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Thread: Using an old Austar Flinders or Analogue box as a satellite meter

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    Question Using an old Austar Flinders as satellite meter - Hidden Menu Code?!

    Hey guys. Been having trouble getting a Ku dish up and pointing, mostly a line of sight issue. I bought a pole longer than the foot long that came with the tripod to try the Foxtel dish to overcome the line of sight issue and I think it's good.

    Preparing to write this I plugged the Austar Flinders Receiver (Altech UEC USD999) to screen cap the signal strength menus I was having trouble with. It looks as though that even after changing the LNB LO freq. to 11300 the STB was non reactive. However, yesterday (Saturday) I was a tad hungover and when I saw the zero I pretty much gave up. Tonight, it seems it took a couple of minutes for the Flinders box to pick up the 11300 LNB. When the box got back to the Signal Strength screen the meter was reactive - waving my hand in front of the LNB caused a drop in signal... so I'll have another go in the yard tomorrow.

    If I move the dish to another satellite will the Flinders give me a lock? It seems like they should have a hidden menu to change transponders and the like, but it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't because you can navigate to these installation/signal menus from the front panel buttons!

    The analogue Satellite receiver, Bush IRD 155 was from the UK and is tuned to Astra 19.2 and has no remote!!! I bet one of those Reject Shop Jumbo Remotes would probably have some old 4 digit remote code. Still, interested in how this works as a finder.

    Other kit to hand:
    Healing HHS242 - Not great installation menu
    Dreambox 7020-S - Just got this from eBay. Stoked to get it but it's complicated.
    Telestar Starsat 1 - Fried this making a rookie error "unplugging it and plugging it back in again". Still boots but wont lock onto anything. This is why I wanted to use the Flinders, lest I fry anything else it might as well be a Flinders.
    Disecq Motor - One thing at a time.
    Analogue needle meter - I just don't like it. It's ten years old, it doesn't react when plugged into the dish that's pointed at C1.

    First post! Thanks guys.

    [Edited]
    Last edited by DoctorParabola; 21-12-15 at 11:11 AM. Reason: Clarity
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    As per Tiny's post in reply to your intro thread, I too recommend using a sat meter such as the one he posted about and forget about using a decoder as the only method of measuring signal.

    The latter obviously requires a screen from a decoder to be at the dish whilst making adjustments.

    You'll also need a 10700 LO LNBF as an 11300 LNBF will not receive a lot of transponders used these days.

    An analogue receiver cannot be used regardless, as all signals are now digital.

    It would also be helpful if you could explain what exactly it is you are hoping to receive and from what satellite/s.

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    Those satellite meters look a lot better than my analogue one, will look into buying one after Christmas. Have things for sale on eBay so the cash earned generally goes straight back....

    I have been doing some reading on Ham ATV and have read along the way that they can be used to just get a reaction from the satellite. Rookie error. It'll stay in the 'gunna do' pile.

    When it comes to what I'm hoping to receive; just looking to poke around in the Clarke belt to be honest. Optus D2 looks like a good place to start (after finding C1 as a 'landmark' to start from.) and the TP's look as though they'll work with a 11300.

    Either way, I have google'd every combination of phrases I can think of to find the key combination for the 'hidden menu' on the Flinders box. As I said, a lot of technical settings are readily available on the decoder anyway so it seems that manual adjustment of transponders may not be available on the decoder. It's probably an OTA thing.

    Will have another go with the kit I have anyway, just for the sheer sake of perseverance. If it's a no go it'll have to wait until after Christmas to buy more parts!

    If anyone knows of a "hidden menu" for this decoder, in the name of tinkering, I'd greatly appreciate it!
    Last edited by DoctorParabola; 21-12-15 at 11:09 AM.
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    Just a note:

    If your 11300 LNB is an old Foxtel unit, it will be very old and possibly not working well.

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    I dont know what sort of tripod you have but 2 things you need to do is to ensure is that you anchor it securely and the other is to ensure the Mast is Vertical.
    Even the smallest dish has a large surface and can be moved easily by a breeze if its not secured.
    By ensuring the mast is 'plumb Vertical' means no matter which direction you face the dish, the 'elevation' you set it at will be correct.

