FTA noob with Equipment Questions.

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Mattman71

Mattman71

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 12, 2009
14
0
Texas
Hello all! I registered for this site just last night and have been voraciously reading since. I think this hobby might begin to be a little distracting! Thank you for all of your insight.

I have considered toying with FTA for some time now and have finally decided to jump in. I am curious and concerned as a consumer as to the type of equipment that I can buy vs. the type of equipment that I should buy from a longevity and performance standpoint. Perhaps you regulars can give me a bit more of a focused clue.

Dish:

I am trying to stay under 1 meter in diameter and have read reviews and info on the geosat 90 (3ABN), Winegard ds2076, Hotdish90 (ws9036), and the Fortec FC90 from Sadoun. Its pretty tough to narrow the decision down. I would go with the 1m Winegard, but they are pretty expensive.

Motor:

I will probably go with the dg2100 just from what I have read and the cost, unless you have a better suggestion.

Receiver:

I bought a Sonicview SV-1000 last weekend at a garage sale for $10. The owner said that it worked. I loaded the factory file from Sonicview and all menus and options appear to be functioning, but without a dish I wouldn't know. Is this box (if functioning) good enough, or should I invest in a new one?

I live between Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas and have already been working with the online dish pointing calculators and site survey info. I have a place picked out on the side of my house. Would you recommend that I install a pole in the ground, or would it be adequate/better to mount a dish directly to the brick on the side of the house?

That should do it for now. Thanks again for all of your hard work in providing my FTA education thus far.
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
Congrats on the $10 Sonicview. And welcome to FTA!

There might be some dishes you have available you could try with the SV to get your first picture.
But they might be a bit of a challenge for a newbie to locate.
Certainly, any little 18" dish with a circular LNB will get you NASA on 119, but that'll just make you all the more anxious to get a proper dish! :D

I'll recommend a GeoSatPro 90cm or Fortec Star 90cm dish (36")
Larger dishes usually cost quite a bit more to ship.
Both are from Gold site sponsors, who treat their customers quite well.
I believe SatelliteAV currently has an eBay promotion with LNB: see link in his signature.
And check with Sadoun for eBay deals; they often have 'em, too.

As for motors, there have been a lot of heated discussions about them, lately.
So for a 90cm dish, I'd have to suggest looking for a STAB HH90.

I also favor a pole in the ground, but there are many great solutions.
Take a look around this forum!
Just don't put your first dish on the roof.
And I wouldn't put the motor on the dish at first, either.
Wait 'till you are a little more experienced, say a week or two, then tackle it.

Well, that's one reptiles opinion! ;)
 
brentb636

brentb636

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 24, 2006
4,278
6
5 miles N of Saugatuck, Mi
Welcome to the club. :)
Your Sonicview will okay for a start. I used a Buzz Plus for quite awhile and it's the same box. There are two odd things about the Sonicview , which you may find irritating. One is it's blindscan. It is not programmable and runs over a wide range from 11700 - 12900 Mhz. That takes a lot of time. On my Buzz, I'd manually stop the blindscan at 12200 Mhz, and then start it over on the opposite polarity. It made things faster, but it was still irritating.
The motor control of the Sonicview is not "pure" USALS control . The Sonicview expects you to use USALS to find the sat you are looking for, and then when the signal Quality is optimal, SAVE that position. Each Sat has to be saved. It's really a USALS assisted Diseqc 1.2 motor control . However, it works quite well, and there a few things about the Sonicview that are great.
1) The tuning meter looks like an oscilloscope trace, and you can see the past 15 seconds or so , so you can tell if you are making progress on improving the Signal Quality.
2) There is a single button SIGNAL button on the remote, that allows you to not only few the quality level, but run the motor and save the position, if you need to, without going into the Dish settings menu. It's great for tweaking , on the fly.
3) It has a very adequate blindscan, configurable in steps ( other than the flaw mentioned earlier ).

