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  1. 1. TEST REPORT Satellite Meter Trimax SM-2200 Signal Meter Satellite Signal Finding Made Easy If you’re a satellite antenna installer, you want your job to be TELE-satellite World Download this report in other languages from the Internet: as easy as possible especially if you have to climb up on a roof to Arabic ‫ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻴﺔ‬ install that dish. You would like to go up and down that ladder as Indonesian Indonesia Bulgarian Български little as possible. Sometimes the most difficult part of the entire job Czech Česky is not erecting the antenna, but finding that elusive satellite that the German Deutsch English English customer wants to receive. Of course, you could carry that bulky Spanish Español satellite spectrum analyzer up there with you but what if there was Farsi ‫ﻓﺎﺭﺳﻲ‬ French Français any easier way? Trimax may have just what the doctor ordered. Greek Ελληνικά Croatian Hrvatski Trimax recently introduced a Italian Italiano The SM-2200 is fitted with a Hungarian Magyar sophisticated handheld signal single male “F” input connector Mandarin 中文 meter that should greatly sim- Dutch Nederlands on the top side and a USB serial Polish Polski plify an installer’s job. Thanks to interface connector plus DC Portuguese Português Jerry Fisher at SatMan Canada Romanian Românesc power port on the bottom. The Russian Русский ( who USB connector and DC power Swedish Svenska sent us a sample, we had the Turkish Türkçe port are protected from dirt opportunity to take a closer look and moisture by rubber protec- at this meter. At only about 1.25 tive flaps. Included in the pack- a PC cable with an RS-232 con- taking the meter out of service LBS (0.5 Kg) and with dimen- age are an AC charger, a DC car nector on one end for a PC and a to repair or replace the female sions of 9.5 x 15.5 x 4.5 cm, it is charger, a female-to-female “F” USB connector on the other end “F” connector. Instead, when small and lightweight enough to connector, a black protective to plug into the meter. Lastly, the threads become damaged, it easily carry around almost any- carrying case and convenient you’ll also find a 15-page user is a simple matter of removing where. The internal electronics shoulder strap. Also included is manual for the SM-2200. the existing female-to-female are surrounded by a sturdy black “F” connector and replacing plastic housing. The meter is powered by a 1950mA recharge- Everyday Use it with a new one. Obviously, the manufacturer was thinking able Li-On battery. When charging the meter for ahead when they came up with the first time, the manufac- this idea. turer recommends charging the internal battery for at least 5 The front panel of the SM- hours before using the meter. 2200 comes with 28 buttons to The universal AC charger is operate the meter. These but- rated for 90-240VAC/50-60Hz tons include a numerical keypad, operation that, with the cor- four function buttons, four left/ rect wall outlet adapter, lets you right/up/down ring buttons sur- use the SM-2200 almost any- rounding an “OK” button plus a where in the world. The DC car set of buttons to access specific charger can be used to charge points in the meter’s menu. And the meter while on the road. let’s not forget the main power Just plug the charger into your button. There’s also a set of vehicles 12VDC power port and five status LEDs: a power indi- the meter will recharge while cator, a signal lock indicator, a enroute to your next installation 22 kHz indicator as well as 13V job. The meter does not need to and 18V polarization indica- be turned on while the battery tors. But, without a doubt, the is being charged; the power LED most prominent feature on the on the front panel will glow green front panel is the 3.5” TFT LCD to show that charging is taking screen. Not only can you view all place. It will turn red when the the different menu pages right meter is fully charged. on this screen, but you can also watch and listen to satellite TV The satellite signal is sup- channels directly on the SM- plied to the meter via the male 2200! This virtually guarantees “F” connector on the top side of that the satellite you want is the the housing. You might be won- satellite you get. dering why the manufacturer installed a male “F” connector Once the meter has been and supplied a female-to-female fully charged, hold down the “F” connector in the pack- red power button for about one age instead of just installing a second to turn the unit on. If female “F” connector. The idea you are turning on the meter 08 0 6 -0 7 /2 0 was that the exposed threads of for the first time or if the meter 2200 TR IM AX SM satellite a female “F” connector were far has been reset, the registration r any more likely of becoming dam- code that comes with the pack- An ideal tool fo aller system inst aged over time. In such a case, age needs to be entered. From it would have probably involved this point on, the meter will take 46 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —
  2. 2. Meter with accessories you directly to the Main Menu cal step would be to enter the LNB power completely. In the screen every time it is turned proper antenna settings into Auto mode, the meter selects on. Next the meter needs to the meter. From the Main Menu the proper voltage based on be set up for the area it will be screen, scroll to Satellite Set- the polarization. used in. From the Main Menu ting and press the OK button screen use the arrow keys to and then scroll to Dish Set-up The antenna we want to align scroll down to System Setting and press the OK button again. is routed through a DiSEqC and press the OK button. If The Dish Set-up menu lets you 1.0 switch so the meter needs the meter happens to be in TV choose a satellite and adjust to be set up for this as well. mode, the System button on its parameters so that the From the Dish Set-up menu the front panel can be used to meter can properly