A Complex Satellite Distribution System

My problem was this. 5 Bell ExpressVU satellite receivers. One Free-To-Air (FTA) receiver, primarily used for receiving NASA TV. In order to feed all this, I have two satellite dishes. The first one covers 83° and 91°. The second one covers 119°. I need to get the Bell satellites to 5 receivers, and I need to get all three satellites to the FTA receiver. Here’s a picture of my distribution system:


t’s a little unclear to follow in the picture, so here’s a schematic version that is a little clearer:


I have two SW44 switches to allow more than 4 ExpressVu receivers. The two SW44 switches are connected together using satellite-grade (up to 2GHz) splitters. The splitters I used have one DC path. Make sure that the DC path outputs are all connected to the same switch (it doesn’t matter which one). The splitters then connect to a pair of classic 2×4 switches (sometimes called 3×4 because there’s a third terrestrial signal input, which isn’t used). Outputs 1 and 2 basically pass on the 13v and 18v outputs from the LNBs on the ExpressVu dish. The third output from the switches, along with the line from the 119° dish connect to a DiSEqC switch. The DiSEqC switch then connects to the FTA receiver.

That’s it! 46 F connectors and a box of wire later! Make sure you use good quality connectors and cable. This many switches and connectors will degrade the signal strength, so you need to make sure you’ve got as little loss as possible. In my case, the signal strength dropped from around 90 to just over 80. Still very acceptable.

Kensington USB Bluetooth Adapter Problems

It’s Christmas, and I’m out in the middle of nowhere (actually, I’m staying at my boss’s cabin near Mabel Lake). There’s no broadband. There’s no cellular coverage. For someone like me, it’s a technological wasteland. My only link to the outside world is a dial-up phone line that can get 31.2kbps if I hold my mouth just right.

One of my Christmas presents was a Kensington Bluetooth USB adapter (model number K33085). I wanted a bluetooth adapter for my laptop so that I can talk to my Audiovox PPC6600 cell phone. Against my better nature (and because this whole bluetooth thing is new to me) I decided to actually read the instructions, and follow the installation procedure that came with the device. I installed the drivers from the CD that came with it. After a reboot, I fired it up, and was able to connect to my cell phone. A very short time later, however, I discovered that there were some serious problems. I was rarely able to successfully complete a hotsync process, and I was unable to successfully copy any file to my phone that was over about 2Mb in size.

I decided to fire up the high speed connection to the outside world to see if there was an updated driver available. I searched all over Kensington’s web site, but barely found any mention of the device in their support section. I couldn’d download drivers. More googling discovered this page. Ouch! I wished I’d have read that page sooner. Anyway, I still had the device, and I still had a problem. After diving in to the device manager on my machine, I discovered that it appears that the actual manufacturer of this device is MSI. Some searching around their site came across a driver-only download (no bluetooth stack). I didn’t need the stack, because I found references to the fact that SP2 for XP had a built in stack. I used Add/Remove Programs to remove the original bluetooth software, then (after a reboot), plugged the dongle in again, and pointed it to the MSI driver. Bingo! The device was detected, and a whole bunch of Microsoft drivers for bluetooth functions were installed.

After this process, I am now able to hotsync, and I’ve moved plenty of large files back and forth.