Considering New FTA System Mainly for PBS

Discussion in 'Free To Air (FTA) Discussion' started by FarmerCharlie, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. I subscribe to the Dish national PBS SD stream, which we watch a lot. I also have Charter Spectrum Cable Internet and telephone and could drop Dish and switch to cable TV if I could get the national PBS feed. Would the PBS AMC 21 feeds be a good option? I'm a an old retired mechanical engineer who used to tinker with video and computers, so I'm guessing I could probably handle the installation myself. But I would appreciate someone pointing me to some current summary information on options and equipment. I think I might actually enjoy learning about the technology--maybe even including equipment for picking up multiple satellites.

    I currently have two dishes installed on my roof. One points roughly South, and the other points slightly Southwest; I think this had to do with the local channels for ZIP 36832. Can I likely use the existing mounts and-or dishes? I don't mind losing signal during occasional heavy rain storms.
    Thanks, Charlie
  3. Most likely those dishes would be a tad bit too small for PBS on 125W. Also the LNBF on the dish would be all wrong so you would have to get a linear LNBF and fashion a mount for it.
    You can look around our local town/country side for abandoned dishes at old gas stations etc. Even gas stations that are still in business, but may not be using the dish any more.
    ...or you could get on eBay and order a 90cm dish by GEOSATpro. Awesome dish and very well made. Then you would need a receiver. The Amiko Mini HD RE is a great choice and around a 100 bucks.
    You can probably reuse the coax you have there, just make sure not to leave any switches in line that may or may not be there from DISH Network.

    Is it worth it yes! You get 3 PBS full time HD channels an East feed, a West feed, and a PBS Kids channel.
    You will also get PBS Create and World. Plus a couple more!
    Jason S, danristheman and fred555 like this.
  4. Thanks. That's a good start. Would that also be a good start if I later wanted to expand and get into motor control for multiple satellites?
    And would the existing rooftop mounts and cabling be OK, or should I start over with a more secure ground mount?
  5. 90cm dish by GEOSATpro. is the one I have and it's a great option even for Galaxy 19.
    danristheman likes this.
  6. I would start off with a pole mounted dish waist height easy to work on that way find your first satellite and go from there. I am not a fan of motors I like multiple lnbs so its a faster change when changing channels.
  7. Yes, I would mount it on a pole on the ground. Much easier to go move around if you want to try other sats and initial install.
    Yes, that dish works great with a motor also, it was designed with a motor in mind. :)
  8. I have a GeosatPro 90cm dish locked onto 125w for PBS, works great except if weather is really bad (thick cloud/rain etc). There might be a package deal available that includes LNB, receiver, etc. I would recommend this type of setup to start out at least. You can add a rotatable dish (motorized) later if you really want, it's a bit more complicated to set up but as an experienced mechanical engineer I think you'll figure it out :). I find a larger dish (1m/39") work better on a motorized system since some of the feeds are weaker and harder to tune in.
    Existing RG6 wiring should work fine if connectors are still good, but if there is a chance you might want to re-sub to DBS service you might want to keep it intact and run new cable for FTA.
    I can get local PBS OTA but not as reliably as FTA, so nice to have the stationary dish!

    If you like the hobby, you'll want a C-band dish eventually... :)
    MosFET77, beavs2112 and KE4EST like this.
  9. This is fine if you have to sats maybe 4-6 degs apart after that you start to lost too much signal, so a motor is much better.
    ...or multiple dishes. :D This is what I do plus a motor. ;)
  10. If you want to go for just PBS, a single dish for 125W is good. Once you get used to playing around with the one dish, you may want to try for a motor or multiple LNBF's (probably a motor). Maybe set up two dishes so you can get 125w (PBS East/West, Montana PBS, Create, World, FNX) plus 87w (LPB 1-3). I'd also suggest 103w so you can get NHK, or just stream it from their site if you have the bandwidth.
    danristheman likes this.
  11. That sounds like what I typically do--start off bare bones and then wind up having to start over. And I have decided I am too old to be climbing up on the roof, so I will start over with a ground mount. If I wanted to give a little room for growth, what would be a reasonable dish, LNB, receiver, and ground mount to start with? Would it be reasonable to go ahead with the fixed GeosatPro 90cm dish for the PBS channels and then just add a second dish later if I ever needed it?
  12. Yes.
    Get the GEOSATpro dish and it should come with an LNBF. If not I have them in my store(see link in my signature). Then go to your favorite home store, HomeDepot, Lowe's, etc. and get a 1 5/8(1.6)" chain link fence post and couple of bags of concrete. Get some good quality RG-6 coax and some compression fittings and the proper tools to put them on. The Amiko Mini HD RE is a good receiver to start with.

    Before you pick a spot to dig a hole and plant your pole go to and enter your exact address and make sure you find a spot with the best view of SW - S - SE without trees, etc.

    Feel free to ask all the questions you need. :)
    Cham likes this.
  13. Thanks for all your help. In your original message you mentioned "our local town...", so I checked you out in hopes that you might happen to live nearby, and might be interested in a side job. But unfortunately, I found that you are in the Far West (NC), and I am in the Far East (AL). :) I had already checked the sight and was impressed that it was able to pinpoint the exact best point in my back yard. I still have a spool of RG6 left over from a previous project to spy on wood ducks and purple martins around my pond. This looks like a fun summer project, and that doesn't even count figuring out how to incorporate yet another remote into my growing collection .
    KE4EST likes this.
  14. Thanks to all for the helpful advice. I'm always amazed at how many people on technical forums are willing to spend their time giving their knowledge freely to newbies.
  15. Yeah, you are probably a good 4 hour ride from here. Not too bad.
  16. Welcome to the forum Farmer Charlie :) In addition to the good advice already given I should point out the PBS channels on 125W are using the newer DVB-S2 standard so you will want to make sure your receiver choice will be able to handle that. Some of the older receivers are DVB-S standard only.
    I disagree however with other members suggesting a 90cm dish. I would buy a larger dish than that for 125W PBS. Look for a reasonably price 1 meter or 1.2 meter dish.
    danristheman and KE4EST like this.
  17. That is right. I moved to a dedicated 1.2 on 125W, because it was borderline signal after going to DVB-S2.
    I got to many dishes in the yard. :eeek
    wallyhts likes this.
  18. Ke4est i meant to say was have multiple dishes so he can change channels faster than waiting for a motor to move. I am only stuck with one dish here farmer since i live in a apartment.
  19. 90 cm will work fine for all the full-time PBS channels as well as most of the other PBS feeds there. A few of the weaker "occasional" PBS feeds may be harder to pull in. Welcome to FTA!
  20. I have 7 dishes and 10 LNBFs for that reason, also so wife and I can watch in different rooms, different channels, different sats.
    Can't do that with a motorized system.
    iBoston and danristheman like this.
  21. Exactly. ^
Satellite Signals Free To Air (FTA) Discussion