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Out of the Blue

I recently mentioned troubles I was having with my satellite reception in bad weather. When I checked my signal strengths, there were a few readings at zero, and a number of others in the 40-percent range (oddly on every other transponder on the same satellite). I called tech support, and they agreed that those 40s were a problem (surprisingly, the zeros were not, they were for local signals that are aimed elsewhere), and we scheduled a service appointment. The technician showed up, and when I told him that I thought the dish may need adjusting he told me this was unlikely, since other signals were quite strong, so he checked the connections of the wires coming off the dish into the house, replacing the male-to-male adaptor along the way, and declaring the job complete. I pointed out the problematic signals were still in the 40s and he told me you couldn't always go by that, so I reminded him that this was why he was here (we couldn't confirm or deny that he'd fixed anything yet, since the problem only exhibited itself in bad weather), and he might have to call his supervisor for advice. At that point I ran through what I knew about the problem, and isolated it to the LMB array that reads the signals after they bounce off the dish. He told me he had never heard of this as an issue, and when I outlined how I isolated the problem he seemed dubious, but he swapped the unit anyway. The readings in question immediately jumped into the 70s, so we had similar strength on every transponder on the previously iffy signal. I couldn't be positive this was fixed until our next storm, but this came last night and the picture didn't break up, so my issue is cleared up.

You know? I don't think I'll even charge DirecTV for my services.

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11. Re: Unf^&*(ing Acceptable Jul 2, 2008, 12:43 Zombi Z
I'm sorry, I read that again. If you're getting 0 signal on every other transponder that is a separate catsatrophy entirely. That is a voltage drop and is definitely a cable issue.

To switch between transponders the receiver sends alternatively 13 and 18 volt / 22khz pulses ('tone') to signal the LNB to tune alternate transponders. However the receiver has no way of knowing if all went well and simply sends the signal and waits to be sung its lullaby. If it sends the tone and doesn't get the approriate signal back, the signal just reads 0.

Zeros are not normal. Ever. There are maybe three transponders that read zero when the receiver isn't downloading any new software. But this bull about 'local' channels is a line you were fed unless your local television stations happen to periodically black out and go completely off-air during normal waking hours. If you're getting poor signal from every other transponder much less a sequence of zeros, the cable has become worn or damaged and isn't passing voltage.

The bum didn't want to run new cable- the most time consuming part of a satellite service install.


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