Got my Dreamcatcher but cannot keep a lock

Hi everyone, I got my dreamcatcher yesterday, downloaded skylark, imaged it, hooked up the LNB, mounted it to a tripod and started trying to get a connection.

I get a pulsing lock and the best signal strength I can get it is -79. I have checked the direction, the elevation is set correctly and the LNB skew is correct. I even have tried in a defined pattern to move the elevation and Az to try to get something better and it does not get better.

I have it setup outside with nothing obstructing it. I tried 2 different power supplies and even a battery pack because I read that power can be an issue.

I see packets come in but only 11% of them are valid.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


DreamCatcher 3.03?
Skylark 5.2?
What’s your general location?
What’s your current SNR?

–Konrad, WA4OSH

I am in Western Maryland (Frederick, MD). SNR is -16.5.

OK …are you skewing to the right, or west?

–Konrad, WA4OSH

correct, looking toward the satellite, turned it clockwise 11 is facing up. BTW, it is the latest skylark and 3.03 board.

Remember if you were at the same longitude, there would not be skew. But since the satellite is west of you, you have to skew to it’s level plane …(if that makes sense). Our skew is towards the satellite instead of towards the dish.

–Konrad, WA4OSH

Did I skew it the wrong direction?

here is what I got from Dishpointer.08 PM

So facing South, (or towards the satellite), you need to skew clockwise to the right 11.2 ddegrees because the satellite is sitting over the Galapagos Islands, to the West of you. Here in the Northwest, I need to point nearly SouthEast and the skew is counter-clockwise by about 30 degrees.

So having the proper skew, in the right direction is the first thing I would check.

You are in a relatively strong signal location, the satellite is high in the sky and you have very little skew adjustment.

–Konrad, WA4OSH

Just to confirm, the is clockwise looking from the back of the lnb toward the satellite . Looking at the back of the lnb where the scale is, the 11 on the left is facing up.

Konrad’s on target - - I live in Annapolis, MD, and when I use the bare LNB, I’m not 100% either. But I have enhanced my reception with a martini shaker, cone or horn - -

My normal operation is to use a Free-to-Air LNB/Dish assembly. Ken

Here in Michigan, with a bare lnb pointed accurately I can only achieve about the 11% or sometimes up to 75% valid packets. My SNR was usually around -14.5 bouncing down to -16, and the “lock” would toggle yes to no.
This gives me a “bitrate” around 1000 to 3000. I found that frustrating so now I have a 18" direct-tv dish to gather the signal.

Except this evening (8pm eastern). this signal is gone

Update - 9:30pm signal is back

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Exactly - - this is the thing Syed and his team need to work on. The work arounds we all have come with are good, but can’t be packaged for the billions of terminals he hope to sell.

Outernet is working on some sort of new LNB design, but they havn’t told us Foreum members much about it. Ken

The new LNB is still very much a work in progress. Sadly nothing at all to share at this time.

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Thanks everyone for the tips. I will give them a try. I think I have an old directtv or dish network dish around here somewhere.

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Just me or is the signal taking a crap in SNR for everyone today? See more yellow and red on the status map and my SNR jumped to 10 or so from the usual 3.


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Yes, exactly. The skew figure is correct for both Outernet and a dish for satellite service is always the same you are facing the satellite.

If the satellite were straight south of you. There would not be any skew. If the satellite is west of you (the satellite’s orbital position is more than your longitude), then the LNB has to be tilted to the right (clockwise) as you look towards the satellite (with or without a dish). If the satellite is east of you, then the LNB has to be tilted (counter-clockwise) as you look towards the satellite.

Dish Network and DirecTV don’t need a skew adjustment because their signals are circularly polarized.

–Konrad, WA4OSH.

This might benefit others reading the discussion… Let me give two more examples.

For me in Seattle, SES-2 is tilted counter-clockwise (looking towards the satellite).

In Nashville, TN, SES-2 is nearly directly south over the equator. The skew is flat.

–Konrad, WA4OSH

I have no idea what’s with the signal strength. It’s still marginal here.

–Konrad, WA4OSH

Been bobbling around all day… may just be QRM here… I messed with the dish for a few minutes and couldn’t get any better… I’ll try my highly technical engineering method of ‘wait and see if it gets better’