Mobile rigs

Please reply by conversation.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 13, 2008
I want to watch Hispasat, but my geography at home says otherwise. Is there any low budget way to bring FTA on the road, so to speak? I could drive up to the top of a ridge and have all the Eastern sky I wanted. What I'm wondering about is how to power a receiver? I know nothing about inverters nor the practicality of going out for a Sunday drive to watch Hispasat, but I suspect some of you are mobile, so tell me, how would you do it?


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 24, 2006
5 miles N of Saugatuck, Mi
Well, if it were me with this strange idea, I'd load the following stuff in my van and drive up to the ridge.
1) TV and receiver
2) My 5500 W generator and APC Backups Pro 1100 ( for clean power ).
3) My motorized Fortec 80 dish, with 3 ft tripod and mast, mounted on a 4' x 4' sheet of 3/4" plywood.
4) Some 1 x 6" and 2x4" pieces for leveling shims.
5) Assorted cables
6) Pipe end Bubble level and compass.
7) Cooler of Coke and some TrailMix .

I suppose I'd started early in the day, considering all this equipment I'd be hauling around .



SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 28, 2008
Near Chicago, Illinois
If you have a small Flat Panel TV or portable DVD Player with Video In, you should be able to use a "Cigarette Lighter" power adapter. I have even used a Portable Battery powered Air Pump that has a 12v Cigarette Lighter outlet, to the Car Power Inverter to Receiver and Portable DVD Player.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 13, 2008
If you have a small Flat Panel TV or portable DVD Player with Video In, you should be able to use a "Cigarette Lighter" power adapter. I have even used a Portable Battery powered Air Pump that has a 12v Cigarette Lighter outlet, to the Car Power Inverter to Receiver and Portable DVD Player.

Thanks. The portable DVD player is something I'll want anyway to align dishes at home. I just didn't know how fussy a stb would be regarding inverter supplied AC. Sounds like they don't mind it at all.

I was of course speaking tongue in cheek about taking Sunday drives to watch tv, but I really do want to see some of the birds I can't get from home. I would still like one of those roof mounted dishes like the news crews have, though. :D


SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 15, 2005
Full time RVer
As a full time RVer, I have learned the lesson about always having a power backup. Once in French-speaking Canada (I don't speak French), I failed to flip a switch to isolate my truck batteries from the RV. The next morning I was sitting with six dead batteries and a generator that I couldn't start since it had no manual starting capability. That switch no longer exists and instead I have a solenoid in its place. I solved the problem by standing on the side of the road with my jumper cables, looking as desperate as I could. Eventually a very nice young French-speaking couple stopped and with considerable juice from their battery, I finally got my truck started.

If you are serious, your best alternative is a small generator, unless you want to keep your car/truck running the entire time. Inverters can pull your battery down down quite quickly. To determine the size of inverter or generator needed, add up the wattage from the receiver, tv, etc. (Volts*Amps=Watts). If you are going to be out "in the sticks" make sure your power is isolated from your vehicle.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 14, 2008
I use a 400watt converter at my trailer for my coolsat and tv.Works fine.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 27, 2005
Columbus, OHIO
Forget about running a generator, or your car.

Get a couple of 200W SOLAR PANELS.

Connect it to a controller/Inverter.

Connect your Receiver & TV and you should be all set.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 14, 2008
200watt panels?He said low budget lol.Not sure about the states but in Canada an 80watt is about 300 bucks when I checked last year and then you need a decent battery to store the power.


SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
L.A., Calif.
what about nite viewing?

The FTA receivers don't use much power.
Some LCD TV sets do. More than you'd expect.
If the info isn't listed in the manual, on the label, or on their web site, I measure it.
Turns out, my 42" LCD Syntax Olevia pulls about 220 watts! - :eek:
Of course, at 80-90 lbs, it's a little heavy to toss in the trunk for a drive!

My portable DVD player has the ability to run on 12 volts.
It was meant to be used in a car.
However, the seven inch screen is just big enough to do FTA tune-ups, and would be disappointing to watch programs on.

The little Honda generators are very quiet.
It you set one far enough away from camp, it would be pretty nice.
The horror stories above should convince you to be mindful of discharging your vehicle battery for any length of time.

Some sort of proper power conditioner or UPC is probably wise.
Not just a surge suppressor power strip. :(

What I really wanted to comment on is the dish.
I don't think you want to mount it on the vehicle.
Any movement of the car/truck would throw off the pointing.
So, unless you want to deploy stabilizer pads like heavy equipment does, then the dish should be ground-mounted.

As for a motorized dish... if you do go that way, you'll get a lot of practice aligning for the Clarke Belt!
I'd go with a fixed dish, expecially if you're just looking for the one bird.

edit: and you really should have posted this thread on the 1st of the month! :D


SatelliteGuys Pro
Two good batteries in parallel, a 400 watt inverter from a truck stop for $30.00 most any satellite receiver, a Primstar dish mounted in a bucket of cement with some tapered shims to level it, and a low power TV and you, too, can be off to the races. I have used the GEOSATPro dish and it is easier to carry, but is also too easy to damage. The Mercury II has been the easiest to align with. Of course you will want good levels and a good direction finder and one of the mag mount elevation guages!

Next comes the Class C motor home and.... over 90,000 miles and over 75 temporary set-ups later, it is a lot of fun.
You can get a battery isolator charging set up, or use a switch, or what I use (in my car setup) is a positive lead jumper cable. It is too visable to leave connected when stopped so I do not run the car battery down.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 22, 2006
CFB Edmonton
many dreambox models run on 12v DC, combine them with a motor, a 30" dish on a tripod, and 12v tv (many of the 7" or 9" dvd players that strap to the headrest also can take a video input)

the dm600 even supports blindscan using universal lnbs, its hardcoded for 10600 lof/h so if your using something else your freq scan in wrong, lol is a pia but it works.
Please reply by conversation.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)