TEST REPORT                   Satellite Meter with TV

     The New SatCatcher DigiPro
                 Excel-TV MK3
For as long as we can think back, our                                  house SatCatcher software                   DigiPro...
to manually enter a transpon-      responding Azimuth, elevation
■ SatCatcher Software showing a selection of locations                        ■ Checking transponder entries

  52 TELE-sa...
the spectrum peaks. Still not          does not display. If you             the spectrum display, which                DiS...
out any external power supply          we had mounted the LNB and             single day. But SatCatcher                  ...
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  1. 1. TEST REPORT Satellite Meter with TV The New SatCatcher DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 Fully-fledged Signal Meter with TV display 10-1 1/2009 SATCATCHER DIGIPRO EXCEL-TV MK3 Easy and self-explanatory – a device for laymen and pros alike 48 TELE-satellite — Broadband & Fiber-Optic — 10-1 1/2009 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  2. 2. For as long as we can think back, our house SatCatcher software DigiPro Excel-TV MK3, which application. Our package also is something we cannot praise magazine’s ‘agony aunt’ has always came with a comprehensive highly enough. One part of this received tons of letters and mails from user manual in English, even laudable strategy is using four though SatCatcher’s global function buttons right below readers struggling to correctly align distribution partners will ship the display. They are labelled their satellite antennas. We were able the device with instructions in F1 through F4 and can be to help solve hundreds of problems, the respective local languages used for a variety of opera- to make sure each customer tions, each of which is clearly but more recently the single biggest receives the manual in their described in the lowest display issue has been the increasing absence own language. line right above each button. In addition, there are seven of analog channels, because being As far as connections are easily readable function keys stuck with digital signals only can easily concerned the DigiPro Excel- in all the right places, as well TV MK3 features a satellite IF turn into every satellite enthusiast’s input as well as a RCA video as arrow keys and a number pad with buttons from 0 to 9. nightmare. output on the top side and the power socket for the exter- As soon as you switch on the Up until a few years ago and some design refinements, nal power pack as well as an unit with the large and not-to- almost every satellite had which resulted in the new interface for PC connection on miss power button the meter still transmitted at least some model DigiPro Excel-TV MK3. the bottom side. displays the main menu from analog channels which could where the various sub-items be used as points of reference Nothing has changed on The overall quality of work- are easy to access. Thanks when moving the antenna. You the outside. The SatCatcher manship leaves a very good to the wonderfully efficient simply selected the appropri- DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 still impression, supported by small function keys major items can ate channel on the receiver comes with an extremely but very welcome details such also be accessed with a single and slightly moved the heavy-duty aluminium carry- as a warning message and touch of a button rather than antenna until the appropriate ing case which is foam-coated automatic switch-off in case a by navigating through the dis- channel appeared on screen on the inside. This makes short circuit occurs along the play menu. (faintly and full of video noise sure the device is safe even signal line to the LNB. first, but improving after some when the going gets tough Even though the SatCatcher antenna adjustment). every once in a while. While Everyday use clearly is a measuring device we didn’t try to find out how SatCatcher generally does for more sophisticated use, With digital receivers this safe this protection really is not ship their satellite meter the manufacturer has still is not possible any longer. we nonetheless are convinced with a fully charged battery, attempted to design a clear Their signal strength indica- the SatCatcher will not be which means that accord- and self-explaining menu tors react too slowly when the damaged if dropped several ing to the manual the built-in structure. The DigiPro Excel- selected transponder is finally meters, thanks to its carrying battery needs to be charged TV MK3 has various operating found, and the level of signal case. for approximately five hours modes, like signal measuring, strength and quality they dis- before use. The test model we spectrum analyser or TV dis- play is frequently rather unre- The meter itself is covered were sent, however, was ready play. The latter is a feature liable. Waiting for a channel with a robust cloth lining fea- to go and we could begin our we usually only expect from to gradually appear on screen turing openings for all con- tests right away. top-of-the line products with doesn’t lead anywhere either, nections as well as a flap for because with digital you either protecting the 128x64 pixel a correspondingly high price. have a perfectly clear picture LCD display. We have spe- What strikes the eye at first Thanks to the implementation or none at all. cial praise for the included sight is SatCatcher’s effort of newly available innovative sun visor which can easily be to use as few buttons and technology SatCatcher has British company SatCatcher attached to the cloth cover of switches as possible