Cant Get Lock - What to do with Old Hardware?

Hello,

I think I am giving up on trying to get a lock with the old Dreamcatcher hardware. Ever since the changes were made with the frequencies etc it is VERY difficult here in my location. I spent HOURS and followed suggestions and directions from the forums etc. I am going to wait for the new hardware and then try again. It is a shame as I spent $99 and did not realize it was going end of life so soon. Is there anything the old board can be used for? Any ideas?

Thank You,

Peter

What exactly is ‘old’? Dreamcatcher 3.0x is still current as it uses the same reception chip as the new model. The upcoming DC4 is a ‘bare bones’ model to bring manufacturing cost down. The DC3 should work fine with the supplied LNB (Avenger). The old Maverick models are not so well suited.

Can you fill in a bit more detail? What Rev. board are you trying to bring up? what LNB? Dish? Pointed directly? Area North America or Europe (note the US beam has a new frequency on SES2 and the EU beam has a new frequency AND satellite.)

v 3.05, latest firmware, direct with supplied LNB. Like I said it was working perfect until the change was made. After that I get signal but no locks. I spent hours following the advice. I even loaded the frequency scanner. Maybe my LNB failed? I have it mounted to the side of my house pointing exactly in the correct direction etc. What I really wanted to find is a MINI dish I could put on the side of my house. That would be MUCH easier to mount and point. Sorry I was just thinking the design with built in LNB the newer design may work better since there was no other cabling between LNB and receiver. I am just trying to find a solution that does not take hours and hours of my time. (New Hampshire USA)

Hi, Peter. Please don’t give up. A few of us have learned that LNBs do get old after being outside in the weather extremes. Utah is very hard on LNBs because of the UV from the sun and the temperature swings. My old maverick LNBs would last about eight months, and get pretty weak. I had an “Avenger” that pooped out after two months in the summer sun. From your location, you should have a pretty good signal available. You may want to try the "Bullseye’ LNB that is manufactured and marketed by Othernet. Several of us are now using it with our 3.02Q, 3.03 and 3.05 version Dreamcatchers, and it does perform better than the Avenger that came with version 3.05. I believe that Syed has Bullseye on sale right now at an extremely good price.


Jerry

Peter, I fully agree with Jerry - - you will be able to come up. First, as Jerry said, the old Maverick is not doing very well in our world. But the Dual Band LNB that came with the Drramcatcher 3.05 does work OK. That said, make sure you are still pointed correctly, then go thru the new procedure to obtain freq lock. Ken

Guide to Quick Tuner Setup

Selecting the Correct Satellite and Tuning To It

Forum member @Tysonpower has developed an App for Skylark to Automatically Tune and Find the Correct Operating Frequency for your LNB shown in Fig. 21a. You can download it from @Tysonpower 's web site https://tynet.eu/storage/downloads/DC3_tuner_app_1.12.html , Software Downloads or if you had been connected to an Othernet satellite before find it in the downloads:////uploads Folder Fig. 22. You must use log on Othernet (Guest won’t work) to continue.

Fig. 21a Tuner App & Frequency Finder Version 1.12
In North America on SES-2 Freq is 12.0894 GHz & Beam Type is 36
In Europe on Eutelsat 8WB Freq is 12.6231 GHz & Beam Type is 36

If you chose not to run the APP from downloads:////uploads Folder or have never been connected to an Othernet satellite, install the APP in your Skylark program. You must use log on Othernet (Guest won’t work) and upload it from your computer to your Skylark Program micro SD card or external micro SD card. Fig. 21b shows the initial File Manager TAB before ever being connected to an Othernet satellite - - the downloads:////uploads is not present. Keep in mind if you upload the file into the home:///directory on your Skylark Program micro SD card, it gets deleted when you reboot your Dreamcatcher so you would have to reinstall it, so an external SD card is the best solution to keep it permanent. After you select Upload, you will be directed to Browse your computer to find the correct file to upload.

Fig. 21b Initial File Manger TAB before ever being connected to an Othernet Satellite

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Note: You will need to find the file to upload on your computer after you click the Upload TAB

Step 2a - Automatic Frequency and Beam Type Selection. Before you do anything else, go back to Fig. 13a, in the satellite list and - - select Custom then click Apply. You must start this process with a Custom Satellite selected . You can no longer select the Americas or EU satellite settings because after a reboot, they revert to the old default values and retune to those values when rebooting.

In Panel 1 of Fig. 21a, type in your Frequency and Beam Type as shown for Americas or Europe. Save the frequency and beam values by clicking the Orange Save button on the bottom left of Panel 1. Because you started in the Custom Satellite mode, this new Frequency and Beam Type get automatically saved in the Custom TAB. If you get a signal (Fig. 23 showing a good connection), you are done. All the settings are automatically saved and will continue work after a reboot so long as you selected Custom then click Apply above.

Panel 1 of Fig. 21a Manual Tuning

Fig. 13a Reset Satellite Frequency and Beam Type

If you get no signal in the Status TAB Fig. 23, proceed to the Autotune setup in Panel 2.

Step 2b - The Autotune Setup

Here’s where it might get a bit difficult if the Bias-T voltage is OK, you sited your LNB correctly, and you selected the Custom Satellite with the correct Frequency and Beam Type. Because Othernet is now using a narrower bandwidth (reduced from 800 kHz to 200 kHz), it is more difficult to select the correct operating frequency for each LNB since they all have different local oscillator (LO) frequency stabilities. Even if you correctly site your antenna, you may not be able to receive until you fine tune the Dreamcatcher’s operating frequency. (It is also possible that you have not sited your LNB correctly, so check that again.)

