New to FTA. Basics, Equipment, Costs?

Discussion in 'Free To Air (FTA) Discussion' started by SkellyCA, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. SkellyCA

    SkellyCA Topic Starter Member

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    Hello, I'm new to this forum and have a few questions for various forums but I'll start here..

    I've searched this forum but I need someone to boil it all down please.

    I think I understand the basic idea. Satellites have unencrypted channels and you use FTA equipment to receive them? Is that about right?

    What is C Band and KU Band?

    What equipment do I need to get started and about what would it cost(say midrange equipment), ball park?
     
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  2. comfortably_numb

    comfortably_numb Dogs have owners, cats have staff
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    Ku band = smaller dishes (76cm, 90cm or 1.2m)

    C-band = larger dishes (1.2m, 6 ft, 10ft, 12ft)

    It all depends on what you are wanting to receive.
     
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  3. KE4EST

    KE4EST SatelliteGuys Is My Second Home
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    :welcome to SatelliteGuys!

    Yes, FTA stands for Free To Air and is all about receiving what is out that that is unencrypted and in the clear.
    C-Band uses frequencies in the the 5 GHz range; these are the BIG dishes that are 8-12 foot in diameter normally.
    Ku Band uses frequencies in the range of 10-12 GHz or so and typically use the smaller dishes.

    To get started you will need at least a Ku dish around 3 foot in diameter or 90cm as is more often used in measurements of dishes.
    You will also need a LNBF for that dish. Here is a good dish and a good price:
    36 Inch 90 cm Free To Air FTA Satellite Dish & HD LNBF | eBay

    You will then need good quality RG-6 coax and connectors (You can buy it pre-made to start), to go from the LNBF on the dish to your receiver.
    As I just mentioned you will need a receiver. A good solid basic receiver is the Amiko Mini HD265 a more advanced receiver, but a really good one also is the Edision OS mio.

    That is your basic setup. If you want more channels you need to locate a C-Band dish. If you want you can add motors and switches to add more dishes etc.
    Feel free to ask all the questions you wish.
     
  4. KE4EST

    KE4EST SatelliteGuys Is My Second Home
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    :welcome to SatelliteGuys!

    Yes, FTA stands for Free To Air and is all about receiving what is out that that is unencrypted and in the clear.
    C-Band uses frequencies in the the 5 GHz range; these are the BIG dishes that are 8-12 foot in diameter normally.
    Ku Band uses frequencies in the range of 10-12 GHz or so and typically use the smaller dishes.

    To get started you will need at least a Ku dish around 3 foot in diameter or 90cm as is more often used in measurements of dishes.
    You will also need a LNBF for that dish. Here is a good dish and a good price:
    36 Inch 90 cm Free To Air FTA Satellite Dish & HD LNBF | eBay

    You will then need good quality RG-6 coax and connectors (You can buy it pre-made to start), to go from the LNBF on the dish to your receiver.
    As I just mentioned you will need a receiver. A good solid basic receiver is the Amiko Mini HD265 a more advanced receiver, but a really good one also is the Edision OS mio.

    That is your basic setup. If you want more channels you need to locate a C-Band dish. If you want you can add motors and switches to add more dishes etc.
    Feel free to ask all the questions you wish.
     
  5. clucas

    clucas SatelliteGuys Guru

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    I see quite a few “new to FTA” people posting which is a good thing for the hobby. I’m just wondering what is promoting the surge?

    Anyway, good help here. Ku is a good way to start while you look for your first larger C-Band dish providing you have the room for it to scan the skies. A good receiver will serve you well in the future for both bands. I wonder if nc-electronics will carry the Edison receiver???
     
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  6. SkellyCA

    SkellyCA Topic Starter Member

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    Thank you!

    I need a KU band receiver, a C band would would take up my whole yard. Then a receiver. Of course all the corresponding hardware and connectors.

    So dish($99) + receiver($175) + (connectors, cables), less than $500 is good. I can expand and dial it in later.
     
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  7. clucas

    clucas SatelliteGuys Guru

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    You only need one receiver. You need the dish and LNBF too plus wires. Maybe one day you will add a motor so you can receive more satellites since not everything is on one or two like Dish or Direct. You may want to consider a 1.2 meter. A little bigger won’t hurt anything. Instead of a motor my 1.2 has three lnbf’s attached pointed at 103, 97 and 91.
     
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  8. spongella

    spongella SatelliteGuys Pro
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    Welcome. For prices, there are vendors on this site, plus another is Hypermegasat.com. Yes, Ku band uses smaller dishes (30" - 36") which are easy for one person to handle. Just make sure when buying a dish that you can add a motor to it later, which'll allow you to remotely rotate your dish to several different Ku band satellites. Start out first without a motor and when you get good at aiming and receiving satellites, then add the motor. A Stab 90 is the best in my opinion. A motor is commonly referred to as a H-H (Horizon to Horizon).

