SuperDish 121 Weak Signal for some transponders


Original poster
Sep 17, 2005
I have a SuperDish 121. I'm using Dish Receivers 301, 6000, & 510. I believe I've already pointed the dish at the position with the strongest possible signal. I did so by adjusting the dish to point to the position that gives me the best signal from 121 (since signal transmitted from 121 is much weaker than 110 & 119).

6000 is the only receiver that requires DishPro Adapter. It is also the one that seems to get the best signal over-all. I am not sure if the adapter might have helped boosting the signal that went into the 6000 receiver.

With 510 & 301, the signal sometimes is lost for certain channels (most of channels from 121, some from 110, and few from 119), such as channels 684, 506, etc. I've tested with a shorter RG-6 line directly connected from SuperDish to my 510 reciever. It does not seem to make any difference.

1. If there a way to improve signal further? Keep in mind that I think the position of the dish is already optimal (I used a sat. signal meter to find best spot for Sat 121).
2. I uses DP34 switch. Does the order of connection position to the LNB's matter?
3. Will a powered signal booster help? Is there specific kind I need to get?
4. I remember at one point, I used to get much better and more stable signals from the satellites. At some point, thing got worse. Is there any change with the satellites, or perhaps it's some config change I might have done?

Thanks for any help/advise you might be able to provide.
If you had the SuperDish 121 installed and everything had been working, and then later the signals dropped, then I would say your problem is one of two things:
- - (1) The SuperDish 121 slipped a little, i.e., mast is no longer plumb, and/or dish bracket twisted slightly on the mast.
- - (2) There is more foilage then before. Hopefully, it's not evergreen trees and this will improve with colder weather or until you can trim or cut down the trees. :D

If you installed it not long ago and you are still trying to get it right/perfect, or you had it installed awhile back and have now adjusted it, then....
- - - You are not adjusting the SuperDish 121 correctly. You do not adjust it for maximum signal on 121, doing so will cause you to lose 110. In the Installation Instructions starting at the bottom of Page 3 it tells you how to adjust. You will set the skew, elevation, and azimuth, then you should start with 110. It says to put 110 on Port 1 of your DP-34 to make sure the signal is routed through, but I would by-pass the switch and route 110 directly to your receiver (either 301 or 510). Adjusting only the azimuth and elevation (do not touch skew), peak 110. Then in step 9 it says to mark Elevation and Azimuth for later reference. Then disconnect 110 and connect 121. Using only Azimuth and Elevation, peak 121, but you should not have to move Azimuth and Elevation more than 1 degree. Peak it in this range and then check 110 again.

It is possible that the DP Adapater may be increasing the signal (a little), but its purpose is to make the legacy 6000 compatible with DishPro equipment, such as the DP-34 switch, and/or the SuperDish 121.

You have a legacy 6000 receiver, and 2 non-legacy (301=DishPro, and 510=DishPro Plus?). If you are using old cabling from a legacy installation, then you may have a problem there. Besides cables being old and bad, you should have RG-6 cables and connectors rated at least 2150MHz. Then you should be able to put the receivers upto 200 feet away from the dish, except in some cases a legacy receiver may still need to be less than 150 feet from the dish when in a DishPro or DPP configuration.

Since some channels come and go, I believe you have a problem with reception. However, the signal strengths on one receiver, especially a different model, may be different than on another receiver connected to the same dish/switch/cables/etc.... Consider it a relative measurement, so that you can peak a dish using the same receiver/meter.

Channel 684 is ETNEW (Taiwan/Chinese) on Sat 121, Transponder 22.
Channel 506 is PPV on Sat 110, Transponder 08.

I have good signals on both with my SuperDish 121.

Since all 3 of your receivers are able to receive 121 signals, it should not make a difference which ports are hooked up. On the final hook-up, I usually do 119, 110, 121 (and when using my DPP-44 I have 129 on the side through Port 4) . (Someone else may recommend putting the 6000 on a particular port on the DP34, but I don't think it matters.)

Besides all of the above, if you get the SuperDish 121 peaked with no reception problems on some transponders on each satellite, but still have a problem on some transponders, then you may have a bad transponder.

If you find you have bad equipment, you may not be able to get a replacement LNBF for 119/121. If this is the case, respond with your zip code and programming package and I'm sure someone will help with an alternative solution (Dish 500+ or Wing Dish for 61.5, etc...)

Looks like you have at least one HD receiver and seems like you would have either 61.5 or 129, and then a DPP 44 for 4 orbital locations.

Hope this helps.
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wow, thanks for the detailed reply.

1. I check recently. There does not seem to be any slipperage with the dish position. There are a few tall trees in the general direction to where the dish is pointing, but base on visual inspection I don't believe they are in the way, unless the dish needs a much wider range of open sky view than just where the LNB is pointing.

2. I don't think there is a transponder problem. For most channels I have problems with, they usually works later in the night, just not during the day. That seems to suggest I have borderline acceptable signal strength.

3. I did start with the AZ/EL/SK recommended for my zip code before I start fine tune the dish position. from my understanding, 110 & 119 are satellites with stronger signals. That makes them easier to be used for initial dish positioning. Since satellite 121 transmits in much lower power, it's better to adjust 121 later for the final fine tuning of the dish position. But even at the strongest signal I can get from 121, I still see problems (describe above) with many channels from the transponders of 121. Channels on 121 seems to be the most unstable compare to 110 & 119. I'm affraid if I adust the dish to max the signal from 110 instead of 121, it will make signals from 121 even weaker.

