HOW TO SET UP A MOTORISED DISH
Suitable mounting pole (2" aluminium or steel scaffold pole)
TK brackets or and L-Bar for mounting a dish to a wall
Drill, F-Connectors, spanners, hammer
Compass & Satellite signal meter
POSTIONING YOUR DISH
Please bear in mind that the dish needs to be far enough away from the wall and any other obsatcles so that the dish rotates freely. We normally mount the pole using TK brackets or an L-Bar which extend out from the wall by 18 inches.
You need to be able to rotate the dish between at least 30 degrees east and 30 degrees west of due south, without obstructions such as trees in the way. The furthest point you normally go to the east is the same direction as a sky minidish (28.2 east), you need to be able to rotate the dish by 60 degrees to the west from this point. Standing behind the dish, the west is to the right of a minidish.
If you can get a clean arc as far as 45 degrees east and 45 degrees west then there are a few mor e interesting satellites you can recieve.
A good rule of thumb regarding obstructions - if the distance to the obstruction is twice the height of the obstruction you will have no problems. For instance if there is a fence that is 4 feet higher than the base of the dish, and the fence is 8 feet away then that will be OK.
SETTING UP THE MOUNT
The first step to setting up a motorised satellite dish is the most important one! The mounting pole that the dish and motor will be fixed to must be exactly vertical!! This point can not be over stressed. If the dish is mounted on an aluminium tube which is one metre long, and the pole is out of true by as little as one centimetre top to bottom, that is enough to stop the dish tracking properly.
So step one - Get the mounting pole 100% plumb. Use a spirit level to check this side-to-side and front-to-back.
SETTING UP THE MOTOR AND DISH
Firstly you need to know your areas latitude and the elevation angle of the dish for the Thor satellite on 1 degree west. This can be done by checking the website below
You need to correctly set the elevation on your dish motor. Most motors are marked with a graduated scale called "Latitude" However some are marked "Elevation"
If your motor is marked Latitude, then you set the scale to equal the latitude of you location. For example Liverpool is 53.5 degrees North - so set the Latitude on the motor to 53.
If the motor scale is marked "Elevation" then the correct formula to use is Elevation = 90 minus Latitude. For Liverpool 90 - 53 = 37.
Having done that, fasten up the bolts on the side of the motor as tight as possible (without breaking them of course!)
Now you attach the dish to the motor. The motor shaft has a center line marked on it, and you centre the dish mounting bracket on this line. If you can not see the centre line with the dish attached, take a length of insulating tape or similar, and use it to extent the centering line so you can see it. Tighten the dish down so it can not move side-to-side.
Now attach the dish and motor assembly to the mounting pole, and tighten down the motor bracket, leave it a little slack so you can trotate the entire motor/dish assembly in the pole.
INITIAL ALIGNMENT OF THE DISH
The first thing you need to do is allign the dish to the satellite nearest to due south. This satellite in the UK is Thor/Intelsat707 at 1 degree West. Using ProgDVB, load up the channels list for Thor. Open the channels list and click on the channel "Business TV". This is a FTA channel that always carries a test screen with a picture of s clock or compass and the marking 1 West.
Using the dixie plug in, drive the motor to position 0.0 (fixed) the drive the Motor to Thor 1 West
Now rotate the entire motor/dish assembly to locate this satellite. This is easiest if you use a signal strength meter, or at the very least get your PC outdoors (dry weather only!) and in a position where you can see it! ProgDVB has a signal strength read out on the bottom bar of the TV picture window.
When you locate this satellite, adjust the elevation on the dish (NOT THE MOTOR!!) to get the strongest signal. For your guidance, Thor is elevated a few degrees higher than Astra. Once you have the strongest signal, lock the dish elevation so it can not move.
Now load the channel list for Astra, and using dixie plugin, drive the motor to Astra. Astra is a powerful satellite and you should have no problems finding a picture.
Go back to your dish, and using the spirit level double check that the mounting pole is still vertical and has not moved under the weight of the dish, otherwise this problem needs to be corrected before continuing.
