PC-OPI pointing tool
by Don Bradner
PC-OPI is a tool which provides Signal Strength and Cross-Pol values without opening a browser window or using any of the modem tools like Antenna Pointing or Registration Installer. It does not require that you own an OPI meter, or check the OPI box in any setup screen.|
Most importantly, PC-OPI provides greater audio and visual feedback than any of the modem's built-in utilities.
When the program opens, it connects to the modem and begins displaying signal strength. If the signal is below 31, the background will be red, otherwise it will be green. If there is no connection to the modem, the program will display N/A against a red background.
Start by placing the window where you want it to display. Near full-screen provides the largest visual display. Since there is no title bar on the window, move it by left-button-dragging anywhere on the window itself. Resize by positioning the mouse over a corner and then left-button-dragging the corner. The program will remember the position and open next time to that position and size.
Next decide what audio you wish to use. Your choices are Silent, Voice, and Tone. Make your choice by right-clicking anywhere on the window and using the pop-up menu. There is a Voice Choices menu that will show you compatible voices installed on your computer. If you have no choices available, or want more choices, Google for 'Microsoft Voices' to find downloadable ones. You need voices for Microsoft SAPI version 5.1.
Buttons on the lower right of the screen allow you to start a Pointing operation, or a Cross-Pol validation, either Manual or Auto. Remember that starting a Cross-Pol will break any internet connection you have already established, until an Auto has completed with a PASS.
The Point button is necessary to lock the transmitter out while you are aiming the dish. When you click the Point button, another button labeled Stop will be visible. If it does not show up, click the Point button again until it does. If all you are doing is observing the signal it is not necessary to click the Point button.
When you start a Manual Cross-Pol, the Stop button will again be visible. Manual Cross-Pols continue until they are stopped. If you fail to stop one, it may continue even when the program is exited. Always stop a manual cross-pol when you are done.
After a Manual Cross-Pol, the display will typically be 0. You should follow the Manual with an Auto - your connection will not be correct until you pass an Auto Cross-Pol.
In a worst-case scenario if the program is not performing correctly, and leaves your connection unusable, use the standard Antenna Pointing option in the modem's advanced screen to run Manual and Auto Cross-Pols as necessary to restore the connection.
You can download the PC-OPI program here. The download is a simple install program to register the few necessary components.
Some versions of Windows may find that the Voice Choices dialog will throw a 429 error. If that happens, download and install SapiInstall.zip here. Run it to install the Microsoft Speech DLL. This will not add any voices - if you find that you don't have any voices when you are done you can download the Microsoft Speech SDK directly from Microsoft. This is a huge file at 68MB, but it will give you Microsoft Mary, Mike, and Sam.
For support with this program, contact the author through the forums at www.datastormusers.com
About the author: Don is a semi-retired pet shop owner and long-time programmer who runs this site for the fun of it.