New, windy home for the Penta...

Captain Jack

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Since I moved again, my Penta 85 moved with me. Location is 3rd/top floor with a predominantly eastern facing balcony. To get any sort of western satellites, I needed to raise the dish over the gutter. As it's a new build rented property, I am not allowed to drill any holes, so here's how I've done it...

The dish on the pole here is pointing at 62E
 

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Captain Jack

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The dish over the roof here is looking at 1W. The further western satellite I can see is 15W with a weak signal after which the roof completely covers the arc. Not missing much beyond that anyway...

As you can see, there's an extra pole running alongside the extended tripod one to provide extra stability.

The arc range is 1W to 62E... I do have some odd issues, though, which I have no idea how to resolve

1) My motor (Digipower SG2100A) will not move beyond around 64E, which makes 66E unreachable :( I have taken the stub off the motor and adjusted the limits to as far as they will go but the arrow on the stub points to around 70 degrees when it's at its limit. Any idea how to reach further without getting a new motor?

2) I think my arc is pretty much spot on. 1W is booming in, Viasat @ 5E is OK and the eastern fringes are reachable - 62E, 57E, 53E and 52E/Yahsat (very strong) are all there. 26E also brings decent signals on MBC1/4 channels. HOWEVER, the weirdest thing is that the stronger satellites appear "weak"! BBC1 on 28E is only 79% SNR on the Uno, Astra 1 doesn't go off the scale (again 70% ish SNR) and neither does Hot Bird.. showing similar signal levels. The same issue is on 9E. However, the weaker 7E and 16E bring stronger than expected results.

Anyone seen this phenomenon? Can the signal be too strong? I thought it might have been the flat cable but connecting a straight cable doesn't help anything... Any ideas?
 

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aceb

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1.25m Gibertini + Inverto B.Ultra/C1W, Moteck H180, 68.5E-67W Ku/C-Band /
1.8m Precision PF + ESX241/Inverto Black Pro, 66E-63W Ku/C-band /
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Captain Jack said:
1) My motor (Digipower SG2100A) will not move beyond around 64E, which makes 66E unreachable :( I have taken the stub off the motor and adjusted the limits to as far as they will go but the arrow on the stub points to around 70 degrees when it's at its limit. Any idea how to reach further without getting a new motor?

Can you drive it further manually using the buttons on the motor? I'm guessing it's the same as my Motek 2100A, that reaches 68.5E with ease although I have taken the limits off, actually it fell off when I undid the screw lol Are you saying when it hits the endstop at 70E the dish is actually pointing at 64E?
 

Captain Jack

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Can't drive it any further than 70E's endstop, either manually using the button on the motor or the receiver. All software limits are off. I am guessing it's parking at 64E as when it's on 62E, the arrow is pointing at 68E. Don't forget that I am further west than you are (2.8W), so the motor needs to travel further for eastern sats.

The limit adjuster is weird there. There's a fiddly little screw under the stub, which I loosened up but couldn't really move the limiter thingy any further as it was hitting the case...if that make sense. If I removed it completely (how?), I think it would have enough to go further.

Looking at other motors, looks like "Darkmotor" has a range of 80W <> 80E, which seems good and would probably realistically reach 74E here (not that there's anything there). But then this motor should go to 75E and it stops at 70E :( Although the Darkmotor seems to have some issues with its automatic backlash adjuster...

Can I put the Penta 85 on a polar mount?!

Any ideas on the signal issues on stronger satellites?
 

aceb

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I removed the screw and used something very small to push the block out of the way, it's still rattling around inside the case. I'm not entirely sure the working of these motors, I'm about as close to the Meridian as you can get yet when I'm on 66E the motor points to 69.8. My quick check to see if the dish has gone out after a gale is to take readings of 45E and 45W, they should both be 48.3° either side of 0. When it's been out of line in the past and I've manually nudged it onto 68.5E the software has reported it as far as 73.8° but I've never tried looking just how much further it will go. When I set Mikes Darkmotor up that reached ABS1 75E without a problem but ISTR it was VERY close to the internal limit.
 

Captain Jack

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Right, gotta take the stub off again and see if I can get rid of the limiter. If not, I'll get the dark motor. Got nothing to lose!
 

sonnetpete

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Not sure but a long time ago I was told on here that USALS software wouldn't let you go more than 60° either side of your due south sat.
 

Captain Jack

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Alright. I am going to start again with this thing. I don't understand how I can get a strong signal from 1W and 53E and crap signal from strong satellites... Almost like the dish isn't tracking the arc properly but extremes are OK. Maybe when I took the stub off to adjust the limits, I threw something off alignment...? No idea... back to the drawing board.
 

Captain Jack

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Update... today in freezing coastal wind, I took everything down. Made sure the pole was plumb and vertical, took apart the motor and got rid of the hardware limiter, which allowed me to take the dish to 68.5E.

Now, the mystery with the strong satellites is now deepening. When I had my sat meter on the fly lead straight from the motor, the signal was off the scale on the usual Euro-sats on the meter's LCD screen. Cool, I thought.. Had a look on the Uno - yep, nice and strong. Checked the weaker sats - stronger than I ever had them on this dish. Great! Disconnect the meter, connect it up straight to the box - signals for weak satellites remained strong and for Euro-sats, they've all gone down again!

