Tag Archives: television

2018 – Project: Dish Tripod

I’ve written about my satellite TV setup before, mostly in reference to the Winegard Carryout I used for a few years. You can read those posts here:

As I mentioned in the later reviews, I finally decided I was happier using a regular dish rather than the Carryout.  The reasons are in the final review so I won’t rehash them in this post.  All this to say that for the past few years I’ve used the home style dish and intend to keep on using it.

One of the weak links in this setup, though, was my tripod.  I inherited a small very basic one that is rather flimsy.  If the ground is unlevel, I put something under one leg to attempt to level it.  I also stake it out with guy wires to hold it steady in the wind.  It works but is far from an elegant solution.

I looked at the TV4RV tripod for some time.  However, it is pricy and I had a hard time pulling the trigger on it.  Finally, though, I went for it and I’m glad I did.

The tripod is actually a modified surveyor’s tripod; each leg can be adjusted independently.  A compass is supplied that fits right into the top of the tripod, and you are supposed to aim the direction before you ever mount the dish onto the tripod. One key is getting it perfectly level, something that is easy enough to do using a simple bubble level and the individually adjustable legs. The other key is getting it tall enough to “look over” any trees, etc. that are in the line of sight to the satellites. In some locations the sky is clear and I just leave it low to the ground. In a few places, though, I need all the height I could get.

Generally, the whole setup is less than 15 minutes. I describe the process here.

You can anchor the tripod using a screw in doggie stake or, if the ground is rocky I just use a five gallon bucket of water. I think this is the Cadillac of portable dish tripods, and in spite of the cost, it’s a good investment for those of us who need to set up a home-style dish on a regular basis. 

Wineguard Carryout Review – First Look

2012 - May Camping Trip - Satellite DishWe’ve been out in the camper for a week now, three moves, and we’ve enjoyed having satellite TV every day.  The carryout works pretty good.  I think I’ll get better at deploying it as I use it more.  Basically, you set it out where you think it will be able to see the southern sky.  Hook up the power and the receiver and wait for it to find the satellites.  Once they are found picture appears on the TV screen and you start watching TV.

When it works like that, well, what more could you ask for?

If you put it in the wrong place and it can’t find the satellites – or if it only finds one and not the other, you wait awhile (and at this point I haven’t figured out how long it’s supposed to be) and then move it to a more likely location, disconnect the power, reconnect the power, and wait again.

Wineguard Carryout - Yes it works right thereAnother complication I finally realized is that the coax connector on my new Wineguard is, I think, a bit flaky.  With the TV on, receiving the satellite just fine, I can reach around to the back of the receiver and put a bit of pressure on the connector and the receiver will immediately report “complete signal loss” – if I release the pressure the picture is back.  I’m not sure, but I think there was at least one time that I kept moving the Carryout, thinking that it wasn’t seeing the satellite when, actually the connection wasn’t quite right.

Again, as I use the Carryout more I think I’ll have a better idea as to where it’s likely to find the satellites and, once the coax is fixed/replaced I think I’m going to like it.

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PS: Sept 2014 Update: I used the Carryout with generally positive results.  I had to replace the 12V plug on it (the original was of some strange design and broke easily).  I also had to send it back for service because of my own blunder.  When it stopped being able to lock onto satellites the factory guy said it needed to be returned for repairs.  I opted to go with a standard satellite instead.

Winegard Carryout Review – part 1

One thing we miss when we take the camper out is our satellite TV.  I decided to bite the bullet and buy a Winegard Carryout – a nifty automatic satellite dish.  I ordered it from Dryersonline and it arrived in just a few days.  When it arrived today I was anxious to try it out.  Since we don’t get to go camping as often as we like, we just take the satellite receiver out of the house and put it in the camper for our occasional trips.  To try the new Carryout out I put it in the back yard and ran the cable to the receiver in my living room.

Since we use Dish Network, I had to open the dome and change some flip switches – it took just a few minutes to do it.

I had a bit of a problem getting electricity to the Carryout.  It comes with a cable that has a “cigarette lighter” plug on it.  I didn’t think that suited my needs, so I shelled out an extra $30 for an adapter.  I dutifully plugged the adapter into the wall outlet and then plugged the Carryout into it.  Nothing appeared to be happening.  I fooled with it for several minutes before I realized that the end of the cable that plugs into the Carryout felt snug but actually needed to be pushed in a bit farther.  When I heard it “click” I knew I’d found and fixed the problem.  Once the plug was all the way in, I heard the machinery go to work in the Carryout.  It takes it about three minutes to get the satellites spotted.  My first try, I had it too close to our back patio and it only found one satellite.  I moved it a bit farther out into the yard and it found all three in just a couple of minutes.

Per instructions, I ran the receiver through the installation process without the dish connected.  It took quite a long time to go through the 38 switches (whatever that is) and report that it found nothing.  Then, I hooked the cable up and did it again, and again, I had to wait through all 38 switches.  All in all, it took 20 to 30 minutes.  Once done, I backed through the menu, ignoring the one that said it saw no satellite signal.

Low and behold, I had an excellent picture.

Let me add that when I was finished, I went back to my dish that’s mounted on the roof.  Once again I had to wait while it went through the entire 38 switches.  It went a bit faster, but then the receiver wanted to download the program guide.  The entire hook-it-up-again process took around 15 minutes.

Here’s the deal: you have to go through the “switch process” once each time the receiver is changed from the Carryout to the house roof dish or vice versa.  So, when we head out on vacation, the first night we’ll have to go through the longer process.  After that, anytime the Carryout is moved it’ll take just three or four minutes for it to find the satellites again.  Then, at the end of the trip, as I move back to the house, I’ll have to go through the long process again.

Now I know I could get another receiver, etc. but we just don’t get to go out enough to justify it.  Not only that, be we want to take our DVR’d shows along with us.

The picture is every bit as good with the Carryout as with the roof mount dish.  When I went through the channels, intentionally going from one satellite to another, the Carryout adjusted faster than the receiver could display the new channel.   There’s one drawback worth noting: since you can only see one satellite at a time, you can’t watch one program on one satellite live while recording another program on a different satellite.  Sooner or later that will be a problem, but certainly nothing devastating.

Anyway, so far, so good.  I’ll do another post on the Winegard Carryout once we’ve had a chance to take it on the road.

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PS: Sept 2014 Update: I used the Carryout with generally positive results.  I had to replace the 12V plug on it (the original was of some strange design and broke easily).  I also had to send it back for service because of my own blunder.  When it stopped being able to lock onto satellites the factory guy said it needed to be returned for repairs.  I opted to go with a standard satellite instead.