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  1. 1. TEST REPORT Satellite Signal Analyzer Horizon NanoSat Horizon NanoSat A small but powerful signal analyzer for the do-it-yourself digital satellite system installer The days where an offset antenna and LNB required a sizable withdrawal from your bank account are over. The two or three work hours that an installer needed to set up and align an antenna system are also fading away. Today the trend is more towards doing it yourself and thanks to more powerful DTH (direct-to-home) satellites, this is easily possible. But there still remains one problem: if you‘re using a cheap signal level meter you‘ll quickly realize that while turning the antenna, this meter will consistently display signal peaks. As a simply hobby installer, how are you supposed to know which one of the many satellites in orbit your antenna happens to be pointing to at that moment? There are several more or less good Internet web sites that can calculate azimuth and elevation values for your antenna but even that information isn‘t as simple as it sounds. won‘t get you In the end only a few of us very far if you have the good fortune to want to receive the have their desired satellite ASTRA2 satellite at 28.2° directly to the south (to the east. Up until now many of north if you live in the south- us resorted to using a signal the digital receiver would be to and could further adjust ern hemisphere). For the level meter, a digital satel- connected and the different the antenna as necessary. average European, depend- lite receiver and a satellite transponder entries would But not everyone is lucky ing on where he lives, the transponder list. The trans- be scanned for a usable enough to be able to install southern-most satellite ponder list was used to pre- signal. If you had a little luck their antenna on a balcony could be EUTELSAT W3A at program the receiver with and the signal quality dis- or in a backyard; some have 7° east, EUTELSAT W2 at the transponder data of var- play on your receiver lit up, to install it on their roof. 16° east or ASTRA at 19.2° ious satellites. If the signal you now at least knew what This problem requires a dif- east. Unfortunately, this meter identified a satellite, satellite you were pointed ferent solution. 62 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 12-01/2010 —
  2. 2. 12-01/2010 HORIZON NANOSAT Ideal for the speedy alignment of satellite antennas ■ TELE-satellite Test Editor Thomas Haring adjusting a 90cm offset dish using the NanoSat Naturally, there are an lyzer that could cost as much assortment of professional as a small used car? That‘s signal analyzers on the doubtful, and if he did, then market such as those we he could also afford to have have here in our test facility, a professional installer do but would a normal end-user the work for him. Even an who needs to do a one-time enthusiastic RV‘er would balk antenna alignment spend at such a large investment; the money on such an ana- he would find other means to — 12-01/2010 — TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine 63
  3. 3. TELE-satellite World Download this report in other languages from the Internet: Arabic ‫ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻴﺔ‬ Indonesian Indonesia Bulgarian Български Czech Česky align his RV satellite antenna If you‘re installing a satel- German Deutsch English English to his desired satellite. If you lite antenna, you would also Spanish Español Farsi ‫ﻓﺎﺭﺳﻲ‬ look at a professional signal be running a cable from the French Français Hebrew ‫עברית‬ analyzer a little closer, you‘d receiver to the LNB. Greek Ελληνικά quickly notice that it operates Croatian Hrvatski Italian Italiano through dozens of functions Horizon was very clever Hungarian Magyar Mandarin 中文 that are more geared for the here: the NanoSat is Dutch Nederlands Polish Polski professional user but are installed between the LNB Portuguese Português Romanian Românesc otherwise not really needed and receiver inline with the Russian Русский Swedish Svenska when aligning to a DTH sat- coax cable. The cable from Turkish Türkçe ellite. The British company the receiver is connected to Available online starting from 27 November 2009 Horizon, familiar to our read- one of the F-connectors on ers for its innovative line of the NanoSat while the coax lyzer and one single large to first highlight some of its signal analyzer products, cable included in the Nano- button to select the desired functional capabilities. The recognized this problem and Sat package is connected satellite. The entire unit is NanoSat comes with internal designed a completely new to the second F-connector protected in a very practical memory with the capacity to signal analyzer. Its basic on the NanoSat and routed pouch that can be kept on store transponder data from requirements were simple: to the LNB. The receiver is the analyzer since there are up to four satellites. The it must be extremely easy to then turned on, thus supply- cutouts for the display, the NanoSat came delivered to use, it must support the end- ing power to the NanoSat via button and the connections. us with the data from ASTRA user as best as possible while the coax cable. The selected A detailed user manual is 19.2° east, HOTBIRD 13° installing an antenna and it channel doesn‘t matter; the also included that clearly east, ASTRA2A 28.2° east has to be affordable. The NanoSat can work with either and precisely describes the and ASTRA2D 28.2° east end result was the NanoSat. 