Motorized or Fixed Dish for FTA? (1 Viewer)

Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!
Status
Please reply by conversation.

justask'n

Thread Starter
Member
Feb 10, 2010
7
0
midwest
Based on feedback from an earlier post, I plan to pick up a 30” to 36” dish for FTA. Given the size, my understanding is that this will restrict me to the Ku band only, which is fine – since a 6’ dish would probably be impractical for me at the moment. I live in the Midwest, by the Wisconsin / Illinois border and my question is, does it make more sense for me to look into a motorized or fixed dish?

From the perspective of basing this decision on what I’m trying to pull in, I looked at a current listing of FTA channels. I imported them into a spreadsheet and sorted, filtering on TV broadcast, Ku Band and English language. The sort indicates that the most bang-for-the-buck in terms of channels are on Sat 123W. Additionally, there are a handful of channels on Sats 101W, 110W, 119W, 125W, and 129W that would also be of interest to me, if possible.

So, there are a few things I’m trying to sort out in my head with regard to motorized or fixed dish setup.

1. If I use a fixed dish, can I pull in 123W from where I live?

2. If #1 is true, could I also pull in any of the other Sats mentioned? (They are not must-have’s)

3. Probably the best question to ask is ‘what’ can I pull in with a fixed dish in my area?

4. Would a motorized dish bring me any additional benefit over a fixed dish?

I realize a blind scan will detect everything available to me when the time comes, but I’m trying to get an idea of this prior to the setup itself. Thanks in advance.
 
Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!

SpiffWilkie

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 16, 2008
557
0
Memphis, TN
I started with a fixed dish on 123w. Unfortunately, that bird is all but dead for FTA viewing. Last year all the good channels got pulled. I have a hard time thinking of one bird I would point at if all I had were a fixed dish. I might start with fixed to get the mechanics down but I would go for a motorized setup in the long run.

I mostly watch 125w, 101w, 97w, 91w, and 89w with a few random things in between.

Browse The List and lyngsat for FTA channels and decide what would be best for your viewing habits.
 

phlatwound

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 25, 2007
3,260
211
Goosapeak Junction
As Spiff said there is not a lot left on 123W, but your ability to receive 123W (or any of the other satellites on your list) is determined by your line-of-sight (LOS). That is, you need to have a clear view of the sat, not blocked by buildings, trees, mountains, etc.

You can get a good idea of what sats are visible by doing a site survey, also you might check out Dishpointer.com (link at top of page).

The advantage of a motorized dish is the ability to move from sat to sat from the comfort of your couch, once you have it setup you will be able to view all satellites in your viewable arc.

Lots of folks start with a fixed dish and learn the ropes, then add a motor later, not a bad idea IMO.
 

Vestal

SatelliteGuys Guru
Jan 18, 2009
136
0
Abingdon,Virginia
I installed my first FTA dish last year (36" dish with a Sadoun 280 motor)

I was concerned that the motor would add to much complexity to the install but I read a lot of post here at SatelliteGuys and got the basics down before I started the install.

I had a couple of questions while pointing the dish and they were answered by the great members here.

If you are willing to do the reading and put in the time on a motorized install I think you will be much happier with your FTA system.

Take care
 

SatelliteAV

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 3, 2004
6,486
183
Roseville, CA
1. If I use a fixed dish, can I pull in 123W from where I live?
Yes, as long as you have a clear line of sight to the satellite with no building, trees, etc.

2. If #1 is true, could I also pull in any of the other Sats mentioned? (They are not must-have’s)
With a fixed dish and adding additional LNBFs you should be able to cover approximately 20 degrees of the arc (10 degrees on either side of center). Remember, with a fixed dish it is impossible to get 2 degree spacing on satellites without performing some modification to the LNBFs.

3. Probably the best question to ask is ‘what’ can I pull in with a fixed dish in my area?
See above answer for #2 then reference for "The List" or Lyngsat.com to determine what satellite to place in the center then what side to add the additional LNBFs.

4. Would a motorized dish bring me any additional benefit over a fixed dish?
Absolutely! I couldn't imagine only having a single fixed dish for my home system. I keep one fixed 90cm dish to monitor the Glorystar Channels on 97W and 101W and another 90cm fixed dish for 103W (due to the non-standard skew) and a motorized 90cm with QPH-031 LNBF (circular and linear polarity) for covering KU satellites from 58W to 177W.

