Help getting started with FTA (1 Viewer)

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NickZ

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Hi. I've been researching FTA TV for some time, and it seems like something I would want to do, but I have no knowledge (at all) with satellites, dishes, bands, etc.
I would like to watch NBC,ABC,CBS feeds, and off-air feeds if possible. I would like to know what I would need to buy to get started, what the approx. cost is to get this up and running, and any other info I might need to know. I would like to keep this as cheap as possible, I don't have a large budget. I would not like to mount the dish on my roof, and I have a very small yard, so I need a small dish. (Not sure how big they normally are.)

Again, I have no knowledge with satellites, so I won't be able to answer any questions relating to them.

Thank you in advance, and any help is appreciated.
:)
 

Magic Static

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KE4EST

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Welcome to SatelliteGuys NickZ!!!!

Feel free to ask any questions! :)
 
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NickZ

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I'm trying to post a question, but I keep getting a message that the message may contain inappropriate or spam-like content. What am I doing wrong? :shh
 

NickZ

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Welcome to SatelliteGuys NickZ!!!!

Feel free to ask any questions! :)
Would you be able to know what I would need to buy to get what I'm specifically looking for? I would like to pick up the major TV national feeds such as NBC, ABC, CBS. Would you what satellites those would be on? I live in Northeast PA USA
Thanks!
 

KE4EST

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Are you trying to post links?
To cut down on spammers, you have to have 10 posts or more to be able to posts links.
You can always cut it down to www dot mywebsite dot com.
 

NickZ

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Are you trying to post links?
To cut down on spammers, you have to have 10 posts or more to be able to posts links.
You can always cut it down to www dot mywebsite dot com.
I just got my question posted above. I'm not sure what was wrong with it, I didn't change it.
 

KE4EST

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You can get some of the NBC primetime stuff on Ku band, 3-4 foot dish, but the rest is on C-Band, 8-10 foot dish.
Also CBS is a little more tricky. Currently there is no receiver on the market to decode 4:2:2 in real time that CBS uses.
You can either record and watch it back on your PC(or TV of course if you have an out to your TV) or get a PC tuner card and install in your PC.

Also the different FTA channels are spread out across the sky so to speak. There are a few on each satellite.
97W does have quite a few on Ku band(small dish 3 foot) but it is mostly foreign and religious. Not sure if that would appeal to you.
 
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NickZ

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You can get some of the NBC primetime stuff on Ku band, 3-4 foot dish, but the rest is on C-Band, 8-10 foot dish.
Also CBS is a little more tricky. Currently there is no receiver on the market to decode 4:2:2 in real time that CBS uses.
You can either record and watch it back on your PC(or TV of course if you have an out to your TV) or get a PC tuner card and install in your PC.

Also the different FTA channels are spread out across the sky so to speak. There are a few on each satellite.
97W does have quite a few on Ku band(small dish 3 foot) but it is mostly foreign and religious. Not sure if that would appeal to you.

Are satellite dishes specialized for each different satellite? I mean can you use 1 sat, and program it to different satellites?
 

KE4EST

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You can you one dish and motorize it to move to different birds.
Done different ways depending on what kind of dish and size.
If you have room, I would look around for a used C-Band dish and relocate it to your yard.
Lots of them still out in the wild that have not been used in years. A lot of times, just knocking on a door and asking will net you a free dish.
The satellites from North America are from SW to SE.
Go to dishpointer.com and put in your exact address. It will give you the directions and elevation for each satellite that you can possibly see.
Of course you will have to have a clear line of sight to the sky, no trees or buildings in the way.
 

NickZ

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You can you one dish and motorize it to move to different birds.
Done different ways depending on what kind of dish and size.
If you have room, I would look around for a used C-Band dish and relocate it to your yard.
Lots of them still out in the wild that have not been used in years. A lot of times, just knocking on a door and asking will net you a free dish.
The satellites from North America are from SW to SE.
Go to dishpointer.com and put in your exact address. It will give you the directions and elevation for each satellite that you can possibly see.
Of course you will have to have a clear line of sight to the sky, no trees or buildings in the way.


I have a small yard, and I don't want to put it on my roof. How big approximately are the dishes? What can I use for a smaller space?
Sorry for all of the questions, I appreciate your help.
 

