Introducing myself & requested simplified information (1 Viewer)

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freelance1k

New Member
Feb 11, 2011
4
0
nevada
We just disconnected Dish due to them increasing without consent the bill every month, even after we downgraded channels, etc. After 8 yrs, we got sick of paying for garbage.

Step 1. Bought an OTA antenna and we get a few local channels, we are happy with the move.

Step 2. By accident I found out a whole new world existed and could get a receiver, satellite, etc and watch transmissions from Mars (or the other side of the world).

I am in the US and have no idea what this whole thing is. I just want to purchase, set it up and start watching everything offered over the air.

My question to you experienced people is as simplified as I can make it.

What is the best Dish (with cones, etc) to buy?
What is the best Digital Receiver with 1 or 2 USB ports with DVR capabilities?
Where do I buy all this?

I am sorry if all this is clearly detailed somewhere and if so, you could throw a link my way.

I have been to several sites talking about FTA files, transponders, receivers, DVR, digital non-digital, Canadian... etc...

It is exhausting and confusing for someone who only found out about this 2 days ago.

Amazon sells receivers but I have no idea what the experts here would think of those.

Any help you can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.

PEACE to all
 
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Magic Static

FTA Geek
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 12, 2010
7,433
4,760
Montana
Welcome to the wonderful world of your new hobby. Unfortunately, FTA is not a simple thing at all. The more you know about what you want out there the happier you'll be. You are sitting on a virtual mountain of information of all things satellite here. Most people don't want it all, just what they are interested in. But where to find and what you need to get what you are interested in, is different from other peoples needs. For instance you could start with a real simplfied GloryStar System (Christian Programing) Receiver and fixed Ku Dish. Gives you some basic programming and not a lot to learn after setup. Or you can go for scanning sats for sports feeds with an advanced motorized C/Ku sytem. And learn all about the different aspects of satellite transmissions and how to watch or not watch them. But no matter how you approach this you will only get out what you can put into this hobby. So pour another cup of coffee and pour over this site. There is so much good info here (and pictures too!)
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
I would suggest you get educated before you spend money.

That said, if you would be happy with a lot of standard definition programming, you could get a dish, LNBF, and PVR package from SatelliteAV (who is one of our gold sponsors, listed at the top of the page).
Probably aim a fixed dish at the satellite located at 97° west.
Their DVR1100 should be discussed in our Hardware Review department.
I'm not just pimping for the company, they have made available many fine products over the years, and one-stop-shipping with excellent support might be just what you need.

However, if you want to go a-la-carte, read all the hardware reviews, discussions, and ask questions.
Knowledge is available here, for the taking.
If you should decide on a system or package, just run it by us here, to make sure you aren't getting junk/fleeced.
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Freelance1K,

First of all, you have arrived at the best site you could ever have found. Here, we have areas to discuss DirecTv, DishNetwork and FTA satellite transmissions as well as other avenues and providers. We cover it all, some way or another.

If you are interested in FTA satellite television, you must be informed that it is NOT a replacement for DISH Network or DirecTV or a cable TV subscription. Sorry, but you do not get much for FREE and what is there doesn't always last very long. This is the nature of FTA. FTA is a hobby, not a subscription service. You have to enjoy what you get, when you get it and relish it before it is gone.

FTA is most akin to going fishing. You might catch a big one, but tomorrow, you might sit all day in the sun and never get a nibble. The BIG picture is, that it is alwasys FREE. You take what you can find and what is offered and you don't complain that there isn't more.

If you are a "couch" potato, you may not appreciate FTA. Personally, FTA is all I view and I understand it's limitations. So, if I want more, I go to NetFlix. FTA provides NEWS, MOVIES and Sports and items you won't find anywhere else, but you have to be willing to seek them out. The majority of this "stuff" doesn't fall in your lap. You have to go out and seek for it.

FTA is a hobby, not a replacement for other avenues. You need to balance all your choices properly, to suit your desires.

Personally, my desire is to NOT pay for anything, period, but to do so without stealing.

Stealing? Hmm... 95% of the TV shows and movies that they show today aren't worth stealing. I couldn't be drugged or paid off to go to watch most of them. They are so lame! You younger generation people think that many of these shows, movies and actors are great, but they are just about the worst things that I have ever witnessed. They are all totally lousy.

