Category Archives: Technical

Some Basic Satellite Reception Problems In RV’s

p-1600-1200-b4ff46f1-2592-4a45-8c6f-6fcd83676af6.jpegIn my recent journeys through RV campgrounds for service calls and differing problems for satellite reception, I’ve often been asked to help customers align their portable satellite dishes or asked why the automatic Dome on top of their RV doesn’t get reception. Whether you’re new to RV’ing or an old pro, I’m sure understanding the satellite technology has thrown you more than one or two curve balls. Some think receiving signals from a satellite is much like receiving signals from an off-air antenna, meaning “close” should be good enough. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth and neither off-air or satellite reception is like it used to be.

Portable Satellite Setups are Common to many…

This isn’t really new information and portable satellite reception isn’t new either. Many of you have set up your own dish on a tripod or some other type of mount to get satellite reception in your travels. Although you may not have much trouble now (because you’ve had a lot of practice) your first time or two was probably a struggle.

Have you sometimes struggled to get Satellite Reception in your travels?

If you have sometimes struggled to get satellite reception at some time or other, relax… you’re not alone. More than one person has struggled to get reception from these type setups and had to ask neighbors in the campground area to help or, as a last resort, have called in people like me to come and check out why they can’t get reception. Unfortunately, when they call me (or someone like me) it is a service call plus parts and sometimes (depending on what kind of problems we run into) there are even extra time-on-site charges. Often, by the time I get the call from a customer, they are so frustrated they just want it fixed so they can “Watch TV” and they don’t mind the cost, as long as it is reasonable and not outrageous. (Believe me, I try to be as reasonable as I possibly can.)

There are generally two common problems with satellite reception…

Without going into great detail in this article, the most common problems I find in these service call instances is usually one of two things. The first is something obstructing the view of the the dish for receiving the satellite signals and the second is equipment failure. The first can usually (but not always) be corrected by finding a clear view to the satellite locations in the sky. The second is not always so obvious and because of different equipment for receiving signals, the servicers don’t always have the proper LNB or something they can substitute to verify the equipment failure although, generally, their meters can test for some equipment failures but not all of them reliably.

Permanently mounted dishes and domes…

Many RV’ers now have automated permanent satellite dishes mounted on their RV’s, made by different manufacturers and are quite happy with the way they work, (or maybe I should say they’re happy with them when they work the way they’re supposed to.) The problems arise when they pull into a location and can’t get reception. Because many don’t fully understand how the Domes work and how much different Satellite reception is than off-air antenna reception, they don’t readily recognize they have an obstruction blocking the reception of their dish. Also, since most of the satellite companies use more than one satellite to deliver their services to their customers, the obstructions to proper reception are even less obvious to the average RV’er.

Understanding Satellite location in the sky and Line-Of-Sight…

It is important to be familiar with where the satellites are in the sky when you travel from place to place. Generally, your satellite receiver can tell you the correct azimuth (compass heading) and elevation (degree of vertical height in the sky from horizontal) if you know the zip code you’re in. If you have a compass or a smart phone with a compass, you should be able to determine if you have an open shot in the sky to the satellite(s) for your provider. Remember, Line-Of-Sight is from your dish or dome’s eye-view not yours.

Let me say right here so there is no confusion. Yes, I do know some of the automatic domes can track the satellite locations as you travel down the road but even they can’t see through trees and other obstructions. (They also have to have time to move when you make sharp turns to retain reception and at times they do get lost (lose their ability to stay on given satellites) and then you have to reset them.)

An actual problem from a service call…

The problem I find most when I get to a site is a tree problem (or at least, some kind of signal obstruction.) Here’s a real life example from one of my recent and more interesting service calls.

