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Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about equipment, repairs, and technical support. Just click on the links below to jump to the FAQ most relevant to your particular need. If you have other questions that are not addressed in this FAQ, please email your questions to us.

Downlink Antenna Size

Q) What downlink antenna size is generally recommended?

A) Basically, the bigger the better. Our experience indicates 3.7 meter (12 feet) antennas of solid reflector material generally give the minimum performance required for reliable reception. The 3.7 meter will provide the necessary gain and a narrower "beamwidth" for better sidelobe rejection of adjacent satellite interference. In addition, better rejection of terrestrial interference will be provided. Downlink footprint locations, particular satellite performance, type of transmission, and many other variables also enter into the equation when sizing downlink antennas.

Dish Condition

Q) How does the physical condition of my dish affect its performance?

A) The physical condition of the antenna is paramount to achieving necessary performance. Antennas should be checked annually to verify conformance with manufacturers' specifications. Buying an antenna and forgetting about it will only lead to problems down the road. Like all other equipment at the station, antennas go through wear and tear. Antennas must be checked to ensure optimal performance.

Snow Build-Up

Q) I get a lot of snow build-up in my dish that takes me off the air. Is there a relay in the receiver I can use to trigger an alarm when there is loss of downlink signal?

A) Yes, there is an alarm status relay that is part of the receiver. It changes state upon detection of a fault condition in the receiver. You can wire this function to alert you to downlink failures. Additionally you may want to invest in an antenna snow cover or antenna heating system. These items are readily available for most antenna sizes and manufactures.

Downlink Problems

Q) Whom do I call if I'm experiencing downlink problems?

A) Start with your network provider, which in most cases is your network uplink provider. Each network provider is the contact point for the affiliate's troubleshooting and repair. If necessary, your network provider will contact NPR Distribution Services for specific assistance and support.

Carrier(s) Status Check

Q) Can the network provider (uplink) get a check as to the status of their carrier(s)?

A) Yes, they can contact the Network Operations Center (NOC). The NOC is available 24/7/365. They have the ability to check the power and bandwidth of your carrier(s) and, in most cases, the ability (equipment) to decode your signal. The NOC is a vital source to uplink providers in helping you maintain the "health" of your network. The NOC may be contacted at 800.433.1283.

Equipment Problems

Q) Whom does the network provider call to assist with equipment problems identified in the network?

A) Each network provider can contact the Satellite Equipment Maintenance and Repair Depot. The Depot will work with them to identify equipment problems and, if necessary, will issue an equipment RMA# for repair. The Depot can be contacted at 202.513.2650.

Repair Status

Q) Can the network provider (uplink) check the status of a pending repair(s) at NPR Distribution Services?

A) Yes, the Satellite Equipment Maintenance and Repair Depot keeps detailed records in regards to the status of repairs. The network uplink provider only needs to have the RMA number that was assigned to the equipment in order to get detailed status information. The Repair Depot can be contacted at 202.513.2650.


Q) I have a DRO type LNB that's worked well on my antenna for years, can I re-use this for my new service?

A) No, the DRO - LNB is not suited for SCPC type operation. What's required is a PLL type LNB that is digital-ready. The phase noise and the stability of the PLL are superior to those of the DRO. It does cost more, but is well worth the investment.