    First and foremost get a good compass, whether the old-school liquid filled or a digital. You'll need that to find true South, that is your reference point. As for installation, you may want to try different areas of your property for the best results. To minimize damage you can mount your dish temporarily on a wooden pallet loaded down with bricks or stones. Alternatively a pole banged into the ground will work, just make sure it is plumb. Therefore get a level if you don't already have one. I use the type of level that is for putting fence posts in the ground, found cheap at Home Depot, and it has level bubbles at 90 degrees to each other. It has an L shape.

    Nice thing about FTA installations is that you can install a dish at ground level in most cases; no need to climb roofs. Do a site survey first and determine what obstructions might be in the way, e.g. homes, trees, high bushes. Also remember that the farther away the dish is from the house, the longer the coax run will be. Coax can be buried, and RG/6 is the type of coax normally used. Another handy item is a kit containing a coax cutter, compression fittings, and compression tool.

    Lastly, during heavy rain, your Ku band signal will be affected, this is "rain fade." No need to worry, just wait until it stops and the signal will come back.

    You came to the right place for help, satelliteguys is the epicenter of knowledge on this subject. Good luck with your installation.
     
  9. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    As people wander off from the traditional cable and satellite TV model, they find they need more than they can get OTA (especially for those who are up late). FTA provides some content to take up the slack. It certainly isn't a replacement for cable channels and movie plexes but it will help you burn through the hours locating and ultimately watching programming that's different from the same-old same-old.
     
  10. PBSer

    PBSer SatelliteGuys Family

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    My setup hasn't been affected by "rain fade", to 125W.
     
  11. SkellyCA

    SkellyCA Topic Starter Member

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    Thank you!

    I have a small yard, so not much to survey. I have 2 weather station on poles next to my house. I'd like to put the dish on the ground if I can. I'll get a coax connection kit, had to buy a solar one already.

    Is there a list of vendors somewhere here?
     
  12. danristheman

    danristheman SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Ke4est he is a great vendor so is Casey from hypermegasat. Plus Brian from titanium satellite.
     
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  13. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014!
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    I suspect it is a search for cheaper TV. And I believe many will discover it is more of a new hobby than just watching TV.

    What would you say the comparison for C band today, compared to ten years ago? Half as much available today?

    And for Ku?


    Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys
     
  14. Magic Static

    Magic Static FTA Geek
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    10 years ago? There is way more usable C-Band today than 10 years ago. Ku isn't as popular with me since I put up a C-Band dish but I believe there is still as much to watch. Definitely miss the days of Galaxy 10A's ku FTA bouquet ;)
     
  15. Keith Brannen

    Keith Brannen SatelliteGuys Pro

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    As far as Ku goes, eleven years ago (2008) was probably the top year! 2009 was a "dark" and sad year for Ku. First off, early in the year Equity and RTN had a falling out, with RTN setting up a two channel mux on 83W. Then later on Equity ceased all broadcasting on 123W, so we lost all those channels (which included their Fox, ABC, and MYTV locals). The year also saw the loss of KUIL (Fox) on 101W, as well as White Springs TV on 129W. So, bascially, 2009 saw the loss (other than PBS and NBC) of some major networks, and the loss of most (all?) local channels. Not a great year, and signalled the downturn of Ku (from which it has never recovered).
     
  16. comfortably_numb

    comfortably_numb Dogs have owners, cats have staff
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    Even though there may be less content on Ku today verses 10 years ago, there are still many, many wild feeds up there. That's the bulk of what I'm interested in, and it never disappoints. I think eventually more and more wild feeds will be delivered by fiber, so I'm enjoying all the fun while I still can :)
     
  17. phlatwound

    phlatwound FTA Bumpkin
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    One of my favorites on Ku was the "Hotel Mux", on 101W I believe. It had 10 or 12 major cable channels IIRC, with 2(?) of them A/V ITC all the time. The ITC A/V channels would change occasionally, but all of the channels audio was unscrambled, good stuff.

    That mux went away in the early 2010s maybe.
     
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  18. Magic Static

    Magic Static FTA Geek
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    The primary impetus for my FTA foray was watching the local college football team live on ku instead of tape delayed on the local stations. Ku still provides me coverage of "The Big Sky Conference" teams I like to watch.
     
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  19. raydio

    raydio K4ECP
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    I'm with CN, I got started in 2005 interested in back hauls and wild feeds. Back then there was distribution of syndicated shows on Ku which was fun to watch as well.
     
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