    Seeing its a UEC and an old Austar, I would not be surprised if the 'menu' your after is not 'USER ACCESSIBLE' like the Austar 'TITAN' and UEC VAST stb's I have.
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    I also have a Zinwell Uni LNBF for IS19, when I get there.

    My dad found a 10700 Sharp LNB on the roof after Cyclone Marcia and it actually powered up and worked, but as you guessed it, not very well
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    I dont know what sort of tripod you have but 2 things you need to do is to ensure is that you anchor it securely and the other is to ensure the Mast is Vertical.
    Even the smallest dish has a large surface and can be moved easily by a breeze if its not secured.
    By ensuring the mast is 'plumb Vertical' means no matter which direction you face the dish, the 'elevation' you set it at will be correct.
    I have checked the pole mast obsessively using a spirit level. I understand it has to be perfect plumb so I should really get a plumb bob. I had got to Optus D2 before using a patio stand but it wasn't sustainable for the exact reason you mentioned. Tripod pegged into the ground and the centre pole is in the ground a little as well.

    Seeing its a UEC and an old Austar, I would not be surprised if the 'menu' your after is not 'USER ACCESSIBLE' like the Austar 'TITAN' and UEC VAST stb's I have.
    Dang. Titan was one of the Google search terms I used when trying to find this menu. In the UK, Sky boxes (Pace brand? Not sure) have hidden menus accessible with just a remote code sequence. Hoping for a similar scenario.

    I'll keep looking!
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    Seeing its a UEC and an old Austar, I would not be surprised if the 'menu' your after is not 'USER ACCESSIBLE' like the Austar 'TITAN' and UEC VAST stb's I have.
    The UEC's usually are, normally just with a PIN-Code - 9949 in most cases.

    The "PIN-code for installation" is usually given in the manual, as it is not the same as the Parental PIN-Code.
    Last edited by irritant; 21-12-15 at 06:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianR View Post
    The UEC's usually are, normally just with a PIN-Code - 9949 in most cases.

    The "PIN-code for installation" is usually given in the manual, as it is not the same as the Parental PIN-Code.
    I just saw your other thread on the UEC boxes, and posted to ask the question!

    Do you have anymore details? Which screen to enter this number in to? From experience it can be a longer code like a sequence of colors and numbers to bring up the menu. There's no screen to enter this code on the DSD999.
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    I suggest getting the sat meter tiny suggested ...... cheap & able to use for most any sat

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiny View Post
    BTW: the best sat signal meter is a signal meter, sat boxes (decoders) are too slow. Most effective & economical sat finder is the .
    The Austar or Foxtel STB I have seen have fixed frequencies & symbolic rates to scan in only Foxtel or (old) Austar channelds .... not really good for any other sats .....

    first you need to locate the satellite ...... the sat meter above is good for that .....

    I have used a sat STB to find satellites ..... but its more work ..... you need a TV screen near the dish to look at as you move it's alignment ..... first you need to get known working frequencies & symbolic rates from & put the settings in your STB ....you then need to be looking at the Signal strength & signal quality readings on the TV screen & move the dish until you find the signal .... then optimize the dish alignment & LNB skew until it is a maximum ..... then you see what channel you are getting to decide what satellite you are on ..... you will also get a TV picture if the channel is not encrypted ....

    for searching Sats for services you should choose a satellite STB with "blind scan function" ..... once you have located a satellite & you are pointed exactly at it .... just hit the blind scan to scan in all the channels

    If you get a new STB maybe try it out on a Foxtel dish (or other satellite aligned & working) to know that it is working OK before moving the dish

    Good Luck
    Last edited by OSIRUS; 21-12-15 at 10:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorParabola View Post
    I just saw your other thread on the UEC boxes, and posted to ask the question!

    Do you have anymore details? Which screen to enter this number in to? From experience it can be a longer code like a sequence of colors and numbers to bring up the menu. There's no screen to enter this code on the DSD999.
    If it has the UEC menu layout that I know, it will be the <MENU> button on the remote, scroll down to option 6 or 7 called "Advanced Options", then usually the first option again called "Dish Installation" or something to that effect.

