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This article provides tips to improve "Men and Movies" reception in the UK via satellite when using a standard Sky dish.
Weak signal problems plague "Men & Movies" reception in the UK and most are caused by poor Sky dish installation or LNB misalignment, resulting in low signal quality during rain.
At present both Sky+ HD and Freesat reception can be problematic as both UK TV services receive the same signal. During bad weather a "no satellite signal is being received" on-screen message may be seen on Sky+ HD, or a "no or bad signal" message on a Humax Foxsat HDR.
If your "Men and Movies" picture is breaking up during rain, careful dish realignment and LNB adjustments should solve the problem, in all but the most extreme weather conditions.
A poor satellite signal of "Men and Movies" in the UK can be caused by a combination of factors:
Currently if the azimuth of your satellite dish is slightly misaligned a fraction west of 28.2E, the signal strength from Eurobird 1 at 0.3 degress further east will be weak, so check your dish alignment is spot on with a low cost satellite meter, then weather-proof the LNB connectors with Self Amalgamating Tape after checking dish alignment.
To make matters worse Eurobird transmits on both horizontal and vertical polarisation on 12.560Ghz making cross-polarisation interference more of a possibility and the LNB skew angle more critical. Careful skew angle adjustment is needed to optimally align the LNB for reception of vertical and horizontal channels. The skew angle itself is set according to the satellite's position in geostationary orbit, when viewed from the installed location of the dish.
According to the Eurobird 1 satellite footprint, a minimum 50cm dish size should provide reliable Eurobird reception in most parts of the UK, but in practice the signal strength from Eurobird tends to be weaker than the Astra 28.2E satellites.
Importantly, the Astra satellites also have a different skew angle than Eurobird 1 - around a 7 degrees skew angle difference in fact, so the usual default skew setting of "3" for a Sky LNB for most of England is incorrect for Eurobird 1.
Where the LNB angle on the front of your dish may appear to be at 7 O'clock, the skew angle for Eurobird 1 is slightly more; at around 7:30.
You can accurately check the skew angle for Eurobird 1 28.5E at your particular UK location using the widget (left).
At my Newbury, Berkshire location I managed to achieve a 10% higher signal quality reading by changing the LNB Skew on my Sky dish from position "3" to position "2" which increases the skew angle slightly. LNB adjustment should only be done after dish alignment has been checked with a cheap satellite meter.
The Skew setting will depend on where you are in the UK, for example Cornwall in SW England requires 4 degrees more LNB skew than London, so the Sky LNB may already be set to "2" and therefore need moving to position "1" to increase the Skew angle. North east Scotland normally uses a Sky LNB Skew setting of 4, so a new position of "3" should be tried.
LNB skew adjustment is done by carefully loosening the screw which clamps the LNB and rotating it to the next preset notch (see picture below).
After making this change the signal quality on "Men and Movies" is now 80% and signal strength is 90% during dry weather. The all-important signal quality now only deteriorates to 50% during heavy rain, which means no more picture break up is present. The "no signal or bad signal" message is no longer displayed on my Humax Foxsat HDR Freesat Recorder!
The LNB skew adjustment seems to have significantly improved rain margin and not at the expense of the Astra satellites, which still have between 90 and 100% signal quality across the board.
However, given my findings it's questionable whether a 43cm dish is really big enough for reliable Eurobird 1 reception during bad weather in the southern UK.
Interestingly, I found that the Octo LNB (with 8 outputs) fitted to my dish has an in-built line amplifier which seems to cause slight signal overload on my Humax Freesat box, due to short coaxial cable runs from the dish to the receiver. This is surprising given that I am using a normal 43cm Sky dish!
This came to light when I noticed that signal attenuation caused by inserting the satellite meter between the LNB and the Humax Foxsat HDR improved the signal quality on "Men and Movies" by around 10%.
As a result I now have two 6dB inline satellite attenuators which actually improve signal quality on all channels (but especially on weak Eurobird 1 channels like "CBS Reality"). Signal strength is still 90 - 100% on Astra TV channels.
I hope this article helps to improve your "Men and Movies" signal via Sky or Freesat! If not, try a Zone 2 60cm Sky dish which will provide much greater signal strength.
Feel free to send me comments about your experiences with "Men & Movies" reception using our Contact Form.