Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clearing Satellite Signal Blockage

The other day I ran across someone asking a question about whether or not a geosynchronous satellite can drift off the alignment track while sending signal to earth.

Not likely. Characteristics of the earth can, and always do, however. Anything from a sinking foundation, to seasonal exposure can have an effect on a satellite dish in it’s present environment versus it’s original alignment.

For example, last year at our home in Texas, we had a record breaking three month torrential monsoon that didn’t let up almost every single evening. With an approaching thunderstorm from the southwest it was getting fairly routine to have a “rain fade” of our signal. Eventually the rain let up, but we were still having bouts of intermittent signal loss in clear sky conditions.

After a few weeks of troubleshooting the dish and receiver I climbed the roof and placed a laser pointer on top of the LNB. The light went right into about a third of my neighbors tree that had grown an astonishing six feet. After asking him to trim it back, the problem cleared.

This is a great way to troubleshoot any sat problem; but you must make sure to take a few safety (and regulatgory) issues at hand. Make sure the laser isn’t pointing in anyone’s direction. This can cause severe eye damage. Also make sure there isn’t any aircraft close by. The FAA will be all over you in a heartbeat.

No comments: