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Old 27-Aug-2012, 4:27 PM   #1
thom
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antenna aiming software

Getting into the fine tuning phase and looking for some simple antenna aiming software for a laptop with a HP (Hauppauge) tuner card.

Windows Media center has a simple six bar power meter that will repeatedly scan channels automatically but it's trapped inside a tiny list box so you only see four channels at a time. TSReasderLite is a bit of overkill, only shows one channel at a time, the power reading is in a tiny font, and I've yet to figure out how to change the channel without restarting it.

Does anyone know of a program that will display your signal level large enough that you could see it while your standing up (on the roof) and actively slewing the antenna?

Thanks!
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Old 28-Aug-2012, 12:28 AM   #2
rabbit73
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Can you make the image larger than 100% on your screen?

Can you mount a magnifing lens in front of the screen (without picking up an image of the sun!)?

Software:
http://www.hauppauge.com/site/suppor...l_monitor.html

Do you have a spotting scope?

I use a telescope to read a field strength meter at a distance. Having someone relay a reading to you doesn't work; there is too much lag in the information feedback loop for aiming an antenna.

I can also have my battery operated signal level meter with me when aiming an antenna:
http://forum.tvfool.com/showpost.php...97&postcount=9

You might have to locate the laptop on the roof with you like kevm14:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/381623/the...#post_17280909 #11738

Kevin's image repeated in attachment in case the above post link or his image link is broken. The link for his photo is here:
http://kevinallenmoore.com/photo/d/81845-2/IMAG0054.jpg

Obviously, his main problem was trees in the signal path!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg kevm14onRoof.jpg (148.6 KB, 223 views)
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Last edited by rabbit73; 28-Aug-2012 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 28-Aug-2012, 5:24 AM   #3
thom
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Thanks for the great suggestions. I wish I had that DisplayMax 800!

The Hauppauge program needs to piggyback on another tuning program (to select a channel). I wish they'd let you maximize their program window instead of restricting it to that tiny size, too.

I was thinking laptop on the roof or maybe a tablet remoted to the laptop. It's a little more challenging than Kevin's since it's S-tile instead of flat shingle (a delicate balance of 1) don't drop the thing you're carrying, 2) don't break any tiles, 3) don't fall off the roof).

At the moment, I think 4 representative channels on Windows Media Center set to loop scan on the laptop and a desktop remoting program like VNC to view it from the tablet on the roof is my best bet.

Awesome picture, too.
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Old 28-Aug-2012, 11:24 PM   #4
rabbit73
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Quote:
Thanks for the great suggestions.
You're welcome.
Quote:
I wish I had that DisplayMax 800!
I'm very lucky; my wife bought it for me. The used 719D was only $50.
Quote:
The Hauppauge program needs to piggyback on another tuning program (to select a channel).
Yuk; too bad! The SNR to tenths of a dB and errors before and after are valuable diagnostic tools, but if the software is difficult I don't have confidence in my ability to make it work.

As I said on another thread, I'm not too fond of computers, and only tolerate them for what they allow me to do. I don't want to use a computer for a measurement system when a battery operated meter will do the job.

I wonder how far below the cliff their tuner is able to detect a signal, even if it can't be decoded. Does it detect a signal with an SNR less than 13 dB?
Quote:
don't fall off the roof
Yeah, Kevin didn't look safe up there.
Quote:
.....a desktop remoting program like VNC to view it from the tablet on the roof is my best bet.
Good idea; sounds like your best option.
Quote:
Awesome picture, too.
Yes, I thought Kevin's photo was a lot of fun. Your situation reminded me of it, so I hunted for it in old posts to give you the link.

I wonder who took the picture?

Good luck, and let us know how it works out. Maybe you could do a "show and tell" for us.

Best regards,
rabbit

Last edited by rabbit73; 30-Aug-2012 at 4:57 AM.
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Old 30-Sep-2012, 5:45 AM   #5
thom
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bag of signal strength

Found an unconventional way to get my signal strength on the roof...

In the end, I decided (of my available options) the Tivo had the best signal metering, so I needed to get that up on the roof, figuratively if not physically. So I pointed the laptop at the TV and turned on its webcam so the TV screen (with the signal strength meter) was displayed on the laptop. Then I used a desktop remoting program called Splashtop (there are others, this one worked for me) that works both on Windows and Android. I then remoted to the laptop with my Android tablet, so now I was seeing the signal strength meter on the tablet.

So far so good, but I had to get the tablet up on the roof (pitched S-tile) and be able to read the LCD screen in broad daylight, AND not get my grubby, dirty hands all over it. So I put the tablet inside a black reusable shopping bag, and carried the bag up onto the roof. The bag blocked most of the sunlight so the screen on the tablet didn't wash out and while on the roof getting my hands dirty, I never actually touched the tablet itself. Worked like a charm!
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Old 30-Sep-2012, 6:41 PM   #6
rabbit73
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Good job, thom!

Thanks for the feedback. I'm sure that your solution will help others with a similar aiming problem.
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Old 1-Oct-2012, 1:08 PM   #7
elmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thom View Post
So far so good, but I had to get the tablet up on the roof (pitched S-tile) and be able to read the LCD screen in broad daylight, AND not get my grubby, dirty hands all over it. So I put the tablet inside a black reusable shopping bag, and carried the bag up onto the roof. The bag blocked most of the sunlight so the screen on the tablet didn't wash out and while on the roof getting my hands dirty, I never actually touched the tablet itself. Worked like a charm!

Smart! I carried a 15" laptop up on the roof before to fine tune with my HDHR. I was able to magnify the screen and wedge it in the gutter. The asphalt shingles were not kind to the plastic on the bottom. Prior to that, I had my wife on speaker phone calling out numbers, but sometimes you just need to get realtime feedback. Reminds me of the time I was tuning a sat dish self install. The receiver used an audio tone that went higher as the signal strength increased. Cranked up the stereo w/a speaker in the window. The neighborhood dogs LOVED me!
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