Friday, May 12

Wild Blue, yonder...

Yay, I'm blogging from home this morning, and over my satellite broadband connection via my Wild Blue satellite system. So far so good, though I haven't yet had a chance to doing any kind of speed testing.

I was worried that a pole mount for this satellite dish was necessary. In fact I was sure it was going to be a requirement because of all the trees nearby. So a good friend of mine helped me find a spot on the ground, within the 100 feet total cable run, that had a clear shot of the satellite.

I used Wild Blue's on-line chat feature to request the azimuth and elevation for my area but my chat-partner and service technician "Mike" they said they couldn't give that to me. I tried reasoning with "Mike" and explaining that I needed the information to make my installation easier on the installer. He refused, so I called the local installer instead.

The local installer was happy to give me the azimuth and elevation for my location. I showed them how to use Google Maps over the phone so they could see an aerial view of all the trees at our place. They decided Google Maps was going to be a great tool for their business, and they were happy to have me try to find a spot to mount the dish before they arrived.

Having the azimuth and the elevation we used a surveying compass to look through and find a visual reference point on the ground. Then we mounted my camera on the tripod and placed it over the spot we were standing, leveled it, and aimed it at our reference point.

To get the elevation we made a homemade sextant with a speed square and a torpedo level. Placing the level straight up and down through the origin and the degree mark we were interested in gave us a plane to butt the camera lens up against. We adjusted the camera's tilt on the tripod until it matched the plane of the speed square, which gave us the correct elevation. Then we just looked through the camera and if dead center was clear sky, we were good.

We found a spot in the yard to mount a pole that could accommodate both the Wild Blue dish as well as the two dishes necessary for DirecTV. I decided I was going to let the installer dig the trench, as my weekends and evenings so far haven't proved to have enough time for me to make renting a trencher and getting several future trenches built possible (at least for now), despite my best intentions.

It turned out, however, that he Wild Blue installer was able to get line of sight on the roof for his dish. The DirecTV installer had already been here and informed us that we would need to cut trees down to get both dishes to have line of sight... Jennifer didn't like that one bit.

One dish for DirecTV shares the same azimuth and elevation as the Wild Blue dish, 220 degrees on the compass and 41.5ish degrees elevation, but the second DirecTV dish needs line of sight at the 146 degree mark on the compass. That's a pretty wide range and we've got tons of trees near the house. The location of the Wild Blue dish on the roof can't get a clear line of sight to that 146 satellite, there's an Oak tree in the way. So a-pole-mounting I must go for the two remaining dishes.

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Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Geek Acres couldn't be a more appropriate moniker, as your post proves ;)

I think you now deserve a commission on every future installation your local installer performs in exchange for your Google Earth tip.

Speaking of Google Earth, we'll be able to find your farm soon just by scanning for the place with all of the satellite dishes.

Granny Geek said...

Congratulations! And thanks for spreading the gospel of Google Earth!

pablo said...

I just wish Google Earth had more updated images. My spot is now about 3 years old.

I'll be eager to hear how satisfied you are with satellite internet. That may be my only option when I move to the woods.

Duane Keys said...

It turns out the Wild Blue satellite is going to be the only one on the property for a while. There's no way to get line of sight for the DirecTV dishes.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

The dish problem is a bummer. I noticed that my Dish Network dish points in nearly the same direction as my WildBlue dish. Have you checked with them to see if that might be the case for you? If not, hopefully the Springfield network affiliates are broadcasting OTA HD content (I'm presuming you are within antenna range).

Duane Keys said...

Springfield has some OTA content, but the only OTA tuner I have is in my DirecTV tuner. I ended up having to suspend my DirecTV account as 2 different installers couldn't find a suitable spot for the dishes within 100 cable feet. The only solution would be to trim some trees. Something I'm saving for the fall, if at all.

I did ask about the Wild Blue Dish sharing the azimuth and elevation with the HD dish, but the HD dish needs to hit multiple satellites, so it needs a wider field of view. The Wild Blue dish is only pointing at one.

In the mean time I set up a Netflix account and will start looking at HD-DVD players!

Bryan said...

Congrats on the broadband. I just got it out in the sticks where I live via wireless point to point when a local company put up an antenna on the Clever Water Tower.

Nickname unavailable said...

Dish and directv both have single dish options while using a multi switch, so you can use different locations to grab signals from all 3 satellites and feed the lines into the switch wich will combine them and send them out to your tv's. Just a thought to save some tree topping.