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TEST REPORT

Hand-held Satellite Meter

SATFINDER 5
HD Slim
measures DVB-S/S2 signals with NIT and fast
realtime spectrum analyzers
supports USALS and UNICABLE systems
Update software and database via USB
memory
up to eight transponders can be received and
presented simultaneously
high-resolution display with very good
readability
pre-programmed transponder database can
be edited right on the meter

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TEST REPORT

Hand-held Satellite Meter

Handy, Practical, Precise


The new SATFINDER 5 HD
Slim from Alpsat Elektronik is

transponder and channel lists.


The

integrated

battery

of this device, which is always

the preferred unit for signal

a good sign.

level measurements and video

a decidedly small and handy

comes with a capacity of 2400

Lets have a look now at

satellite meter that only meas-

mAH and cannot be removed

whats inside this neat little

An option we particularly

ures 18x10x4 cm and weighs

from the meter. It makes sure

device. Alpsat has opted for

appreciated was that the SAT-

no more than 0.8 kg and

the SATFINDER 5 HD Slim

an 800 MHz processor that can

FINDER 5 HD Slim can be set to

that already includes the bat-

stays operational for up to

draw on 8 MB of cache and 512

increase its LNB power supply

tery. All this makes it a perfect

three hours before it needs to

MB of RAM. In total, the SAT-

by one Volt, something that is

companion for use even in the

be recharged. Once that be-

FINDER 5 HD Slim boasts 5000

greatly beneficial with extreme

trickiest of places.

comes necessary it does not

transponder entries, 8000 TV

coax cable lengths because it

Take it in your hand for the

take longer than two hours to

and radio channels and 250

makes sure enough voltage

first time and your eyes will

reach full capacity again for

satellite entries.

arrives at those remote LNBs.

probably stay glued to the 3.5-

mobile operation.

inch TFT high-resolution (960-

When you call up the main

output.

Another

solution

worthy

of

Alpsat Elektronik throws in

menu youll see that it con-

special mention are the three

right

a 12V DV power pack for use

sists of two entries for basic

available status menus that

away. It is one of those rare

with the mains or a car pow-

settings one takes care of

can be accessed to find out

examples that provides excel-

er outlet, as well as a hugely

all

settings,

the current state of the RAM,

lent readability even in direct

practical protective cover with

while the other one deals with

the remaining battery capacity

sunlight. Below the display the

carrying strap and an F-type

all general settings. Those in-

and the voltage supply to all

manufacturer has placed a to-

angled plug that allows rotat-

clude the usual suspects, such

available components.

tal of 12 buttons for operating

ing the satellite IF input by 90

as OSD language. You can

Not only does the SATFIND-

and controlling the SATFINDER

degrees. Of course the meter

choose between a wide list of

ER 5 HD Slim offer an exten-

5 HD Slim. All of them come

is shipped with a user manual,

languages:

with easy to grasp labelling

and in this case it comes with

German,

and some have more than a

helpful pictures and a useful

French,

single function depending on


the menu that is accessed.

540px)

colour

display

The top side of the meter

satellite-related

English,

Turkish,

sive pre-programmed channel

Russian,

list, it also comes with excel-

Arabic,

lent satellite and transponder

overall layout. Working with

Dutch, Italian, Greek and last-

entries that reflect the high

this manual you wont need to

ly Serbian. Further options are

effort put in by the manufac-

Spanish,
Portuguese,

be a pro for getting the knack

turer. A total of 159 European,

features a satellite IF socket

American and Asian satellites

for connecting the cable from

are available, complete with

the reception system, as well


as a TRS socket that becomes
a fully-fledged AV interface
with the help of an adapter
cable. On the bottom side you
will find the 12V DC socket for
connecting the external power
unit/charger and a USB socket
that can be used to update
either the meters firmware
or the pre-installed satellite,

05-06/2015
SATFINDER 5 HD Slim
Extremely responsive meter
for evaluating up to four transponders
simultaneously

www.TELE-audiovision.com/15/05/alpsat

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transponder

to manage the supply voltage

data. Whats more, all entries

to the LNBs according to your

can be edited and new entries

requirements. Either you leave

can easily be added directly on

it entirely to the meter de-

the meter a welcome change

pending on the currently se-

from many other meters that

lected frequency or you can

require a PC to perform those

manually select 13V, 18V, 21V,

tasks.