Great suggestions from the previous posts. I would also recommend that you first install a fixed dish at a single satellite. Learn how your receiver, switches and LNBF works then add a motor. You will probably be quite happy with a 90cm dish, QPH-031 and a motor!
 
Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!

justask'n

Thread Starter
Member
Feb 10, 2010
7
0
midwest
You guys are awesome! You're giving me enough knowledge to be dangerous, hee hee. I don't know how soon I will actually get to setting this up as a move may be in the near future, but having all of this knowledge ahead of time is a great help. I will be in touch as I progress. Many thanks!
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
I would also recommend that you first install a fixed dish at a single satellite.
Learn how your receiver, switches and LNBF works then add a motor.
I've told newbies this many times in the past:
"Even if you buy a kit WITH a motor, install withOUT it first, to get familiar with everything."
AND, "install it at ground level, NOT up on the roof, at first!!!"
And mostly, they ignore the advice.

Learning the mechanics of dish installation and alignment takes some reading and practice.
It's not particularly hard, but many newbies ignore what they read, don't follow instructions, and then wonder what happened?!

Getting to know your receiver will take some practice and experience.
So, keeping it simple the first few weeks or a month, will go a long ways to making the whole experience a lot less frustrating.
Oh, and do get some feedback on any receiver you choose, before purchase.
There are some boxes we wouldn't take for free... :rolleyes:
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
This is the best advice you can get. Heed what Anole states here.

I've told newbies this many times in the past:
"Even if you buy a kit WITH a motor, install withOUT it first, to get familiar with everything."
AND, "install it at ground level, NOT up on the roof, at first!!!"
And mostly, they ignore the advice.

Learning the mechanics of dish installation and alignment takes some reading and practice.
It's not particularly hard, but many newbies ignore what they read, don't follow instructions, and then wonder what happened?!

Getting to know your receiver will take some practice and experience.
So, keeping it simple the first few weeks or a month, will go a long ways to making the whole experience a lot less frustrating.
Oh, and do get some feedback on any receiver you choose, before purchase.
There are some boxes we wouldn't take for free... :rolleyes:

The next basic rule and advice is... Make sure the pole or mast is STURDY and PLUMB! Don't fudge here, get it right the first time.

RADAR
 

Conky

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 22, 2008
430
54
SW Ontario
you'll probably want one eventually and they're not too expensive so I'd suggest buying one now as it will save on shipping it seperately later on
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
You guys are awesome! You're giving me enough knowledge to be dangerous, hee hee. I don't know how soon I will actually get to setting this up as a move may be in the near future, but having all of this knowledge ahead of time is a great help. I will be in touch as I progress. Many thanks!

Justask'n,

There is no time like the present to do your research. Grab all the info you can and take a lot of notes and put all the shortcuts to websites that you can find for instructions in a safe place. In the future, you will want to reference much of this information. You cannot keep this all in your head, so save it where you can access it easily.

Creating a library of "instructions" and "discussions" on discs which are labeled as you create them is a good idea, then you won't fill up your hard drive space too quickly. And if you think you won't need that much space for the information found here, think again! It adds up quicker than you think.

Great to have you here and hope you enjoy discussing satellites with all of us and stay here a long while! It's addictive and a lot of fun, and I cannot ask for a better bunch of people than you will find here to learn from, to chat with and to BS with. Even if there were no sats in the sky, I would still be here because of the people. Good friends and wonderful people! You cannot find any better.

RADAR (Gordy)
 

justask'n

Thread Starter
Member
Feb 10, 2010
7
0
midwest
Anole: I will heed the advice for sure, and I think you were reading my mind when making the comment about which FTA receiver to look into. Gonna do a little research of my own and will post on that topic a little later - unless there is a previous thread out there that I can be pointed to that will speed up the process?? :)

AcWxRadar: I cannot tell you how many times I have seen that exact comment! Many, many posts of people troubleshooting reception issues only to find out that the pole mount was not plumb.

Conky: Noted... thanks!

