Direcway

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Smoky

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How do I get started figuring out how to buy and set up a Directway Internet system?  And what is the difference between Direcway and Datastorm?

The more I look into the whole idea of fulltiming, the more I believe I will need satellite Internet access.
 

Ned

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DirecWay is the internet service from Hughes.  Datastorm is the 2 way internet antenna made by Motosat.  For the best source of information on the various options you have for mobile DirecWay come on over to www.datastormusers.com where many users and dealers participate.  The dealers you'll find there are all excellent and the users have many years of experience in internet by satellite.  Just like here, but with a much narrower focus :)
 

Ron

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Smoky,

Difference between direcway and Datastrom is about $3000 more for the equipment and $40.00 per month more for the Datastorm which is automatic deploy and stow. The direcway is? manual setup.? Both use the Direcway internet sat connection.
 

Smoky

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Ron and Ned:

After reading the Datastormusers forum I am more confused than ever.  Pretty technical place and not very user friendly for the newbie.

I was envisioning something lower on the scale like direct TV.  With Direct TV I can, on my own, take my little tripod and dish and meter and have it fully operational in about 60 seconds.

But when I read that nerdy datastormuser forum it seems as if you have to either have a dealer install the Direcway, or else become a certified installer yourself they talk about cross pol, polarization, and all kinds f nerdy things and make it pretty clear that it is NOT like Direct TV which I ca set up myself very quickly wit no fuss.

Am I missing something here?  I suddenly became very intimidated by that forum.  If it is that difficult to do, I may have to depend on the Verizon back door for my Internet access.

Ron, your previous posts to me made it seem rather easy.  Maybe you can coach me through this.  Will the same signal meter I use to tune the Direct TV dish work with the Direcway dish?  Will my same Wineguard tripod that I use for my Direct TV dish also support the Direcway dish?

Will I have to hire an installer to realign my dish every time I travel to a new location?
 

Tom

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Smoky

Putting Datastorm aside for a moment, since its all automatic and you appear to be talking tripod/manual setup .....

It can appear confusing, but is really straightforward. The modem has to be initially commissioned by a certified installer, and we have at least one certified installer on the forum. The installer will provide the necessary training to allow you to re-position your dish, and a number of folks on the forum do just that every time they move their RV. The process is actually quite straightforward, although it requires you to go through a defined process, all spelled out in the training you receive as part of the initial installation.

The system comes with what's called an OPI meter which you'd use instead of the "marriage saver" meter you use for DTV. Although there are other meters available on the market that provide some additional functionality, the OPI meter does everything you need. The entire process involves:

  • Pointing the dish per a set of parameters that are based on zip code. This is similar to DTV, except you also have a third "skew" parameter, which is merely the angular rotaion of the dish.
  • Optimizing or tweaking the dish position to obtain maximum signal.
  • Running the cross-pol test which, when done in automatic mode, merely involves clicking a link on your computer screen.
  • Some additional dish tweaking, if necessary.
  • The remainder is handled by the software in the DW6000 modem

Don't be intimidated by technobabble. Once you've done it a couple of times, it will become second nature. It takes longer to get the tripod and dish out of the storage bay and hook up the wires than it does to do the remainder. Ron is also a good teacher and can walk you through the process in person until you can do it blindfolded.
 

Smoky

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Great Tom!

Looks like a training session to be scheduled at Sam's camp.  :D

What are the pros and cons of buying used from eBay?
 

Tom

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Smoky

The main thing I've heard about buying used is that you should get the serial number of the modem and call DW to make sure it has been decomissioned. If not, and if the seller has an outstanding bill, I'm told you inherit the bill with the purchase of their modem. Of course, you don't know the condition of the equipment you buy via ebay. I'm told DW is very good about sending out replacements if something goes bad, at least for the initial owner; I don't know if they would also do that if you purchase a bad unit on the used market. I chose to play it safe and bought new.

