Eventually, no matter how carefully we choose, we all encounter a campsite with too many trees (from a satellite setup point of view). Trees, buildings, mountains, and more all pose a problem when trying to find a clear spot to aim your dish. This is often complicated by using the newer HD dishes which require that you hit 3 satellites to get HD TV. At times, that window of clear sky can be hard to find.
Now there is a extraordinary tool you can add to your bag of tricks. A new app for iPhones is called DishPointer Augmented Reality Apps. Check out any line of sight issues with this iPhone App. Just point your iPhone at the sky, tilt it until you get the right angle, and then switch on the the camera preview. If there is a clear sky right at the center of the screen, you’re good to go. Simple, but very effective.
This app has recently been approved and is now available. Apple just needs to clear the iTunes caches around the world and it should be visible on the iTunes store.
This is the next generation satellite finder: Point your iPhone anywhere towards the sky and see all the satellites lined up on the live video screen! At a glance, you’ll see where the satellites are and whether any trees or buildings are blocking the line of sight. This is essential when setting up multi-lnb dishes. Doing a site survey and setting up a dish is going to be a much easier with this app. This is a truly useful augmented reality app for the professional and diy enthusiast alike.
The app uses the gps, accelerometer, and the compass of the new iPhone 3GS. Just move the phone up and down and left and right and the satellite arc will follow the live video on the display. The compass has a bit of a lag, so when doing quick sideway movements the satellite arc is trying to catch up. It then settles into the correct position.
Expect this app to be released with the iPhone OS 3.1 update. In the meantime check out the other DishPointer apps.
This is how to use it:
- Once you know which direction to point the dish (see the DishPointer Maps or DishPointer Compass iPhone apps), hold your iphone up with the camera facing the sky. The angle at which you’re holding it is displayed on the screen. In addition, the two satellite positions at this elevation and location are given. (Fig. 1)
- After you’ve found the right angle, hold the iPhone steady, tap the camera button and focus at the center of the screen. If there are no obstacles at the center of the screen In the camera preview, there are no line of sight issues. If there is a tree or a building, you will have to find another location for your dish. (Fig. 2)
- If you choose, you can then take a picture, and a target cross is overlaid at the center to verify clear line of sight to the satellite.
To get a better feel for how it works, watch this video.
The App sells for about $20.00 and is being developed to work with other applications in addition to iPhone. Check out the DishPointer website for current information.
This app will work very well with our Heavy-Duty Tripod. Simply aim the tripod as usual and hold your iPhone over the top of the tripod. Point the iPhone in the direction of the center line on the eZee-Aim scale. Be sure to hold the iPhone over the tripod approximately the same distance as the distance to the center of your dish (from the top of the tripod).
Now you will see the satellites exactly as your dish will "see" them. If there are trees in the way, it will be clearly visible. Just move the tripod to another spot and try again.
Setup just got much easier.
Thanks, and a "tip of the hat" to Stephen W. of Melbourne, FL for bringing this neat app to our attention and Alan S. of DishPointer for the photos.
Photo courtesy of DishPointer Fig.1
Photo courtesy of DishPointer Fig. 2