This was supposed to be just the story of how I found nine NBC-owned broadcast TV stations in the clear on my free-to-air dish. But then my system acted up a little, so now it’s also about my satellite foibles.
It all started when I noticed a fresh note at Ricks Satellite Forum that said that certain NBC stations had popped up at certain hours on AMC 15, the satellite at 105 degrees west. I told my dish to move over to check, and those channels came in, but their signal was erratic. Hmm. As a test, I told the dish to switch over to another satellite, and the motor stopped halfway there.
One of the challenges of setting up a FTA dish system is that there are several parts that all have to be good for it to work. In this case, the motor had been installed just a couple of months earlier, so I doubted that was the problem. Instead, I guessed that the signal up the cable from my FTA receiver to the motor wasn’t getting through consistently. I checked the connections all the way from the receiver to the switch outside, all good. That outside cable had been bumped around lately, so I ordered a replacement cable.
When the winter weather cleared up enough for me to try it, I installed my brand-new quad-shield cable in place of the old one. That was a letdown; it didn’t change anything. Hmm. Next I wondered whether it might be the switch, since DiSEqC switches don’t last forever. As a test, I bypassed it; still no motor movement. Just for grins, I checked the short cable connections at the motor and found I could tighten one just a half-rotation. One more try, and now everything’s perfect again. It was yet another reminder that sometimes the simplest things are the ones that count, and when a satellite system starts acting funny, check absolutely every connection.
Back to those stations, which I most commonly see during daylight hours. They are the NBC-owned broadcasters in Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Dallas, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. (The transponder is 11880-V, SR 30000 if you’re playing along at home.) Their arrival just before the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics might be a coincidence, or it might mean that they’ll go away soon after the games are over. For however long it lasts, it’s been pretty nifty to sample all that local programming.