Can I reuse DirecTV equipments for FTA?

Discussion in 'Free To Air (FTA) Discussion' started by mozillafilefix, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. mozillafilefix

    mozillafilefix Thread Starter Member

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    Hello Gurus,

    Well, I am a newbie in the FTA community but I am not shy to ask dumb questions: I am doing some research to set up my first FTA set and I am lucky enough to get an abandoned 36" DirecTV international dish (with two LNBs removed) and an old DirecTV receiver for free from one of my friends. I am yet to connect and turn on the receiver but I would like to know if these two items can be reused for my FTA setup? -- I have done some research in various forums and my best guess is that I can probably use the dish but I am not sure about the receiver. Any information/instructions would be appreciated.

    In addition, I would like to learn how I could know what satellites the old DirecTV dish was intent for? Can I judge it by anything possibly found on the dish (e.g. model number / SN)?

    The third question is, once I know this old dish's specifications, for example, originally for 95W and 101W, can I use it for other satellites, e.g. 97W and 103W?

    Thanks a lot and have a wonderful weekend!
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  2. mastermesh

    mastermesh Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    You can use the dish but won't be able to use the receiver unless you sign up again... and will need a new lnb... I have an old direct tv reciever that came with the house when I moved in - was just collecting dust in basement... one time was able to find 101 with it before going hardcore in to real fta... you can do that too, but don't expect to see anything without an actual subscription... may possibly be able to see the channel logos and some of the info on what channel is what, etc., but within 30 seconds or so it'll probably go black on you and give a big notification thingy that says you need a subscription... this sort of experiementing might give you an idea on how to set up a dish, etc. and look for signals before you go in to real stuff... That dish should be able to pick up lots of stuff once you have a new lnb on it and a real fta receiver... the lnb needs to probably be changed unless you are just going to aim at dbs satellites to get stuff like the fta NASA channel on 119w.

    Direct TV and Dish Network lnbs use 11250 (i.e. DBS) and other linear satellites use another type of lnb - either "standard" or "universal"... if you get an invacom quad, like I ended up getting, it can do both dbs and linear... so you can see stuff on both the dish network if channels are fta and the other fta satellites as well... going with a plain ol universal or standard without the extra dbs lnb parts on the invacom quad will just get you the ability to see fta on non-dbs birds.
  3. mozillafilefix

    mozillafilefix Thread Starter Member

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    Thanks a lot mesh. Yes I do plan to purchase two universal linear LNBs for the dish. But I am not pretty sure how two LNBs work with the same dish -- my best guess is that the dish may not be in perfect circle shape (which has just one focus) but instead is a combination of two arcs (focused to the places where two difference LNBs sit), am I right?

    Thanks for your information! -- Too bad that the old receiver won't work.
  4. Anole

    Anole SatelliteGuys Guru

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    Here is a nice list of DirecTV dishes.
    Yours sounds like the one to the far right.
    You can click on it for a bigger picture and more info.

    The juice-can LNB to the left was linear, and "L" shaped LNB to the right of the picture was circular.
    If you have any of the mounting brackets, then installing your own LNB will be easier.

    There are a number of recent threads around on mounting LNBs (even two LNBs) onto dishes which are missing their LNB mounts.
    We can direct you to those threads (with pictures), if that turns out to be what you want.

    I'll have to agree with MasterMesh that the receiver you have is useless.
    Further, even trying to use it to aim a dish would be just a distraction.
    You'd be better off focusing on what you really want to achieve.

    You mention wanting to have two LNBs.
    Did you have two particular birds picked out?
    I'll assume you've read enough of the threads here to have run across this list of FTA satellites, their programming and languages.
  5. mozillafilefix

    mozillafilefix Thread Starter Member

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    Thank you Anole. Well I am just playing this and that things for fun and I think it will be cool to have a simple yet working FTA setup. As long as I can pick up some free channels to show off to my neighbor, any bird would be fine :p

    Yes, my old dish is exactly the one on the far right. So I think I can start with 95W and 101W birds as a safe start? I also checked lyngsat and learnt that the free Ku channels of these two birds are from China and US respectively, which is a good combination for showing off :eureka

    The only worry is on the skew setting as I also read from some other posts (URL forgotten) that it is nearly impossible to change skew with this dish. I am in central US and my satfinder program tells me skew values of only -3.2 for Galaxy 3C and 5.6 for AMC 4, I guess the signal lose might not be a big problem if I just keep my LNBs un-tilted?

    BTW any good suggestions on a basic sub-$100 FTA receiver?

