Getting back into FTA... in an Apartment (1 Viewer)

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mediageek

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 21, 2010
39
0
Northern California
Hey All,

It's been a few years since I've "Surfed" the satellites for feeds. (Ahh back in the Analog Days with a BUD)

I'm about to move into a Apartment/Condo deal and I think it's high time I get back into the hobby.

I scoped out the place, and I know I've definitely got a clear view of the Echostar Satellites (based on my future neighbors having both Dish and DirecTV) and looking at DishPointer I'm pretty sure I'll be able to hit most (if not all) of the satellites easily.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to get a tripod or something and put it in my patio. :(

How do most people get their cords into their apartment? I'd rather not put any holes in the walls, and I'd like to be able to shut the door. Do they make flat flexible cables that'll work for a motorized 90cm KU dish setup?

I'm going to mostly be watching CBS NewsPath, ABC News One, and other news feeds and wild feeds of other network stuff and also listening to network radio feeds. Are a significant number of TV News feeds in HD? If I'm just sticking with feeds would I be better off sticking to a SD receiver for now?

What Receiver do you recommend for someone whose surfing for feeds, and is on a budget?

Any other recommended resources or things i'm forgetting? All help is appreciated, I hope I'm posting this in the right place :angel:.
 
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Davage

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 26, 2005
1,063
0
Southwestern Ontario
mediageek - First of all :welcome to SatelliteGuys. You've found the right place.

Many years ago (back in about 1992 to 1993) I had a free to air Ku dish set up on the balcony of my apartment building. It was a 3 footer, and I had it wedged into the corner for a while, and then eventually I fashioned up a mount using the bottom of an old propane BBQ. In later days, I started tinkering more with 24 to 36 inch dishes, and found that it was fairly easy to take the mounting pole and attach it to a patio stone, which is readily available at any box store for $2 or $3 for a 24inch by 24 inch stone. A patio stone is nice and heavy, and keeps the dish fairly low to the ground. I've helped set up other FTA dishes in places where we've needed to keep the dish discreet, so the patio stone worked quite well. The satellite signals would come in at a steep enough angle that it would go over the railing on the balcony and hit the dish just fine. (Sorry, but I don't have any pictures readily available..)

When it comes to Flexible cables - YES, I've found that the RCA brand flat cables worked quite well for me in regards to being able to close the balcony door. The cables I used were about 6 inches long and had female ends on each end. I used normal RG6 cable up to the door, then RG6 again after getting past the flat cable.

News feeds from what I've seen are mostly in Standard Definition.. Standard Definition receivers can be had for a song and a dance these days. People are getting deals on Standard Definition receivers for $25 to $35 shipped. For that price, you can make the decision at a later date to go Hi-Def.

The one thing that I can say is an absolute MUST for a receiver is the ability to BLIND SCAN. Check, double-check and triple-check that the receiver has a true blind scan - that's the best way to find the feeds. I couldn't imagine not having blind scan.

Enjoy the hobby!
 

phlatwound

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 25, 2007
3,260
211
Goosapeak Junction
Davage covered things very well, I second everything he said. :up

As far as a specific receiver goes I would highly recommend a Coolsat 5000 or 6000. No PVR, no HD, no 4:2:2 and no DVB-S2, but for the purpose (news feeds/DVB-S radio) you have described it will do all you want, and they are GREAT blind scanners.

If you buy a used receiver it very possibly may come to you with some kind of undesirable 3rd-party software installed, but it's not that hard to find the factory files and install them yourself (particularly on the CS 5K & 6K models).

I have 3 of the CS 6K models now, and with help of the guys here was able to load the factory FTA software and get them up and running.

If I was going to buy a new standard definition DVB receiver right now I would be looking real hard at SatAv's GeoSat Pro series:

Satellite AV - Free to Air Satellite Equipment Distributors - GEOSATpro, Glorystar 888-483-4673

There is a ton of info in the FAQ, Reviews and Manual section here in the FTA forums.

Welcome, and good luck! :)
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
yup, me too:

I fully endorse the comments of Davage and Phlatwound, above.
Especially the receiver choices.
To which let me add one caveat: ask us before purchasing some random receiver.
There's some real garbage out there, and no use you spending $30 on trash, when $50 would get you good hardware.
And for new, the GeoSat is well reviewed here, and highly recommended.

I've used a 5 gallon bucked filled with cement for a dish pole.
It's not ideal, and you don't want the dish to be chest-high, at least if you use the recommended 36" size.
But if you secure the bucket, put the dish at knee or waist level, and don't use a motor, it can be quite useful.

If you look closely at the bottom of the picture, there's a 5 gallon bucket. - :rolleyes:
I broke all the rules:
- it's chest height
- that's a 36" Fortec dish
- the bucket is not braced/secured.

