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Sunday, 4 December 2011

TELE-satellite 1201 available for free download!


Hello,

TELE-satellite 1201 is now available for free download at http://www.tele-satellite-global.com/

Hope you enjoy the NetUP DUAL DVB-T/C-CI report. If you do, check out their website at: http://www.netup.tv/en-EN/dual_dvb-t-c-ci_card.php

Also, this edition features the first article about the waterfall chart for satellite reception!

Cheers,
vma

Thursday, 10 November 2011

TELE-satellite


Hi,

I think I totally forgot to mention that TELE-satellite published my first article, which is about JTAG repair of satellite receivers, after a bad flash.

Check out issue 1111 at http://www.tele-satellite-global.com/ and stay tuned for more articles...

In case you didn't know: TELE-satellite is first available in print for subscribers and after a short period, you can download the issue as PDF or ePub free of charge.

Cheers,
vma

Monday, 7 November 2011

ROVER HD TOUCH Product Preview 2012

Rover Instruments launched a video with the preview of the new Rover HD TOUCH.


What a great instrument.


Cheers,
vma

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

New Youtube video: DSS7 (22.0W) with 2.4m mesh antenna

Hi,

I uploaded a new video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xF28NJdmQQ

It shows the reception of NSS7 at 22.0W, using my 2.4 mesh antenna and both the KWS AMA 210S and the Emitor Satlook Color.

Cheers,
vma

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Testing my 2.4 mesh antenna...


Hi,

Yesterday I tried out my 2.4m mesh antenna. Basically I wanted to find out if the support design would work. Results are not bad, but still I need to measure and design the final structure.

The picture shows how big the dish is, compared to myself: I am 1.84m tall...

The motorized dish left to the mesh is 1m in diameter.

This makes me pretty scared, regarding the action of wind. We get wind with up to 120km/h.

Update:

I set the dish up permanently! Still need some improvement on the fixture, but I'm getting there...


Cheers,
vma

Saturday, 10 September 2011

KWS AMA 210S


Hi,

Recently I bought a second-hand KWS AMA 210S. While I got it for a very cheap price, it did have some issues:
  • Functional CRT, but with splintered glass;
  • Functional LCD, but with a stain on the inside, covering about 10mmx10mm of the display;
  • Difficulty in turning on and frequent self-reset: this got worse over a few days, at the end the device would not turn itself on any more.
The reason I still went for the purchase was that this model has full options fitted:
  • FM/VHF/UHF/SAT (standard)
  • Videotext (standard)
  • Spectrum analyzer (standard)
  • Printer (standard)
  • SCART in/out (standard)
  • RS-232 (standard)
  • Digital measurements: BER/MER (option)
  • QAM with constellation display (option)
  • MPEG2 decoder (option)
  • ADR decoder: Astra Digital Radio - still available, to be ceased April, 2012 (option)
  • Polarizer control, both mechanical and magnetic (option)
This is a whopping amount of functionality, i.e. compared to my Hirschmann UPM1800 (aka KWS AMA 214S), which only has:
  • FM/VHF/UHF/SAT (standard)
  • RS-232 (option)
My original idea was to make one fully working instrument of both of them. However, dispite the fact that they look similar on the outside, the fitted cards are different generations and it is not possible to exchange boards.

The main concern was that the KWS AMA 210S would not turn itself on anymore. After much research, without having any schematics, I found that the fault was actually on the frontend-board. This board has the keyboard and an I2C-controller, responsible to turn the main CPU-board on. One electrolytic capacitor had swollen and on a different region of the board, one trace of the PCB oxidized. After exchanging the capacitor and fitting a wire to fix the broken trace, the instrument was working again!

Now, I never messed around with CRT tubes and I know they pose a potential health hazzard due to extremly high voltages (up to 25.000V). But after looking inside both meters, I noticed that both share the same CRT tube: a VTM M15-125W.

After reviewing videos on Youtube about how to safely discharge a CRT-tube and having seen it in real life, I decided to go for it. To make it short: it worked well and nothing big happend (I was mentally prepared for major explosions).

This allowed me to exchange tubes and the LCD display. KWS used an MGLS32064-HT-HV-EL LCD graphic module. Unfortunatly this one is not produced anymore. But I believe that chinese manufacturer Hoon has a similar, compatible, module: the HMB32064A. I am in process of trying to order one of these, to find out.

Right now I ended up with:

1 - Fully working KWS AMA 210S with full extras. CRT in good shape, LCD in good shape. The device does not have any defect and is clean.