4. I'm using the $14 satellite finder I bought from ebay to determine the signal strength, not the signal strength meter show in the receiver's installation menu. I hooked up the satellite finder between the 121 LNB and DP34 switch when adjusting the dish position, and the receiver hooked to the other end of DP34 to provide power. Is there any problem with doing it this way for measuring signal strength?

5. I'm not getting and HD from 61.5 or 129 at this point since i only have DP34, and I want to get 110, 119, & 121.

6. I used to have the order of connection to DP34 as 119, 110, 121, but I just recently changed to 110, 119, 121 instead. I don't see any difference in signal strength either way.

I can double check the RG-6 wire ratings again. I think the chance is pretty slim on this one. But outside of that, I don't have much else to try next.

Any additional advise you might be able to provide?
I'll just respond to each of your comments.

1. After reading 2, I don't think this is your problem. However.... You will need some sort of a V-Path from the dish pan to the satellites to receive the signals. If you were in Denver, CO, with a single dish for each: 110 = 177M @ 44; 119 = 190M @ 42; and 121 = 195M @ 41. So you would need a minimum clearance between 177M and 195M. On the elevation, the signals are coming from above, so an obstruction at these elevations does not necessarily mean you will not get a signal. Also, the SuperDish is set for 193M @ 41 in Denver, so I would need the majority of the clearance to the east of the LNBF than to the west, if you were going to try and eye it using the center of the dish.

2. Unlike AM broadcast stations where signals will vary between night and day do to atmospheric conditions, I don't think this is any concern with DBS/FSS satellite signals. However, the sun can cause the LNBF to heat up and cause problems. There are other posts that says there were a bad batch of SuperDish 121 LNBF's that have a heat problem. I believe this may be your problem. However, you said "For most channels I have problems with", so you may have another problem, maybe foilage.

3. You can use a Spotbeam to find the satellite, buy should peak on a CONUS beam. However, you should peak 110, then peak 121, without moving more than 1 degree. If you move more than 1 degree, you will either lose 110, or just barely receive it. So you are going to slightly compromise on signal strength for each. With digital, you pretty much either have a signal or you don't.
Backing up to 2, if you peak 121 to max (both elevation and azimuth) and you receive ALL channels on 121 at night, and have a problem only during the day, then I would say you have a LNBF with a heat problem (unless the trees are expanding during the day :) ).

4. That should work. However, I still prefer the receiver for peaking, even if I have to feed a cable to a small TV and place it where I can see it, or bring both receiver and (small) TV outside. With the meter, you are probably adjusting the gain, i.e., reducing the gain when you start fine tuning, so if you are comparing signals, you need to ensure you are using the same gain.

5. Makes sense. I believe the 6000 is a HD receiver. If you decide there are HD channels you are interested in, they may be available on 61.5 as well as the 121 channels you are interested in. If so, you could put up a Dish 300 or 500 to receiver 61.5 and feed it into the DP-34 instead of the 121. Just a thought for the future. Also, if your 121 LNBF is bad and you have to buy one, then maybe it will be cheaper to put up a wing dish for 61.5.

6. The order should work either way.

7. It wouldn't hurt to check the wiring.

Again, I think you may have an LNBF with a heat related problem; but you may want to try to peak and then run 121 without going through a switch and see what its like during the day and night, as part of a process of elimination.

I don't believe there are any 121 issues with US locations, but what part of the country are you in, or your zip code?
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There's always going to be some room for improvement on signal, but in my opinion, unless you have an overall loss of picture, why even bother tweaking your dish? Live and let live...LOL

Just outta curiousity, what signal levels are you getting on the 110 and 119, transponder 11 (not sure which transponder is a "good test" for the 121)? As long as you're pushing 100 on the 110, and at least 105 on the 119 then I would leave things as they lay.
Looks like I came to the right place for the question. Thanks for your attentiveness to my problem.

1. I'm at So. Cal (los angeles)
2. The more I look at it, the less I think it has to do with trees. b/c I just tested with my old Dish500 dish, which is at more disadventaged place relative to the tree, and it worked fine.
3. I think the heat problem you mentioned is probably the most likely cause. I'll research more into this area and see if it fits, and whether there are solutions for it (other than replacing equipments).
4. There are some channels none of the recievers can get. But for some other channels, 6000 receiver can get them while at the same time 510 and 301 cannot. But i guess if the LNB is having heat problem, you just never know how different rec might behave. I think the difference in result might be related to the way signal is transmitted differently btwn dishpro & legacy.
5. Is there another equivalent option to get the chinese channels other than using Superdish 121 (since it sounds like Superdish 121 is not very dependable).

SmityWhity, thanks again for your advise here. You've given me a brand new direction to look into.
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3) Temporary cover by foil outer side of LNBF, left only the "eyelet" uncovered;
4) no difference at all, olny last 'mile' - between DP Adapter and 6000 is the difference;
5) Using separate 24-30" dish what should reuse existing SD121 LNBF

Seems to me you got bad sat tuner chips in your 301 and 510, it is well known fact.
can you provide some resource with regard to "bad tuner chips in 301 & 510"? What make you think it's likely bad tuner chip rather than over-heated LNB? I thought the over heat LNB would explain why i get some channels only in the night.

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