receive a we scrolled to Switch Type and go directly to the System Set- signal from the antenna. With pressed the left/right arrow Dish set-up ting screen. From the System the satellite name highlighted, keys until DiSEqC 1.0 was dis- Setting screen, you can select we used the left/right arrow played to activate this function the proper language (English keys to select Galaxy 25. We in the meter. We selected #2 or Russian), the correct TV were using a standard Ku-band under Switch Input to match standard (NTSC, PAL, SECAM LNB on our dish with an LOF the #2 input used in our or AUTO) and set up the timer (local oscillator frequency) of DiSEqC switch. Once these to shut down the LCD screen 10.750 GHz. In the Dish Set-up settings were taken care of, after a user-settable time (5, menu we scrolled to LNB Type the Exit button was pushed 10, 15 or 20 minutes). For our and used the left/right arrow and OK chosen to save the initial test we wanted to use keys to select 10750. Other settings. the meter to align our dish to preprogrammed LOF settings Galaxy 25 at 97° west. So we include 5150, 9750, Universal At this point the meter is selected English as our menu and Customized. The Custom- ready to find satellites for you. Satellite finding language and NTSC as our TV ized setting can be used to set The day we were outside to standard. From the System up a different LOF such as the test the meter was cloudy so Setting screen you can also 11.250 GHz LOF used by the the video display was easy to Factory Reset the meter and North American DTH satellite see. But, even on those bright view the current software services. In the case of the sunny days, the included sun loaded in the meter. Once all Universal setting, the Low LOF, screen helps make the video the settings have been taken High LOF and 22 KHz settings image viewable. For our first care of, the Exit button will are automatically adjusted for test, we wanted to see how easy take you back to the Main you. The LNB power setting it would be to find the Galaxy Menu. can be used to force the meter 25 satellite at 97° west. The to stay at either 13V or 18V meter came preprogrammed With the system settings regardless of what polariza- with all the transponders on taken care of, your next logi- tion is in use or to turn off the this satellite so it was just a Angle calculation 48 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —
  3. 3. Info bar Main menu Edit satellites matter of choosing which one to transponder can be started by nately, its price tag is somewhat plied car power adapter. It would work with. From the Main Menu scrolling down to Search and higher than a standard satellite have been nice to be able to add screen we highlighted Satellite pressing the OK button. All of receiver and this might chase new satellites and/or transpond- Finding and pressed OK. This the active channels on the trans- some of them away. ers while in the field. Hopefully took us to the Satellite Find- ponder were found and stored in a future software upgrade will ing screen from which we could the meter in just under 10 sec- The long-life battery will take care of this minor incon- select the satellite we wanted onds. By exiting out of the on- almost guarantee that you won’t venience. Overall, though, the to look for and the transponder screen menus, the channels that run out of power in the middle Trimax SM-2200 satellite meter we wanted to use for this task. were just stored can be viewed. of your installation and, should is a reliable tool that will reduce If a known active transponder The up/down arrow keys can be it need a charge in the field, much of the time needed to align is missing from the list, you can used to switch between channels simply plug it into your vehicles a satellite system. It doesn’t get use the Satellite Finding screen or you can press the OK button cigarette lighter with the sup- much easier than this. to edit an existing transponder to display a list of the available and put in the missing data. Just keep in mind that doing this channels. The left/right keys adjust the volume in full-screen Expert Opinion will overwrite the existing data mode and act as page up/down + for that particular transponder. buttons when in Channel List Small siize, light weight, and long-life bat- Unfortunately, it was not possi- mode. In the Channel List mode, tery makes it an ideal companion to any satellite ble to add new transponders to the video of the current channel installer a satellite through the meters is shown in an insert. Scrolling menu screens; only existing transponders could be changed. through the list automatically shows the video of the high- - Ron Roessel New transponders can only be added via soft- TELE-satellite Adding new transponders would lighted channel. Pressing OK ware upload Test Center USA involve using an interface pro- again places the current video gram made available through back into full-screen mode. the Trimax web site (www. and then The quality of the video is uploading the new data to the actually quite good; even the Trimax SM-2200 meter through its USB port. audio is good when you con- We opted for the 12.115V sider that this a satellite meter! transponder and began by Switching between channels in Europe rotating our 90cm antenna in takes about one second and just the general direction of Galaxy like a standard satellite receiver, 25. In no time at all the signal an Info bar that provides some strength and quality bar graphs basic channel information is on the Trimax meter display momentarily displayed at the came to life announcing that bottom of the screen. We also we had found our target satel- tested the meter on several When we powered up the lite. In addition to these two SCPC transponders and found meter and navigated through bar graphs, the display on the that the Trimax had no trouble all of its menus, we quickly meter also shows the power in dealing with these lower sym- discovered that the western dBµV as well as the C/N