Todo: I would like to have a paint-job done, using the original color, so that the device looks as new.

2 - Working Hirschmann UPM 1800, without any extras, except the RS232 option I fitted myself (you just need to fit a MAX232 and solder the RS232 DB9 connector). This device has a splintered CRT, which is still fully operational. The defect is only of cosmetic nature. It also has a stained LCD display. The stain is within both glasses of the LCD display itself. There is no way to clean it, without destroying the display (I had a closer look at it).

Todo: Try to purchase a new or second hand VTM M15-125W and one or two display modules, compatible with the MGLS32064-HT-HV-EL (to replace the stained one and because the good one has a somehow dimm backlighting - it is OK, but the stained one is brighter). Also, I would like to have a paint job done on this device, as well as, replace the rubber feet.

Here is a picture of my repaired and maintained KWS AMA 210S:


Notice the splintered CRT on the Hirschmann UPM 1800 below the KWS AMA 210S. Amazingly, the CRT is fully operational.

Cheers,
vma

Monday, 15 August 2011

eBay Auktionen: Sat-Messgeräte

Hallo,

Auf http://vempire.dyndns.org gibt es eine neue Seite (entfernt - siehe unten!), in der ich Auktionen von Messgeräten dokumentiere. So kann man schnell sehen was aktuell verkauft wird und welche Preise in ähnlichen Auktionen erziehlt worden sind.

Ich werde versuchen auch Info's zusammen zu tragen, so dass potentielle Käufer wissen, was die Messgeräte genau machen.

Natürlich kann ich nicht versprechen, dass ich alles aktuell halten kann - wollen wir mal schauen, was daraus wird.

Auf Tipps und Vorschläge bin ich dankbar!

UPDATE:

Ich werde dieses Projekt wieder einstellen.
Macht zu viel Arbeit und ich schaffe es nicht alles aktuell zu halten.
Ausserdem müsste das Format geändert werden, z.B. eine Datenbank von Messgeräten mit den erzielten Preisen.

Sorry Folks!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

SPECTRA VIEW by Waveline

Hi there!

I got myself a new satellite measuring instrument: a SPECTRA VIEW by Waveline.

This is a funny device, as it only features:

- 12V Input
- DIN-6 connection for Composite Video Output
- "F"-Type connection for LNB cable

The output is a composite video signal showing an analog real-time spectrum, pretty similar to the Emitor Satlook Mark III.

Interestingly, Emitor used to have a similar device, so I believe, they might have something in common with this company. Another odd thing is the fact that Waveline AB COM used to sell the famous Winradio SDR (Software Defined Radio - a device that is a full radio, but without the user interface, which is then realized in software on the PC). The swedish Winradio site doesn't exist anymore, so I wonder what the link is to the australian Winradio manufacturer...

Anyway, here are a few pictures of this 20 year old device:


This is a fairly small box. No LED's, no buttons. Totally simplistic design!


Inside is fairly simple, too. The poti's allow to adjust the analog spectrum display: increase size in V and H, shift +H/-H, amplify signal.

I am curious about the fact that the PCB features pins to solder two further IC's and 4 LED's. I suspect that other models must have had the possibility to switch H/V and Low/High. A jumper on the PCB allows to enable/disable 12V output to feed the LNB.

Now what do I use this with?

This is the PERFECT device to have permanently attached to my receiver that controls my motorized dish! Together with my waterfall chart software (specially adjusted to the SPECTRA VIEW), I can now always monitor my dish!



"SPECTRA VIEW Advanced Measuring Tool by VMA"

Functions:
- Current Live Spectrum
- Waterfall Chart
- Display Spectrum stored in Waterfall Chart

...totally worth the 16 Euro + 8 Euro shipping on eBay!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dr.HD 900S - Deutsches Handbuch





Heute was für die deutschsprachigen Leser meines Blogs:

Ich habe ein Deutsches Handbuch des Dr.HD 900S erstellt, das hiermit kostenlos an alle verteilt wird.

Dieses kann hier runter geladen werden: KLICK MICH

Eigenwerbung/Advertisment:

Bitte kontaktieren Sie mich für Übersetzungen und Handbuch-Entwicklungen im Bereich Satellitentechnik.

Please contact me for translations and user manual development in the field of satellite technology.

Por favor contacte-me para traduções e desenvolvimento de manuais na área de tecnologia satélite.

