Can anyone offer advice configuring a portable dish on a balcony for Astra?

T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
Hi there,

If anyone can offer me any advice on the below, I would be much appreciated - I have tried reading every FAQ I can come across, but have not had much joy getting answer to these specific questions, and this forum looks to be my best bet!

I rent in a block of flats and am forbidden to have a dish installed (there is a communal dish installed, but to use it I would have to use the flat's recommended installer who quoted in excess of £500 just to connect a Sky HD box to the dish which included a 60 pound charge to install the box, and a double call out fee as there are two feeds for Sky HD! In addition to this, I'd have to pay £15 a quarter rent for the first feed and £10 a quarter rent for the second feed for using the communal dish).

Some residents have taken it upon themselves to get mini dishes installed. However, as I am renting, this isn't really an option to me. I am lucky enough to have a South-facing balcony, so I'm hoping to put a tripod-mounted portable dish out on this. I am looking at this model: http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=223451

The idea being that I obtain the dish and then ask the Sky installer to install off the existing dish and cabling, saving me all the horrible communal dish charges and allowing me to take advantage of Sky's current free HD box offers :)

It is obviously imperative that I ensure I can get a signal on the dish before the installer comes out. Therefore, I would be grateful if anyone can help me out with the following questions:

1 - This portable dish appears to have a "Universal LNB" - would this be suitable for receiving Sky HD+ ?

2 - I have looked at the angle the mini-dishes on the block of flats are all facing. When I stand on my balcony, if I face the same direction, I can see some clear sky. However, there is a building on the left that just out by about a metre or two, which may slightly obscure the signal, but it doesn't block it altogether. I understand this may affect the signal, but will this be a deal-killer? Would there be a different type of LNB I can buy that would work better with a potentially weakened signal?

3 - I am hoping to borrow a friend's sky box to test the dish and position it. What's the best way of doing this? Just plug the dish into the box, attempt to align it with a compass, and then move it using the signal meter in the box diagnostics?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may be able to offer!
 
Satcom1

Satcom1

Regular Member
Messages
217
My Satellite Setup
1 Meter Primestar Elliptical C/KU. Twinhan 1025 PCI(Linux), Coolsat 6000, Winegard 76 cm dish. 8' Unimesh, HCC9300 Receiver.
Diamond 9000 HD, 1m prime focus, 1.2 m prime focus, both on C Band.
My Location
Chicago
I once lived in a condo with similar rules.
I got a concrete stepping stone form the local hardware and attached the dish to that and set it out on the patio. Covered it with plastic bag and never got caught. I got a Flat coax that allowed the door to close. Item sold online.

Good Luck
 
Topper

Topper

Amo Amas Amant Admin
Staff member
Messages
23,132
My Satellite Setup
IDD CI24 ECONO MM Penta 1.20 Galaxy II
1.2Mtr Polar MTG yes it has been on the arc for 25 years and is now fixed on 13 East using two pairs of rusty molegrips. Unlike me they never groan but always perform.
My Location
Blackburn, Lancashire
Welcome to the forum thisisgil


thisisgil said:
I rent in a block of flats and am forbidden to have a dish installed (there is a communal dish installed, but to use it I would have to use the flat's recommended installer who quoted in excess of £500 just to connect a Sky HD box to the dish which included a 60 pound charge to install the box, and a double call out fee as there are two feeds for Sky HD! In addition to this, I'd have to pay £15 a quarter rent for the first feed and £10 a quarter rent for the second feed for using the communal dish).
scandalous charges....disgusting

thisisgil said:
1 - This portable dish appears to have a "Universal LNB" - would this be suitable for receiving Sky HD+ ?
Yes no problem if twin output

thisisgil said:
2 - I have looked at the angle the mini-dishes on the block of flats are all facing. When I stand on my balcony, if I face the same direction, I can see some clear sky. However, there is a building on the left that just out by about a metre or two, which may slightly obscure the signal, but it doesn't block it altogether. I understand this may affect the signal, but will this be a deal-killer?
It sounds to be OK but a photgraph in the intended direction would be more useful, but remember the signal is approaching the dish from above as in picture below

thisisgil said:
Would there be a different type of LNB I can buy that would work better with a potentially weakened signal?
No if the path is blocked it is blocked

thisisgil said:
3 - I am hoping to borrow a friend's sky box to test the dish and position it. What's the best way of doing this? Just plug the dish into the box, attempt to align it with a compass, and then move it using the signal meter in the box diagnostics?
Forget the compass, no use at all, not the easiest box to setup with......... a standard sat receiver would be more useful, however not impossible, give it a go
 

Attachments

Channel Hopper

Channel Hopper

Suffering fools, so you don't have to.
Staff member
Messages
30,408
My Satellite Setup
A little less analogue, and a lot more crap.
My Location
UK
I would also buy a twin LNB (or a quad as it can be cheaper in some instances) , and run two cables, to give you the full recording facilties offered.