for the managed to make this avail- has quickly identified this the SatCatcher and which is a market gap and launched godsend for reading the dis- an easy-to-use measuring play even in direct sunlight. TELE-satellite World www.TELE-satellite.com/... Download this report in other languages from the Internet: device with excellent value Arabic ‫ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻴﺔ‬ www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/ara/satcatcher.pdf Indonesian Indonesia www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/bid/satcatcher.pdf for money, which helps align- In addition, the aluminium Bulgarian Български www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/bul/satcatcher.pdf Czech Česky www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/ces/satcatcher.pdf ing an existing antenna to any carrying case has room for German Deutsch www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/deu/satcatcher.pdf available satellite in next to no the internal battery’s char- English English www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/eng/satcatcher.pdf Spanish Español www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/esp/satcatcher.pdf time at all. What’s even more, ger, an adaptor cable for Farsi ‫ﻓﺎﺭﺳﻲ‬ www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/far/satcatcher.pdf French Français www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/fra/satcatcher.pdf this new device doesn’t cost connecting the device to the Greek Ελληνικά www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/hel/satcatcher.pdf you a fortune. About a year on-board power supply in cars Croatian Hrvatski www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/hrv/satcatcher.pdf Italian Italiano www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/ita/satcatcher.pdf ago we tested the SatCatcher and trucks, a cable to con- Hungarian Magyar www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/mag/satcatcher.pdf Mandarin 中文 www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/man/satcatcher.pdf DigiPro Excel-TV MK2 (TELE- nect the device to a PC as well Dutch Nederlands www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/ned/satcatcher.pdf satellite issue 08-09/2008). In as a serial->USB adapter in Polish Polski www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/pol/satcatcher.pdf Portuguese Português www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/por/satcatcher.pdf the meantime the manufac- case your PC is not equipped Romanian Românesc www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/rom/satcatcher.pdf Russian Русский www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/rus/satcatcher.pdf turer has not rested on its lau- with a serial interface. The Swedish Svenska www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/sve/satcatcher.pdf rels but rather implemented a driver required comes on CD, Turkish Türkçe www.TELE-satellite.com/TELE-satellite-0911/tur/satcatcher.pdf Available online starting from 2 October 2009 number of user suggestions which also includes the in- www.TELE-satellite.com — 10-1 1/2009 — TELE-satellite — Broadband & Fiber-Optic 49
  3. 3. to manually enter a transpon- responding Azimuth, elevation der of ASTRA2 at 28.2° East, and polarisation angle param- but why bother if the DigiPro eters. In addition, a compass Excel-TV MK3 lets you do it inserted on the display shows the easy way? the approximate position of the correctly aligned antenna. Speaking of helping hands, Please note, however, that the we should like to emphasise meter’s geographic location that the SatCatcher’s pre- has to be set first to make stored list features individual sure these calculations can be parameters for various polari- performed correctly, as the sation and sometimes even DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 does not for different satellites sharing have a built-in GPS receiver. the same orbital position. A dedicated settings menu is This is a very convenient available for entering the loca- feature, considering that indi- tion data, which can easily be vidual co-positioned satel- obtained from Google Earth, lites may have dramatically for example. Alternatively, you different footprints and con- can decide to connect the sat- sequently might be unavail- ellite meter to the PC before able at certain locations. Just aligning the antenna and to take the classic example of run the SatCatcher software ASTRA2D at 28.8 East in Cen- provided on CD-ROM. With tral Europe. While its signals this application it is easy to able in the more affordable The nicely up-to-date inter- come in perfectly with only a find your location on a com- models as well. nal data memory of the DigiPro 60cm dish in Great Britain and prehensive list of cities and Excel-TV MK3 includes all sat- 90 to 120 cm are sufficient countries. Which satellite ellite positions between 45° for reception in France and East and 34.5° West so that it Germany, a huge 2.4 meter Once we had finished set- equipment is easy to find the correspond- antenna would be required ting the antenna’s elevation is supported? ing entry on the memory list. to collect signals at the TELE- correctly we simply started The SatCatcher DigiPro Incidentally, SatCatcher even satellite test center in Vienna/ moving it until the peaks in Excel-TV MK3 is a truly univer- provides a pre-programmed Austria. the spectrum analyser display sal satellite meter which sup- list of global transponder become more pronounced and ports all DiSEqC protocols and data which features informa- So once we had selected – above all – until the white can therefore be used in any tion for positions outside the