13V+22kHz or 18V+22kHz.

corresponding

58 TELE-audiovision International The Worlds Leading Digital TV Industry Publication 05-06/2015 www.TELE-audiovision.com

As far as LOF parameters

After a touch of the OK but-

are concerned, Alpsat went

ton the SATFINDER 5 HD Slim

the whole hog and offers pre-

will present the currently re-

set values for the Ku, Ka and

ceived signal spectrum right

C bands, as well as less fre-

away. The selected frequency

quently used LOFs and SCR

and the scale of the y-axis

frequencies. This adds up to

can easily be changed at any

almost

pre-programmed

time using the cross-shaped

settings, and in case the one

navigation button. Once you

youre looking for is still not

have identified a signal peak

among them youre more than

you simply press the OK but-

welcome to manually enter

ton again for the meter to ana-

any valid frequency you may

lyse that particular frequency.

require.

It only takes a few seconds for

30

Once all initial settings are

the SATFINDER 5 HD Slim to

completed we can now turn

find out the originating satel-

to aligning and optimising a

lite and the channel provider,

satellite antenna. For a first

as long as those data are be-

approximate

the

ing transmitted in the NIT via

SATFINDER 5 HD offers a sat-

satellite or are available in the

ellite search as well as spec-

internal memory of the meter.

trum mode. For both options

When you have found your tar-

it makes sense to first select

get satellite using this method

the desired satellite on the list

which really worked like a

and then check whether all

treat in our test you can then

pre-set parameters are indeed

conveniently analyse and eval-

correct. At this stage it is also

uate every single frequency

possible to change the LOF and

with a satellite search.

alignment

to activate DiSEqC commands.

When doing this, the SAT-

With the SATFINDER 5 HD sup-

FINDER 5 HD Slim does not

porting all DiSEqC protocols

only indicate signal quality and

from 1.0 to 1.3 you obviously

signal strength, but of course

have all options and possibili-

also C/N ratio, BER and MER.

ties at hand to make full use of

A thing we found very useful

that feature. It is even possible

is an option to change the de-

1. Main menu of the SATFINDER


5 HD Slim from Alpsat
2. Selecting the desired satellite from the comprehensive
pre-programmed database
3. Signal measurement
4. Signal measurement with all
relevant reception parameters
5. Pre-programmed channel list
of the SATFINDER 5 HD Slim
6. All DiSEqC protocols are
supported, including those for
motor-controlled antennas
7. Spectrum display
8. Various spectrum display
option
9. Selection menu in multitransponder view
10. Multi-transponder view
11. Constellation diagram
12. Cross-polarisation measurement

10

11

12

sired transponder, satellite or


even DiSEqC setting right here
and there, without needing to
go back to where we started.
What this means is that once
the antenna is roughly pointing in the right direction, users can move on to fine-tuning
the system. To that end, the
SATFINDER 5 HD Slim has a
number of tools available such
as cross-polarisation measurements, constellation diagram
and multi-transponder measurements.
What

cross-polarisation

measurement does is help you


receive signals from orbital
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18

positions that are relatively far


away from the southernmost
reception spot of the antenna.
The best possible reception
level for both the horizontal
and vertical polarisations can
be achieved by rotating the
LNB around its axis. While doing so, the SATFINDER 5 HD
Slim continually measures the
reception level of a frequency
with 13V and 18V LNB supply

14

19

voltage and indicates measured peaks for direct comparison. This way it is almost
childs play to adjust crosspolarisation for optimum reception.
A

constellation

diagram

provides visual clues regarding the received signal: The


closer together individual image points are positioned and
the closer to the centre of the

15

20

diagram they are located, the


fewer errors the received signal has. Apart from the constellation diagram itself, the
SATFINDER 5 HD Slim also
shows the C/N, BER and MER
values, which is a great feature that supports the visual
clues with hard facts.
One thing the SATFINDER 5
HD Slim is particularly good at
is its satellite transponder con-

16

21

trol measurements, for which


it offers two different modes:
One looks at four transponders
at a time, the other one checks
out eight transponders. All reception parameters are presented both in a numeric and
a visual way, which helps tre-

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22

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13. Automatic satellite and


transponder detection
14. Multi-transponder view of
two transponders on two different satellites
15. Both DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.1 are
supported for Auto DiSEqC
16. It only takes a few seconds
for Auto DiSEqC to correctly
identify all connected signal
leads
17. Channel list with live TV
18. Selecting the desired satellite for TV and radio reception
19. Editing the channel list
20. All satellite and transponder entries can easily be edited
and new entries can be added
at any time
21. Editing a transponder entry
22. System settings

mendously with aligning an an-

satellites simultaneously! This

noticed that some pre-stored

the individual ports, no matter

tenna using transponders with

can truly take the horror out of

transponder data were out-

which DiSEqC protocol is used.

