During a recent pixel war
I did experiment with bypassing the relay. It turned out that the problem was in the STB so I didn't pursue the bypass project any further. However, I think the idea is quite feasible.
The symptom of a bad relay is the failure to display cleanly after doing something that cycles the relay. The relay changes when any of the following is done:
1) power up the Dish 5000 (activates)
2) switch to menu and back (cycles)
3) switch channel to OTA (deactivates)
4) use the Dish 5000 timer (cycles)
As you said, recycling the relay a bunch of times can fix the problem temporarily.
Unfortunately, the relay is totally enclosed with shielding. Using lots of solder wick I managed to get the lower shield off and expose the connections to the circuit board. It's a simple C-form relay with the modulator output connected to the wiper. Bypassing the relay contacts is easy, but the OTA connector can't be used anymore.
BTW, while I was messing with this, I plugged the modulator into the Dish 5000 without
it's case or the lower relay shield, and it worked just fine while I was poking around with test leads etc. Looked like Frankenstein's Monster.:)