The problem I seem to have is the very short cable run from the dish to the receiver. It's only about 4-5 meters, which explains the stronger signals on weaker sats as there is less attenuation. But it seems like the Uno is getting overloaded by the Euro-sats and somehow shows a weaker signal. I connected a 10 meter cable in between and the signal for the Euro-sats jumped up (but still not as high as with the meter connected) and the weaker sats barely changed!

Some statistics:

5E - 12034H SNR 53%, 12054V 57%, 11919H 54%
26E - 11919H (MBC) 43%
53E - 11044V 60%
62E - 11682H (Aden Live) 41%
66E - 12565H (Mir) 48%, 12596H (NNTV) drifting in and out of lock - can't receive anything else
68.5E - Most Euro-beam TPs in 45%-55% range

For stronger sats:

28.2E - 10773H (BBC) 73%(!), with the meter in 86%, 10964H (Ch5) 99% ... why this difference?
19.2E - 10729V 65%, with the meter in 86%
13E - 12597V 64%, with the meter in 80%

Has anyone had this issue before - especially on the Uno?
 

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I suspect it is no more or no less than an AGC/Metering characteristic.

I had a Fortec Star Lifetime Classic once that jumped from 98% to 64% when optimised for a strong Satellite!

Bonkers, but as you as you are aware of the foible, it's not a problem.
 

aceb

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Nice catch on 68.5 at just under 3° elevation at your location, Aktau was the strongest signal on 66E but left a few days ago and is now on 86.5°

I've not really looked into it but I have a similar situation here, never really thought about it before other than notice that signals on 4 (or is it 5W) easily hit 100/100% but 28E are all around 92%. Could it be the multitude of hoooj signals on 28E causing an AGC to throttle back? Other marginal signals worth trying for are 25.5 and 31.5E, not sure if you'll get them over there?
 

aceb

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Just looking at 66E for the first time since Aktau left, the cluster of radio stations on 12742H has come up from a weak intermittent lock to a nice solid 65/50% SQ, For comparison MIR is 69/60, NNTV is intermittent at 65/1.
 

Captain Jack

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Tivù said:
I suspect it is no more or no less than an AGC/Metering characteristic.

Odd indeed. I should expect my signal to increase when it rains then! Actually... Ha, yep! Just put a damp cloth over the LNB and the signal went from 71% to 83% on BBC1. Bonkers..

aceb said:
Nice catch on 68.5 at just under 3° elevation at your location

Not difficult with a clear view to the east on a medium rise building!

aceb said:
Just looking at 66E for the first time since Aktau left, the cluster of radio stations on 12742H has come up from a weak intermittent lock to a nice solid 65/50% SQ, For comparison MIR is 69/60, NNTV is intermittent at 65/1.

Yep, managed to scan these in as well. NNTV is still out of reach - just a teeny little bit more signal to get a permanent lock. Keeps drifting in and out.

I tried scanning in Canadian Forces on 70.5E but not getting a lock there. AGC is going crazy though so I am guessing there's something there. Are able to see it?

Strangely, my Black Ultra just died... luckily I had a spare and don't have to climb very far to change it!
 

aceb

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Captain Jack said:
I tried scanning in Canadian Forces on 70.5E but not getting a lock there. AGC is going crazy though so I am guessing there's something there. Are able to see it?
No, too low for me, 68.5 is partially obscured by vegetation and the rising land to my east so most signals are around 50/60, clear LOS brings them in at 82/100 on a smaller dish. Mike along the road has logged CBC a couple of times on his 85cm mesh but it needs the right conditions, more so than 75E so it must be weak.

Strangely, my Black Ultra just died... luckily I had a spare and don't have to climb very far to change it!
There was a thread some weeks back about the premature demise of these, ISTR the common factor was a diseqc motor. I had one go last year.

Are you getting anything from 57E?
 

Captain Jack

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The LNB died when I disconnected the meter and reconnected the receiver. Lesson learnt - always switch off receiver when connecting and disconnecting LNBs!

I can get Duhok TV and the test card on 11568V @ 57E, the receiver says 60% SNR but it seems to be breaking up.

Just tried NNTV on 66E as it's bright and sunny and I can now get a picture that's constantly breaking up. Strange spectrum analyzer on Mir Service there!
 

Captain Jack

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It's strange that 75E is "below the horizon" for me, as 72E looks like it has plenty of ground clearance..... Wonder if I should chance try to receive it?! Would have to be a fixed dish though. No way will my motor turn that far...

42059d1333466239-new-windy-home-penta-dp-2012-04-03_09-13-49-403.jpg
 

Captain Jack

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Getting zilch on 31.5E and 25.5E... can you let you me know the strongest frequencies on those sats?
 

aceb

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On 31.5 my strongest is 12090V 27500 34 and on 25.5E it's 11039V 1536 34, the latter are radio stations only.

You need to check the calibration of your phone as 72E at your location is only 0.7° above the horizontal, 75E is over a degree below the horizon. The right hand part of this image shows the absolute cut off for it due to earth curvature.
 

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Captain Jack

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I wonder how high up you need to be to get below-the-horizon satellites... :-comp
 

Captain Jack

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Apparently, Moskva 24 started on 12605H @ 66E but getting nothing from it. Aceb, any luck at your end on this?
 
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