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Topic # 106866 1-Aug-2012 19:18 Send private message

Hi all.

I have just moved into a new place which happens to have a satellite dish installed so I bought a Freeview satellite receiver but unfortunately I'm having some problems. On Monday night I was experiencing major breakups over a period of an hour or two, after which time it came right. It then worked fine for a couple of days but I am experiencing the same problem again tonight.

The diagnostics on the set top box show a consistent signal strength around 65% and signal quality around 80% but when it breaks up it seems to intermittently jump to zero. I am surprised that the problem seems to be so intermittant.

Does this sound like a fault with the cabling or the dish alignment? Is there anything simple that I can do to try to diagnose the fault before getting the professionals in? There is a junction box near the dish itself so I was thinking of possibly disconnecting everything from it and then spraying CRC on it or even replacing it entirely but I can't be sure that's the source of the problem.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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  Reply # 665680 1-Aug-2012 19:25 Send private message

Is it windy there?
Is the dish secured sufficiently, including the LNB on the end?

Is it an oval/dual headed Sky Sharp LNB? This have been known to fail over time.

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  Reply # 665726 1-Aug-2012 21:06 Send private message

What size is the dish? Could it be "rain fade"?



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  Reply # 665793 1-Aug-2012 23:16 Send private message

Thanks for the replies. 

I don't think it's rain fade because there doesn't seem to be a correlation between the rain and the signal dropouts, and it looks like everything is well secured.

The dish is the same size as the standard issue Sky dishes (I think it's likely that it was originally installed for a previous tenant wanting Sky) and the LNB looks like one of the problem child units that you described. 

I think the next thing to do is to have a talk to the landlord about getting the pros in to take a look, although I'm worried that the highly intermittent nature of the problem might make it difficult to diagnose. Tonight I had problems for about ten minutes and it's been absolutely fine for the rest of the night.

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  Reply # 665867 2-Aug-2012 08:26 Send private message

alasta:

The dish is the same size as the standard issue Sky dishes (I think it's likely that it was originally installed for a previous tenant wanting Sky) and the LNB looks like one of the problem child units that you described. 


In a lot of ways there's not much to it but then again there's also a lot that can go wrong too.

The LNB is the most likely cause of issues but there are some basics you can cover yourself.
A dodgy LNB or dish alignment being a bit off can mean you're actually running on the edge and any normally small issue can be the straw that breaks the camel as such.

Does your set top box have a decent signal strength indicator?  Those portable satellite meters can be really helpful in this situation.  Basically you want to see if the signal improves by pulling the dish in one direction of it it gets worse.  That's very rough but is a simple way to check if you have a close to optimal alignment.  You can do this without loosening any bolts.  If the signal improves by you pulling the top back or pushing it forward, and the same left/right, then you can do better alignment wise.  If it gets worse when pulling it in every direction, then you're close enough.

Still likely the LNB, in which case take a look at alternatives:
http://www.freeviewshop.co.nz/satellite-lnbs-brackets-c-6.html

Also take the time to check the connections and cable terminations etc.

Good luck!



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  Reply # 665870 2-Aug-2012 08:34 Send private message

Thanks for that! I'll try your suggested alignment test over the weekend and if all else fails it's good to know that a replacement LNB isn't that expensive. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the fault is signal related rather than cabling related because I think it would be more persistent in the latter case.

I'm fortunate enough to very nearly have line of sight to Mt Kaukau, so I might try an amplified UHF indoor aerial as an interim solution.



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  Reply # 665872 2-Aug-2012 08:37 Send private message

Sorry - just one more question - how would I judge which of the LNBs on that site would be appropriate for my installation? Would there be specifications printed on the existing LNB to provide an indication of what to replace it with, or is there a dummies guide that I can refer to?

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  Reply # 665874 2-Aug-2012 08:45 Send private message

Ask Lars at the freeview shop.  Ask nicely and he may drop a few dollars off too.

Typically LNB's come in one of two flavours, the 11,300 or 10,750 L.O. type.  There's no requirement to get the same value as you currently have, but if you get the other type, you'll need to change the settings inside your satellite receiver box.  If it's a genuine approved freeview box then a factory reset will usually see it scanning both options, which makes setup a lot easier.

Cyril has the full low down here:

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=34&topicid=13247

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  Reply # 665985 2-Aug-2012 11:01 Send private message

If you do need an LNB, these do the job well and are much cheaper: http://www.trademe.co.nz/electronics-photography/tvs/satellite-receivers/auction-497270275.htm
The same supplier can sell you a bracket to mount it on the Sky arm for about $8. I think this is the one, but you should check.
http://www.trademe.co.nz/electronics-photography/tvs/cables-aerials/auction-497627693.htm

They've got lots of satellite gear and ancillaries at good prices and the service is excellent.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated in any way with this outfit, other than as a satisfied customer.

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