    At this point there should be a screen that says "Security Check" at the top and it asks for a 4-digit PIN-code. All the UEC's I've worked with are 9949, but I'm not sure what your one will be, this you'll have to find out.

    Upon entering that code, you'll get the Installation screen which will contain things like your LNB settings, Signal settings (where you enter your transponders, symbol rates, FECs, etc.), Signal Detection (where you have two bars to check both your signal strength and quality) and there'll be other stuff too.

    Exiting these screens does nothing, but changing settings and pressing OK, then exiting usually initiates a scan, so do not enter parameters and save them if you don't want to lose your current channels at this point yet. Or, write down what's in there already if you need to put those values back in.

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    Great stuff Adrian, thanks. Unfortunately the boxes seem to be different in that regard as there is no 'security check' option. Sounds similar enough, like the signal detection screens are accessible but no menu to adjust the transponder.

    The UEC website doesn't have any non-proprietary software for it nor does their website have a technician manual. Considering it's a proprietary product - makes sense.

    If you'd like any screengrabs or images of the UEC DSD 999 / "Flinders" STB let me know and I can post them in your UEC thread. =]

    Big thanks to gordon_s1942, who in another thread highlighted that the Al Jazeera has some very particular TP settings. My Telestar Starsat 1 Receiver (works so well as a sat finder) was programmed with the Al Jazeera TP as my satellite hunt transponder but when not set properly it wouldn't lock anything. As soon as I selected "Include Scrambled Channels" the receiver locked the signal and filled the channel list!

    I had this device listed on eBay as spares/repair thinking I had fried it connecting the LNB while the LNB power was still on. I won't make that mistake again.






    Although, I still couldn't tune Al Jazeera.

    Lastly, did have a tinker in the yard and did get to C1. Now this decoder is working I might be able to get to D2.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OSIRUS View Post
    I suggest getting the sat meter tiny suggested ...... cheap & able to use for most any sat



    The Austar or Foxtel STB I have seen have fixed frequencies & symbolic rates to scan in only Foxtel or (old) Austar channelds .... not really good for any other sats .....

    first you need to locate the satellite ...... the sat meter above is good for that .....

    I have used a sat STB to find satellites ..... but its more work ..... you need a TV screen near the dish to look at as you move it's alignment ..... first you need to get known working frequencies & symbolic rates from & put the settings in your STB ....you then need to be looking at the Signal strength & signal quality readings on the TV screen & move the dish until you find the signal .... then optimize the dish alignment & LNB skew until it is a maximum ..... then you see what channel you are getting to decide what satellite you are on ..... you will also get a TV picture if the channel is not encrypted ....

    for searching Sats for services you should choose a satellite STB with "blind scan function" ..... once you have located a satellite & you are pointed exactly at it .... just hit the blind scan to scan in all the channels

    If you get a new STB maybe try it out on a Foxtel dish (or other satellite aligned & working) to know that it is working OK before moving the dish

    Good Luck
    Just read this post, didn't see it earlier - yes it is more work as I found out when using Al Jazeera as a TP.

    The Healing receiver has a blind scan function and I'll use it once I'm aligned.

    Thanks again, have another go this afternoon!
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    In a way I was incorrect regarding saying there is no PIN number in the Titan STB's I have, there is but it only allows you to open the menu to change the LNB settings, nothing else like the frequency/symbol rate unlike the Humaxs etc which were totally designed to be User Controlled.
    From memory, it is 0000 or 9999
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    Thanks DoctorParabola! That would be great, yes. I'd like very much to see your UEC's screens, because they sound quite different from the usual UEC layout. Apart from colour schemes and such, even the new VAST UEC boxes, have a very similar layout still to the stuff you used to get in the 90's.

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    Check the thread in the Decoder section for the UEC screen caps!

    Sorry about the wait - been having a Merry Christmas and hope ya'll have been too. =]
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorParabola View Post
    Check the thread in the Decoder section for the UEC screen caps!

    Sorry about the wait - been having a Merry Christmas and hope ya'll have been too. =]
    Thanks! I have indeed.

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