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[TowerTalk] Ham radio vs. satellite dishes

Subject: [TowerTalk] Ham radio vs. satellite dishes
From: Tom Anderson <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 10:13:17 -0600
List-post: <>

Fellow Tower Talk members:

I'm considering changing from cable tv to one of the dish systems. Has anyone had any problems with RFI, etc. to dish systems vs. cable and HF or VHF transmissions? I use a 10 element log periodic at 50 ft. with a Collins 30-L-1 and a Kenwood TS 430S that I usually load to maybe 500 watts.

Some of the dish systems, that "advertise" giving you four digital boxes, actually give you only two and the other two sets are controlled via some type of RF link. My current QTH is so RF "tight" that cell phones don't work inside. Inside my house (built in 1983) my cell phone often shows "roaming, out of area, or no signal" and we live less than a mile from an AT&T cell tower in the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Oh your phone will ring inside my QTH, but to actually maintain a conversation you have to go outside.

Does the "dish" need to be located far from my crankup tower? I've dealt with cable rfi problems and have been able to solve most of them, like loose fittings from the pole to the house that leak cable signals and in reverse let in RF energy.

Fortunately my neighbors know how much I want to and do cooperate that they don't say anything any more, but if I hear through the grapevine that one of them is having an RFI problem I immediately offer my limited service and at least do a visual inspection. Like the time I found a varmint had chewed through the jacket, shielding, and dielectric on one neighbors cable leaving only several feet of bare RG59 copper center conductor showing. Besides my RFI, they were also receiving cable signals on TVs in their home NOT connected to cable on channels 2-13, no UHF TV channels. They'd get Showtime on Channel 2, Movie channel on 3, HBO on channel 6, etc. Yes this happened, I saw it and then did some tracking, at the homeowner's invitation of course, and found about 3 feet of RG59 or RG6 that was stapled along the edge of the house entirely stripped bare to the center conductor. What was amazing was how good a reception of cable signals on a TV with just rabbit ears was being received. I knew the area tech rep at the time for the cable company and he got a technician out and had their problem fixed in a hurry since he and I had worked around our town to resolve cable/ham RFI issues.

Unfortunately he's not with the cable company any more and their techs aren't always very knowledgeable about RFI issues, like the one tech who came to my house to fix a problem and just pointed to my 50 foot crank up tower and immediately said it was causing RFI, even before he checked his company's cable installation.

Also I notice most cable companies are going from the old RG59 to RG6 now for home service as they "say" the RG6 gives them better specs on digital signals.

73 de Tom, WW5L

bandwidth" for digital


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