How to Use a Birddog Meter to Receive a Satellite
By Keith Allen
Birdog meters are distributed by Perfect 10 Satellite Distributing of Arkansas. The devices are used to locate the position of satellites in the sky and aim a receiver dish appropriately to receive the signal. Birdog meters are often used by satellite receiver installation technicians. Along with aiming the receiving dish, the meters establish the strength of the signal and the signal-to-noise ratio--both of which are useful in determining the quality of the satellite signal. The meter is designed to be used in the field and has simple operational controls.
Using the Birdog Meter
Charge the batteries of the Birdog meter overnight before using. The Birdog meter utilizes an internal battery for operational power with line power or an automobile charge port used to recharge the unit. According to the Birdog manual, the unit will need to be recharged approximately every three weeks during normal use.
Attach the Birdog to the LNBF of the satellite antenna with an RG-6 cable. The LNBF is the receiving unit mounted on the arm at the front of the dish; RG-6 is coaxial cable with the proper ends for a satellite receiver connection. Turn the meter on by pressing the down arrow on the unit’s controls for five seconds. Point the satellite antenna in the general direction of the desired satellite’s location in the sky. Use the magnetic compass heading of the satellite, available on the Internet, as a starting point. Turn the Birdog off by pressing the "on" button for five seconds at the end of the session.
Select the desired satellite from the menu of satellites listed by the Birdog. Use the left and right arrow to move through the list of satellites. Other controls include the backlight of the display, operational language and sleep time.
Move the satellite dish until the word “found” appears on the Birdog display. This indicates the dish is pointing at or near the target satellite. Fine-tune the dish alignment until the “S” and “Q” readings are maximized. "S" stands for signal strength while the "Q" is the quality of the signal and is the inverse of the error rate of the signal. The quality and strength of the satellite signal is at its maximum when the "S" and "Q" meter readings are at their highest. The satellite receiver dish should be firmly fastened in place at that point.
Update the satellite list maintained on the Birdog by connecting the Birdog unit to a computer that has been logged on to the Web site perfect-10.tv/meter. The downloaded list of satellites overwrites the default list that was installed on the Birdog at the time of purchase.
Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.