Sam's Camp would be an excellent opportunity for you to receive commissioning and training.
 

Ned

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If the datastormusers.com forum seems technical, it's because the subject IS technical.  Setting up a 2 way satellite ground station is much more complicated than pointing a receive only TV antenna.  The purpose of that forum is to educate users and potential users on the technicalities.  Since it involves satellites, there is some rocket science involved :)

If you want the simple answer, the Datastorm is a one button setup but costs more.  A tripod system requires technical skills (many have learned them, even Tom :) ) to setup and costs less.  You pay your money and you take your choice.  Is that non-techy enough?
 

Karl

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Smokey,

The DirecWay dish is considerably larger and heavier than the DirecTV dish, so the tripod most people use for DirecTV won't be sufficient. A good surveyor's tripod is your best bet because it's a lot beefier and will get your antenna up to (or near) the 6' requirement set by Hughes/FCC. Some DirecWay sellers/installers include a device called an Align-A-Sight which you mount temporarily on the top edge of the dish. Comes with a bracket already mounted on the dish for easy installation/removal. The procedure is quite simple: You get the azimuth, elevation, and skew settings from the software on your computer, set the Align-A-Sight with those values (it has two vial levels and a compass built in), mount it on the antenna, and swing/adjust the dish to correspond to those settings. That will get you in the ballpark. Then you use the OPI for final dish adjustments in order to pass the cross-pol test. Once that's done, you're online. The first few times will take a while, but with experience you'll be doing it in just a few minutes. As was said before, be VERY careful if you purchase used thru Ebay or any other source. You don;t want inherit someone elses troubles or debts! :mad: ?
 

Tom

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A great 1-line answer Ned, and there's nothing to compare with Datastorm for ease of setup. However, I see no technical knowledge necessary in the setup of the newer tripod units (can't speak for the DW4000 systems). Most of the stuff is done automatically in the DW6000 software.
 

Tom

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Smoky

Forgot to mention that there are also user-friendly support groups without the technobabble that you'll be introduced to. Your installer will also be only a phone call away  :)
 

Ned

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As in all things technical, an understanding of what the procedures are doing is important.? A poor setup will result in poor performance at best, and interference with other users on the same transponder at worst.? If you don't understand why ACP is necessary, then you will not be able to perform the procedure correctly, other than by pure luck.

There is no more technobabble on datastormusers.com than on most of the other satellite internet groups.? The difference is most of the people on datastormusers.com know what they're talking about :)? There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, in all areas.

If anyone thinks that the datastormusers.com is a bunch of geeks, I've met many of the members (rallied with 60 other RVs last fall) and they are just like us.  Imagine that :D
 

Ron

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Smoky,

Setting up is not all that difficult. ?When I got my DW4000 three or so years ago I watched another framily member, with his and his installers permission, go through his training and install. ?I just watched, did not ask any questions or interferre in any way, observed only. ?Then this same framily member came up to Brenda where we were parked and set it up for the first time since his install. ?I again observed. When I went for my install I told them that I could do it without the training if they would let me I would set it up then they could check to see if I did it right. ?They allowed, I setup, they comissioned, and I went back to Brenda and have never had to call or ask about setup or problems since. ?I have called Direcway once and that was to order my DW6000 upgrade.

There are at least 12 of the framily that have Satellite internet. ?Five of them have Datastorm automatic system and at least seven of us have the manual systems. ?There will be around nine DW systems in the framily at the upcoming Rally in Moab. ?

Setup of the DW4000 and DW6000 is pretty much the same. ?Biggest difference is the DW software is on your computer with the 4000 and ?in the modem on the 6000. ?Antenna alignment is the same. ?
 

Ned

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The DW4000 is no longer available except as used.  I don't recommend anyone get other than the DW6000 today.  Especially if someone is confused by technobabble :)  I can set up a DW6000 on the phone, a DW4000 is very difficult.  Remember yesterday?
 

