Since we have been RVing for a living... we have used the TV Services of Shaw Direct, which bought out Star Choice, who we originally set up our service with. The fun part of RVing has always been setting up your satelite dish to enjoy some programs in the evening, or whenever you want. When we first started travelling, I remember a couple nights trying to set up the dish to watch a hockey game or something, only to be denied the pleasure due to not being able to find a signal. Over the years, I have gotten better at it, with a little help from good old modern technology. Today I found even a better way!
How many people have used one of these babies above... it is the el cheapo way of finding your satelite, which is one of hundreds up in the sky! Problem is finding the one you want! I used this device at first, but lost too many battles with the dish, so looked for a better way...
So, this is what I use now... The First Strike Meter! I bought this device about 2 1/2 years ago and have never looked back. It works great, but they are a bit expensive... around $250.00. If you ask me though, one of the best $250.00 I have ever spent. Very helpful when you move around a lot. I can normally set up the dish and find the satelite in less than 15 minutes each time. This includes setting up my tripod and doing the cables.
Above is one of the screens shots off the device that you use to select your satelite. It is very easy to pick you satelite, and then when you do, it is set in memory for future use. It tells you the elevation angle, and approximate area of the sky to sweep, and also the slant, or azamuth to set you dish at. The key with this device, is once you program you satelite into it's memory, it ignores all other satelites in the sky and only looks for yours! Makes it very easy when you make your sweep of the south west sky, as it only beeps when it comes across your satelite! Easy peassy!
Once you find you satelite, the device shows by the bars you see above, the signal strength. The more fine tuning you do to the dish, the higher the signal until it locks on.
I was having problems here in Frostproof, as I was not getting a strong signal at all... causing some problems with reception on some channels. Shaw Direct dishes need to be tuned to specific channels.Today I found a great do it youself guide put out by Shaw which I found very useful! Here is the LINK:
I found this document very helpful in doing the very fine tuning of the dish today. First you have to determine what LNB you have, and there is a sticker on your LNB out on your dish. Then you determine the size of your dish, in my case we have the larger, 75 cm. dish as opposed to the regular 60 cm. dish. It is easier to get a signal with the larger dish while down south. Next you have to determine the Model Number of the Receiver that you are using, in my case we have the HDPVR 630. Tune the receiver to channel 711, and then switch to channel 700 if you receiver has been in use. Different channels for brand new receivers... it is in the document.
Then just bring up the satelite alignment meter under Options. I was able to get mine from 45%, (which still gives you some channels...) to 70% on the fine tune. Perfect... and offers a great picture.
If you use Shaw Direct, check out this document, it may save you some grief! Remember, Shaw no longer supports users south of the Border, so you are on your own once you leave Canada. Bell has already stopped it's signal down here in Florida, as they now use new satelites with a more defined signal only available in Canada. Shaw also has a new satelite only available in Canada, however they are putting only new HD programming on it, and plan on leaving the existing 2 satelites in place... for now anyways.
Just thought I would share this for any Shaw Direct users out there... if you have Bell... don't ask me!
More than a few times, I have been approached to do Shaw set ups, for fellow RV'ers who cannot find a signal... very frustrating for them unable to find it! I don't mind helping out at all, as I have been there! Last year, a guy from Quebec gave me a big hug once I set his dish up, as he only spoke French, and missed his French TV. Not sure what his Wife thought of me setting it up! lol... she was the one who asked me.
Hey, if I keep doing post like this one, soon everyone will call me Rick!