I arrived to a site that looked to be open to both of the satellite areas in the sky. (This particular one was a Dish Network system. Dish Network has an Eastern Arc and a Western Arc. In our area we can receive good signals from both, although Dish prefers the use of the Western Arc.) Unfortunately, after checking a few things, I discovered the tree placement on both sides of the RV blocked reception from the satellites simply because of the way the Dome was situated on the roof of the RV. For several reasons, this person could not move to a better location and couldn’t move forward or backward enough to improve the reception. Out of six possible satellites, this person was only getting intermittent reception of one and it was very inconsistent because any light breeze would blow a tree limb and would block the rest of the signal from that one location. This person was out of luck for watching his favorite satellite channels, at least from the installed dome system permanently mounted on his RV.

To get this customer some reception for watching TV, I setup and explained his Antenna system for the local Digital TV channels and suggested checking into a TailGater portable satellite dish since he already had a Dish Network account and also had the proper receiver made to work with it. He did as I suggested and I’ll talk more about this in the next article entitled, “Three Reasons I Like Portable Satellite Dishes.”
See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 1, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, The Norman TV Vantage, Norman-TV.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions

The Digital Transition is DONE

If you are seeing nothing but snow on your TV, you are NOT ready for the Digital Transition. Now there is no need to panic, but you do have a few things to take care of before you will be able to watch your local channels off of your antenna.

If you have questions about the transition, we have plenty of information right here on the Norman TV site and we hope it is helpful to you. If you have questions that are not answered here, just leave a comment be by clicking on the Comments link below this article or:

  • give us a call at 239-481-6611
  • (local calls only for now – but it is your nickle if you call long distance)

Thanks for stopping by…I appreciate it

Rusty Norman – Norman Tv & Video Systems

The final Countdown to the Digital Transition: THIS IS IT!!! This Is Zero Day! The Transition should be complete TODAY!

Today is the day the Transition of high power broadcast stations from Analog to Digital is to be complete. If you’re not quite ready, don’t panic, you can still take care of the necessary details to make sure you can still watch your locals from your antenna.

If you don’t already have one, you will need a digital to analog converter to continue using you analog TV to watch your locals from your antenna.

If you have purchased a digital TV, you will not need a converter to continue watching your Locals from your antenna

IF YOU HAVE CABLE OR SATELLITE AND YOU RECEIVE YOUR LOCALS FROM THEM, YOU ARE READY TO GO!

If you have either a digital TV or a digital to analog converter box and used antenna to receive your locals before the transition, you will still need an antenna to receive the digital signals from off-air.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE, LEAVE A COMMENT OR GIVE US A CALL AT 239-481-6611.
We are — Norman TV & Video Systems.

The Final Countdown: Only 1 Day Left Until the Digital Transition Completes

The digital transition is almost completed and will be on Friday June 12, 2009 for all of you receiving your local broadcast channels from antenna. Good or bad, there will be no turning back.

Although the picture quality is much improved over analog, this transition has not gone without its problems or frustrations. Just remember, this is only for the HIGH POWERED Broadcast Stations and will not affect the low power stations at the present time.

If you have your equipment hooked up and are receiving your digital signals, here is a list of the channels you should be getting in the Naples-Fort Myers DMA (Designated Marketing Area):

11-1 – WINK (CBS)

20-1 – WBBH (NBC)

20-2 – WBBH (2 news now -24 hour news & weather)

26-1 – WZVN (ABC)

26-2 – WZVN (ABC)

30-1 – WGCU (PBS )

30-2 – WGCU (PBS – World)

30-3 – WGCU (PBS – Create)

30-4 – WGCU (PBS – FKN Florida Knowledge Network

36-1 – WFTX  (FOX local affiliate)

46-1 – WXCW (CW ) [also listed as ch 45-1 on antennaweb.org]

49-1 – WRXY (Local Independent – religious)

If you are not receiving all of these channels with your digital reception equipment (converter or TV ) you’re not quite ready.

The Final Countdown: Only 2 More Days to the Digital Transition Completion

Your time is almost up for making an uninterrupted transition to the Digital Broadcast signals if you get your local signals off of some sort of antenna. I don’t want you to panic, but if you haven’t taken care of the necessary items for making the transition complete, you do need to hurry that process.

