Successful install, and some tips

My Dreamcatcher is now working well. I made a portable setup, which I am planning to demonstrate at amateur radio Field Day at the end of June.

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I thought about mounting the LNB and board on a camera tripod, but did not see a good way to go about it. Instead, I mounted the LNB on a board with a piece of wood that holds it at the proper angle. Skew adjustment was easy enough, since the tie wrap lets me twist the LNB as needed. Azimuth adjustment is done with a magnetic compass, being careful to not hold it too close to steel parts that could throw it off.

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Leveling is done with a bullseye level and three bolts that are threaded into the board. To aim, I just have to place the board on a firm surface outdoors, aim the board with the compass, then level it with the screws.

The board did not work indoors, even when I carefully aimed it. But once I took it outside, it worked fine. I got 10100 bits per second, very few invalid packets, and a -12 db SNR.

Tips for a successful first install:
– Read and follow the user’s guide.
– Use the demo site at 71.206.20.63 to see what kind of content you can expect.
– Note that you will need to buy a micro SD card and install it with a operating system image, much like setting up a Rasberry Pi. The Balena Etcher program worked fine for the software install.
– Use dishpointer.com to find the angles for direction, elevation, and skew that are right for your area.
– Note that the skew markings on the LNB are backwards. To get a positive skew, you must turn the LNB so that a negative number is on top.

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