varying signal strength. And

aligning a multi-focus antenna,

of-date so we strongly recom-

If you have to deal with large-

na alignment went just as

thats not even the best part:

which is an awesome achieve-

mend you first check and if

scale distribution setups and

smoothly. With the help of

This simultaneous presenta-

ment. Please note, however,

necessary update all data

complex

multi-transponder

tion of different transponders

that the meter takes some five

before

parameters is not restricted to

seconds until the reception

transponder measurement.

one satellite at a time, but can

parameters of all eight tran-

Another feature you may

be used with two satellites

sponders are refreshed, so you

want to look at is Auto DiSEqC.

which is to say the SATFINDER

should make a point of moving

5 HD Slim can present up to


eight transponders from two

23

DiSEqC

configura-

Fine-tuning

the

anten-

ferent hardware components


alone account for some of the
deviation.
And were still not fully done

measure-

yet. The SATFINDER 5 HD Slim

tions on a regular basis, Auto

ments of two, four or eight

sports fully-fledged TV and ra-

DiSEqC will significantly re-

transponders at a time it was

dio reception functionality for

duce your workload.

childs play to add an addi-

SD and HD channels coming

After we had looked at all

tional LNB to our Wavefrontier

in as DVB-S or DVB-S2 sig-

Using it the SATFINDER 5 HD

features and functions of the

antenna. But this feature also

nals. So if need be, the SAT-

the antenna slowly and only

Slim will detect all satellite po-

SATFINDER 5 HD Slim in the-

proved its worth when it came

FINDER 5 HD Slim can easily

one step at a time. We also

sitions whose signals are led to

ory and from the comfort of

to setting up a conventional

be used as a mobile satellite

our test center, it was time to

ASTRA 19.2 East/HOTBIRD

receiver whenever youre out

wander outside to our antenna

13 East combination.

and about. You should bear in

performing

multi-

27

the

mind, however, that the built-

of offset antennas, some of

question remains whether the

in display of the meter can

them motor-controlled. Using

actual

results

present pictures from exter-

the new SATFINDER meter we

provided by the SATFINDER

nal sources, but not video and

wanted to find out how it per-

5 HD Slim are also accurate.

music.

forms in a real-world job. The

Well, we matched them to the

To sum up, the SATFINDER

first thing we noticed was that

results given out by one of our

5 HD Slim from Alpsat Elek-

the display remained perfectly

professional meters and could

tronik fully met out expecta-

readable even after rays of sun

not detect any significant de-

tion and then some. What we

had found their way through

viation. Obviously, the data

particularly loved was the tun-

the cloud cover. If truth were

are not 100% identical, but

ers swift reaction to all signal

told, the contrast of the display

the difference always stayed

changes, as well as the multi-

is best when out of the sun,

within a tolerable margin. Dif-

transponder view.

farm. There we have a number

24

transponders we threw at it.

28

After

all

this

praise

measurement

EXPERT
OPINION

SATFINDER 5 HD Slim
Hand-held Satellite Meter

RECOMMENDED
PRODUCT BY

Thomas Haring
Test Center
Austria

+ Comprehensive pre-programmed transponder database


Swift reaction of the tuner to changing reception parameters
Multi-transponder display
Accurate signal measurement
Very light and handy
Wide range of features, including and radio and TV reception for
HD and SD channels
Preprogrammed transponder database is updated every 3
months at www.satfinder5.de

Tools are required to exchange the built-in battery

but we were definitely able to


clearly read all content even
in direct sunlight. As could be
expected, antenna alignment
was an absolutely hassle-free
affair, with the spectrum display reacting very swiftly to all
signal changes. This meant we
were able to speed up antenna

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movement along the Clark Belt


without risking missing a satellite position. And while were
at it: We did pause at regular
intervals so that the SATFINDER 5 HD Slim could take a moment to analyse the odd signal peak in the spectrum. As a
matter of fact, the meter correctly identified five of the six

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23. System settings


24. Three dedicated menu
items of the SATFINDER 5 HD
Slim provide details on internal
memory use, battery state and
voltage supply
25. Information on the internal
memory
26. Information on the battery
27. Information on the power
supply
28. DVB-S SDTV reception
29. DVB-S2 HDTV reception
30. The USB port can be used
to present pictures on the
meters display, to update and
save the pre-programmed
databases, and to perform an
update of the operating system
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