Now load the channel list for Hispasat, and using dixie drive the motor to Hispasat. Hispasat is a considerably weaker than Astra. You Should choose one of the Strong channels to test - The FTA channel called "Programaceo" is a good one to use, or also Disney channel. Also we have noticed that motors tend to "overshoot" a little when moving to Hispasat, you may need to tap the EAST button a couple of times to manually drive the dish slightly back to get a good signal. If you can't seem to find a signal on Hispsat at the moment then don't worry about that just now (time for worry comes later hehehe!!)
Now go and check again that the mounting pole has remained vertical and not moved under the weight of the dish, otherwise this problem needs to be corrected before continuing.
Now drive the dish back to 1 West (Thor)
TRACKING THE DISH
First check that you have the strongest possible signal on Thor (Business TV). Do this by grabing hold of the top and bottom of the dish and gently flexing this dish upward and downward. You should get a worsening signal as you move the dish up - down - left - or right. If this is not he case then loosen the motor brackts and reallign the motor position left right. loosen the dish elevation nuts and alter the dish up and down until you have the best possible signal. when flexing the dish you are not trying to get the strongest signal, just flex it enough to check if the signal gets better or worse in each direction.
Now drive the dish to Sirius 5 East. Load up the channels list for Sirius and choose "NOVY Canal" You should get a strong signal from this channel - around 90%. Then choose one of the weak transponders on Sirius (Viasat Ticket) These channels are very weak in the UK - even in clear weather conditions on a 1 metre dish you will not get more than about 55% signal on a perfectly aligned dish.
While on Viasat Ticket, flex the dish up and down slightly to see which gives the best signal strength. Make a note of which direction improves the signal UP or DOWN. You can also try manually driving the dish slightly further east or weat with the EAST WEST buttons.
Now go back to Hispasat. Choose "Programaceo" Channel. If you are getting little or no signal flex the dish slightly up or down to see which direction gives better signal. Remember that the dish tends to move slightly too far west on Hispasat so you may need to manually drive it slightly back to the east. Again make a note of which gives better signal UP or DOWN.
If you have a good signal on Hispasat "Programaceo" of say 75% or more - try one of the weaker channels such as "P-Cinema". These channels are again much weaker than others on Hispasat - a well aligned dish gives you around 65-70% signal. Once again flex the dish up and down to wee which direction gives best signal.
If you can't find Hispasat AT ALL then move your dish to 8 or 15 degrees west and repeat the above process to see which is better reception UP or DOWN and make a note.
Now drive the dish back again to Thor 1W "Business TV" and check that it is still perfectly aligned and all this "flexing" has not changed the dish elevation. Reallign if necessary.
Now one of 5 possible situations will have occured. These will be dealt with below. And if you need to adjust the alignment of you dish then remember the next line!
IMPORTANT - ONLY EVER ADJUST THE DISH/MOTOR WHILE YOU ARE ON THOR 1 WEST
Situation 1. Dish gives better signal when flexed upwards on both Sirius Ticket and Hispasat P Cinema - in this case you need to DECREASE the elevation of the motor and INCREASE the elevation of the dish to compensate. Reallign for strongest signal on Business TV then go to *START*
Situation 2. Dish gives better signal when flexed downwards on both Sirius Ticket and Hispasat P Cinema - in this case you need to INCREASE the elevation of the motor and DECREASE the elevation of the dish to compensate. Reallign for strongest signal on Business TV then go to *START*
Note Situations 1 and 2 should never arise if you correctly set the motor elevation to your latitude (eg Liverpool - 53 degrees)!!
Situation 3. (The most common one!!) Dish gives better signal when flexed DOWNWARDS on Sirius Ticket and UPWARDS on Hispasat P Cinema - in this case you need to loosen and rotate the MOTOR a few degrees to the West (Towards HISPASAT) and then tighten up the motor, loosen the dish and rotate the dish back towards the East to compensate. Reallign for strongest signal on Business TV then go to *START*
Situation 4. Dish gives better signal when flexed UPWARDS on Sirius Ticket and DOWNWARDS on Hispasat P Cinema - in this case you need to loosen and rotate the MOTOR a few degrees to the east (Towards SIRIUS) and then tighten up the motor, loosen the dish and rotate the dish back towards the West to compensate. Reallign for strongest signal on Business TV then go to *START*
5. Well Done! You get perfect alignment on all three points!! No further adjustment required
by using two very weak signals on Hispsat and Sirius you can get a perfect alignment of your dish - all other satellites are more powerful and you wil have no problem with these.