During high winds it did blow over once in several years, and suffered no damage.
That's the only concern I've had. - :D
 

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Ironsides

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2008
319
0
North Carolina
The bucket!

The bucket is an awesome idea! LOL! I saw that an had to comment, pretty neat. I use a water pump motor stand, the pump and motor went bad but the square stand made from metal tubing and had the flat motor mount on the base was idea. I welded a mast pipe on it and it has leveling bolts on the bottom. I use a couple of bricks placed on the motor mounting plate for weight and so far it was worked well for a mobile dish mount. Right now it's setting on my Deck with a Primestar tuned for ABC news now. I used to use a spare Truck wheel and tire with the mast welded to the wheel. Someone decided they needed it worse than I did....
 

phlatwound

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 25, 2007
3,260
211
Goosapeak Junction
I was thinking of getting something like this dish kit and a GEOSATpro DSR 200c and using the flex coax mentioned in Davage's post.

Excuse my stupidity but why does the dish have to be so low? Why not at chest height?

You can put the dish at any height you like, as long as it will clear any obstructions when it turns, and has a good line-of-sight.

I beleive Anole was referring to having his dish in a 5 gallon bucket (not on a pole in the ground or attached to a structure, and putting it that high ("chest-high") would tend to increase the probability of it blowing over in a Santa Ana wind. ;)
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
right:

Yes, Davage mentioned it first (see above), in his comment about using a patio stone and having the dish down on the ground.
The shorter the mast, the less leverage the wind has on your dish to blow it over.
If your mast is well secured, then height is of no concern.
Five gallon buckets don't have all that large a base.

You wanted a patio solution.
The bucket, or the stone, are both good choices.
Think one guy used a cement block.
Also, folks have posted clever methods of bolting boards onto their balcony railings, to secure a dish.
I remember one guy using bungee cords to hold his bucket at the railing corner.

I'll look for a picture and add it later...
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
z4cCamaro shows how to use a big block to hold down a small dish.
Probably not really applicable here, ... sorry. :)

Somewhere I've seen the big patio stepping stone, and even tried to buy one at the home store a few years ago.
I think that was a 24"er.
I couldn't hardly pick it up, wasn't sure I could get it into the car, and doubted I could get it around back of my house!
Now, if you had a hand-truck with big wheels, it would be no problem! - :cool:

Regarding the dish/tripod/LNB you listed above, they'll work.
Figure out how to bolt down the tripod, maybe to some lumber, and pile some concrete blocks on 'em (?)
...or one of those giant 24" patio stones...? - :D
The LNB is fine.
I like to suggest a little larger dish, but this package will certainly get you going just fine.
 

bruin95

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 14, 2006
748
7
Sin City
How do most people get their cords into their apartment? I'd rather not put any holes in the walls, and I'd like to be able to shut the door. Do they make flat flexible cables that'll work for a motorized 90cm KU dish setup?

Here's what you need: Amazon.com: 2 Pack Flat Coaxial Coax Cable RG6 RG-6 Door Window RV: Electronics@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/316%2BllV-9TL.@@AMEPARAM@@316%2BllV-9TL

I've used these, in the past, with excellent results.
 
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mediageek

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 21, 2010
39
0
Northern California
...
I like to suggest a little larger dish, but this package will certainly get you going just fine.

i just looked at the package again this morning, didn't realize the dish was that small.

I'd probably be better off with a 90cm.

What retailers do you suggest for pricing equipment out (aside from the gold sponsors above, i've checked them all out)
 

mediageek

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 21, 2010
39
0
Northern California
i really like that idea, but after looking at it I realized how much of a pain in the :censored: it would be when I move out. (All the sand involved) I'd rather use sandbags or a Tripod.

Are there any good retailers or models of Tripods i should look at or are they all the same? Would one for a DirecTV or Dish work for a 90cm dish?

Just wanna be as informed as possible :). I know if I jump in without doing my research, I'll get screwed.

What other retailers (besides the site's gold sponsors) are good for equipment?
 

McGuyver

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 4, 2007
783
0
Nuclear Testing Grounds
Just to add to the various methods of a concrete post mount, as Anole said, the buckets have a small round footprint which is fairly unstable and can tilt equally in any direction so the idea is to widen the footprint area to give more ballast and stability and yet keep the weight down. I thought of using a mortar mixing pan for the base, these pans come in a couple of sizes and are made of thick plastic, they look just like a large cat litter box, in fact we use them as litter pans for our cat family. Very affordable too, I paid under $5 each. They're rectangular which provides a wider footprint. If you find the need for more weight you can then stack a couple of concrete blocks on top.
 

concord

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 5, 2005
578
6
Southern North Carolina
When I lived in an appt, I used a 4' x 2' plywood and mounted the dish on it using the standard J arm hardware. Luckily my patio was on the south side, note that was for first D* then E* (TW prices too high).
 
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