and BER bolrates. hemisphere satellites were pre- values to make fine tuning of the programmed into it by default. antenna a piece of cake. This information gives an installer Conclusion The test model we got was set up for use in North and South an extra level of precision when Its small size and light-weight America. Can the SM-2200 also aligning an antenna that could design lets you take the Trimax be used in other parts of the not normally be achieved using SM-2200 right up to an existing world? the signal strength and quality or newly-installed dish antenna We turned to the manufac- bar graphs alone. regardless of whether it hap- turer’s web site (http://www. If you’re not exactly sure pens to be on the ground, on a and found where a satellite is located in the wall or on a roof. It is easy to special versions of firmware sky, the meter also comes with a hold in one hand and the menus that were designed for different handy Angle Calculation tool to are quite legible on the 3.5” dis- parts of the world: 1. Asia and point you in the right direction. play. It would make an ideal tool South Pacific, 2. Atlantic Ocean, Simply go to the Angle Calcula- for any satellite system installer. 3. Europe, Africa and The Middle The Trimax SM-2200 used as a tion screen from the Main Menu, There will undoubtedly be sat- East, 4. North and South Amer- small portable satellite tv enter in your local longitude ellite hobbyists out there that ica. The latest software version and latitude coordinates and will “have to have” this meter was higher than the one in our European satellite list included select the satellite you want to to add to their collection; from meter (1.03 vs. 1.00). We down- satellites from 4.8° E (Sirius) to find. The tool will calculate the their point of view, this meter is loaded the European firmware 72° E (Intelsat 4). azimuth and elevation angles a portable satellite receiver that along with the software loader, We downloaded the manu- needed for that satellite. they could use together with a a transponder editor tool called facturer’s satellite list to our Once the alignment is com- small satellite dish anywhere the “Meter Tool”. The firmware PC, edited it a little bit with the pleted, a channel scan of the they happen to be. Unfortu- update went smoothly. The “Meter Tool” by adding more sat- 50 TELE-satellite & Broadband — 06-07/2008 —
  4. 4. ellites that can be received here which we found very useful. The Expert Opinion in Europe and then uploaded it back to the meter. After setting signal bar graphics as well as the signal power value expressed in + The Trimax SM-2200 is a signal finder combined up a test antenna in the yard, dBμV were very easy to read. with a satellite receiver. The meter has both visual we connected the meter to see However, the signal quality per- and audible signals that can be used as feedback. how easy it would be to align our centage values and C/N value The ability to show video is an additional plus; you can show your customer that the antenna system dish. Within seconds we spot- were harder to read. The last two you just aligned is working exactly as it should. ted ASTRA 1 (19.2° E) and then are the most important when This may help in those situations when a cus- Jacek Pawlowski rotated the antenna to HOTBIRD trying to fine tune an antenna. It TELE-satellite tomer is convinced that there is a problem with the Test Center (13° E). The meter showed the would undoubtedly be helpful if antenna set up and it turns out to really be at the Poland signal strength bar along with a future software release made receiver end. the quality bar that we used for these values easier to read. Also - feedback during the alignment. the C/N resolution of 1 dB might It would be nice if the manufacturer expanded the satellite list If you get along with your be good enough to align a stand- for Europe. If the C/N resolution of the meter could be increased neighbors, you can also listen to ard antenna that isn’t too big. to 0.1 dB, this would allow an installer to align reception systems the special audio signal gener- However, if we want to align our that are more demanding. The meter might be easier to use if the ated by the meter. The better the DX antenna, a C/N resolution of signal quality displays were larger (C/N and signal quality per- signal, the faster the beeps. The 0.1 dB (or MER) would be pref- centage). pitch of the beep stays constant erable. Once the antenna was and it is actually quite loud. This properly aligned, we performed is a big plus for an installer work- a typical automatic channel scan TECHNIC ing near a busy street and not much like in a standard satel- DATA necessarily in the backyard of lite receiver. The quality of the Distributor Satman Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada someone’s house. If you can do video was surprisingly good. The E-mail without the loud beeps, Trimax colors were much better than Tel +1-204-661-3279 included the ability to shut the in the laptop we were using to Model Trimax SM-2200 audio off by pressing the F2 key. write this test report. Even the We checked a few other satellites audio was quite acceptable con- Function Hand-held Satellite Signal Meter and tested FTA and scrambled sidering this was such a small Symbolrate 2-45 Ms/sec channels, high and low symbol unit. We really didn’t expect to DiSEqC yes, 1.0 rate (over 2 Ms/sec); the meter find such high quality in a signal Display 3.5” TFT LCD TV screen locked onto every signal without finder. When you start flipping any problems. through the channels, you can’t Satellite Input male “F” connector With the audio muted we help but think about taking it USB Interface yes had to rely on the screen rea- with you on your next camping Internal Power Source Rechargeable 1950mA battery douts. Trimax added a practical trip. Watching TV under a tent? External Power Supply 90-240VAC/50-60Hz sun shade to their carrying bag Why not? — 06-07/2008 — TELE-satellite & Broadband 51