AcWxRadar: My FTA folder continues to grow daily as I learn more and more! I'm definitely a DIY'er and a technologist by profession, so this is right up my alley. Can't say sat technology is my strong point, but it has its similarities to the design work I've done, and I'm a quick learner, so my expectations of succeeding on this project are pretty high.

And thanks to all for a warm welcome! I'm not a big forum type, but the responses to my first couple of posts, which certainly were an overlap of information shared in other posts, have been very appreciated. Looking forward to building relationships and sat's!
 

mr.crane

SatelliteGuys Pro
Yes, as long as you have a clear line of sight to the satellite with no building, trees, etc.

With a fixed dish and adding additional LNBFs you should be able to cover approximately 20 degrees of the arc (10 degrees on either side of center). Remember, with a fixed dish it is impossible to get 2 degree spacing on satellites without performing some modification to the LNBFs.

See above answer for #2 then reference for "The List" or Lyngsat.com to determine what satellite to place in the center then what side to add the additional LNBFs.

Absolutely! I couldn't imagine only having a single fixed dish for my home system. I keep one fixed 90cm dish to monitor the Glorystar Channels on 97W and 101W and another 90cm fixed dish for 103W (due to the non-standard skew) and a motorized 90cm with QPH-031 LNBF (circular and linear polarity) for covering KU satellites from 58W to 177W.

Great suggestions from the previous posts. I would also recommend that you first install a fixed dish at a single satellite. Learn how your receiver, switches and LNBF works then add a motor. You will probably be quite happy with a 90cm dish, QPH-031 and a motor!

Brian, I bought my 90cm from you, its on tripod, going to put it up on roof with
sg2100, my question to you, I noticed you are using qph-031, is that the Quad,
with circular/linear, does the arm brackets hold it without any slag of movement?
 

SatelliteAV

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 3, 2004
6,486
183
Roseville, CA
I noticed you are using qph-031, is that the Quad,
with circular/linear, does the arm brackets hold it without any slag of movement?

Correct. I have the QPH-031 on the GEOSATpro 90cm dish with the LNBF side arms.

No LNBF arm sag or movement! The main reasons that we added the LNBF side arms were for LNBF weight and wind load support.
 

DK_Sat

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 11, 2005
572
14
MD
With a motorized ku system you can track the hole ark , All off my dishes are motorized.
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
4. Would a motorized dish bring me any additional benefit over a fixed dish?

Justask'n,

I know that you will love this forum more and more the longer you stay here, and I hope you stay a good long time! :)

Going back to your original question regarding a fixed point dish versus a motorized setup. It is most wise to begin experimenting with the fixed point system first. While you are doing this, make a log book of your reception readings (mainly quality readings) as you will want them later for comparison.

However, for getting the most out of FTA in the long run, a motorized system will be the final outcome. I started out with a miriad of fixed point dishes, roughly seven or eight. I continued to repoint them to research other sats, but that began to become a pain for me. I eventually adopted a motorized system, and used it in conjunction with my fixed point dishes for about a year, then I switched over to using the motorized dish exclusively.

97.0°W was my first fixed point set up as that is my truest south sat and carries the most FTA channels of them all. When I began adding to it, it shortly became apparent that I needed a motorized system. Now I can get all the upper Ku band sats from 30.0°W to 129.0°W (and even as far west as 148.0°W if it were still operating).

I miss 148.0°W as they (DN) often let a few movie channels come through in the clear! HBO, TMC and CineMax Action or something like that. Yes, it was nice for quite a long time, more than a year. Alas, they are gone now and so is 148.

Anyway, the biggest drawback of a motorized system is waiting for the dish to pan from one sat to another. I don't mind this as most of the channels I watch are on satellites which are fairly close to eachother. Slewing my DG-380 motor and my Geo-SAT pro 1.2 meter dish requires about one minute to go from 30°W to 148°W, that isn't so bad. Normally I don't have to wait even that long as I don't switch sats that much. The most I usually go is from 30.0°W to 63.0°W to 72.0°W to 83.0°W to 97.0°W and 101.0°W to 125.0°W and back. There is just a few seconds delay in my wait between these sats. I can accept this wait for the exchange of having only one dish to maintain and align and only one cable to contend with and only one switch, which I really don't need any longer.

