Multi-satellite, part 3

(30th June 2008)


If you hear a weird hissing noise,
go down to the bottom of this page!

After a very long delay...

I had intended to work on this for the end of March, however a small bird was nesting in the nest box placed on the opposite side of the door-frame to the dish. In the spirit of helping to counter the wholesale destruction meted out by European intensive argicultural practice, I decided to leave well alone until the chicks had fledged.
A very opportune photo!
Sadly, the bird is no longer evident. It possibly became something's dinner?



Actually, I cheated here...
  1. With the receiver off, and taking special care to check nothing was shorting (the receiver has short-circuit protection, but it would cook the DiSEqC switcher); I hooked up another LNB to the second connection of my switcher box, and this LNB was left dangling.
  2. I set up the Astra~19.2°E satellite to be satellite 2/2 (satellite #2 in a two-way switcher). I then chose CNN International as I figured it was one of the channels least likely to change frequency since I was last at 19.2°E.
  3. I then called up the tuning information:
    Tuning into CNNI.
  4. I instructed by receiver to 'beeeeeep' to tell me how well tuned I was.
  5. I then turned on my PMR radios. One was rigged to "always transmit" (a piece of paper carefully wedged into it to keep the 'PTT' button pressed. This allowed me to go out to the dish, about 30 metres away from the receiver, and know how well I was receiving by listening to the annoyingly-pitched tones. ☺
  6. I climbed the ladder and wiggled the LNB around to the right of the existing one. It's a mirror, remember, so it is back to front. It took all of about five seconds to get a change in tone.
  7. And that's how simple it was. As we are looking for a specific channel, the tone will only change when the receiver locks into the desired channel. There's no chance of "oops, I tuned into some random Eutelsat by mistake. It can only be CNN.

What surprised me, actually, was how close the LNBs were to each other.


The rig-up

Remember the criteria? It had to be, above all else, light. I thought about many possiblities. Second arms, carefully-crafted slings. In the end, it all seemed a lot of bother just to "see what's on". So instead I decided upon something so ingeniously simple it was almost comical.

I climbed the ladder...

Getting up there.

With a piece of old clothes hangar and some zip-latch ties (I don't know what they are actually called, you'll see what I mean from the picture)...

The LNBs from behind.

Using the PMR radio tones to guide me, I aligned the whole contraption using about four arms (I sprouted two extra!), and when I had a good tone, squeeze and zip! Here it is from the other side...

The LNBs from the dish side.

Here is a diagram showing how it is put together. We are looking from behind the LNBs, towards the dish.

The LNBs, drawing.

And, finally, here is a view with the DiSEqC switch included.

The LNBs behind the DiSEqC switch.



Probably very low. It was done more as a proof of concept to drop in something while disturbing the existing alignment as little as possible. I would be surprised if it survives a strong wind... or until next week. ☺
As I write this, it has survived 24 hours, however I suspect the coat-hanger looped around the existing LNB might be prone to slipping?

I'll come up with something more reliable; however it may be useful to keep this hacky idea in the back of your mind in case you want to watch something that isn't normally available (or free) on the Sky platform; where long-term reliability is less important than getting something at all!

UPDATE: 23rd June, reception quality could be better on a few channels, but I can watch NRJ Hits without any problems.
Haven't touched the set-up since I put it into place!

UPDATE: Still going on the 6th July, even with strong winds!

UPDATE: Really heavy rain in late July messed up reception, so out came the PMRs and it was all fixed in less than two minutes.
Mom likes to watch "Carte aux Trésors" (TV5 Monde Europe, Wednesdays, 18h25 CET) and I quite like the song "La Parenthèse" (NRJ Hits, no specific time). Oh, and the Canaries weathergirl is quite cute! ☺

UPDATE: Had to tweak it as a result of Hurricane Quentin (9th Feb 2009), but otherwise still working. Used to watch NHK World with the secondary LNB, but that's turned up on 28.2°E now...


What can I now receive?

I discuss the added channels in part four.


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Copyright © 2008 Richard Murray