the satellite we wanted, the line signifying the chosen possible reception set-up. range specified above. Alter- DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 started ASTRA2 28.2° East transpon- natively, it is always an option right away to calculate the cor- der was right in the middle of This means that a single antenna can be correctly aligned as easily as a com- plex DiSEqC 1.1 design with up to eight LNBs, a DiSEqC 1.2 or 1.3 (USALS) motorised antenna, a monoblock LNB with DiSEqC 1.0 switch or the somewhat more complicated SCR technology (Unicable). As the saying goes: the sky’s the limit! Even the LOF can be entered manually so that all frequency bands and ranges from the C band all the way to the S band can be thrown at this neat device. Aligning the antenna At first we attached the meter to a standard 80cm offset antenna with a single LNB, which needed to be aligned towards ASTRA2 at 28.2° East. 50 TELE-satellite — Broadband & Fiber-Optic — 10-1 1/2009 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  4. 4. ■ SatCatcher Software showing a selection of locations ■ Checking transponder entries 52 TELE-satellite — Broadband & Fiber-Optic — 10-1 1/2009 — www.TELE-satellite.com
  5. 5. the spectrum peaks. Still not does not display. If you the spectrum display, which DiSEqC, sure if you’ve got it right? Well, prefer to adjust your antenna allow a close examination of just use the ‘Check’ function to without constantly keeping individual signal peaks. When motorised find out whether the antenna an eye on the satellite meter working in spectrum analyser antennas and is aligned to a satellite and is receiving a usable signal. you can of course rely on acoustic representation of mode we noticed that the dis- play reacts quickly and with SCR (Unicable) the signal strength as well. hardly any lag at all. As mentioned above the However, we’re still in doubt In this case the pitch of the SatCatcher DigiPro Excel- whether the satellite we’re tone increases as the signal Apart from spectrum pat- TV MK3 is compatible with receiving is actually the one gets stronger. terns, the unit is capable of all DiSEqC protocols. With we’re looking for. The solution storing measurement results, DiSEqC 1.0 up to four satel- is simple: As soon as a signal To summarise, the DigiPro which is helpful with moto- lites can be received, with is detected and the DigiPro can Excel-TV MK3 helped us align rised dishes to determine this number rising to eight lock the found transponder the antenna within no more whether recent antenna if DiSEqC 1.1 is used. Motor the corresponding information than a few minutes and a check movements have improved protocols DiSEqC 1.2 and 1.3 pops up on the display. Now all with the meter confirmed that or deteriorated the recep- (USALS) are also dealt with you have to do is change to TV we had not only hit our target, tion of the westernmost and flawlessly and with the single mode to see the first available but also achieved the best easternmost positions. Up to touch of a button a DiSEqC channel. It should be noted, possible reception quality. 40 entries can be stored in motor moves the dish to the that this works only with free- the SatCatcher DigiPro Excel- all important zero position. to-air channels, as the DigiPro Function key F2 with the TV MK3’s memory, each of Alternatively, the SatCatcher Excel-TV MK3 does not come labelling “Save” features which can be filled with either satellite meter can command with a CI slot for pay TV smart prominently in both the spec- a spectrum pattern or mea- antenna movement to the cards. trum display and the menu for surement data. East or to the West, even with- fine-tuning. What it does is We checked the results save the spectrum pattern of a against information obtained satellite, which is an extremely from www.SatcoDX.com and smart feature that we fell in were pleased to discover that love with at first sight. we hit ASTRA2 at 28.2° East spot on. This allowed us to Once a pattern is saved it proceed to fine-tuning right can be inserted over the cur- away. A separate menu item rently received spectrum in is available for this procedure future every time the antenna and displays two large bars needs to be re-aligned. So if for signal quality and signal the need arises to align the strength, as well as the values antenna again to a particular for CBER (Channel Bit Error satellite, all you need to do Rate), VBER (Viterbi Bit Error is move the antenna until the Rate) and signal level with C/N stored and the current spec- (Carrier to Noise Ratio). trum patterns match. There can hardly be an easier way of We would also have appre- re-finding a satellite. ciated the MER (Modulation Error Rate) which the DigiPro We also highly appreci- Excel-TV MK3 unfortunately ated the four zoom modes in ■ Calculation of azimuth, elevation and polarization angle www.TELE-satellite.com — 10-1 1/2009 — TELE-satellite — Broadband & Fiber-Optic 53
