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Posts: 747
Reply with quote  #1 

Here is a quick procedure to use “solar noon” to find due south when aligning your dish.  I have found that using a magnetic compass to find south is difficult because the metal in the dish mount makes it hard to position the compass close enough to the dish.  I have also found that using the compass on my iPhone is always 5 -10 degrees off, even when using the “true north/south” setting.

As you probably know, the basic procedure for using solar noon is to first calculate the time of the day that is exactly half-way between sunrise and sunset for your location and then look at the shadow that a pole casts at exactly that time.  The shadow will point to true north/south.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a Solar Calculator that makes it easy to find the exact time for solar noon at your particular location.  Simply enter your latitude, longitude and time zone and the calculator will tell you the exact time for solar noon on any given day.


To make it easy to line up my dish with true south, I made a loop in one end of a string and tied the other end to a triangular fishing weight to create a poor man’s plumb bob.   I then let the plumb bob hang off the end of a bolt head on the elevation mount. See photo below.

I then waited until the exact time for solar noon and then turned the polar mount on the pole so that the “plumb bob” was exactly in the center of the pole shadow. 

Using this method, I was able to quickly find due south and for the first time in all of the years that I have been aligning dishes, I did not have to make any adjustments to the southern orientation when I peaked the dish. 


resize 2.jpg 


Scanning the arc in Northern California. Two Openbox S9's for c-band and KU, Edision OS mio 4K for c-band, Prof 6200 PCI Card, Motorola DSR-6000, Geosatpro 1.2m Offset dish for KU with GEOSATpro SL1PLL LNBF on Stab HH120 motor; 8' Prime Focus mesh dish with Geosatpro dual feed c-band LNBF on Venture MA-810-24K actuator.

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Posts: 3,664
Reply with quote  #2 

Another way to find "high noon" is to tune in a western channel and wait and watch for the "shootout" as they always happen at high noon.

Remember your pole needs to be at perfectly plumb and the dish mount needs to be parked at it highest or dead center position during these sun tests. The final test though is how well the dish mount system tracks all across the arc between both ends, eat and west, plus the highest sat seen from your location near the top of the arc.

I still remember "finding" the analog sat signals over 30 years back when. It was easy to do and "close" was good enough to watch some tv programs. But now and with Ku and the dish must point a little closer to get good results. I "got lazy" and hook up a spectrum analyzer directly to the lnb which gets powered by the spectrum analyzer power source. No compass or strings or sun or any math is needed.

Recently I have tried to "think" a hole in the ground to put in a new dish pole rather than use my back and a shovel to dig the hole. I continue to "think" about the hole but so far my mind by itself has not moved any dirt. When you think about how big or long it is from the top of Canada to the bottom end of South America, you only need sail into the sun set from say England to "find new land" never mind if others already are living there. No compass and no map just sail to where the sun dips into the ocean.

Just never point your dish directly at the sun!



Never throw it away--cause guys need stuff--a lot of stuff


Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #3 
https://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php. I have used this web site to determin true south. Also used this method to align a Ku dish with good results. 
BigAl WB1GNL[confused]

Posts: 70
Reply with quote  #4 
for a nitetime field check for due south see a point in sky for north.
due South is 180 degrs from due North. there is star called Polaris

or the North Star which is due north for people who live in the North-
er Hemisphere (us). as a rough check see if you can find it @ a re-

verse point or points against the mount behind the dish during dark-
ness. this is after you ve found south during daytime.   v1v


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Posts: 3,664
Reply with quote  #5 
Looking at the shadow in the dirt and the string reminded me of a more accurate way to find true south. Bear in mind here that the final desired results it to aim and thus find the "parked sats overhead" in the Clark Belt. Also remember today many of those sats are parked just 2 degrees apart from each other.

If you take the sides of the shadow formed in the dirt by the dish pole and then with some longer string say 100 feet long stretch out along the edges of that shadow going south for that 100 feet and put a mark out there in the dirt. If you do that for both sides of the shadow and then stand up plumb a pipe out there at 100 feet away from your dish. Now lay your dish down to horizontal and pull out that button hook feed mount and replace it with a straight pipe. Then use this pipe as a "gun sights" to twist and align your dish mount looking at the center of that second pole standing up between the strings you pulled out to 100 feet south of your dish.

Of course you can use more or less than the 100 foot distance. Just one degree of error puts one looking between two sat positions. Of course we are not wishing to look at the sun or even true south but rather all the sat positions viewable from our location on the planet. Most of us do not have a parked sat at exactly due south from our sat dish pole. So finding "south" is just the beginning of the alignment process. Measuring and errors is shown in the following with the results. misaligned_bridge.jpg


Never throw it away--cause guys need stuff--a lot of stuff

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