Ron

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Two different things Ned.  The setup of the 4000 is just as easy as the 6000 for internet.  Setting up a wireless is more difficult.  But it does work and once set up correctly, in my case by you, it works fine until you change something.  In my case I wouldn't have upgraded to the 6000 had I not had another reason that had notheing to do with the performance of the DW4000. 

Setting up the DW 4000 or DW6000 is not really rocket science as far as pointing the dish and getting on the internet.

 

Ned

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The DW4000 requires software be installed on the users computer and that make it more difficult.  The networking just compounds the problems.

Pointing isn't rocket science, no, but an understanding of the process insures that the user doesn't settle for less than optimal performance which CAN impact other users.  If a user isn't going to put out the effort to understand what has to be done, then they should opt for the one button solution which doesn't require any technical knowledge.
 

Ron

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Ned,

Not much chance affecting others with either the Datastorm or manual setups since the transmitter does not become active until an acceptable crosspol is achieved.? With either system the transmitter is disabled untill an acceptable signal strength and automatic cross pol test is passed. Additionally an automatic cross pol is accomplished every so often to insure nothing has changed.? If the signal is degraded for any reason to cause a unacceptable number of dropped packets the auto crosspol will be initiated and the transmitter disabled until the condition is corrected.? FWIW I have never failed a automatic cross pol test during setup or at any time after setup.
I have seen two users 1 manual and 1 with a Datastorm that could not get crosspol to pass in Great Falls Mt.  That was because in both cases they were on 117, same sat as I am on, which is near the edge of the footprint in the upper half of MT.  I was able to get the manual system crosspoled and on line.  The Datastorm user didn't think I could help him and never did get on line before he left.  All the guy with the Datastorm guy would have had to do is get his Satellite changed to 99 which he probaly ended up doing since they were on their way to Seattle.
 

Ned

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It is possible to pass ACP with a less than optimal alignment and that creates excessive lost packets and retransmissions that waste the limited bandwidth on the transponder.  This affects other users.

As for your experience in Great Falls, without knowing what version of the Hughes and Datastorm software I can't comment.  Early versions did not work nearly as well as the latest versions.  Early software would at times not find the optimal configuration and fail.  Even so, IF the user were fully cognizant of how the aiming procedure works, the Datastorm could be manually pointed, just like a tripod mounted antenna, and sucessfully pass ACP with an optimal configuration.  The only difference in a Datastorm and a tripod is the aiming mechanism.  You can manually aim a Datastorm too, but it's done from the dry warmth of the RV using the computer :)
 

Smoky

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Ned:

Excuse me but there IS technobabble on the datastormuser forum.? Likely over the years you have become immune to it. :D

Please do not take my comment as a lack of interest or ability.? I hold a degree in Physics and an extra class amateur license and held the original but now discontinued First Class Commercial Radiotelephone license.

My problem with that forum is that there is no easy entry point for a newbie.? I much prefer technical forums (like this one) that are organized in such a fashion? as to minimize entry shock? - lol.

That said, I must also explain that I am never embarrassed by showing my inexperience.? I can learn just as quickly and easily as the next guy.? But if I am confused or don't know something, I have always found it valuable to admit that, and work from there with no pretenses.

Ron, I am leaning towards purchasing the 6000 after reading all this.? Is the tripod extra?? Are you sure my Wineguard Direct TV tripod will not handle the load?? It never budged during a 60 mph wind a few months ago.? What is the cost of the surveyor tripod or does it come with the 6000?? Since I will be working with you at Sam's camp, should we take this private?  I need a good handle on what my total costs will be for parts, installation, monthly charges, etc.  The web site leads me to believe somewhere around $600 initial, and $59 monthly.
 

Ron

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Your present tripod is most likely not suitable for mounting the larger .78meter DW dish.  A heavy Duty surveyors tripod is recommended. Have sent you a PM.
 
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