  6. 6. out any external power supply we had mounted the LNB and single day. But SatCatcher transferred to the device with thanks to the built-in battery. activated Unicable mode sig- made it very easy to change only a few mouse clicks. The Aligning a DiSEqC motorised nals from HOTBIRD 13° East or add transponder data on- SatCatcher software even cal- dish with the SatCatcher started flowing in. site. The installer can easily culates the selected satellite’s DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 turned change every parameter of a Azimuth, elevation and polari- out to be real fun rather than Let’s add some general transponder or add a new one sation angles directly on the tiresome hassle and the whole remarks about this handy new with a few buttons. Most other PC (provided the application process went about much satellite meter now. Through- meters on the market can not knows your position, which speedier than with many pro- out our test we noticed the be fully controlled by the user can be determined using geo- fessional meters we have tried surprisingly high capacity this way and we can just praise graphic coordinates or select- in the past. Now we can really of the battery. Not once did SatCatcher for making it so ing a city or country out of a say good-bye to the times that we have to interrupt our test easy for the user. list). required a team of two for for charging and it wasn’t adjusting DiSEqC motors. before the DiSEqC motor test But of course the DigiPro To sum up, we can clearly that we realised that moving Excel-tV MK3 can also be state that the SatCatcher Since we happened to have the antenna frequently does updated by PC; SatCatcher DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 is an set up a small SCR (Unicable) indeed draw a lot of power has chosen to add an interface absolutely worthwhile alterna- distribution system with two from the battery. Overall, how- for connecting the device to tive to professional measuring different matrices for another ever, we were using the device a PC. In combination with the devices. It provides all rel- test this gave us ample oppor- for almost four hours free of included software application evant features and can easily tunity to verify the manufac- any external power supply. all transponder data can then be programmed. Thanks to its turer’s claim of full Unicable This might easily be a record conveniently be edited on the implementation of all DiSEqC compatibility. Would it deliver achievement among satellite PC, or you may turn to www. protocols and also the SCR as brilliant results as SatCatch- measuring devices! satcatcher.com in regular inter- standard even professional er’s other features? vals for updated satellite and installers needn’t look any fur- In addition, the low-thresh- transponder lists which can be ther. All we really had to take note old tuner proved its worth of was that Unicable commands 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the SatCatcher whenever weak satellites came into play. It helped aligning the Expert Opinion DigiPro Excel-TV MK3’s menu antenna with a C/N as low as + correspond to SCR commands 3.5 dB. The ‘Utilities’ menu is The SatCatcher DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 is easy 0, 1, 2 and 3. Once that was the place to go for customising and self-explanatory to use while still offering a established we quickly hooked the SatCatcher DigiPro Excel- wide range of helpful features. Apart from spec- up the meter to our SCR matrix trum analysis this device is also capable of show- TV MK3 to individual require- ing measurement results on its display and can and went on to connect two ments. In case you cannot or Thomas Haring even be used to watch TV channels. All DiSEqC TELE-satellite more receivers. It came as do not want to use the PC soft- protocols are supported and SCR (Unicable) is Test Center no big surprise that the satel- ware you can enter your local available as well. Transponder Settings can be Austria lite meter delivered first-rate geographic position here. In changed manually very easily. results as long as these two addition, a pre-defined period additional receivers remained of time can be selected after - switched off. The moment of which the measuring device The only thing that makes the SatCatcher DigiPro Excel-TV truth only arrived as soon as turns off automatically if not MK3 short of perfect is the missing MER analysis. they had been turned on. And used, which helps increase voilà, the SatCatcher DigiPro battery life. Excel-TV MK3 still displayed TECHNICAL a brilliant TV picture after the When we looked for a way to DATA appropriate frequency had change the default language, Distributor SatCatcher, Unit 7 Salvesen Way Hull, East Yorkshire, UK HU3 4UQ, United Kingdom been selected. however, we did not find any Tel +44 (0) 148 222 15 77 such option. We finally came Our verdict: SCR commands across a statement on the man- Email sales@satcatcher.com and SatCatcher form an excel- ufacturer’s website saying that Model Digipro Excel-TV MK3 lent team. One of SatCatcher regional distributors will add Frequency range 930~2150 MHz advertising claims is full com- localised software before ship- Level range -65 dBm ~ -25 dBm patibility of the DigiPro Excel- ping. This way customers will Input resistance 75 Ohm TV MK3 with Unicable LNBs receive the SatCatcher DigiPro Symbol rate 2~45 Ms/s provided by Italian pay TV Excel-TV MK3 with on-screen DiSEqC Yes (1.0,1.1, 1.2, 1.3) platform Sky Italia. Never texts in their own language. SCR-Standard Yes believe a claim without verifi- Power supply Up to 5 hours without recharge cation, we thought, and called Transponder Supplied items Fold away sun visor, Software CD, User guide, up our colleague at the Ital- ian Test Center of TELE-satel- Settings Mains charging unit, Car charger, P.C. Connection cable, USB converter (optional) lite to arrange for a Sky Italia Transponder data stored in Dimension 250x120x60mm LNB to be sent to Vienna. And the DigiPro Excel-TV MK3’s Net weight 0.8kg what can we say – it was yet internal memory is subject Gross weight 1.6kg another test the SatCatcher to change, as dozens of tran- Working temperature 0°C ~ +40°C DigiPro Excel-TV MK3 passed sponders are switched off, Display 120x64 3.5“ LCD color display with flying colours. Soon after turned on or modified on each 54 TELE-satellite — Broadband & Fiber-Optic — 10-1 1/2009 — www.TELE-satellite.com