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Vol. 7 - No.8

TECH SUPPORT has always offered Tech Support by either phone or email to its customers.  Over the years of giving this support, we have noticed a few very common problems that we address on a regular basis.   We would like to cover some of these more common problems in this newsletter in the hope of helping some users who may not have called for help.

One of the most common questions we receive is . . .  "I've followed the directions and aimed my tripod but I can't seem to get any signal.  What's wrong?"  In answering this question we usually go through a checklist of possible problems.

1.  Are you using the correct coordinates (azimuth, elevation and skew / tilt) for your area?  In some cases, the coordinates built into the receiver have been found to be incorrect.  You can always doublecheck online, using a website like

2.  Are the cable connection to your dish and receiver good?  Frequent coupling and uncoupling of the cable connections take their toll on the connection fittings and can cause a bad connection.  Check your cables from time to time and replace with good quality cables when needed.  One bad or weak connection is all that is needed for signal loss.   Insure that the line to the dish is a dedicated line with no antenna power supplies or splitters, etc.

3.  Are any tree limbs blocking the signal.  Remember that the angle of the signal from the satellite is actuall ABOVE the perpendicular line to the dish face, so "look up".  Our Satellite Dish Aiming Scope is a very helpful tool in these situations.

4.  If you are setting up a DirecTV SWM dish is the PI21 Power Inserter plugged in and connected to the dish?   The SWM LNB will not produce a signal unless powered by the PI21.

Another question we get is:   "I have a signal strength of 95% but get an error message when I try to connect to the TV.

1.  Insure that the 95% signal strength is on the primary satellite of your system (ie: 101 for DirecTV, 119 for Dish, etc.)

2.  If you have moved to a new spot beam area, insure that your receiver is not tuned to a local station that it won't receive.  That can cause an error message.  Tune the receiver to a station like CNN or FOX News, etc.

3.  Check the cable connections to the receiver.

One other frequently asked question concerns using a satellite finder with a DirecTV SWM dish.  The question is usually:  "I've aimed my dish and have a signal on the screen but the needle on the meter doesn't move.  What is wrong?"

The DirecTV SWM LNB uses different techknology than other satellite dishes.  You can't simply run the cable from the PI21 through the meter to the LNB as with other dishes.  Our work-around uses a SWM splitter and a battery pack to power the finder.  The cable from the PI21 goes to one power-pass connection of the splitter and the cable to the LNB connects to the other power-pass connection.  Use a remaining port of the splitter to run a cable to the LNB input of the finder and connect the 18v battery pack to the REC side of the finder.  Turn the dish off the mark, so it is NOT pointing at a satellite.  Turn the dB gain knob of the meter so the needle is mid scale.  Now, move the dish back to the index mark.  As you get close to the mark the needle should move higher, indicating you are hitting the satellite.  If you are on the mark and don't have a signal, move the elevation up or down a bit to get a signal.  Make sure any unused ports of the splitter have their caps on or you will not get and signal.