Archive for the Software Category

The holiday season is starting to get under way, meaning many people will be travelling around France and Spain and Europe in their caravans and motorhomes.

Many of them will take a small satellite dish with them, like a 60cm or 80cm dish, and spend a fair number of hours with their beeper unit and adjusting the satellite and trying to find the UK TV satellites, Astra 2a, Astra 2b, Astra 2d, and Eurobird 1.

Well the further south you go in Europe reception of some channels will get harder and require a bigger dish, but many people just want a bit of news, just to keep them in touch with the world.

As many campsites have WiFI available, then using a satellite location tool like Dishpointer will certainly help in locating the correct satellites quickly.

Not only is there this version but you can also get a version for your phone – an iPhone App or Android version.

This tool has been very useful, and is well known by many caravanners and motorhomers, but can also be used for the DIY enthusiast also who wants to install his own satellite dish.

“I put my post code in and the result was almost instant.” – motorhomefun.co.uk

Satellite Calculator ImageFinally, there is an update to the Sky/Freesat alignment calculator which helped you so far installing or setting up your satellite dish. Not only can you now enter your address, postcode, city or geocode for any location on earth but you can also choose the satellite you wish to point to, making this version of the satellite alignment calculator a global tool (you can now use it in e.g. Spain, France, USA to find Hotbird, Astra 1, DirecTV etc.)

But the coolest thing is that it will show you on a close-up satellite image on which wall to fix your satellite dish and where to point it! Just try it out!

For the UK, only the first part of the postcode is considered, the second part disregarded. So don’t be suprised when the marker is a few miles away from your home. But you can click and drag the marker.

Satellite:

International location: e.g. streetname, postcode, geocode:

Your Location Satellite Data Dish Setup Data
Latitude:
Longitude:
Name:
Distance:
Elevation:
Azimuth:
LNB Skew:

Elevation is measured from the horizon upwards. If it gives a negative value then the satellite is below the horizon, i.e. it’s physically not possible to receive that satellite.
Azimuth is positive clockwise and measured from True North. If (and only when) using a compass, you will need to adjust the azimuth by the magnetic variation for your location.
LNB skew is positve anti-clockwise when facing the dish and is a theoretical value, in practice it may differ (e.g. for Sky UK add 7.5°).

I’ve tested the virtual satellite image alignment on a few real installations and must say that the accuracy is amazing.

Here’s how to use it:
Choose a satellite (default is Sky UK), enter your location and hit go. If it has found your location correctly, zoom in closer and then switch to the satellite map view. Then click and drag the icon where you want to install your dish. The blue line will show you the direction in which you need to point the dish.

You will need a fast internet connection such as T1, ADSL, cable broadband or satellite broadband as the tool downloads about 1MB of satellite images. I’d recommend a minimum download speed of 1Mbps. If you don’t have broadband and are on a dial-up, you can still use the old calculator.

Update 21.08.07: I’ve added the elevation and LNB skew calculation results just underneath the map. These are calculated and displayed in real time as soon as you move the marker or change the satellite. The old calculator should be really obsolete now.

Update 05.09.07: Within two weeks, the calculator has been used about 40,000 times making this one of the fastest growing satellite tools ever. That’s why I decided to place the calculator on a single, separate site called www.dishpointer.com. The calculator will be available on both sites with the same versions (I’m going to keep only Dishpointer.com up-to-date) but I believe the dishpointer.com site will be more suitable for non-UK visitors. There will be also various language versions of this tool on the dishpointer.com site, so if you feel you could help me out with translating a few lines of text into any language, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you don’t speak another language but still want to contribute, then please spread the word, buy from the partner-shops or make a small donation (see paypal button on the right – remember, calling a Sky installer to re-align a dish costs £70, and no amount is too small to be donated here).

Update: Latest version with many new features on www.dishpointer.com

We have converted our satellite setup calculator into an online-tool, which will calculate the azimuth, elevation and LNB tilt/skew for Sky digital based on your postcode. This will provide you with all the data you need to quickly setup or re-align your dish but if you want a standalone software there is a selection of freeware available, too.

smwlink satellite software A very good satellite dish data calculator is SMWLink. It calculates the azimuth, elevation, skew, gain, etc. It's free and might become useful when you don't have internet access to use the calculator on our site. There is even a PocketPC version of the software out now.

The dish data calculators usually don't take the magnetic variations (true North, true South) into account. These variations can be calculated using the free tool from Pangolin Comms.

In order to use any of the dish data or magnetic variation calculators, you need to know the longitude and latitude of your position. For UK locations, you can obtain them from www.streetmap.co.uk, and for almost any other location in the world from www.heavens-above.com.

Update: There is a new version of the dish alignment calculator here.

Need to know what your compass bearings and alignment data are for your dish at your specific location? With the new alignment calculator you can obtain the azimuth, elevation and LNB skew for Sky Digital on Astra 2 for any location in the UK. All you need to do is to enter your postcode to obtain all the details on where to point your Sky satellite dish.

Azimuth is measured from the South and is positive westwards.
Elevation is measured from the horizontal and is positive upwards.
LNB skew is positive clockwise when facing the dish.