Rick's Notes
December 2004



While locking up the cats for Sunday, I knocked into my dish. It was dark. That's my excuse. :-)
Anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to re-tune to 28.2°E.

Will it work? I think I should let you know that I have been listening to Alouette (at 19.2°E) for nearly two months without so much as a hiccup. Even my occasional forays into MTV to watch Jackass (sorry, I find it amusing, so sue me) didn't upset the Digibox.
How will it work on Sky?



Well... I only got half of The Mystery of Spoon River on The Horror Channel because the box is glitching like hell. I've been out with the satmeter (thanks E) and checked the dish, connections, etc.

It is now 23:04 and the signal strength for The Horror Channel is pretty poor, but it is working now. BBC 1 has a strong signal and good quality (but still freezes from time to time). Fingers crossed, though.
Maybe it is one of those weird atmospheric things? Today was quite warm (8°C) and the temperature plummeted in a hurry (now 0°C), so maybe condensation got into the LNB or something, and 28.2°E is more sensitive somehow?

It is now 23:21 and we're back to lots of glitches. I've pretty much lost The Horror Channel again, and BBC 1... Okay it is working now (23:22) but I think you get the idea. I don't expect it'll be good for Brain Fix tonight. Mmmm...

For what it is worth, all times are in CET (European time). This is an hour ahead of British time.

It is my birthday on the 16th. I had planned to see if there was anything good on that day. I hope The Horror Channel or BBC come through - I don't fancy idly looking at german analogue again...


I'll embarrass the hell out of myself now... Bob the Builder's 'odd ones out' (BBCi on CBeebies, or 5900 within any BBCi). My high score for the 30 second test is 13. I think I'm running into the problem that the thing doesn't refresh any faster (after all, Bob has to say "Well done!"). Has anybody got a higher score? :-)


I have discovered something interesting. If you switch on the Digibox and go immediately into the signal test, or the TV guide, and on to a channel, it behaves differently:

When you first power up the box and switch it on, you must leave the 'searching for listings' thing until the Sky Welcome pops up and it asks for your viewing card (if you don't have one). Then, your box will work as you are used to it working.
It seems odd that the Sky Welcome is encrypted. You'd have thought they would have left it in the clear. After all, every Digibox starts up on this channel, wouldn't it be a good teaser for those without subscriptions to see all the cool things that they are missing?



The box is glitching slightly, but it is to be expected with my setup. I am listening to a radio station right now, and will watch "Asylum Night" on THC later on.
For my birthday (on the 16th), I was really pleased to find THC repeating the bizarre "Spider Baby", which I've never seen right the way through.

A good friend (hey Ewen!) sent me his satellite locator. I hold this little device solely responsible for my continued enjoyment of stuff in my langue maternal. I feel I should also amend my 'aligning your dish' guide. While it is correct that the very best satellite meter is the Signal Quality in the Digibox, it suffers from inherent delays meaning that it takes an awful lots of time and patience to get the dish spot on. Also, it isn't always practical.
The meter, however, gets hooked in-line with the LNB and once you have set up the calibration, it is a simple job of looking for the strongest signal. Recalibrate and keep on until you have the strongest signal.
It doesn't always go that a strong signal is better quality, however in a setup such as mine I would say, to nab a well-known catchphrase, it is a case of "Every little helps!"

How well it go on Christmas Day? I hope to watch Harry Potter and see what all the fuss is/was about. :-)



Updated the channels listings (I forgot 'B4' and '(Tiny)Pop's are now 24hr!). Additionally, I have added hyperlinks to the channels given in my review page, where I know the URLs...

Would it be of any use to you if I created a PDF document of all of the FTA channels, a single side of A4 or A5 that you could print out and stick by your TV? Let me know, I'd be happy to do this if you think it'd be worthwhile. I'm sure you can remember your primary channels - 954 BBC South, 330 THC, and so on. Now, what's R4LW's channel? Erm... Erm...

Would you find it useful, also, if I did a similar thing for BBCi's page numbers? You can find all of this out by going to the main index, but wouldn't it be easier to directly enter your desired pages without navigating indexes? Again, let me know...

I have added a document on using a sat-beeper, with kind permission from the author, Ewen Cathcart. If you have any questions to ask Ewen, please send them to me and I will forward them for you...

Harry Potter... I think the story is a fairly standard mix of morals and good-beats-evil, the difference here is the 'magical' backdrop. And, for sure, the movie itself is a visual treat! I'd like a bewitched ceiling in my bedroom - I think I'd choose to have a nice view of the Horsehead nebula (in Orion). It sure beats a lot of white with a lightbulb hanging from the middle!



Well, I didn't feel anything at 2am CET but apparently the earthquake was felt in the UK even though it is the other side of the planet.
My thoughts and hopes are with all of the people affected.
I suppose the only redeeming factor is that this was a natural disaster and not something that we, mankind, have inflicted upon ourselves. Again. Little consolation though...


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