Stability for DC v3.03 and Skylark v5.5


I can only speak for my own terminal, but recently I have had two lockups, following 71 days of continuous operation. I am sure the last one of them tracks to a heavy lightning strike Friday PM about five miles to the south and east of me, (almost directly in line with the SES-2 from here which actually took out a mile of overhead wire on the TRAX commuter rail system, but the only factor I can put blame on would be frontend overload, I guess. This was my 3.02Q unit, and as Ken mentioned, it is still working after the re-boots. I don’t know if lightning is the cause for sure, but until the t’storm season hit here, nothing atmospheric seemed to bother this unit.


My RSSI on the west coast has definitely gone down in the last week.


I will probably jinx it by saying this, but after moving the DC about 3’ away from my DSL modem and WiFi AP, I just achieved 48 hrs up-time, which is the highest I’ve had since I got the kit. 48 hrs isn’t a great data-point in itself, but the fact I haven’t seen this much up-time since I’ve started using the DC, it’s a step in the right direction. Doesn’t exactly make sense that was the problem, but if it continues to run w/o locking up for another day or two, then it seems that will have to be the answer. I will slowly add things back in like the WiF dongle and 2nd SD card.

Nice graph @sv_sigint . Any thoughts on the daily RSSI signal dip? Where is midnight occurring on the graph?

A long time ago at my first real job, I monitored WWV carrier against a local oscillator reference in order to calibrate the in-house standard to NIST. I would see diurnal shifts due to propagation changes in the atmosphere. It seems with Ku band satellite, it’s simply “urnal” as in once-a-day cycles. While I was monitoring SNR on the DreamCatcher, I was able to note that the worst SNR coincided pretty darn close with the Sun passing through the SES-2 azimuth (within an hours time window). That was pretty cool data to see.

@kenbarbi , has your reception cleared up?


Midnight generally occurs near the RSSI peaks; the day label is centered at noon.


Very interesting - - my problem has cleared up. Rssi is solid again without radical changes (I show a low value at -101dBm because my DC is 500 feet way from my offset 80 cm Ku-band dish). At this time April 29, 2019, 2012 EDT I’m solid again. My Frame Lock balloon is green again - - I wish I could say I kicked the tires and something happened, but the space gremlins mush have done their job

This a screen capture of my Tuner from my DC - - you can access it as a Guest at Just click thru the Tuner app to the Status tab. Will wonders never cease!! Ken


IMHO the stability discussion add the importance of some shielding in the productions models to prevent stray interference from other devices (routers, modems, power supplies) to limit Dreamcatcher undesired problems. I don’t think this solves a lightning strike nearby that would affect the LNBF … or worse.

The open… development board has proven to be be very unprotected.

It may require that the wifi (either usb or the wifi antenna) be routed away from the main Dreamcatcher


use a 6ft USB extension cable (with ferrites) for the wifi dongle?


I forgot to add that I need to check on the correlation of the position of the sun relative to SES2, and whether LNB temperature might have an impact on noise/apparent signal strength. Maybe putting a sheet of cooking parchment (silicone impregnated paper) might act as a very simple radome…


FWIW I believe I used this site to determine the Sun’s azimuth:


Things continue to go well since I moved the DC about 3’ from my WiFi AP. I’m at 6 days of up-time… 3 days without anything but the LNB plugged in… and since then, the WiFi is back in, connected to my home network as a client, 2nd SD card in, and I have another computer logging Tuner Stats and File Count data periodically via the API (thanks again @sv_sigint).

Does anyone know if/when file copies are performed to the 2nd SD Card, other than at boot? This is the only time I see the file-count grow on SD #2.


I guess I’m not the only one that lost all signals from the satellite

last file in what’s new: 5/2/2019 Wikipedia Suthida.html

edit: operator error… I did a config reset… and forgot to readjust the frequency when I restarted
all is back to normal now…


I show about 85 new files on my system in the last 3 days for the Wikipedia directory (using find ./ -mtime -3 | wc -l) command

My signal was a little bad earlier today, and lost lock some, which I attributed to weather moving through (my current setup doesn’t have enough margin for weather)


I have 16+ days uptime on my DreamCatcher now, after having moved it about 3 feet away from my WiFi access point. I consider it case-closed that was the problem.

Thanks to all for the help on troubleshooting this one!


Yes - - being too close to your Wifi router does mess things up. Several of us have found that to be true. Ken


@kenbarbi do you think this warrants a note in the user guide you maintain? I added a “Dreamcatcher Placement” note in the Wiki, but I imagine many people start off with a copy of the user guide PDF (as I did) and may only figure this issue out by trial-and-error (as I did).


You have a great point Will. I’ll do that. With your recent experiences, do you think there might be some other areas needing more discussion in the User’s Guide? I wrote the thing because it was always a chore to find answers to setup questions on the Forum, as it is so large. Ken


Ken, at the moment I can’t think of anything else that I struggled with besides the placement near the WiFi access point, that wasn’t already covered in the User Guide. A few thoughts in no particular order:

  1. The topic of the 2nd SD card. I asked a few times here, and never got an answer. When do the backups to the 2nd SD card occur? I only see it happen during bootup. If it runs with 2 weeks of solid up-time, I don’t see any files copied over to the 2nd SD card. May be worth a mention that the backups aren’t continuous, and if the user really wants that up-to-date backup on the 2nd SD, they should do it manually or reboot the Dreamcatcher often. This item is sort of in-the-weeds as far as overall operation, so discussing it more than you already do may just be adding noise to the document.

  2. Perhaps add a hyperlink in the User Guide, right up front, to the Wiki page. Something along the lines of “additional information and recent updates not yet incorporated into this user guide are available in the Wiki

  3. I recall some forum traffic recently about WiFi dongles and connection issues? I didn’t go back through the older posts to discern what seems to be going on… so unsure if any other user guide notes are appropriate on this topic or not. (or the use of a USB Ethernet dongle not showing IP address, etc). It’s also outside of the generic / default use-case, so maybe it’s too much scope-creep to include other information? Entries into the wiki may be more appropriate.

Thanks for maintaining the user guide. My comments above are “for what it’s worth”


Thank you Will - - as I recall (but not too sure) the backup occurs every hour (I’ll have to look at my SD card to confirm that - maybe Syed knows for sure). Adding the Wiki page up front is a great idea. The USB Ethernet dongle is covered in the User Guide on page 20. Ken

PS If anyone else has any additions, please let me know so I can get them in. Usually I redo the User’s Guide after major hardware or software upgrades, buy I’ll do one out of cycle. Don’t think Syed will mind.


On my system, I see the disk cleanup once an hour, but I only see file copies at bootup, fwiw. I have a process logging the number of files in the /Wikipedia directory on SD1 and SD2. The number of files on SD2 hasn’t changed since the last reboot about 18 days ago now. Irrelevant to manual updates, just an observation.


Hmm - - that’s true. I see cleaning but can’t find new Wikipedia files on my SD card. I wonder why we all though backup was happening? My little test was Wikipedia files on my SD card prior to reboot = 4139, and after reboot = 4185 (which included several new files I know came down in the last day which did not get backed up prior to the reboot as you said).

So that begs the question, What gets backed up and when on the external storage prior to a reboot? Any thoughts on this, Syed? Ken