DEUTSCH - ENGLISCH - PORTUGIESISCH
GERMAN - ENGLISH - PORTUGUESE
ALEMÃO - INGLÊS - PORTUGUÊS

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Dr.HD 900S Advanced Measuring Tool - Update

I am proud to present the current version of my Dr.HD 900S Advanced Measuring Tool:



It adds a few new functions:
  • - Save the waterfall chart as a bitmap
  • - Reset the waterfall chart (i.e. before moving the dish, so you start with a clean chart)
  • - Export the stored spectrum as a text file: notice the small black line between the waterfall chart and the stored spectrum? This line will go up and down using the mouse and represents the position in the waterfall chart which is drawn on the stored spectrum view.
  • - Start/Stop to allow you to freeze the spectrum and waterfall chart
  • - It is now possible to select which capture device should be used, in case multiple ones are present
  • - New skin design, matching the Dr.HD design
Here is a sample waterfall chart bitmap:


Thursday, 7 July 2011

TDT Porto a transmitir em 754MHz



Quis hoje instalar a minha pen TDT no meu computador fixo, utilizando o VLC, quando deparo com o facto de não conseguir obter nenhum sinal.

Aproveitei para utilizar a oportunidade e testar o meu Rover Instruments Atom HD na medição de DVB-T e...

...nada! Sinal nem ver: menos de 20dB nos 842MHz, frequencia adoptada para Portugal continental.

Olhando para o espectro decidi ver o que era o pico nos 754MHz e, surpresa: lá estavam os 5 canais da nossa TDT...

Espectro com largura de 200MHz em torno dos 754MHz

Um teste breve ao sinal: qualidade boa, embora a potência de sinal esteja um pouco baixa, o que não admira, face à pequena antena sem aplificação utilizada no interior da casa.

Mapa de constelação, aqui com ampliação: permite determinar que a taxa de erros de modulação (MER) está dentro dos parâmetros previstos


Finalmente, a análise de eco revela a ausência de outras emissoras TDT, emitindo na mesma frequência. Isto é especialmente importante, visto Portugal também ter adoptado (e bem, a meu ver) a rede SFN (Single Frequency Network - emissão TV nacional a uma só frequência).

O que se terá passado para que houvesse esta alteração de frequência por parte da PT?

Uma pesquisa na Internet revelou a resposta: http://tdt.telecom.pt/empresas_profissionais/

"Na sequência da deliberação do ICP-ANACOM, relativamente à alteração de canais de funcionamento do Mux A da TDT, a Portugal Telecom irá proceder à alteração de frequência em vários emissores até ao final do mês de Junho, conforme descrito na lista em baixo."

Mais informações sobre esta matéria junta à ANACOM: http://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1076257

Pelo menos, posso finalmente por o meu VLC a funcionar:


Sunday, 3 July 2011

Waterfall chart using a Dr.HD 900S




And again something new: I got myself a new satellite meter, this time a cheap Dr.HD 900S. This meter is identical to the Openbox SF-15 and 8DTEK Xtra-S. One of the main features is the reasonably fast "realtime" spectrum display.

Additionally, the meter provides A/V In- and Out-connectivity, so I rubbed my hands and implemented somthing I never found on any satellite meter (neither professional or hobby meters): a waterfall chart.

This will visualize a spectrum over time. For this, the signal level is displayed as colors, while the Y-axis represents time.

Such a waterfall chart is useful, since it will allow the use to examine which satellites have been captured during the movement of a satellite dish, i.e. when using a motorized dish or while aligning a dish manually. Imagine you moved too far: on the actual orientation the spectrum won't show any signal, but by reading the waterfall chart, you will see that you briefly aimed at the satellite.

Because a video will explain this better, I prepared two Youtube videos, which show the progress of my application:


Interested? Drop me a line!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Felec MC1-SAT




Forgot to mention a nice satellite meter I bought at eBay...

Check it out in action HERE.

This was a French company, which does not seem to exist anymore.

The meter came in a pretty good condition - only the rechargeable battery was dead, so I had to buy a new one.

While it does not provide much functionality (real time spectrum analysator, level bar, signal sound and picture of analog transponders - without sound carrier), it is still a great device for satellite dish pointing.

Why? Because of the real time spectrum analysator. It is analog, which means that the cathode ray is directly coupled to the sweeping circuit. You won't get a faster spectrum refresh than this.

It will pick up a satellite much before any analog or digital receiver.

Excellent deal (I won't publish the price, as it was ridiculously low)...



Rover Instruments Atom HD STCOL




I have a new meter to test...
...a Rover Instruments Atom HD STCOL!

It features:

- 4-2.250MHz
- DVB-S/S2, DVB-C, DVB-T/H
- MPEG2/MPEG4
- Spectrum Analyzer
- Constellation Diagram

This specific model comes with the optical module option, which allows fiber optic measurement.