I wish I could find another for $10, it would be great dish tuning aid, if nothing else.
:)
 
Mattman71

Mattman71

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 12, 2009
14
0
Texas
On the way to Newark (I hope, weather permiting)!

:welcome The next question is -- What is it you really want to get? Do you see any lonesome dishes looking for a new home in your neighborhood?

I want to get every channel possible, every language, every beautiful pixel! Besides an abundance of 18" dishes and the occasional small elliptical, there really hasn't been much along the lines of free stuff. I have noticed a few BUDs lately, but on a 1/4 acre city lot surrounded by trees, I am limited to dishes under 1 meter. I'll probably keep the Sonicview and use it for a while until there is a need to buy an HD receiver. Most of my programming comes OTA (about 20 English channels, many in HD) with a homemade antenna that picks up VHF high and UHF channels. I just want to supplement my tv fun with the weirdest assortment of stations possible.
 
Mattman71

Mattman71

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 12, 2009
14
0
Texas
Congrats on the $10 Sonicview. And welcome to FTA!

There might be some dishes you have available you could try with the SV to get your first picture.
But they might be a bit of a challenge for a newbie to locate.
Certainly, any little 18" dish with a circular LNB will get you NASA on 119, but that'll just make you all the more anxious to get a proper dish! :D

I'll recommend a GeoSatPro 90cm or Fortec Star 90cm dish (36")
Larger dishes usually cost quite a bit more to ship.
Both are from Gold site sponsors, who treat their customers quite well.
I believe SatelliteAV currently has an eBay promotion with LNB: see link in his signature.
And check with Sadoun for eBay deals; they often have 'em, too.

As for motors, there have been a lot of heated discussions about them, lately.
So for a 90cm dish, I'd have to suggest looking for a STAB HH90.

I also favor a pole in the ground, but there are many great solutions.
Take a look around this forum!
Just don't put your first dish on the roof.
And I wouldn't put the motor on the dish at first, either.
Wait 'till you are a little more experienced, say a week or two, then tackle it.

Well, that's one reptiles opinion! ;)



SatelliteAV has the Geosatpro 90cm with a UL1 Bullet 0.4 universal linear lnbf for a real good price. In my reading I found that the Invacom quad LNBF was superior and was going to buy that one unless you can tell me if why I would need both linear and circular for FTA. Are there many stations that broadcast a circular signal?
 
starman345

starman345

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 25, 2004
3,647
0
New Brunswick, Canada
Welcome to the world of fta madness:D I have the geosat 90, the 3abn, and the 1 meter Winegard and I would get the geosat or 3abn if I had to do it over. Not that the Winegard isn't a good dish, but it is heavy and is harder to setup and keep aligned and also the extra weight will wear out a motor quicker. It is only slightly better than the other two as far as pulling in signals, not really worth the extra $$.
I like the Invacom quad because I can use the circular output to align my dish. Its much easier to find the high powered circular birds than the fta ones. Once you get them lined up, the fta birds fall into place with minor adjustment.
 
G

gillham

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 14, 2008
599
0
Morgan Hill, CA
I want to get every channel possible, every language, every beautiful pixel!
... I just want to supplement my tv fun with the weirdest assortment of stations possible.

Your True South satellite is 97°W which has plenty of character. It should be easy to pickup provided you have a good Southern view.

I love my Invacom Quad, but that SatelliteAV dish+lnbf special is a nice deal. You can buy an Invacom later once you've had some time to experience FTA.

I bought a HH-100 for my Fortec Star 90 and I have never regretted it. Meanwhile the SG2100 I bought later (for a different dish) has some USALS issues. My next motor might be the DG280 or DG380 from Sadoun since it is faster and has a wider range than my HH-100.
 
