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Old 22-03-2010, 08:53 PM   #1
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Any Sky engineers / experts in the house?

I have Sky+, non-HD. The dish is at least 7 years old. The box is kust over 5 years old.

I have a signal issue with various channels, mainly the "five" channels (five, fiver, five usa, etc), plus others like Eurosport, Bravo, Virgin, Alibi & CBS drama.

If I watch any of these channels in isolation then usually everything is fine. If I watch one of these channels whilst recording from another OR I record one of these channels (whether watching or recording another channel at the same time), I get a terribly broken signal. The picture will pixilate and there will be loss and/or jumping of audio, rendering the program unwatchable.

Generally, the signal strength and quality on both inputs is ok, even when the problem manifests itself. This has been going on for months now.

Any ideas, before I call an engineer?
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Old 22-03-2010, 09:03 PM   #2
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You could try swapping the two feeds to the box over.

IIRC, one is for viewing, one is for recording - but if you attempt to record something and the default recording channel is having issues, it'll switch to give priority to the recording program. Hence the bad reception whilst recording stuff?

When you suffer the poor reception, how does the recording come out?

Although the signal strength/quality might just about show okay, it could be worth checking the alignment of the dish/LNB, perhaps re-making the connections on the coax cable (normally quite crude F-type fittings IIRC?)

That is, of course, an educated guess. It could be a problem with your reciever, but they'd be my first port of call. Re-making the connections and tweaking the dish is effectively cost free, so worth a go

I *think* Sky will probably send an engineer out FOC if you play into their system - tell them that you're considering leaving as the reception is so bad. Othewise they'll try and charge for an engineer call out or equipment fault from what I have heard!

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Old 22-03-2010, 09:10 PM   #3
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I think I recall reading about a similar problem - if it's the same then it's an alignment issue.

The satellites are sitting in space many 10s of miles apart in a cluster. Each satellite carries a set of channels and I think the channels you refer to would be in the same grouping. If that particular satellite is sitting at the edge of the cluster and your dish wasn't well aligned then that would explain why those channels in particular are affected.

The worse when recording problem would then be down to the LNB. If your dish/LNB is old then it has two receptors in it, one will be used when recording and the other available for live viewing (newer LNBs have 4 or even 8). Inevitably only one receptor in the LNB can be in the prime position at the centre of the dish and so get the best signal.

You could try to improve things yourself e.g. make sure nothing is obscuring the dish, no bird droppings on the LNB etc but probably you'll end up needing to get an engineer out. Sky charge 65 fixed price covering anything needed (parts and labour).

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Old 22-03-2010, 09:13 PM   #4
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We had pixilating at one time, mainly when raining heavily.
Sky engineer remade f type cable joints on lnb.
I believe there are different "quality" f type connectors.
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Old 22-03-2010, 09:43 PM   #5
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@ Will I have tried swapping the two input cables over but that was a while ago. There's no harm in trying it again. As for the recording, I probably didn't make myself clear. If I record from Five, Bravo, etc, 99 time out of 100, the recording will be unwatchable. Another symptom is that I can be watching a recording that's bearable though not without picture/sound break up and when I come to FF through the adverts, the recording jumps back about 5 minutes!!
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Old 22-03-2010, 09:47 PM   #6
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I think I'd try Sky for a FOC callout/repair. If they won't buckle, and you feel confident, I'd remake the F-type connections (could be corroded or loose from 7 years in the elements) and try and tweak the dish. Might need someone to watch the signal strength/quality bars whilst you are outside, use a mobile or shout! Only needs a tiny amount of movement (likewise, only needs to have moved/drooped a tiny bit to give poor reception)

Not ideal (the pro's use a meter), but should be possible to improve on what you have quite easily - I've done it a couple of times in the past

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Old 22-03-2010, 10:32 PM   #7
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Firstly, do you have a friend or neighbour with whom you could swap and test your box with? Their box on your dish, your box on their dish.

That way you'll isolate the fault. From what you've said it could be anything, including the LNB downleads themselves.

If you are receiving Fiver etc then I assume you have a Sky subscription. Just give them a sob story (they might ask you to sign up for an annual maintenance plan).
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Old 23-03-2010, 08:17 AM   #8
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Before you call the Sky engineers out, make sure you don't have any obstructions to the dish's line of sight.

We had an issue a couple of years ago where our signal went AWOL at this time of year. Turned out it was the trees getting in the way of the signal. Fine in winter, but as soon as the sap starts rising and foliage starts to appear then it all went pear shaped. Moved the dish 6 feet up the wall and the signal improved no end.
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Old 23-03-2010, 09:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corned View Post
Before you call the Sky engineers out, make sure you don't have any obstructions to the dish's line of sight.

We had an issue a couple of years ago where our signal went AWOL at this time of year. Turned out it was the trees getting in the way of the signal. Fine in winter, but as soon as the sap starts rising and foliage starts to appear then it all went pear shaped. Moved the dish 6 feet up the wall and the signal improved no end.

Ditto. We have a eucalyptus tree that caused the same problems.


I got around this by switching from analogue to digital (a fresh installation so the dich was repositioned as a matter of course to obtain the best signal).

I can't say I am that impressed with digital though, sometimes we have problems recording one channel whilst watching another and the remote controls seem to work only when they feel like it.
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Old 23-03-2010, 10:07 AM   #10
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I would agree with the dish alignment LNB position theory-one thing that causes this type of fault is the LNB skew i.e how far off the vertical/horizontal axis it needs to be rotated for the strongest signal. this page will help you obtain the optimum settings for your location using google maps -read the instructions carefully how to use it.e.g. For the UK, only the first part of the postcode is considered, the second part disregarded. So don’t be suprised when the marker is a few miles away from your home. But you can click and drag the marker.. UKSatelliteHelp.co.uk - Satellite Dish Alignment / Setup Calculator 2.0
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