Even on paper, the packets won’t appear with a frequency offset greater than 25% (50 kHz). So far we’ve noticed that 25 kHz of offset is a pretty reliable window. It is said the Maverick will work - - but some Forum Members have been unable to achieve lock with it . The offset is probably just much farther out. Please keep in mind that most commercially available DTH LNBs are specified to a 1,000,000 Hz offset (aka +/- 1000 kHz). See Annex F for more information on LNBs.

The Maverick Single LO: 10750 MHz was shipped with Dreamcatcher 3.02Q - - one of the first units we were using on the KU band. It has a stability of ± 1Mhz. With the Dual LO 9750/10600 MHz LNB, shipped with Dreamcatcher 3.05, it has a stability of ± 200 Khz. The Bullseye Dual LO LNB (soon to be released with a new Dreamcatcher Version and currently available in the Othernet Store), has a stability of ± 10 Khz and operates as a Dual LO: 9750/106000 MHz in Skylark.

Rechecking the Panel 1 of Fig. 21a settings to make sure you have set the correct values for Frequency and Beam Type for your location, and have clicked the Orange Save button on the bottom left of Panel 1 which puts those values into your Custom Satellite TAB. Go to Panel 2 of Fig. 21a - - you should see either 12.0894 or 12,6232 and Beam Type 36. Select the orange button Start Auto Tune which will start to tune to whatever frequency you set. When you run it, it takes some time to complete, so watch its Autotune Status timer. When successfully completed, it will say Got a Lock at 12.08931 GHz, new Frequency set: 12.089331 GHz as in this example. If you don’t get a lock, increase the steps button to 20, and retune as this widens the tuning range. The new Frequency set: will be automatically saved to your Skylark program as a Custom Satellite setting, so even if you reboot your Dreamcatcher, it will remain in effect.

Panel 2 from Fig. 21a Autotune

Step 3. Once you have set the Dreamcatcher’s Tuner App & Frequency correctly, slowly physically move your LNB horizontally and vertically to maximize the SNR (dB) making it as large (less negative) as possible.

The Tuner Status screen in Fig. 23 will show the SNR (dB) line fluctuating at a value above -14 dB (sometimes as high as + 10 dB), the Lock line saying yes , and the Rssi (dBm) line fluctuating at a value between -60 and -95 dBm. Lower Rssi levels such as -100 dBm may carry signal, but the Dreamcatcher is not sensitive enough below -95 dBm. On the top of the Tuner Status Screen, you will see what type file is being downloaded at that moment - - either audio or files . At the very bottom of the screen you will see what file is being downloaded or just finished downloading at any time. This picture represents a successful connection at latitude 39 deg N longitude 76 deg W in mid afternoon with an accurately pointed LNB, and a fine tuned LNB. Additionally, LED 6 will be fast blinking dim green if data packets are detected.


Fig. 23 Tuner Running Correctly on SES-2 at Latitude 39 degrees N

Thank you! I just placed the order!!

-Pete

I will try the new LNB and then follow the procedure again. Thanks very much for your help!!!

-Pete

Question: Now that I ordered the new LNB I was wondering if you knew where I could get a mount for the LNB for the side of my house so I can easily adjust? Thanks!!

(LONG url) This site has a number of options available at fair prices: https://www.ebay.com/b/lnb-bracket/bn_7024876786?norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-153677-346401-4&mkcid=2&keyword=&crlp=307364301300_&MT_ID=&geo_id=&rlsatarget=dsa-19959388920&adpos=&device=c&mktype=&loc=9029767&poi=&abcId=&cmpgn=1615587334&sitelnk=&adgroupid=66643712052&network=g&matchtype=b&gclid=CjwKCAjwjbCDBhAwEiwAiudBy-gKvNqJdmseYGV1NIbcZ6sHpV1qtI4OFPum_1OPaKvOUXOc0Msv_RoCb0gQAvD_BwE
Jerry.

stay clear of the ‘fully adjustable’ ones, especially the prevalent chinese variety. They tend to adjust itself without human intervention. The junction blocks are soft plastic with screws cutting their own thread, and the ‘rods’ are thin aluminium tubing. I have a set of these, and you can just about use it for temporary setups or experiments.

This item is a good quality bracket i use myself for mounting the othernet LNB to an extsting satellite dish - problem is it’s from a german vendor but maybe you can try to source one of these or similar in the US.

All you basically need are a few pieces of metal rod, joints and a 40mm clamp for tubing, even better if it’s lined with soft foam or rubber.

I’m sure many Forum members will give you suggestions. Here’s something simple I crafted.

It’s a 2 x 4 cut in half with a hole cut for the LNB. It has a bolt on one side to connect to a PVC pipe. It could also be screwed into the siding. Set the skew angle, aim with a compass, and set the elevation angle. Ken

2 Likes

OMG BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!! Wow talk about absolutely garbage quality!!!

Thanks for the suggestion!!

That is SUPER easy and will do the job!! Thank You!!

1 Like

Excellent!! I will check the link out!!! Thank You!!! So glad I asked my questions here!

I designed a nice Mount in 2019 that can be 3d printed, so if you know someone with a 3D Printer:

You can Mount it in different Ways, to a Wall by Screws or to a pole with cable ties.

My Current Installation:

1 Like

That is very cool. Yeah I think I know someone who can print this. I will give it a try!!! Thanks!!! I went to your website and your QSO logbook looks very cool! And the projects in your blog are really cool. Thanks again!!!

happy to hear that :slight_smile:

New LNB arrived and I now can get a signal lock. But my SNR I cant get better than -12.

I am having the LNB holder designed by @Tysonpower printed up and maybe that will help me close in on a better signal.

Thanks for everyone’s help!

-Pete