    Thanks again -- and sorry for more dumb questions :eek:
  6. TiminMb

    TiminMb Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    Make sure you get one with blind scan. Makes things a lot easier. Sadoun had some deals on demo models. Take a look at their site.
  7. techno935

    techno935 Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    Mozilla, it's a good dish to have for flexibility purposes. Since the spacing is 95 W and 101 W on the international dish (6 degrees) I calculated the ability for using it on G10 with the linear already installed and replacing the circular LNB with a linear for 129 West so I can get White Springs TV.

    Most likely your International (World Direct) dish will come with an Eagle Aspen LNB/Feedhorn assembly. The throat size is close enough to that of standard circulars which will allow you to place another Eagle Aspen feedhorn on the Circular fitting of the dish. Therefore, you'll have 2 linears. Next, my summer project:

    Getting rid of the Aspen LNB and replacing with an Invacom because the Aspen has a 0.9 noise figure and I'd rather have a lower figure from the Invacom.


    As for receivers less than $100, the only one I know of less than $100 is a Buzz receiver. I don't even know if that thing has a blind scan. I recommend a Coolsat for beginners. I have the 4000 and Iceberg helped me through the whole thing cause he has a Coolsat 5000 which is almost the same software.

    As for skew, the dish has a skew setting in the back. Looking from the back of the dish, the left LNB is the 101 west and the right LNB is the 95 west. In my case, 129 west and 123 west. I may end up getting an Invacom as well on the 129 side not only for White Springs, but also for E* who FTE a channel on 129 circular as well.
  8. mastermesh

    mastermesh Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    Pansats are pretty cheap, and not too hard to use... I use a pansat 3500sd.
  9. Iceberg

    Iceberg We're here....RUN!!!! Supporting Founder

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    The dish has to skew because you're working with 2 different LNB's...

    But it should work. Now the LNB where 95 normally is will be fine but the 2nd one may not have a good of signal since its off centre. (THe stronger DBS satellites this isnt as much of a concern but KU it is)
  10. mozillafilefix

    mozillafilefix Thread Starter Member

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    Thanks all for your insightful points. Regarding LNB, any one has experience with this GT-S40? Is it really a 0.2db one? Thanks again.
  11. Iceberg

    Iceberg We're here....RUN!!!! Supporting Founder

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    I don't trust many of the db ratings. I've used a ExpressVu (when they were linear) .6 or .7db and it did BETTER than some .4db LNB' s :)
  12. techno935

    techno935 Active SatelliteGuys Member

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    To add on, that LNB looks like a cheapie but give it a shot. For $10 it may be ok.
    I would hope Invacom would be excluded from that notion that db's mean nothing! I'm sure it is, everyone here has been happy with an Invacom so far.


    That LNB is a universal so make sure you set your settings correctly.
  13. bobvick

    bobvick Pub Member / Supporter Pub Member / Supporter

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    I too have a DirecTV 36'' intl dish. I was wondering if someone could please tell me what freqency I need to put the LNB at in my settings (I am going to run it on a Coolsat 7000) menu. Also, since I am just going to point at galaxy 10, and just use one LNB will I still have to skew the LNB? I plan to use the Aspen Eagle linear LNB that came with the dish.

    Thanks
  14. Iceberg

    Iceberg We're here....RUN!!!! Supporting Founder

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    The LNB LO frequency would be SINGLE and 10750 (I assume the menu setups on the CS7K is the same as my 5K) ;)

    Yes you still have to skew the LNB or dish because its fixed. If it was motorized, then no you do not skew the LNB (or dish). Those 36" dishes should have skew options on the back. You could also rig up a DBS LNB for the free audio on 119 too :)
  15. bobvick

    bobvick Pub Member / Supporter Pub Member / Supporter

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    I went to Satellite look-angle results for to calculate my look angles. It gives me a skew (site calls it LNB angle) of 40.5. How to I calculate how to turn the dish, the skew settings on the back of the dish does not have a 40.5 degrees. Do I add or subtract 40.5 from 90 degrees?

    Thanks
  16. Iceberg

    Iceberg We're here....RUN!!!! Supporting Founder

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    I assume it would be add since the west coast the skew is near 0 for G10 so you must be on the east coast or so.

    From behind the dish turn the dish CLOCKWISE so the left side is higher than the right side (again if you are behind the dish)
  17. bobvick

    bobvick Pub Member / Supporter Pub Member / Supporter

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    Thanks alot, I will try it when I get home from work. I am in west Alabama by the way, so I am a lot closer to the east coast than the west coast :)

    Thanks

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