Hotbird satellite dish


The Hotbird Satellite is situated at 13 deg east of south and you must have a clear view in that direction to be sure of being able to receive a signal from it. That is to say no trees, buildings, washing etc. As a very rough guide to wether reception will be possible in the site where you wish to place your dish, if the sun can shine at about 11 am on that place it should work

Once you've found it, set up your satellite dish in your chosen position and connect it to your pc using good quality double screened satellite cable, remember you are aiming for data aquisition in the end so don't stint on the cable

The skystar2 card receives digital signals and can be used to watch television programs from many satellites besides Hobird so it's important to have the card and software installed correctly. The technisat software supplied with the card has a very good signal strength/quality meter built in to it. Once installed you must run setup4pc to access the meter and add the Hotbord satellite using the details below.

When you run setup4pc for the first time you will see a three tabbed window, the top window has a drop down box for choice of satellite but has only Astra listed.

Next you must add some Transponder info, I have used the Eumetsat transponder as an example because it's the one we want for msg1 data, click on Transponder management and then Add.

Enter 10853 in the Transponder box and 27500 in the symbol rate box. Leave FEC on Auto and choose Horizontal from the dropdown polarity list.

Click "Ok" in that window and "Close" in the next, then click the Status button in the bottom left of the main window to which you have just returned, this is your signal level meter

The above image shows a reasonably good signal from the Hotbird satellite, I use a 1.2 metre cassegrain dish*, depending on what the size, quality and location of your dish is you may have a better or worse signal. For data transmission you are looking for a high signal to noise ratio and if possible a bit error rate of zero.
How you obtain this could be quick and easy or take ages, it depends on luck as much as anything else. You need to be able to see the pc monitor or have someone within easy earshot who can see it for you and call out when a signal is obtained. Line the dish up as nearly as you can by rough guessing on 13deg east and proceed to scan left and right slowly and smoothly across the position you think the satellite should be. The setup4pc meter is pretty quick to respond, but taking it slowly will increase your chances of getting it right sooner. The elevation of the dish will be different for different areas of the country so if you do not pick up a signal on the first pass try again a bit higher or a bit lower until you do. Once you have a signal, refine your movements of the dish to obtain the best signal quality you can and if you have the right satellite setup4pc will show the details as above.

A horizontally polarised signal is only really horizontal when it's due south, since the hotbird satellite is 13deg east of south the polarisation is slightly off. When you have lined up your dish for the best signal, tighten it up and rotate the lnb a little left and right in it's holder to see if you can improve the signal a little more.

It's important during both the above operations, not to stand in front of the dish, you will block the signal with your body.
* Sited in the North of Scotland, Further south in Edinburgh David Taylor gets 60% signal quality using a good quality 88cm dish and lnb

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