You are in the house, local bar or your favourite Club hanging out joint watching the game or anything and it starts to drizzle. You get worried because if it starts to rain seriously you will not see the end of the match or favourite movie. The picture starts cracking (or what seems to be like a badly scratched DVD picture). Now it is raining and the decoder flashes a No Signal message in between bursts of pixilated picture and in comprehendible audio. After a few minutes the picture is gone and what appears on the screen is the No Signal Message. It is now raining heavily and at least if you are in a club the music is still playing. If you are at home then you start to look for candles because Kenya Power is ready to take away its power every time it rains.
Now I will tell you how to avoid the signal losses during the rain and in some other disappointing cases, during heavy cloud cover. I can also help you get a constant supply of power to your home or joint; get a solar power backup system. No bills whatsoever forever. Let us get back to topic now.
Take a look at the image on top of this post, may I state that placing a Kasuku (plastic can) on the LNB does not solve the problem. The only thing it solves if water droplets getting in to the LNB but as you will see as you continue reading, the Kasuku is not necessary at all. Also take note of the cable colour installed. Remember whoever designed the satellite dish, coaxial cable and LNB took into fact that it was going to be installed outside where there is the scorching sun, snow, dust, wind and rain too.
There are a number of factors that can lead to signal losses and after I saw (or read) two people on the Daily Nations Watchman segment complaining about this issue, I decided to do something about it. The two gentlemen actually blamed Dstv. Is Dstv responsible? Read on and find out.
Factor number one is the Installation itself. The satellite dish size first of all must be sufficient but bigger is always better. The pole supporting the dish must be upright (all the way round) and with very little errors if any. A spirit level can tell you whether it is straight, if its not then here is your first culprit. The dish should also be sturdy and not affected by wind, for this to happen, every single iron arm, bolt and nut must have been used (and tightened) to set it up. If you can take a closer (very close at least 10cm away) look at the dish with a breeze blowing, the vibrations of the dish should not be noticeable. If you can notice the dish vibrating then here is your other culprit.
The alignment of the dish should also be done perfectly after correcting the errors above. Satellite dishes that are aligned even 5mm away from the satellite can give you no signal messages during heavy cloud cover. This should be done by a professional like me or you will just risk screwing up everything.
The LNB positioning is next. You can have a very good LNB but if installed badly the will bring problems. LNB tweaking as it is known is done after aligning the dish correctly to point at the correct satellite. LNB tweaking is done with the help of monitoring the signal Quality levels of the decoder during installation. Buying a high performance LNB is also the key to stabilizing weak signals. . A single output high performance LNB costs around Ksh1200 to Ksh2000 (roughly 8 to 20 US Dollars) in Nairobi’s Luthuli Avenue. Examples of such type of LNBs are Lazer Gold V12 and Inverto Black Ultra. These LNBs maybe expensive, but they are totally worthy of every cent.
With a perfect setup and any of these LNBs you can watch Satellite TV during heavy rain without the slightest Signal Loss. Also very important the LNB cap should not be forgotten. It keeps away any moisture from entering the LNB-Cable connection and as a precaution applying silicon adhesive is not a bad idea. But be assured that the person who designed the LNB did take into consideration that it will be used outside in the rain.
Loose connections and long cables are another source of low signal levels. All connections must be tight and made waterproof. The cable must be as long as necessary and as short as possible. Also the cable should not have any connections to make it longer. Connections like these usually deduct a percentage of signals quality in the long run. By the way what colour of coaxial cable are you using? The best colour and type of cable to use is a black coaxial cable RG6 and above because it can withstand the sun and rain and still remain intact unlike the white one. If you have had a white cable for sometime check it again, the portion that is outside. If it is not flaking it will start soon and this also reduces another signal quality level.
In conclusion the perfect setup should consist of:-
A well mounted dish correctly aimed at the correct satellite.
A black coaxial cable RG6 and above with a waterproof connection at the LNB.
A high performance LNB like the Inverto Black Ultra
A short as possible and long as necessary coaxial cable.