If you still have an analog TV and you’ve already hooked up your digital-to-analog converter box, you can see what your signal strength is on the little graghic meter most all of them have. The same goes for your Tv with a digital tuner. That graphic can usually be found in the setup menu or, some even make it available under the display or info button on the remote. All of them are different so you will have to find out where it is, (usually it is fairly easy to find.)

After you have found that graphic try each channel and see how it reads the signal strength. You should have a signal above 50% for mote of them to show the channels. In my opinion, a decent reception level should be around 70 % or above and the graphic should be fairly stable.

If it is fluctuating a lot up and down, you probably have, or will have, something affecting the reception on that channel and you may have a little trouble with it now and again. That problem could be noticed as either pixeling (little blocks showing up in the picture) or a thing called “freeze-framing”. Freeze framing is when the picture freezes on an image and the sound becomes intermittent or drops out.

Hopefully, you have all of you channels by now and your reception is good. If not, you may need to re-aim your antenna or have someone re-aim it for you…

The Final Countdown: Only 3 More Days to the Digital Transition Completion

I have to tell you … the remainder of the high powered analog stations are going of the air this Friday, June 12, 2009. If you’re not ready for the last of our local channels to go from the analog to the digital spectrum, you should be, otherwise you are going to be without.

The last two high powered channels in the Naples-Fort Myers DMA (Designated Marketing Area), PBS ch 30 and FOX ch 36 are going to go off this Friday. If you still have an analog only Tv and receive your local channels off of an antenna of some sort, you will need a way to convert the digital channels to your analog Tv.

I realize this is probably useless information for 99.99% percent of you, but if you’re not ready, you will have to take care of a few things very quickly…

The Final Countdown: Only 4 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

Over the last several days we’ve talked about making sure you are ready for the Digital Transition. Today is a little review and just a little nudge to make sure you are ready for the transition that will be completed this Friday June the 12th, 2009.

If you don’t use antenna to receive your local broadcast channels, this information is not as important to you. If you receive yours through cable or satellite, you’re ready for the transition.

If you do use antenna to receive your locals, your are defintely running out of time and you need to take steps now to be sure you’re ready.

The Final Countdown: Only 5 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

The Digital Transition is closer than you think and if you haven’t made plans for completing your transition, now is a good time to “git ‘r done”. (Sorry, I couldn’t help but quote Larry the Cable Guy.) Probably the most asked question I’ve had concerning the transition is whether or not some should buy a new TV for the digital transition.

I am a firm believer in not buying something you don’t yet need. I base most of my decision on the quality of your picture on your existing analog Tv.

If your Tv still has a good picture then I suggest you just invest in the converter box.

If your Tv has a poor or marginal picture quality, I suggest you go ahead and invest in a new one with full digital reception capabilities. That way you’re not buying something you won’t need for long (the converter box) because the new TV will take care of the picture quality and the digital channel reception.

The Final Countdown: Only 6 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

ARE YOU READY FOR THE DIGITAL TRANSITION??? I sure hope so…but you still have several days left to take care of a few details. Do you need a converter box? If so, there are still some to be had but the supplies are probably getting tight by now.

If you need a digital to analog converter box so you can keep on using your old Tv to receive your local off-air channels, I can only say one thing…You’ve waited ’til almost the last minute. I’m sure Radio Shack, Best Buy and some other places still have some but I would be willing to bet, the supply is dwindling a bit. Hurry and get all the loose ends tied up, June 12, 2009 is coming FAST!

The Final Countdown: Only 7 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

The Digital Transition will be completed one week from today and if you’re still making plans or having problems with your Digital reception, NOW is the time for taking care of those situations, before it’s too late.

If you receive your local channels from an outdoor antenna and you are not getting all of the available channels for our area, it could be that your antenna has a problem of some sort or it could be worn out. It could be that you need a new antenna or it could be that it is just not pointed in the right direction. Although there are other reasons why your reception leaves something to be desired, usually the problems are related to the antenna or connects between it and your Tv.

Keep on watching “the NTV View” and you will probably find the answer to your question or questions. We are here for you…if you have questions, just leave a comment by clicking on the “comment” link at the bottom of this article.