn't find a level surface on my property to save my life. I didn't want to rent a back hoe to find true south.

What I did, was stand outside with a compass, and staked a point on the ground that aligned my dish LNB arm with the North Star. Yes, I did this at night.

I used my night illuminated, sighting compass to make sure all three were in a true north-south alignment. This gave me a ball park target for USALS.

After finding the arc, I just made fine adjustments.

I found that my compass got too much magnetic interference from my house, so I marked a spot about 20 yards out in my property to make a line of sight where the compass worked better.
:idea:
 
guapoharry

guapoharry

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 19, 2006
1,423
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32ºN 111ºW
Envision Dana Carvey as the Grumpy Old Man:

Compass, Shmumpass, In MY DAY we didn’t have your fancy-shmancy GPS receivers with your internet browser calculations for solar noon! In My Day we poked a stick into the ground and marked the end of the shadow with pebbles cause we were a bunch of ignoramuses, sitting around because we had time to blow ….and we Loved it!…..oh how we loved it.

But seriously, if I'm in a survival situation with no resources, I like knowing how to do this. But until then, I will continue to use my compass.
 
rv1pop

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
rv1pop, What is the make and model number of your GPS device?

For locating south (actually North) I use a cheap portable called a SportsTracker by Magellan. Since it eats batteries I remove them between line-ups, and only get 2 or 3 line ups on a set of batteries. :(

On the road I use Delorme 2008 with the GPS from Microsoft streets and trips. I used the laptop a couple of times to line up, but it is a little more cumbersome, and waypoints do not update as fast as the sports model so harder to get the angle fast,-- the sports models maps are very minimal -- but at 4 MPH vs 60 MPH --- Well, yeah!:D
 
tracker1998

tracker1998

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 6, 2008
166
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I'm surprised nobody came up with "a needle stuck in a cork" floating in water yet. I'm going to bump this thread up and see what other things others come up with? Interesting,,, any other ideas?
 
Fizbi

Fizbi

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 16, 2008
539
78
Wild and Windy Casper, WY
I'm surprised nobody came up with "a needle stuck in a cork" floating in water yet. I'm going to bump this thread up and see what other things others come up with? Interesting,,, any other ideas?

Alright, try this one. Find true north using magnetotactic bacteria which show an ability to navigate along magnetic field lines because of magnetic particles called magnetosomes.

Just throw some of them into a petri dish (not a FTA dish) and watch them align to magnetic north. Remember to add or subtract the magnetic deviation.

:idea:
 
digiblur

digiblur

SatelliteGuys Master
Jun 8, 2005
14,190
4
Louisiana
Who uses the algae on the side of the house to determine north and south? ;)
 
zaxxon

zaxxon

SatelliteGuys Guru
Aug 23, 2007
132
1
Dinwiddie VA USA
Never found my true south bird. I just kept messing with it until I found a Bird where it was supposed to be according to my FTA box, everything else was where it should be.
 
R

red2grass

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 3, 2005
65
0
SF Bay Area
For the sake of installing a dish on your house, all you need is to take a look at the satellite view from google map. It tells which side of your house is south.
If you want more accurate, sadoun has a web page with google's satellite view to show you the direction to hit any bird.


For locating south (actually North) I use a cheap portable called a SportsTracker by Magellan. Since it eats batteries I remove them between line-ups, and only get 2 or 3 line ups on a set of batteries. :(

On the road I use Delorme 2008 with the GPS from Microsoft streets and trips. I used the laptop a couple of times to line up, but it is a little more cumbersome, and waypoints do not update as fast as the sports model so harder to get the angle fast,-- the sports models maps are very minimal -- but at 4 MPH vs 60 MPH --- Well, yeah!:D
 
tracker1998

tracker1998

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 6, 2008
166
0
Fizbi & Tron, you are pulling my leg with this algea stuff!!! gmd63, an installer here that does not do motorized installation (because he doesn't have the patients for it) told me of an old timer that uses a method of using a level and at "high noon",watching for the shadow on the back of the dish. Look at all the ideas here. From mine and red2grass's idea (internet), shear luck from zaxxon, sticks and pebbles from guapoharry (which is asking rv1pop for GPS info as this most likely it doesn't work too well.. LOL), the North Star from Fizbi, to algae from those two,, (pulling my leg),,LOL. All in all, a fun thread. Yours is the most interesting one from the bunch. Let us know if it works?
 
rv1pop

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
Hey Tracker, The GPS and a 100 foot cord have put me within +/- one satellite over 25 times over an 8000 mile, 21 state trip. Has to be a WAAS enabled GPS. The laptop was too slow and hard to watch, but it worked when I needed it. With WAAS you are with in 10 feet (3 M) and if you are working reasonably fast and average you readings you will be VERY close. Going from Blythe CA to Orlando FL and Macon GA I had very little trouble as I left the elevation set all that way. Just had to find Azmuth. I won't brag about Springfield MO.
 
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