13V or 18V. functions of this new Hori- already pre-installed. The zon signal analyzer. And to NanoSat consistently scans Everyday Use You won‘t find an assort- make sure that the end-user for active signals from one The NanoSat is a light- ment of buttons providing wastes no time in getting to of these four satellites. If it weight device and at access to a multitude of fea- work, Horizon also included recognizes one of these sat- 14x9x4cm is not all that tures or operational modes, a satellite IF cable as well as ellites, it first displays arrows big. It‘s a featherweight at and wouldn‘t you know it, a USB cable in the package. to indicate the direction to 230g thanks in large part to you really don‘t need them! Also very practical are the the desired satellite, that is, the absence of an integrated What you will find is an easy- two protection plugs to help whether the antenna needs power supply. No power to-read 128x64 pixel LCD prevent damage to the con- to be turned to the east or supply? You must be asking display at the top of the ana- nectors. Before we continue to the west. The number yourself at this point, how testing the NanoSat, we‘d like of arrows shown indicates could this possibly work? how far the antenna is from The answer is quite simple. the desired satellite; four arrows represents the fur- thest distance, three arrows is closer, two arrows is very close and one arrow sug- gests the antenna is nearly on top of the desired sat- ellite. Once the antenna is aligned with the proper satellite, an audio tone can be heard allowing the fine- tuning of the antenna. On the right side of the screen are signal bar graphs; the higher the bar graph, the better the received signal. If the signal strength is as high as it will go, that is, the 64 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 12-01/2010 —
  4. 4. bar graph display can‘t go used an antenna with suffi- any higher, simply tighten cient gain, we were not able the screws and your antenna to achieve a full-scale read- is perfectly aligned. ing on the signal quality bar graph. There‘s a very good ■ Satellite configuration data being For our tests we used a reason for this: Horizon has transferred from a PC to the NanoSat Kathrein CAS90 90cm offset no idea what size antenna will antenna. Not much effort be used with their NanoSat of Europe wants to use the ellites such as TURKSAT 42° was needed to connect the meter so if it gave a full-scale NanoSat or what if some- east, THOR 1° west, SIRIUS signal analyzer to the LNB display above a certain MER, one wants to align their 5° east or EUTELSAT W3A and receiver. We loosened then with a larger antenna it antenna to some other sat- 7° east. Thanks to the USB several mounting screws would be nearly impossible ellite? Horizon included a interface, the NanoSat can and started adjusting the to find the optimal antenna USB interface in the Nanosat be used anywhere in the antenna. It was quite clear position. Instead, the Nano- exactly for this reason. With world and can be repro- that for us here in Vienna Sat adjusts itself based on the help of the included USB grammed by the user as the southernmost satellite the measured MER and the cable, the NanoSat can be often as needed. was Eutelsat W2 at 16° east signal level and reduces the linked with a PC. Software and that we could very easily signal quality display cor- containing configuration We here at TELE-satel- find the very popular ASTRA respondingly. So the goal data from various regions lite were quite impressed 19.2° east. But we wanted when tuning the antenna is can be downloaded from with Horizon‘s NanoSat. It to approach this task as not to get a full-scale read- the manufacturer‘s website. is small, handy and simpli- would a beginner and began ing on the meter but to get By the time the NanoSat is fies the alignment of a sat- to adjust the antenna arbi- the highest possible read- introduced to the market, ellite antenna for beginners trarily. ing and adjust the antenna preprogrammed settings as well as for professionals. accordingly. for the Americas, Asia, Aus- It is also perfect for use in We set up ASTRA 19.2° tralia, Africa, etc. will be aligning RV antennas. It was east on the signal analyzer The user manual also available. Also being worked never this easy to quickly as the desired satellite and describes the fine adjust- on is configuration data for and precisely align a satel- then started to move the ment of the antenna very other popular European sat- lite antenna! antenna. The user manual clearly. As soon as the cor- recommended adjusting the elevation setting to roughly rect satellite is identified, the user is instructed to Expert Opinion 5-10° below what the actual move the antenna just far + antenna elevation angle enough to the east and west Small, handy, completely reliable and easily should be. We then began until the signal is lost. The expandable thanks to the USB interface. Measure- moving the antenna from point in between these east ments were correct and even with a professional east to west or vice versa. and west limits is the optimal signal meter there was no noticeable improve- Thomas Haring After each movement from azimuth setting. The same ment in the signal. Its lightweight 230g made it TELE-satellite Test Center one side to the other, the procedure is used for eleva- especially easy to handle. Austria elevation was slightly raised tion and LNB skew. and the antenna movement - repeated. To our surprise, After this first triumph, we None the NanoSat meter using this wanted to make sure and method showed quite clearly try it again. This time we that we had passed HOTBIRD switched the NanoSat to the TECHNICAL 13° east and that we had to ASTRA2A 28.2° east position DATA Manufacturer Horizon Global Electronics Ltd., Unit 3, move the antenna to the east and managed to also find West Side Flex Meadow Harlow, Essex, CM19 5SR, to find ASTRA 19.2°. this satellite in no time at all. United Kingdom It became clear that even a Tel +44 (0) 1279 417005 The displayed arrows professional signal analyzer Fax +44 (0) 1279 417025 were quite helpful and over used in this special appli- Web just a short period of time cation would not do much Email fewer and fewer arrows better for us. We adjusted Model NanoSat were shown until the audio the antenna in both cases Function Handheld Satellite Meter for fast and easy Dish Alignment tone came on indicating with a professional signal Frequency range 950~2150 MHz we had found ASTRA 19.2° meter and could not notice- Reception Mode DVB-S east. We quickly fine-tuned ably improve the signal. Items included Carry case, USB cable, Sat-IF cable, 2 protective barrels, the antenna and discovered Satellite region packs download via Internet something very interest- Naturally, the next ques- Dimensions 140x90x40mm ing: Even though ASTRA is a tion that comes to mind is Weight 0.23kg very strong satellite and we this: what if a user outside Display 128x64 Pixel LCD 66 TELE-satellite — Global Digital TV Magazine — 12-01/2010 —