A lot of you younger people may disagree with me, but I know that you have nothing to base quality movies or TV shows upon. You were fed sh*t for so long, you like it because you are used to it. That does not make it good. You simly just have never witnessed anything really good so you have no concept of the quality that could be there for you.

Yep, I am an old hardass (getting older) jackass and I know that I am right, but no one knows it just yet. You young guys and gals don't believe me. You will later. Until then, have fun and enjoy life!

Sorry.... I got carried away there.

RADAR
 

Tron

SatelliteGuys Master
May 6, 2005
6,599
33
Metro New Orleans, LA
We just disconnected Dish due to them increasing without consent the bill every month, even after we downgraded channels, etc. After 8 yrs, we got sick of paying for garbage.

Step 1. Bought an OTA antenna and we get a few local channels, we are happy with the move.

Step 2. By accident I found out a whole new world existed and could get a receiver, satellite, etc and watch transmissions from Mars (or the other side of the world).

I am in the US and have no idea what this whole thing is. I just want to purchase, set it up and start watching everything offered over the air.

My question to you experienced people is as simplified as I can make it.

What is the best Dish (with cones, etc) to buy?
What is the best Digital Receiver with 1 or 2 USB ports with DVR capabilities?
Where do I buy all this?

If you are happy with the channels you found OTA, FTA just might be a good hobby for you. Many FTA channels are similar to the OTA channels you receive. There are plenty of ethnic channels on 97W, but if you want English language programming, it is more spread out across the sky. I would suggest checking out SatelliteGuys' own TheList, look at the contents of the Ku-Band satellites (they can be received with a 30" - 36" dish), and see if you like what you see.

There are plenty of receivers out there, and the newer ones such as the AZBox and the Openbox will receive both high definition and standard definition MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streams. There's not much full-time HD on Ku-Band (mainly PBS at 125W), but there are plenty of temporary feeds that go up and down. Those are, perhaps, the best part of FTA.

Welcome to SatelliteGuys!
 

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
Greetings and welcome.

I hope you are not already overwhelmed. Two words of advice ---- READ and have PATIENCE.

This site has no axe to grind. It insists on everything being kept safe and legal. And as you may have noticed from that youngster, RADAR, we do have fun. This new typewriter doesn't sound right, no bell at the end of the line and the carriage return lever is missing!

So feel welcome to join in and do have fun with the viewing and the hobby. I have now carried satellite gear in my motor homes for over 65,000 miles and have now set up in at least 22 states. Some hobby!

POP
 

freelance1k

New Member
Feb 11, 2011
4
0
nevada
Thank you all for your responses.
What I have learned from your posts:
1. I don't want Christian Channels, so I need a "C" rather than a "KU" or a combo.
2. I can get a recommended receiver such as openbox and be happy with it.
3. I would need something with a rotor since the programming is 'spread out' and it would make sense to tweek the satellite easily depending on the time of day or signals received.
4. Ethic channels are fine and dandy. I understand that I can get transmissions from European countries and would love to see their news programming.

So.... What is the best Satellite with LNB I should get to receive C bands? (I figure I can get the openbox receiver and be done with that portion. Unless it is more affordable to buy a system?

Thank you all, even the youngster, radar (who is right about the programming). :)
 
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putney

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 12, 2009
854
6
St Louis, missouri

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AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Thank you all for your responses.
What I have learned from your posts:
1. I don't want Christian Channels, so I need a "C" rather than a "KU" or a combo.
2. I can get a recommended receiver such as openbox and be happy with it.
3. I would need something with a rotor since the programming is 'spread out' and it would make sense to tweek the satellite easily depending on the time of day or signals received.
4. Ethic channels are fine and dandy. I understand that I can get transmissions from European countries and would love to see their news programming.

So.... What is the best Satellite with LNB I should get to receive C bands? (I figure I can get the openbox receiver and be done with that portion. Unless it is more affordable to buy a system?

Thank you all, even the youngster, radar (who is right about the programming). :)

FreeLance,

RADAR, the younger here... :)

First note, don't dismiss the religious or Christian channels completely. Not that I am a religious nut or anything, but some of these religious FTA stations have some old-time movies and series on them, too. Sometimes some really great ones. The River Broadcasting channel on 97W Ku-Band airs Bonanza (or at least they did) and here and there an old movie. I was impressed with some of the movies that I watched there.