More about this wonderful device in a near future!

KWS AMA 214S - RS232 Kit

I am preparing a kit for the KWS AMA 214S to retrofit the RS232 option.

The kit will contain all required components to retrofit the RS232 option, together with my KWS AMA 214S Analyzer Software.

Currently the software supports:

- remote control of the KWS AMA 214S
- memory editing
- Spectrum Analyzer (not in real time)
- Long period monitoring (allows to register Level and C/N of given frequency over long period)

Main screen:



Memory Editor

Spectrum Analyzer:

Long period measurement (Signal Level and C/N):








Tuesday, 8 March 2011

KWS AMA 214S: Progress of PC tool for remote controlling the meter

Well, I think this is a notable progress on my PC software tool to remote control the KWS AMA 214S.

It features:
  • Main tab: selection of band and frequency or memorized channel; permanent signal level indication
  • Settings Editor: download and upload of settings (200 channels); possibility to edit, save or load the channel list
  • Spectrum Analyzer: allows to show the whole selected band, or a span of it. This is a slow process, but you will be rewarded with an accurate spectrum display
  • Long Period Monitoring: allows you to make a continuous measurement over a long period of time. This will show any sporadic problem or visualize reception variations during the day
  • Advanced tab: allows the user to input commands manually
Here are some pictures:


You can watch my video at Youtube.

Cheers,
vma


Friday, 25 February 2011

Bought a Hirschmann UPM 1800 recently (see my Youtube video).

Unfortunately my model did not have the optional RS-232 interface. This adds a powerful functionality, as it makes it possible to fully operate the meter remotely!

Since I did not find any data sheet of this device, I opened it anyway and took a good look at the PCB. After studying the layout I found out how to retrofit the missing RS232 option!

Next step: programming an application to add new functionalities:

  • Spectrum Analyzer (will be VERY SLOW, but VERY PRECISE)
  • Long time monitoring: i.e. recording signal level of a satellite transponder over 24h
  • Band Scan: measuring up to 5 frequencies in parallel
  • Measurement Macro: measuring predefined list of frequencies and generate a report automatically
  • ...
First trials look promising!

Interested in this application? Let me know!

Interested in further details to retrofit a RS-232 interface on your Hirschmann UPM 1800 / KWS AMA 210S/214S? Let me know!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

New videos on Youtube

Posted new videos on Youtube:

Satlook Digital NIT Color by vma

This video shows the spectrum from Hispasat at 30.0W to Astra2 at 28.2E. While my dish rotates, the spectrum changes. You can notice the satellites that the dish captures while moving along.

The video also shows the constellation diagram, the NIT functionality and the decoding of FTA MPEG2 channels.

Dbox2 Outdoor plugin for Enigma by vma

This short video shows my favorite Dbox2 plugin. It is called "Outdoor" (sometimes called "MiniTV"). It will show the current TV channel on the graphic LCD display. Since this display has only 1 bit color depth, a clever frame to frame treshold algorithm converts the picture. While the result is not brilliant, it is enough to see what is going on. With this plugin, a dish can be setup and the channels can be verified, without using a TV.

Presentation of the Dbox1 by vma

This video shows the Dbox1, made by Nokia. This is the predecessor of the Dbox2. Both where popular in Germany, due to the fact that they were the official receivers for the German PayTV operator "Premiere". The infamous hacker Uli developed a whole new firmware for the Dbox1. The last release is called DVB2000 and features many advanced features. For instance, it is possible to read out any DVB-S parameter, finetune the parameters of the tuner, which is extremely sensitive, etc.

This receiver even has a SCSI interface, which was used extensively for logging purposes by the early DVB-S hackers. With "hackers" I am not referring to pirates, but people interested in the technology and its implementation.


Sunday, 13 February 2011

Experimenting with a Rover Instruments DM16 4HD













Today I tested if I could get a lock on transponders of Astra 2D.

Since I live in Portugal, I am far off the footprint and the required diameter would be around 180cm.

While I do actually own a 240cm dish, I don't have it setup, yet, due to the difficulty of getting a secure support for such a huge dish. This meant I was using my motorized dish with just 100cm...Interestingly, the Rover Instruments DM16 4HD could get a lock on Astra 2D and output a perfect picture. This shows that using a sensitive tuner, reception is indeed possible, however no reserves are available for bad weather.

I made a video demonstrating this: Rover Instruments DM16 4HD

The antenna was adjusted previously, of course, using the DM16 4HD.