Satellite Problems

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techgy
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Satellite Problems

Postby techgy » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:15 am

During last night's Marriage broadcast to units in California we experienced some severe reception problems.
It started about 20-30 minutes into the broadcast when the screen went black (no audio/video). The only thing we had was an error message "Error Mode" or words to that effect. A few seconds later it all came back on. Then over the balance of the broadcast we had intermittent reception problems where the picture and audio would freeze for a couple of seconds then come back. We had the "error" screen a few more times as well.

The status light on the receiver would go from steady green to blinking red.
We had the receiver replaced about a year ago so I hate to think that it's going out again, although it's a possibility.

A call to the satellite support desk didn't help as they said the problem wasn't at their end. We were hesitant to have them reset the receiver since it was working when I made the call and I didn't want to lose any more of the content.

I also noticed that the closed captioning wasn't there, however, this was the result of a decision by someone in SLC to not include the CC with this broadcast. A poor decision since we had several members from our deaf branch who were there to watch the broadcast and they had to rely upon someone to translate into sign language for them.

I'm wondering if anyone else experienced problems during this broadcast that were similar to these?

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Postby JamesAnderson » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:48 am

While I didn't see this due to being in Utah, we had a similar glitch right at the end of the priesthood session of Conference.

There had been rain all day here in Provo. It apparently had quit briefly near the end as it wasn't raining when I left the building.

I'm just wondering then if something was going with some of the equipment here and there. Anyone else have that glitch at the end of the priesthood session? Is this also similar to your experience last night?

techgy
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Postby techgy » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:08 am

JamesAnderson wrote:While I didn't see this due to being in Utah, we had a similar glitch right at the end of the priesthood session of Conference.


I contacted an adjacent stake last night following the broadcast and they reported a very brief (5-10 seconds) problem during the marriage broadcast. Aside from that everything was fine.

Whatever it is it's beginning to look like it's at our end. I've contacted the local FM group and made a report. Hopefully we can get this fixed before the CES broadcast next month.

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Postby bjhom-p40 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:48 am

We had an error that said we were not authorized. After spending 20 minutes on the phone we rebooted the receiver, and it worked fine. Unfortunately we missed the first 10 minutes.

techgy
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Postby techgy » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:26 am

bjhom wrote:We had an error that said we were not authorized. After spending 20 minutes on the phone we rebooted the receiver, and it worked fine. Unfortunately we missed the first 10 minutes.


That same error appeared on our screen as well. I considered a reboot, but I didn't wish to lose any more content. Had I realized at the time that we were destined to enjoy many more outings I would have rebooted. Thanks!

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:42 am

"Marriage broadcast"? Nobody told me anything about that.

We used to have a fit of problems with our system, but it's gone away now. I'm not sure what happened as we still have our original receiver. The FM group may have had the dish re-aligned.

In talking with the support folks about our system, what I've learned is that we still have our original dish, a Scientific Atlanta. A good dish in it's day, but it was only designed for a certain "width" of sight (measured in degrees). Unfortunately more and more satellites are being launched. Many use the same frequencies. If your dish sees more then one sat and that other sat becomes active on that frequency during your program, you can have reception problems. They range from digital artifacts, loss of signal, to spontaneous reboot of the receiver.

"not authorized" is a normal occurrence for an encrypted broadcast after a reboot/reset until the receiver gets what it needs.

I remember seeing information years ago (during the analog time era) that the dish needed to be aligned periodically as wind and ground settling could cause the aim to "drift". However with the move to digital, I don't think it's practical for us to aim our own dish as the signal strength indicator isn't reliable for use in aiming. I guess it has to be done professionally.

Given that two stakes had problem, I suspect it's a interfering signal. One stake has a little bigger dish aim problem then the other.

Edit: To explain the problem a bit better, orbital mechanics dictate that geosynchronous satellite (those that appear stationary) must be located above the earth's equator. More satellites means that they get crowded closer together in a line. To use the same equipment, they use the same frequency band. So it's up to your dish to "select" the right "bird" and ignore it's neighbor. Since not all channels are in use 24/7 on all birds, the interference can seem "random" in some broadcasts are fine, and others are a nightmare.
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techgy
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Postby techgy » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:49 am

Russell,

The "marriage" broadcast was specifically for California as we're currently dealing with a ballot issue regarding marriage.

In regards to the satellite problems, when we had the receiver replaced a year ago we also had the FM group check the alignment of the dish. At that time everything was good. However, your comment about adjacent satellites is an interesting one. The dish we have is the original dish which was placed on the site when the building was new and that's been a couple of decades at least.

One of my thoughts last night was that we had someone outside near the dish getting into some mischief, but we checked and didn't find anyone :) I'm still not convinced that it's at our end, so we're going to have to jump through the hoops and at least have the receiver and perhaps the dish alignment checked again.

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Postby russellhltn » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:58 am

Techgy wrote:The "marriage" broadcast was specifically for California as we're currently dealing with a ballot issue regarding marriage.


Ah, BTDT. Good luck.


Look at it this way - General Conference was just last week. Add in Women's General Conference and the receiver has had 11.5 hours of operation - but all on weekends. Now during a weekday broadcast you get nailed. Sounds like a scheduling conflict with a neighboring sat to me.

If I remember right, the original dishes from the 80's were designed for 4 degree separation but today the sats are 2 degrees apart. Some of those old dishes were better then their specs and still work. But I think the only way you'd know is if you have problems.
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:02 am

Oh, and if there's any way to tell if it's interference as opposed to a weak signal, no one has told me. So it's easy to be running in circles. So I think the only solution is to call the pros. But unless they can figure out the schedule of the neighboring sats, I don't know how much even they can do.
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techgy
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Postby techgy » Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:07 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Ah, BTDT. Good luck.


Look at it this way - General Conference was just last week. Add in Women's General Conference and the receiver has had 11.5 hours of operation - but all on weekends. Now during a weekday broadcast you get nailed. Sounds like a scheduling conflict with a neighboring sat to me.


Russell,
We had one screen blackout during the afternoon session of conference.
This may be one of those "shotgun" situations that you fix by replacing things until you no longer have the problem. At the moment it's in the hands of the FM group.

One more thing. We've had the current dish for years and the receiver for about a year. In that time it's been working perfectly. I would guess that in that period of time that if it was an interferance issue that we'd had seen it before now. My money's still on the hardware from the point of view that something's going out. I plan on going by the building this afternoon after work and checking all the cables to be sure everything's tight.


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