Second note, I won't personally recommend a receiver. However, I will tell you what I have and like. AZBox Premium Plus and Coolsat 5000 (or 6000), Fortec Star Dynamic or related family of receivers. As of late, many are talking about the OpenBox (not to be confused with OpenSat who gives us the AZBox).

Third, you definitely want a motorized dish, well you will eventually desire this to take full advantage of the entire channel listing. C-Band vs Ku-Band: I believe that C-Band offers a more diverse selection of free channels than Ku, but Ku is definitely acceptable and good all alone. I would opt for a dish and LNB that serves both bands if you can manage it.

Fourth, ethnic channels are ok. Some are good, some you won't care for unless you understand the language. Some, for instance Kuwait TV and Cubavision are really good since they air movies and programs in English. Cubavision is excellent, but since you are in Nevada, you won't be able to get this (the satellite is too far over the horizon).

I cannot recommend a C-Band dish, LNB and actuator, due to lack of first hand experience. I will leave that recommendation up to others who are more qualified in that area. However, for Ku-band only, I think you would appreciate the GeoSatPro 1.2 M dish, possibly the Invacom QPH-031 LNBF and a DG-380 motor. At least that is a start for things to ponder for Ku.

The last recommendation I have is a reiteration of what RV1pop stated.... READ and have PATIENCE. This is not just an old line we use to brush you off and avoid answering questions, it truly is an honest recommendation. There is a vast amount of information to cover concerning and related to FTA or any satellite TV or RADIO signals and equipment. There is no way that we can leach it out to you in a matter of a few posts or Q&A sessions. I wouldn't say that it requires years to understand this hobby, but it is a continuing adventure because things change all the time, sometimes almost daily. It is not always predictable. But, as long as you read enough to comprehend the basics of satellite theory and terminology, you can make your own way fairly easily.

Lastly, don't forget, I am always right! :) It is just that very few agree with me. ;) I still know that "The Cowboys" is the best western movie ever!

Heh Heh! You will really enjoy the hobby of FTA if you remember to not be too critical of it. Levity and smiles and a good understanding will make it much more fun for you. What is great about FTA is that you have control over a lot of it. Not so much what programming is available, but you get to select the equipment you use and how to use it. It's a lot more fun than subscribing to a service as it puts you in the driver's seat and your not just a customer with an assigned serial number from some big enterprise.

Good luck, "welcome" and have fun!

RADAR
 

freelance1k

New Member
Feb 11, 2011
4
0
nevada
Thank you, young Radar. :)

I understand several languages and am fluent and semi-fluent in 3 or so. Too bad about Cuba, hopefully Spain, Italy, etc will be available. I grew up on Bonanza, we'll leave it at that.

I'll read through the forum a lot before making any purchase, but needed a starting point rather than a bunch of never-heard of names and letters.

I got that from these posts and will continue to research since I am in no rush and find the OTA digital signals to be fantastic where I live, anything extra would be gravy.
 

turbosat

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 26, 2006
9,001
75
Oneonta,AL
Freelance, if you are in an area where you can put up a big dish, without hassles from local govt agencies or homeowners associations, I would encourage you to start looking around for a c-band (big dish) also. There's two sources of programming easily available to us hobbyists, who have both ku and c-band systems. Nice variety of channels on both systems. Go for 8' or bigger, you can find smaller dishes that will receive some c-band signals but you won't be sorry you installed a 10' for rock-solid signal strength.
But that's two projects at once, you'd be very surprised at all the things you can see with just a ku-only setup. Get a 1meter dish, dish motor, and there's enough experienced people here to help you get through the install, which really isn't that tough.
I only had Dish for 2 years, and that's been several years ago, never missed it (except for the hockey-ppv package). Good luck on your venture, and don't forget to let us know what you find before you spring for it. For what it's worth, I avoid ebay like plague! We have some good sponsors on board who sell dang near everything related to tv. Listed at the top of the pages you'll see SatelliteAV and Galaxy-Marketing, for starters.
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
FreeLance,

I assume that money is not a huge concern for you, however.... If you want to test the waters first in a very inexpensive fashion, you can become a scrounger and pick up simple fixed point dishes for free or nearly free if you have a mind to. Just start asking around at some of the satellite installer shops in your area. Especially the agencies that install C-Band dishes. I know a guy in my local area who has done so for many years and he always has old dishes in his shops attic and back room that were removed during an upgrade to something else. Five bucks and I have a new dish. Well, not new, but absolutely nothing wrong with it. Sometimes I just drop by his shop to chat and he tells me about equipment freebies.

