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Thread: Another Rookie desperately seeking assistance ...

  1. #1
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    Post Another Rookie desperately seeking assistance ...

    Although I spent many years in the electrical field, I must admit that some of the satellite terminology has me scratching my head. As we have certain DirecTV channels that are no longer functioning, I'm trying to give myself a primer on how I might approach adjusting the slimline dish that came with our money pit (a.k.a., our new to us home that we moved into last year).

    One of the first things I did in this regard was use the MENU key on our remote to [eventually] find the "Test Signal Strength" screen, which, as I'm sure most of you already know, displays [what I call] a "tuner percentage bar" that I assume represents satellite signal reception strength. With our receiver, there are (2) tuner percentage bars displayed, which, after trial and error, seem to change depending on which satellite and transponder are selected via the displayed "+" and "-" buttons and our remote control. As most of the selections I've made [thus far] indicate that the signal strength on both Tuner 1 and Tuner 2 are at a high percentage, it quickly occurred to me that there must be much more to this than the fairly simplistic Test Signal Strength screen would seem to indicate ... so fast forward to one internet search [of many] which lead me to Gary Toma's [pinned] thread entitled "Transponder Maps: Domestic...." After studying the excel spreadsheet Gary Roma links the reader to, via this thread, I, through my novice eyes, have decided that the spreadsheet page entitled "NATIONAL" should be of greatest use to us under the circumstances ... but, before I can make good use of this impressive resource, I need a primer on the headings chosen by Gary.

    First, I have no clue what is meant by the column heading "NETWORK." As stupid as I'm sure it will be to ask this, I'd also like to know if the "TPN" heading represents a transponder number that can be selected on our Test Signal Strength screen? As one of the channels that has proven to be the most intermittent to us is HBOeHD (501), I will use it to ask the following questions about the SATELLITE and DISPLAY spreadsheet column headings: To the right of Channel 501 is TPN "11" followed by "D14 @99CA," which is, in turn, followed by another "99CA." Although I'm pretty sure that 99CA corresponds to the "99ca" satellite I've found on our signal strength screen, what is meant by "D14"? I'd also like to ask what is meant by the "TID" and the "Ox.VPID" columns chosen by Gary Toma, which are listed as "010" and "1020," respectively for HBOeHD (Channel 501). Obviously, I know very little about satellite TV terminology, so please bear that in mind.

    Thank you very much for your time ~ Hand

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Doctor j's Avatar
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    Gary will probably respond to your question in detail but you have a generally correct grasp of the data we present.
    For HBO:
    10 HBOeHD 501 11 D14 @99CA 99CA 010 1020 HBO HD East
    The important testing data is to tune to Sat Strength in Settings , then toggle the + to Sat 99ca and let the SS data fill in.
    Looking to TPN 11 the satellite strength should be >90 or at least > 85.
    There are usually 5 or 6 video streams on each National Transponder (TPN) and these are managed by the system via their vpid 1010 thru 1060 or more.
    SD TPNs have 13 or more streams and use a different vpid designator.
    Sat 101 is SD and Signal Strength is usually better than HD (should be 95 to 99 on most TPNs. Some Local TPNs may be zero or Low that's OK)

    Sats 99ca and 99cb and 103ca and 103cb are National HD streams. If significant # of TPNs < 80 to 85 you need a Dish realignment.

    Others may fill in more detail but this is a quick primer!

    Good luck

    Doctor j

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    Super Moderator Tom Speer's Avatar
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    To add to what Doctor J said, D14@99CA refers to satellite DirecTV 14, now called T14 by AT&T. It is a geostationary satellite (meaning it's orbit is synchronous with the rotation of the earth), located above the equator at 99 degrees West longitude. The 99CA corresponds to the signal strength display on your receiver. The Network number determines which SS screen the signals appear on and is used in with the TID to determine how to tune to the transponder.. All 99ca signals are on Network 10. The 99cb signals are also on Network 10 on a different set of frequencies. The tpn number is actually only used for the signal strength displays. The guide data that we collect weekly, actually use the TID number, which is an index to the frequency, polarity and other tuning parameters of that transponder. Both sets of transponders on Network 10 have unique TIDs . Each transponder transmits a 30 Megabit per second digital signal (20 Mbps on Networks 0,1, and 3), That signal is made up of packets and the PID is a header on each packet that identifies what stream (channel) it belongs to. Your video and audio streams for a given channel are assembled in the the receiver by piecing the packets with the same PID together. The Audio PID is generally 2 higher than the video PID, for the English language audio.

    For more information, take a look at the tables published in this link: Satellite Transponder Information
    Tom Speer, N2HF, the curious otter. Part of the DataDigesters team.

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    Dr. J and Tom ~ Thanks very much for the informative responses. In fact, I took the information I received from the good Doctor and proceeded to label most of the Satellite/TPN combinations for the HD channels we normally receive. Specifically, I used the Test Signal Strength screen I mentioned in the original post (OP) to record the signal strength for every HD channel we receive between 500 and 567 ... and, after studying these numbers, an interesting pattern began to take shape.

    Although I'm sure that it's very basic to some of the edge cutters who regularly participate in this forum, I discovered that -- of the four satellites that broadcast all of the high definition (HD) channels we receive between 500 and 567 (99ca, 99cb, 103ca and 103cb) -- only the two 103 satellite signals (ca and cb) are being fully acquired by our DirecTV (DTV) system. The two 99 satellite signals (ca and cb), on the other hand, are only being partially acquired by our DTV system. Specifically, every transponder (TPN) we receive via the two 103 satellites is being acquired by our system at a relatively high signal strength (the lowest being 88-percent), while all of the odd-numbered TPNs associated with the 99ca and 99cb satellites are not being acquired by our DTV system.