Good luck, I love covert/camouflaged systems, and Rolf isn't far away if you really get stuck.
 
T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
I have now had the chance to try this setup but am getting a little frustrated.

For the purposes of checking a signal, I purchased a cheap box from Maplin (Fortec Star F4000) and used the provided Astra 2 compass to point the dish in marginally the right direction. I set the elevation to 25 degrees, as recommended at Dishpointer and used the provided digital meter to try and fine tune.

When using the meter, I managed to get a tone filling 7 of the 8 lights with the sensitivity only turned up about a third of the way. I am assuming this indicates that a sufficent signal from some kind of satellite was found. However, when I tried scanning on the box, it could not find anything from Astra 2. Thinking that I may be picking up another satellite, I asked it to scan on about 12 different satellites a few degrees either side of 28 east, and found nothing again.

Interestingly, no matter what satellite I selected, the strength meter showed 45% signal strength and 5% signal quality - I was expecting this to change per satellite but always seeemed constant. Does this sound right?

I will be taking a picture from the correct angle tomorrow to post up just to check if I am having any obstruction issues. In the meantime, if anyone can suggest any quick hints, it would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
 
hexah

hexah

Specialist Contributor
Messages
2,565
My Satellite Setup
motorized Gibertini 85cm, fixed dishes from 1m to 64cm, generic FTA HD RX, TBS DVB-S2 PC card, a pile of bits and pieces
My Location
Hadrians Wall
The dish looks like a Triax TD54.

If you are confident, you could try to find a higher satellite that is also very strong, eg 13e or 19e. If there is a possible obstruction to the south, try a Hispasat 30w transponder as they are ridiculously strong. This will prove the set up is working ok. There is a list of the strongest transponders here.

That said, if you take the dish in your hands, hold it vertically and move it left and right in the 28e direction you should get something. Make a right to left scan then raise the elevation a bit by tilting it up, then scan again, till it is way too high, then scan and point down a bit each time.

I have fiddled with my dishes so often in the garden that I can hold them up and get a signal almost instantly. You may have to try harder, but keep watching that quality indicator on the TV.
 
T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
hexah said:
The dish looks like a Triax TD54.

If you are confident, you could try to find a higher satellite that is also very strong, eg 13e or 19e.
Thanks for the response - I changed the dish and went for elevation 30 degrees, east 13 and did a blind scan. Bingo! 73 TV and 31 radio Hotbird channels were found. Despite this, the signal strength still says 45% and the quality still says 5%

Does the fact that I managed to get Hotbird indicate that I don't have any issues with obstruction and in turn should be able to get Astra 2, or is it not as simple as that?
 
hexah

hexah

Specialist Contributor
Messages
2,565
My Satellite Setup
motorized Gibertini 85cm, fixed dishes from 1m to 64cm, generic FTA HD RX, TBS DVB-S2 PC card, a pile of bits and pieces
My Location
Hadrians Wall
It is strange that the quality still says 5%!!!

Well, now we know it all actually works. :)

Since the signals have been found, try raising or lowering the elevation to get the peak signal. Take a note of the number on the scale, then try 5 degrees lower for Astra 2D 28e. But try for 23.5e first.

It is still possible there is some obstruction as 5 degrees is actually quite a bit, or it could have been the elevation on the dish, or it could just be further left or right than you thought it was.

You should be able to get the Dutch local channels on 23.5e on 11914 H 27500 on the same elevation as Astra 2d 28e, because the signal is so strong. So if you can get them but not 28e it may indicate there is an obstruction at that elevation. Then you would have to raise the dish to see over the obstruction, if there is one.

Once you have found 23.5e you just swing left a bit, you will pick up 28e instantly, assuming your tripod is vertical.

