11ft Fiberglass Dish - Star View Systems

Captain Midnight

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Anyone remember Sky View Systems fiberglass dishes? A friend just bought a house and is wanting me to take one in the back yard. It is 11ft and has a unique feed on it. Looks like an Az-El mount with hand crank. Crank is seized... Imagine that! LOL
It would certainly boost my signals compared to my 8ft mesh SAMI dish. Anyone know what era this dish is from? I'm assuming early '80s...

And any tips for taking it apart? It looks intimidating
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mikekohl

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That looks like it reads Star View, which was one of the first manufacturers of C-band antennas, going back to at least 1980-81. A dead giveaway is the original LNA, which from a distance appears to be an Avantek. Wholesale on those devices was over $700 in 1982. It is likely that the original purchaser probably spent over five grand on the system (without knowing what receiver was inside). Star View was either in Pocahontas, Arkansas or across the border in Southeastern Missouri. Stringing the reflector to check parabolic accuracy would be first on the list of things to do before spending money.

Early parabolic dishes such as this were built before much Ku-band activity, so it is unlikely you will have great results on that band. The prehistoric LNA and feed holder was designed for C-band, and 40 years later may be less than centered, plus the need to confirm accuracy of the reflector. You would be replacing the LNA and feed with some LNBF device, and some modifications will likely be needed to confirm the focal point. Once you have connected a live signal to a FTA receiver and checked performance on several satellites, you would then want to consider spending money on a new motor drive and positioner control. These were massive overkill systems that performed adequately in the early 80s, but the above areas (reflector accuracy, feedhorn and LNB replacement, and motor drive) will need to be checked and probably replaced. It is a heavy dish, so a massive amount of cement and effort would be needed to properly reinstall in another location. It might be productive to test things with new components in present location before disassembling---just to see if it works satisfactorily as is. Not something for a novice that does not have a local expert to consult...and you may have lots of questions for them and/or forums such as this. Be prepared to spend a lot of time from start to finish. Good luck!
 

907TECH

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Aug 29, 2018
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Looks like an Az-El mount with hand crank. Crank is seized... Imagine that! LOL

[/QUOTE]
This is a typical style of polar mount from the day, on the west coast the crank would be on the other side.
 

Captain Midnight

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Sep 16, 2019
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Greers Ferry, Arkansas
That looks like it reads Star View, which was one of the first manufacturers of C-band antennas, going back to at least 1980-81. A dead giveaway is the original LNA, which from a distance appears to be an Avantek. Wholesale on those devices was over $700 in 1982. It is likely that the original purchaser probably spent over five grand on the system (without knowing what receiver was inside). Star View was either in Pocahontas, Arkansas or across the border in Southeastern Missouri. Stringing the reflector to check parabolic accuracy would be first on the list of things to do before spending money.

Early parabolic dishes such as this were built before much Ku-band activity, so it is unlikely you will have great results on that band. The prehistoric LNA and feed holder was designed for C-band, and 40 years later may be less than centered, plus the need to confirm accuracy of the reflector. You would be replacing the LNA and feed with some LNBF device, and some modifications will likely be needed to confirm the focal point. Once you have connected a live signal to a FTA receiver and checked performance on several satellites, you would then want to consider spending money on a new motor drive and positioner control. These were massive overkill systems that performed adequately in the early 80s, but the above areas (reflector accuracy, feedhorn and LNB replacement, and motor drive) will need to be checked and probably replaced. It is a heavy dish, so a massive amount of cement and effort would be needed to properly reinstall in another location. It might be productive to test things with new components in present location before disassembling---just to see if it works satisfactorily as is. Not something for a novice that does not have a local expert to consult...and you may have lots of questions for them and/or forums such as this. Be prepared to spend a lot of time from start to finish. Good luck!
Thanks for the information. I'm in North Central Arkansas, about 3 hours from Pocahontas, AR. I meant to string test it today, but the weather turned gray. I'm curious on ideas to modify the feed to place a LNBF in place of the old LNA.
 

907TECH

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I'm curious on ideas to modify the feed to place a LNBF in place of the old LNA.
[/QUOTE]

If it was me, I would fashion a 3leg or 4 leg support with the legs connected to the rim of the dish. I find 4 legs to be a lot easier to work with than 3, maybe 1/2 inch EMT conduit or similar. You will need adjustment room to get the LNBF in just the right spot. You may need to use one a little ingenuity to find the exact focal point no way to know if it is correct. Make sure you get an LNBF that matches the F/D ratio of this dish, which is clearly quite "deep". I have switched out buttonhooks before with 4 leg supports, it is not too difficult. Quite a flashback there!

On second look, I wonder if you could shorten the 3 legs that are there now and fabricate the new feed?
 
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primestar31

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That's an old tv antenna rotator motor for changing polarity on the feed. I'd bet that dish has a very large mesh embedded in it, and is nearly worthless for today's C-band reception. Personally, I'd pass it up, as the work it'll take to maybe make it work, just isn't worth it.

There's plenty of much newer dishes out there for free or little money.
 

stogie5150

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Jan 7, 2007
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Slidell,LA
Those old systems were built like tanks. I have my parents first dish circa 1981 and it was so overbuilt it was just comical. The dishes themselves were so heavy they eventually droop like a teardrop, some of them so bad you can SEE it, much less the massive gap in the strings when ya string it!

I assembled the dish and was going to resurrect it, but not having a mount and not really interested in building one, I ended up taking the reflector apart and stacking it in the woods behind my house.

