bob at stratton.NET
Mon Jan 23 21:06:41 CST 2006
On 2006-01-23 17:35, "Alex Fraser" <beatnic at comcast.net> wrote:
> A whole new wasteland to explore.....
> How hard is it to aim the dish? Are rotators expensive? Can you use a
> bigger dish to catch satilite where you ain't in their footprint? Looks
> like I'll be pouring some concrete in the spring. How far can you run
> cable from the dish?
It's a lot of fun. I became addicted to the hobby, especially DSNG (digital
satellite news gathering) feeds after I put up my first steerable Ku-band
Aiming the dish is a little more challenging than pointing a DBS dish. The
main catch is that your receiver needs a current list of active
transponders, and you need to remember to choose one (or more) of them for
the particular satellite you're trying to sign in. If you imagine a thing
the size of a school bus, 22,000 miles away, shining a spot light at your
dish, you get some idea of the miracle you've accomplished when you
successfully receive IA 5 (formerly Telstar 5) for the first time.
There is a technology called "USALS" or "Goto X" in the DiSEqC dish motors
(which run between $50-125). It makes this whole process MUCH easier. You
simply ensure your pole is absolutely plumb, point the dish at your
Southernmost satellite, and program your lat/long coordinates into the
receiver. It will determine the arc for all of the other satellites with
You can also simply hand-steer (with the receiver's remote) the dish to
satellites of interest and hand-store the specific satellite locations into
the motor's memory locations.
I'd strongly recommend something larger than an 18" DBS dish. You won't get
very good results with anything under 76cm, as the non-DBS satellites don't
have quite the EIRP that the Dish/DirecTV flamethrowers have. A 1 meter or
1.2 m dish will do very well for most Ku-band DVB signals destined for North
You can go with a PCI receiver card, but there's something to be said for a
basic FTA (free-to-air) MPEG DVB receiver when you're first starting out.
It's nice to be able to drag the receiver and a small TV out to the dish
location when you're sighting it in. Fortec Star is a manufacturer of some
decent receivers. Pansat receivers are pretty good as well.
If you're really into flexibility you might also look at the Dreambox 7000,
a linux-based receiver. There are loads of user-contributed code loads and
plugins (such as for web browsing and streaming internet audio) out there
for it. It's not for the faint of heart or the complete newbie, but is very
configurable. It's based on an IBM Power set topbox chip set.
The folks at the satforums.com MPEG/DVB forum are VERY helpful, and even
have get-togethers on occasion (which are streamed). You can learn a lot
Some reputable vendors I've used for DVB or other Ku-band gear are:
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