Try again tomorrow when there is enough light to estimate what may be in the way.
 
hexah

hexah

Specialist Contributor
Messages
2,565
My Satellite Setup
motorized Gibertini 85cm, fixed dishes from 1m to 64cm, generic FTA HD RX, TBS DVB-S2 PC card, a pile of bits and pieces
My Location
Hadrians Wall
If the dish is a TD54, the elevation scale will be useful but somewhat off. Once you find a satellite, get a peak signal, write down the number on the scale, and repeat that on a few more satellites.

That should give a better idea of the relationship between elevation in real life and the elevation on the scale.

You might also try to go from 13e, down a bit in elevation, then left to 19e, peak elevation on it, then down a bit and left a bit to 23.5e, peak elevation on it, then straight across to 28e.
 
T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
Actually, I'm starting to suspect I'm not pointing at hotbird after all :(

Most of the channels I get are encrypted (with a $ in front of them) and the channel list includes the following:

-

PVTV
$AXN SciFi
$AXN Crime
$Money Channel
$Trinitas
$HBO Comedy
$Nat Geo Wild CE
$TV 6
$Mezzo
$Movies 24 HU
Music Channel
$GSP 1
$Universal
$Nat Geo Wild RO
$Fox News
$MTV3 MAX
$MTV3 FAKTA
$MTV3 AVA
$MTV3 SARJA
$MTV3 SCIFI

-

Does this channel list look familiar to anyone? Totally confused now!
 
Robbo

Robbo

Retired Mod
Messages
6,424
My Satellite Setup
TM6800HD, TM1000, TM600 Linux,TM2200 motor, Channel Master 1.2m motorised, TD110 dish Meter=Satlook Micro+G2 NIT
My Location
Gravesend,Kent,UK
It is Thor 0.8W, without any doubt whatsoever.
 
T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
......I think it's Thor2 which means my cheap satellite compass is knackered!

Time for an evening of spinning and hoping I think! ;)
 
T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
Robbo said:
It is Thor 0.8W, without any doubt whatsoever.
Sorry - I replied and missed your post. Am I right in assuming that the elevation is the same for Hotbird, so I just need to spin it left a little until I get something else?
 
Robbo

Robbo

Retired Mod
Messages
6,424
My Satellite Setup
TM6800HD, TM1000, TM600 Linux,TM2200 motor, Channel Master 1.2m motorised, TD110 dish Meter=Satlook Micro+G2 NIT
My Location
Gravesend,Kent,UK
Just work your way round, one sat at a time, next stop 4.8E.


Thor is the highest, about 30 and a a degree or two maybe, 28E is about 25, give or take a degree or so.

Hotbird's about 28 I think.

If you work your way round though, you can just knock it down a light touch before moving to the next.
 
hexah

hexah

Specialist Contributor
Messages
2,565
My Satellite Setup
motorized Gibertini 85cm, fixed dishes from 1m to 64cm, generic FTA HD RX, TBS DVB-S2 PC card, a pile of bits and pieces
My Location
Hadrians Wall
Assuming the mount it is on is vertical, or at least near vertical.


Don't forget to write down the elevation for each satellite, or post it here, you may need it later.
 
T

thisisgil

Member
Messages
9
My Satellite Setup
Nothing as of yet - looking to install
My Location
Reading, UK
Hmmmm

Now I have found:

Bet
TVT 6
$Discovery-Channel
$Fox News
Karbala_Path_1
$History Channel

I've had a google and I'm thinking it might be Atlantic Bird 4 but I can't be sure.

Is there an easy site to check what satellites these channels are on?

Thanks :)
 
satelliteman

satelliteman

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
12,029
My Satellite Setup
See signature
My Location
East Midlands, UK & Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Can you supply more channels so we can check.

Please also leave out "$" as your posts are going into a moderation queue.
 
Robbo

Robbo

Retired Mod
Messages
6,424
My Satellite Setup
TM6800HD, TM1000, TM600 Linux,TM2200 motor, Channel Master 1.2m motorised, TD110 dish Meter=Satlook Micro+G2 NIT
My Location
Gravesend,Kent,UK
Yes, kingofsat channel search .

But, it is best not to pick common channels, and make a note of the tranponder freq as well.
 
rolfw

rolfw

Believe it when I see it Admin.
Staff member
Messages
37,973
My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
I reckon you're moving the wrong way, that looks like 8 West.
 
Top