For a very basic but strong DVB-S receiver, you can usually pick up a Coolsat 5000/6000 on ebay for next to nothing. These are no longer manufactured, but the pirates have dumped them on the used equipment market so they are still plentiful and cheap. This scenario, that pirates used them, is no indication of their true value. These older Coolsat receivers are highly prized units for their ease of use and flexibility and fast and accurate blind scan capability. They were and still are excellent receivers for FTA use and can be found for less than $50, sometimes as low as $20.
You just cannot go wrong with one of these to start out with. But, you have to remember that they are basic receivers. Not DVB-S2 or HD/4.2.2 compliant. Only standard DVB-S and they have no PVR capabilities, that would have to be accomplished with an external separate unit.

Motors... There are many to select from, but you don't need one right off the bat. In my previous post I mentioned the DG-380. That is an excellent motor for the smaller Ku band dishes. So are the HH120 Staab motor and the SG9120 motor. But, if you are just experimenting, a fixed dish is fine to start out with and this allows you to get some basic satellite dish alignment experience under your belt prior to upgrading to a motorized system. It is not mandatory or a prerequisite to begin with a fixed point dish, but doing so offers you some advantages along the learning curve. You will gain a better "broad" based understanding of the aiming techniques and that you can carry over to the motorized system when the time comes.

LNBFs... I mentioned the Invacom QPH-031 model for Ku-Band. This is a pricey unit and heavy/bulky and is both circular and linear, but there isn't much left up there in the line of circular signals that are free. There are multitudes of LNBFs available from many manufacturers that work extremely well and can be bought for $12 to $30. If you are going to dabble with Ku band only, get a standard linear LNBF with a L.O. (Local Oscillator) frequency of 10.750 GHz or a Universal Linear LNBF with two local oscillators - one @ 9.750 GHz and one @ 10.600 GHz.

When you get a receiver, you will have to tell it what the L.O. frequency of the LNBF is that you installed. This way the receiver knows what frequencies to look for coming in on the cable. This is akin to putting different sized tires on your car or truck. If you want the speedometer to read correctly, you have to recalibrate it for the tire size installed. This is simple to do in the receiver menus, but it is a stickler for some people to understand properly.

The LNBFs Local Oscillator runs at a specific set frequency and the incoming satellite signal is at another frequency. When these two frequencies meet, they "beat" together and produce a new frequency that is lower than either of these two parent frequencies (it is the difference between the two). This new "beat" frequency is the I.F. or Intermediate Frequency that gets sent over the RG6 cable to your reciever's IF input and then processed internally to a lower and lower and more manageable frequency level within the receiver's tuner.

Installation... When you get to installing your equipment, remember the first basic and most important rule. The mast that you mount your dish and or motor upon must be perfectly vertical. (plumb). This is your foundation for all the other angles that need to be set and those other alignments rely upon the mast being plumb for them to be accurate. Your mast must also be extremely sturdy so that it doesn't change position or become un-plumb if the wind blows against your dish. This is a very critical item and the subject is usually beat to death, but some folks don't always take it to heart so I always try to ensure that I hammer it in every opportunity that I get.

There is a lot of information to present, but I hope that you will find what I presented here helpful. I am just trying to touch on a few items that I can explain quickly, without reciting the entire book. There is a LOT more that you will be interested in knowing.

RADAR
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Thank you, young Radar. :)

....Too bad about Cuba, hopefully Spain, Italy, etc will be available. I grew up on Bonanza, we'll leave it at that......

I should explain Cubavision better. The satellite that carries this channel is @ 30.0°W and is under the control of Hispasat from Spain, not Cuba. Although it is Cuba's channel, it is not their own satellite that broadcasts it. They lease the transponder/s on Hispasat to make it available via satellite. I am not sure where they uplink the signal from in Cuba.

Oh, and I also grew up on Bonanza, Get Smart, Hogan's Heroes, I Dream of Jeanie, Gilligan's Island, Star Trek, Bewitched and the like. That was my era of growing up with TV.

RADAR
 
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freelance1k

New Member
Feb 11, 2011
4
0
nevada
Thanks again.

I am still getting my feet wet in all this and greatly appreciate all the comments on this page and how quickly you all respond with valuable info.