KE4EST

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Like I mentioned above for Ku you need at least a 90cm or around 3' dish. That is diameter.
For C-Band you would need 8' minimum for a descent signal.
I don't like them on a roof either. Not only is it bad for causing leaks and such, it is aggravating running up and down a ladder, while trying to adjust.
 
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NickZ

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Like I mentioned above for Ku you need at least a 90cm or around 3' dish. That is diameter.
For C-Band you would need 8' minimum for a descent signal.
I don't like them on a roof either. Not only is it bad for causing leaks and such, it is aggravating running up and down a ladder, while trying to adjust.

I think for now, I would opt for the NBC Ku band, only because of the smaller dish size. I will be looking at some dishes. Would you be able to give me an estimate of the total cost the setup be? Just so I can plan it out.

Thanks!
 

Magic Static

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First thing to understand about FTA. There is nothing really free about it. If you are a hands-on do-it-your-selfer type, you can save a ton of money. But even then it is a hobby and if it is your hobby you will spend lots of time and money and be happy as a lark. If I took the money I spent on FTA projects and bought Dish or DTV I would be subbed all channels for more than my lifetime ;) Now you can find all kinds of free for the taking satellite dishes that can be re-provisioned for FTA signals, and as KE4EST indicated there are many C-Band dishes available to those willing to search for them. You will need a 8 foot or larger in diameter dish for the signals you want but even then they might be scrambled or gone the minute you get the dish up. That is the nature of FTA. If you can't accept that it may not be a good hobby to start.
 
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MosFET77

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NickZ in my case I started out with a 76cm dish and moved my way up to a 90cm dish. The advantage of the 76cm is that it's a little easier to install and lighter weight. I would suggest doing what i did and start with the 76cm and move to 90cm once you get used to aiming a dish! Because your a beginner the 76cm and dishpointer.com is a good place to start! You will find that a sat dish can be very sensitive to movement and that's why i suggest the 76cm first. Think of a dish as a magnet, Larger the dish the more strength you can pull from the bird but for me it seems the larger the dish the more sensitive it is to movement. Welcome to the forum! PS. Don't do any testing in the rain! or leave your tester outside! lol. Welcome!
 

kittyhas1000legs

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I think for now, I would opt for the NBC Ku band, only because of the smaller dish size. I will be looking at some dishes. Would you be able to give me an estimate of the total cost the setup be? Just so I can plan it out.

Thanks!

Before I put on a motor, I was using a 36" dish with three LNBF's so I could get 91w, 97w, and 103w. 91w has ABC New One, 97 has a ton of channels (mostly international/religious) and 103 has NBC, NHK, and a couple others.

Off the top of my head:
GeosatPro dish with 1 LNBF: $100
two more LNBFs, 4x1 switch: around $40
cheapo receiver: $25ish
Non-penetrating mount: $40 off of Craigslist

Here's how it looked August of last year:
_8034964.JPG

By now I think I've spent around $500 over two years or so. That's for the dish, stand, two receivers, four LNBF's, a couple different disecq switches (so the receiver can connect to multiple LNBF's), a cheapo satellite meter, RG-6 connectors, two cheapo used satellite tuner cards (one has since died), and a HH-90 motor. I guess you could also include $10 for the cinderblocks that keep the stand steady, even in 60+ mph winds.

Overall, let's say average $25 per month. The hobby is cheaper than pay TV, and a lot cheaper than some other hobbies. As a PBS fan and news junkie, I use the dish pretty much every day.

Whenever I have property instead of an apartment, I plan on having multiple dishes including a C-band or two.

Edit/sidenote: It's barely June and my tomato plants are already almost that big!
 

KE4EST

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I would suggest doing what i did and start with the 76cm and move to 90cm once you get used to aiming a dish!

I will have to disagree here. If one already has a 76cm dish or can get one free, fine. However, spending money on an undersized dish, will only be a disappointment and cause unneeded frustration.
Then you have to spend more money on a larger dish, if you are not ready to give up that is.
Especially true in this case; the OP is wanting to get NBC on 103W. He will for sure need a 90cm and if he can I would go with a 1.2M.
NBC is harder to get on an undersized dish. At one time I had a 1.2M parked on 103 for that reason, I never could get my 90cm to give me a reliable lock.
Of course this will vary depending on location.

Nick if you can't get these channels via OTA antenna, start looking around on abandoned stores and filling stations.
You may find you a good 1.2 or 1.8 meter offset for free! :)
 
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