If that dish is all you will have and you want it, and can do the work thats going to be required, you'll be proud of what you achieve. I am with all my other dishes, every one save one I saved from the crusher. But make no mistake, and Mike said, its going to take a LOT of time, and a lot of work. And you arent at all assured of decent performance if you do everything perfectly.

there's a dish local to me here in Louisiana that a combination of old and a buttonhook feed. Its a solid and you can SEE that the dish is drooping like a teardrop from years of gravity taking its toll. I pass it all the time, and god help me I still want to go rescue the old girl and give er a whirl. LOL

Good luck on whatever you decide.
 
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Captain Midnight

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That's an old tv antenna rotator motor for changing polarity on the feed. I'd bet that dish has a very large mesh embedded in it, and is nearly worthless for today's C-band reception. Personally, I'd pass it up, as the work it'll take to maybe make it work, just isn't worth it.

There's plenty of much newer dishes out there for free or little money.
I hear that. I keep my eyes peeled now and just don't see them bigger than my 8ft unless they are old fiberglass wading pool size... The two big mesh dishes I've found were busted up beyond repair. Not many people in my area needed 10ft+ dishes for residential use. Next chance I get, I plan to string test this one. I only consider it because it's a friend needing it gone and the fiberglass is not chipping at all.
 

wvman

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I hear that. I keep my eyes peeled now and just don't see them bigger than my 8ft unless they are old fiberglass wading pool size... The two big mesh dishes I've found were busted up beyond repair. Not many people in my area needed 10ft+ dishes for residential use. Next chance I get, I plan to string test this one. I only consider it because it's a friend needing it gone and the fiberglass is not chipping at all.
Too bad you're so far away. I could take you one area 16 miles west of me and you could fill a tractor trailer with 10 and 12 foot fiberglass dishes. I'm waiting for spring to break to go after a few DH Satellite 12 foot commercial dishes a friend left on two different locations when he shut down his cable systems.

All sorts of commercial head end modulators and receivers in two shacks. I was in the shacks a couple years ago. Everything looked like new in there with no leaks anywhere. They're mine for the taking. Some jackass shot a hole through one with a deer rifle, but didn't really hurt it.

It's a shame most of them will go for scrap when the sites get cleaned up. Two of the DH's have multi-feeds on them. I'm taking one.
 
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Captain Midnight

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Well, I don't plan to use this for Ku anyway, so I'm not worried on that aspect. A friend of mine offered his help and flatbed truck, so we took it down and I have it stored behind my shop. Just did a string test, and it is true to form 8 ways! I'm just scrubbing the grime and oak moss off of it. Probably won't have it installed for awhile with work getting busy...
 

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Captain Midnight

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Too bad you're so far away. I could take you one area 16 miles west of me and you could fill a tractor trailer with 10 and 12 foot fiberglass dishes. I'm waiting for spring to break to go after a few DH Satellite 12 foot commercial dishes a friend left on two different locations when he shut down his cable systems.

All sorts of commercial head end modulators and receivers in two shacks. I was in the shacks a couple years ago. Everything looked like new in there with no leaks anywhere. They're mine for the taking. Some jackass shot a hole through one with a deer rifle, but didn't really hurt it.

It's a shame most of them will go for scrap when the sites get cleaned up. Two of the DH's have multi-feeds on them. I'm taking one.
I never really thought I'd have a fiberglass dish, but the options in my area are limited... I had a 10ft SAMI mesh dish pop up on Craigslist that the guy wanted $250 for, but I'd have to take it down. Seemed silly. It was 3 hours away too, so I didn't want to deal with that.
 

907TECH

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Well, I don't plan to use this for Ku anyway, so I'm not worried on that aspect. A friend of mine offered his help and flatbed truck, so we took it down and I have it stored behind my shop. Just did a string test, and it is true to form 8 ways! I'm just scrubbing the grime and oak moss off of it. Probably won't have it installed for awhile with work getting busy...
The biggest issue will probably be the weight of the reflector, and the crude operation and geometry of the polar mount. They just do not move smoothly and easily, and you can even destroy a motor drive if you don't mount it properly. I have seen more than one tube bent when the heavy dish flops over as the drive fully extends, if not installed properly. They can be quite sloppy if they don't have good bushings, etc. many of them just had holes drilled in steel.
 
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Captain Midnight

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The biggest issue will probably be the weight of the reflector, and the crude operation and geometry of the polar mount. They just do not move smoothly and easily, and you can even destroy a motor drive if you don't mount it properly. I have seen more than one tube bent when the heavy dish flops over as the drive fully extends, if not installed properly. They can be quite sloppy if they don't have good bushings, etc. many of them just had holes drilled in steel.
That's my fear with this. By no means do I plan to track much of the arc with something so heavy, but it would be nice for a fixed spot that my 8ft struggles. I noticed the frame just has pre-made holes for setting declination, so I figure I might be lucky to track any more than 20 degrees without some re-design to the mount.
 
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wvman

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I never really thought I'd have a fiberglass dish, but the options in my area are limited... I had a 10ft SAMI mesh dish pop up on Craigslist that the guy wanted $250 for, but I'd have to take it down. Seemed silly. It was 3 hours away too, so I didn't want to deal with that.
There's still several wire mesh dishes around here, but they are scattered. However, when I say scattered, I am talking within a 50 mile radius. The ones easily seen from the road have disappeared and you have to hunt for them up side roads and such. Right now, I am concentrating on the commercial dishes I mentioned in my last reply. I am about at my limit on installing more dishes, but I'll make an exception on the commercial dishes.
 
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Need2learn

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Aug 13, 2018
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So did you ever get it up and running? That would be a nice project to do..

That's my fear with this. By no means do I plan to track much of the arc with something so heavy, but it would be nice for a fixed spot that my 8ft struggles. I noticed the frame just has pre-made holes for setting declination, so I figure I might be lucky to track any more than 20 degrees without some re-design to the mount.
 

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