The Satellite TV

He said…

Mariel and I haven’t had cable or satellite TV for quite a while now – we’ve survived solely on Netflix (and a few months ago we got a free subscription to Amazon).  But we knew these options weren’t going to work for us on the road. So, I’ve been researching the satellite TV options lately. Thankfully(?) our RV came with a Winegard Roadtrip Mission RTS-40B satellite antennae which works with either the Dish or DirectTV system.

Since Dish provides HD channels and we had experience with that system a few years back, I determined that we’d go with them. Once I figured that out, I started looking at the various receivers that we could use. A jump onto the roof of the RV and a quick disassembly of the satellite dish dome, I changed some dip switch settings so that the antennae would work with the Dish network (it comes from the factory set for DirecTV).

Since the receive will actually be stored behind the bedroom TV, I wanted a receiver that had a radio frequency remote vice the infrared remote.  The remote needs to be able to send the signal through the cabinetry and television while we’re watching the TV. This means that we’re locked into the Wally receiver.

Researching the prices – I found that you could get the receiver for anywhere from about $60-100. And then we’d be looking at getting the programming that starts at about $40 and sky rockets upwards based on the channels we wanted.

Then something popped up that I hadn’t really considered before.  It turns out that if you already have a Dish setup for your home, you can get an extra receiver for $7/month for your RV.  Amazingly enough, we are currently in a driveway of someone who happens to have a Dish setup in their house.  With their permission, we got the receiver. Since we wanted the Wally receiver, we paid an extra $65 to get it shipped to us. Now our monthly bill will only be $7.

It got to us in just two days! Very quick shipping.

Now to set it up…

Things seemed to start well enough. Until, that is, we the system setup screen got stuck on a page where it was “preparing to download software”. The page said it’d take less than 20 minutes – I waited over an hour. Time to do some internet research.

Apparently, you can’t set up the Wally using an RV satellite dish; at the least it’s a common problem trying to set it up in an RV. It needs to be set up using the home dish and then you can move it to the RV. No where in the documentation does it say this!

So into the house I went. Disconnected their setup and connected up the Wally. That didn’t work; it stayed stuck on the same screen.  So time to call up the customer support.

Both of them were very friendly. Yep – the basic tech support guy did what he could and it didn’t help. The advanced guy won the day however.

So what were the troubleshooting steps?  Reboot the machine and wait. Disconnect the receiver from “this” coaxial cable and attach it to “that” coaxial cable (both of which went to the same satellite dish). After 45 minutes on the phone (with about 10 minutes of that waiting on the reboots and 20 minutes waiting to see if the software would download) the receiver finally connected to the satellites!

Now… to see if I can unplug it from the house and then move it to the RV.  Fingers are crossed as I type this…  the satellite antennae on the roof is buzzing.  I’m feeling a little apprehensive – should I go look at the TV to see if it worked?

Bummer… spent longer than five minutes waiting for it to acquire the signal. Unplugged and then plugged in the receiver… see how that works…

Arghh! Five minutes has long gone…

Well now, what’s next?  There are two coaxial cables coming from the satellite dish – I chose to hook up the cable that said “1” on it.  I decided to see what happens when I plug the cable that said “2” on it… Finally the signal was acquired.

Now the system is supposed to take less than 10 minutes (so says the TV screen) to download the guide! Unfortunately… it’s been longer than that!  So time to pull the plug and reset the machine – AGAIN.

Arghh! Yet another wait!

Hmmm… now I’m wondering if the rain/clouds are causing the problems…  It’s not affecting the satellite in the house; but maybe the RV system is more delicate?

Alright.  I did a factory reset – maybe starting over will help.

Research on the internet tells most folks to reset a switch. Unfortunately every screenshot and manual I’ve seen does NOT match what I see with the Wally’s setting’s screens.  Eventually, I found it though. I needed to reset the switch via a “Test Installation” button.

First I did it with the satellite cable disconnected (to clear out all the old settings) and then with the cable hooked back up.  I even went back and hooked up cable “1” again to see if it would work.

Waiting on a check switch…

I finally got it working!  Man – what a major pain in the #$%!  An hour or so last night and about three hours this morning and I prevailed.

Nothing is plug-n-play anymore!

All of that pain – so, as Mariel so sarcastically indicated, we can watch commercials! I guess we’ve been spoiled the last few years with just Netflix!