I am located in the Reno area and yesterday, we drove by a house that had 3 dishes on the roof, one of them we could read the brand was GeoSat, we could not read the others.

Maybe we'll pass by again and have a chat with them and see what works for them and what they are able to receive.

Thanks a bunch for all your help. I'll keep reading the forums but from RADAR's post, I think I am leaning towards a smaller dish (not enough room for a 10 ft), motor and dual bands. Don't know much about receivers, but would love to get one that can record programming while watching another show.

That is the only thing we miss from paid satellite services. Found some stand alone DVR's but at $400 a pop it is not worth the money.

PEACE to you all, hope your weekend was fantastic.
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Too bad about the size. Here is a free 10' in Reno

large satellite dish 10'


As far as recording one while watching another. That only works if the two programs are on the same sat with the same polarity.

Unless you purchase an AZBox Premium Plus ($350 - $400) and a second DVB-S2 tuner (~$70). Then you can do about anything. Come spring (warmer weather with no snow on the ground) I will provide more clues on this avenue first hand. Sorry that I cannot provide more information now, it will have to wait until I can get outside and dig.

If you are going for FTA Ku, I recommend one of these two dishes: Winegard DS-2076 (76cm) or GeoSatPro 1.2 M. I know that everyone states that "larger is better" but the Winegard DS-2076 dish is awesome and totally capable of receiving nearly everything. It is one of those design anomalies that just turned out perfect. It is inexpensive, it is small enough to handle easily, it is simple to set up and it works very, very well. It is also motor friendly if you desire to purchase a motor later and install it. If you go with a DS-2076 dish, you will want to specify the proper diameter motor tube to fit it. If you go with a DG-380 motor, I think you can specify a DG-380B model or order a separate motor tube for $12 or so. The motor tube differeneces are either 42mm or 50/55 mm diameter. You have to ensure that you get the right motor tube for the dish and the Winegard DS-2076 takes the smaller diameter tube.

The GeoSatPro 1.2 M dish will require the largest motor tube diameter and that tube still doesn't fit extremely snug. You have to either add some padding/shims or a third U-bolt for the clamp to lock it down tight. I used three U-Bolts on mine and that has been sufficient to hold it through all the winds and storms and temperature deviations for three or four years without slipping out of alignment. My brother, Walrus1957, used a sheet of sandpaper doubled over and wrapped around the tube. You also have to flip the dish mounting bracket upside down for installation on a downward pointing motor tube. The Staab motors won't require this as the tube points upwards. If you install it on any other motor with a downward pointing tube, your dish elevation scale markings (degrees) will be inverted and the numbers do not correspond to anything, but there is a conversion equation to use to make sense of it.

One word of warning. If you are using any small dish (Ku band) on a motor, make your dish elevation adjustments when the motor is at HOME or zero degrees (in the middle of its travel). If your motor is positioned off to one side or the other and you loosen the bolts / nuts to allow you to adjust the dish elevation, the weight of the entire assembly will tend to skew or twist the mounting bracket off to the side that gravity pulls it. If this happens you will introduce a small error in your dish alignment. It is barely measurable, but it will greatly affect the tracking of the arc. You want to keep everything square in this regard. This requires diligence and patience to drive the dish back to home before making an adjustment and then dialing it back to the sat you were testing to check the results. This means extra steps during the setup and alignment process, but if you do not follow this procedure, you will be fighting it forever trying to get it aligned properly.

These are some of the tricks of the trade that we pick up through actual (first hand) experiences. These hints are not written in any FTA manual. You have to experience them for yourself to know them, or have someone who has "been there/done that" inform you of these things. Everyone on this forum has found something "unique" and specific during their setup adventure that applies like this. Take heed of what we tell you in these instructions as it will save you time and headaches during your own setup process.

When I first started out with FTA, I did not know that SatelliteGuys were here. I was doing it all on my own accord. I made many mistakes and had to deal with damaged equipment and many unknowns. Much of what I learned was found out of sheer trial and error. A long route to take, but definitely a good learning experience. You do not have to take that route as you have found this site! Here, you can learn from the dummies who did it wrong at first, but learned how to do it right. So, most of us understand very well the delicate process and we can pass it on to you.

Please learn from us and take our past experiences and use them wisely for your own system. We do take pride in making your endeavor better and more enjoyable than our first run at it. Hopefully I am working on that with you now. :)

Have fun, enjoy and keep reading!

RADAR
 
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