    Bearing this in mind, I had a helper sit with the DTV system while I attempted to [slowly] make adjustments to the elevation and the azimuth settings on our Slimline 3 dish antenna. Unfortunately, the only 99 ca and cb signals we could improve were associated with the even-numbered TPNs. The odd-numbered TPNs, despite all of our attempts at adjusting the dish, could not be acquired at all by our DTV system.

    For the sake of clarity, here are the results we recorded for all of the HD channels we normally receive between 500 and 567: 99ca TPN 11, 13, 15, 17 & 19 could not be acquired, while 99ca TPN 18 and 20 are being received at a high signal strength; 99cb TPN 1, 3, 9 and 13 could not be acquired, while 99cb TPN 8 and 14 are being received at a high signal strength ... and, once again, all of the TPNs (both odd and even) associated with the 103ca and 103cb satellites are being received by our DTV system via strong signals.

    If anyone would care to comment on why our DTV system cannot acquire the odd-numbered transponder signals transmitted by the 99ca and 99cb satellites, I'd really love to read your thoughts. Once again, thanks very much for your time ~ Hand
    Last edited by HandLogger; 05-08-2019 at 05:12 AM.

  5. #5
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    First, what type of LNB do you have?

    A SWiM integrated type (a single coax line running from it)?

    Or a legacy type (four coax lines running from it)?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Speer View Post
    To add to what Doctor J said, D14@99CA refers to satellite DirecTV 14, now called T14 by AT&T. It is a geostationary satellite (meaning it's orbit is synchronous with the rotation of the earth), located above the equator at 99 degrees West longitude. The 99CA corresponds to the signal strength display on your receiver. The Network number determines which SS screen the signals appear on and is used in with the TID to determine how to tune to the transponder.. All 99ca signals are on Network 10. The 99cb signals are also on Network 10 on a different set of frequencies. The tpn number is actually only used for the signal strength displays. The guide data that we collect weekly, actually use the TID number, which is an index to the frequency, polarity and other tuning parameters of that transponder. Both sets of transponders on Network 10 have unique TIDs . Each transponder transmits a 30 Megabit per second digital signal (20 Mbps on Networks 0,1, and 3), That signal is made up of packets and the PID is a header on each packet that identifies what stream (channel) it belongs to. Your video and audio streams for a given channel are assembled in the the receiver by piecing the packets with the same PID together. The Audio PID is generally 2 higher than the video PID, for the English language audio.

    For more information, take a look at the tables published in this link: Satellite Transponder Information
    Hey Tom;

    So I take it that while it is certainly more informative that the A3 HD/SD (and UHD) channel NET number and TID combinations actually identify the physical transponder on a specific satellite where the program stream is located. Whereas the old DSS SD format NET#/TID combo does not, but only indicates the transponder frequency at the satellite slot the program is on.

    From the perspective of the customer's receiver, it's irrelevant either way to its ability to correctly tune to the required transponder containing the desired programming?

    IOW, the receiver does not need the know the physical identity of a transponder and it's specific host satellite in order to tune to it?

    Thanks ...

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Tom Speer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoTat2 View Post
    Hey Tom;

    So I take it that while it is certainly more informative that the A3 HD/SD (and UHD) channel NET number and TID combinations actually identify the physical transponder on a specific satellite where the program stream is located. Whereas the old DSS SD format NET#/TID combo does not, but only indicates the transponder frequency at the satellite slot the program is on.

    From the perspective of the customer's receiver, it's irrelevant either way to its ability to correctly tune to the required transponder containing the desired programming?

    IOW, the receiver does not need the know the physical identity of a transponder and it's specific host satellite in order to tune to it?

    Thanks ...
    The receiver does not even use the TPN number for anything except to determine where to display the signal strength on the SS display. The Net,TID combination references a table of frequency,polarity, modulation and other characteristics for the transponder. Without that info, it can't even lock onto an A3 modulated transponder.

    When displaying the SS, it assembles a list of all the TIDs on that NET (having separated the A and B bands on the same net) with a specific TPN number., and tries to tune each of those TIDs. The first time it gets a lock, it displays the SS. That is why the spot beam SS displays are so slow.

    The characteristics of each spot beam TID are all different.
    Last edited by Tom Speer; 05-08-2019 at 02:43 PM.
    Tom Speer, N2HF, the curious otter. Part of the DataDigesters team.

  8. #8
    Administrator Carl Leon's Avatar
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    As HoTat2 asked - we need more information about your specific system. Based on your symptoms, if you have a legacy (4-wire) LNB, then one of the four wires has a problem (most likely a connector). If your LNB only has a single wire output, then indications are the LNB itself is defective.

    How many receivers, and what model, total do you have? Describe your system and wiring from dish to every receiver. That will help narrow down your problems based on your description of symptoms.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Tom Speer's Avatar
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    To clarify, if you are new to this satellite stuff, the LNB is the thing on the arm of your dish, so we are asking how many wires come from the dish into your house.
    Tom Speer, N2HF, the curious otter. Part of the DataDigesters team.

  10. #10
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    My apologies, I had a very busy day today ... Please stay by for further information.

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