Mattman71

Mattman71

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 12, 2009
14
0
Texas
Thanks to everyone for your input and advice! After a bit more site surveying I have determined that the aperture between the trees on my property will most likely only allow a clear shot of satellites 85W through 129W (about 143 degrees to 224 degrees magnetic). While I have a completely unobstructed view of my southernmost bird (97), I am wondering whether I should buy the motorized system or just purchase a few stationary dishes instead. I think it might be a bit more fun to toy with a single motorized dish, but from what I read, the stationary idea may be more reliable. Any thoughts?
 
brentb636

brentb636

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 24, 2006
4,278
6
5 miles N of Saugatuck, Mi
The advantage of stationary dishes is instant switching. That's a plus for watching TV, but it's lots of fun playing with a motorized system. I think it depends on whether this is mostly for watching or mostly for playing.
:)
 
skynyrd

skynyrd

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 3, 2008
87
0
Another thing to consider...

If you see any primestars dishes, or small commercial dishes that you think aren't being used anymore, It may be worth a shot to stop by and ask about them..

The primestar dishes are usually VERY good for FTA, and best of all, they are CHEAP! I bought a 31 inch dish when I got into the hobby, but I'm going to eventually upgrade to a primestar.. (39" if I can find one)

The only thing about those dishes is: If you want to motorize them, you need to make some modifications to the mount, as the stock dish is heavy on a motor. Of course, it will be fine as-is for a stationary dish.
 
badhat

badhat

SatelliteGuys Guru
Jan 27, 2008
133
0
Moses Lake, WA
While the cost might tempt you stay far far away from the SG2100 motors. They aren't worth a penny. Spend a little more and get one of the good HH motors that the others have suggested.
 
DJ Rob

DJ Rob

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
1,577
2
Denver, Colorado
While the cost might tempt you stay far far away from the SG2100 motors. They aren't worth a penny. Spend a little more and get one of the good HH motors that the others have suggested.

I agree 100% on that one! :up
 
Anole

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
13
L.A., Calif.
why circular

SatelliteAV has the Geosatpro 90cm with a UL1 Bullet 0.4 universal linear lnbf for a real good price. In my reading I found that the Invacom quad LNBF was superior and was going to buy that one unless you can tell me if why I would need both linear and circular for FTA. Are there many stations that broadcast a circular signal?
The only circular Ku signals that come to mind, are the Dish Network and DirecTV encrypted subscription channels.
And they're of little use to us.
The exceptions are few and far between, and probably better met with a dedicated 18" freebie dish.
But, that's not necessarily a common opinion, based on sales of QPH's. :cool:

The QPH-031 is reported to be a fine LNB (I have the SNH-031) but it's also heavy.. and expensive.
I've bought good LNBs for $6, 12, 18, and $25.
When you want/need more than one... well... :rolleyes: ... price matters.
However, if I was sure I needed one, -then- I'd certainly not hesitate!
 
Mattman71

Mattman71

Thread Starter
Member
Jan 12, 2009
14
0
Texas
If you see any primestars dishes, or small commercial dishes that you think aren't being used anymore, It may be worth a shot to stop by and ask about them..

The primestar dishes are usually VERY good for FTA, and best of all, they are CHEAP! I bought a 31 inch dish when I got into the hobby, but I'm going to eventually upgrade to a primestar.. (39" if I can find one)

The only thing about those dishes is: If you want to motorize them, you need to make some modifications to the mount, as the stock dish is heavy on a motor. Of course, it will be fine as-is for a stationary dish.


I asked a gentleman today about an old 30+" Channel Master that was hanging off his house and offered to remove it for him. He was all about me removing it, but wanted $100. No thanks! I'll just keep my eyes open for a week or so and see what happens. I've never seen a primestar dish before. What should I be looking for?
 
turbosat

turbosat

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 26, 2006
9,003
80
Oneonta,AL
You can buy a new 30" dish for about half that! That guy was a huckster.
Primestars are just oval, or elliptical gray dishes, most of them if not all were made by Channel Master. They're anywhere from .75meter up to 1.2meters. Most common ones around here were the 1meter oval dish with 3 lnb support arms. Great for fta. The elliptical ones (wider than tall) ones are also very good fta dishes.
 
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