When you get to the point of setting up a motorized dish, and you will, if you keep up company with us, I would like to give you my honest opinion about what equipment you should try to start out with. A Winegard DS-2076 antenna, an Invacom QPH-031 LNBF and a DG-280B motor. Add some supporting side struts to the DS-2076 dish just like the Winegard DS-3101 1M dish has to help support the weight of the Invacom LNBF.

This is the nicest and most fairly inexpensive system that you can purchase and have it work exceptionally well. I guarantee that you will approve of it and be pleased with your reception (provided you are not too far north into Canada or too far south into Mexico). I would stake my personal reputation on this. I started out with this as my first motorized system and I can still trust in it today. I have bought other dishes, bigger ones and I am now up to a 1.2 M Geo-SAT pro antenna and I love it. But, nothing beats that little 76cm Winegard antenna!

Yes, when they manufacture something good and you discover it, you want to keep it going. Best overall settup (for DVB-S only) is a Coolsat 5000 or 6000 receiver, an Invacom QPH-031 LNBF, a Power Tech DG-280B motor and a Winegard DS-2076 antenna with RG-11 cabling and Channel Master editor for support. You simply cannot go wrong with this for a starter package.

Yes, even the Coolsat 5K and 6K are still valuable receivers to own. They won't get DVB-S2 or HD signals, but they are fantastic little boxes! Mine is still running after 5 years and I still watch it daily. You just cannot beat these receivers down! They do what they are supposed to and they do it well. I wouldn't give mine up. As a matter of fact I now own about eight or nine of the Coolsat 5Ks. Why? Because they are that nice and I want to ensure that I have parts to repair them if one should ever go bad. Yep! I love them that much and I hold on to them with dear life.

Research the components that I have listed here and make your own educated decisions of course.

RADAR
 

SatelliteAV

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 3, 2004
6,486
183
Roseville, CA
Just a note to consider when purchasing your first dish......

You will not regret purchasing a 90cm dish as your first dish. I also used a Winegard 76cm for many years with good results. While the smaller Winegard 76cm is a well designed dish, you will experience degraded reception on weaker transponders and on several satellites with 2 degree separations. It is well worth the few extra dollars for the advantages that a well designed 90cm dish will provide over a 76cm.

We used to sell large quantities of the Winegard DS2076 dishes to local installers for 97W. When 99W launched a new bird several years ago, the installers switched to 90cm dishes as many of the 97W channels were wiped out by the 99W frequencies. The 90cm dishes provided more rejection of the adjacent satellite and increased the gain of the desired satellite.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Justask'n,

What may work better is more flexible step-by-step approach:
buy a stationary 1.2 m well designed dish (look around where you leave to cut on S&H), a $5 good Linear LNB and Coolsat 6000 STB ($30 on EBay or Craiglist), install them yourself, pick the dish on 97W or 123W and get much better understanding along the way of what's involved and transpired. Then you are ready to add a motor to the mix, and possibly a BUD or MiniBUD later (using the same dish with a C/Ku multifeed to begin with to learn the ropes), and more receivers for different purposes, LNBs and switches. Your own hands-on experience with a basic system will be your friend and guide allowing to gradually learn, where and what info and devices to look for. ;)
 
Last edited:

bassist

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 2, 2008
189
0
South Carolina
I've been a 'less-than-expert' fta-er for that last almost 2 years.

Based on MY experiences, I'd advise installing a motorized system. It was easier for me to install the motor than it was to try to locate the individual sats by hand.

2nd: There is not very much circular polarized FTA. I'd go cheaper & buy a 0.2dB linear LNB AND also buy, borrow or steal a used DTV single LNB. All you do is install the DTV lnb to locate 77W, 83W, 91W, 110W & 119W. This will get you really close to being on the "arc". Then install the 0.2dB linear lnb & motor the disk to locate your "true south" sat and tweak until you get it peaked.

If money is somewhat of an issue, I agree on snagging a CS4000, 5000 or 6000 for cheap. But I totally agree on the "larger dish" is better theory. I have an 80 cm Fortec, but I wish I'd gone bigger.
 
Last edited:
Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!
Status
Please reply by conversation.

Users who are viewing this thread

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

Latest posts

Top