New to FTA - Dish/receiver requirements?

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tester239

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 27, 2008
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I'm pretty new to anything satellite related, but heard about Free to Air and "wildfeeds" and such, and it peaked my interest in the subject. Since then I've been looking to get a satellite receiver box that will work with my current satellite dish.

I have a DirectTV AU9 Slimline dish that was given to me for free -- is this even usable with 3rd-party equipment? It has (what looks like at least) 3 LNBs and a built in 4-way switch. Does anybody know if the Ku/Ka LNBs on these dishes can do only circular polarity, or can they do h/v too?

As for a box, any suggestions for a beginner? I'm not really looking to do HD at this point, nor am I interested in stealing service. As a beginning goal, I had hoped to use C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2 as the first channels I lock on to..

I have a DSR-4200V satellite box right now.. is this usable with my current dish, or even useful at all?

Any information or help is appreciated.
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
299
47
Mankato, MN
welcome :wave

I have a DirectTV AU9 Slimline dish that was given to me for free -- is this even usable with 3rd-party equipment? It has (what looks like at least) 3 LNBs and a built in 4-way switch. Does anybody know if the Ku/Ka LNBs on these dishes can do only circular polarity, or can they do h/v too?
the slimline dish through DirecTv is pretty much useless for FTA. You might be able to use the LNB for 101 and get a few freebies on Dish 119 like Nasa and Angel One. Also that slimline is on the small side. You would need at least a 30" dish and a KU Band LNB (the D ones are DBS & KA)

As for a box, any suggestions for a beginner? I'm not really looking to do HD at this point, nor am I interested in stealing service. As a beginning goal, I had hoped to use C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2 as the first channels I lock on to..
well both of those are analog and on C-Band so you would need a 6 foot dish and an old analog box. As for the newer boxes, Visionsat & Fortec are a couple good (non HD) boxes. Check out the sponsers at the top of the page. They have a variety of receivers

I have a DSR-4200V satellite box right now.. is this usable with my current dish, or even useful at all?

I think thats a Digicipher II receiver. Most FTA is DVB which is different. The disadvantage of DCII is the receivers are usually designed to be fixed at specific channels and can be a bugger to program
 

Rendered

SatelliteGuys Family
Nov 2, 2007
48
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:welcome

You have come to the right place for info:up

Like what Iceberg said, if you got a FTA box with what you have now you would only get a few channels. If you go to THIS LINK you will see channels with a *C* (and colored green blue) that you would get with your setup. Now if you then got a new LNB and a dish about 90cm or bigger you should be able to get all the channels listed there.

But you would only be able to get a small group of channels at one time so you would have to turn the dish to face other satellites to get other groups of channels. What channels are on what satellite is listed HERE you can see why having a motorized setup is a big plus:D

you can go to TheList to see all the channels on all the satellites or you can look at the lyngSat list to get an idea of some of what you can get if you ever got a big C-band dish.


There are some great FTA setups at Sadoun which is where I got my FTA motorized KU setup:up


If you want to pickup lots of Feeds then I suggest a motorized setup. Feeds are always fun, you never know what you are going to get next.
 

tester239

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 27, 2008
72
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Hey, thanks for all the responses :)

Looks like I'll be ditching my current equipment.. no biggie, it was all mostly free (with the exception of gas to get it)

I hear Invacom LNBFs are pretty good/reliable? I was thinking of getting something like an Invacom QPH-031 (can't link to it) along with a 30in dish. I'll probably go see what the local antenna/satellite store has.. maybe save on shipping costs?

Are eBay dealers reputable at all?

I won't be able to get a super-large dish where I live even though I'm really curious what's on C-band. People practically give their old dishes away since they have long since upgraded to a much smaller dish with DirecTV or Dish Network and are happy to have the "eyesore" disappear.

Again, thanks for the info. If you folks have any more tips or good deals on equipment I'm all ears :)
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
Only one suggestion:
Keep on the lookout for 36" dish instead of 30.
Most dealers who carry both don't charge much more for the bigger size.
Not only is it good for some of the weaker transponders, but also for resisting interference from adjacent satellites.

Actually, let us know what you find, because you might run across a bargain, and we wouldn't want you to miss out. ;)
. . . nor get screwed.

PS: that 36" is an opinion and a preference, not an "OMG! It'll never work!" ;)
 

tester239

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 27, 2008
72
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So.. I went to the local Satellite/Antenna store and the guy there was very knowledgeable on the matter of FTA and satellite stuff in general. He says he's getting out of the FTA business because he can't compete with online retailers anymore, and subsequently is attempting to sell of the last of his equipment for such usage.

He had a used 36" dish for $80 and includes a universal LNB that he'd guarantee for 6 months. I figure the cost of a dish+shipping from an online store versus buying it from him was negligable.. he'll have it set up to show that everything works on Friday.

However, this leaves the matter of the receiver box. He only had a couple left of various brands. The only one I recognized was FortecStar, and it was a Lifetime Ultra.. has anybody used or heard of one of these? It has blind scan, and it seemed pretty fast at channel switching too (it was hooked up to a dish fixed at some arab/russian satellite). This was $90.

There was another box, the Rex 1 I believe.. this was $50.. but didn't have blind scan. I did not test this one.

Suggestions? comments? The Fortec star seems like it will suit me well, but the price seems kind of high?
 

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
So.. I went to the local Satellite/Antenna store and the guy there was very knowledgeable on the matter of FTA and satellite stuff in general. He says he's getting out of the FTA business because he can't compete with online retailers anymore, and subsequently is attempting to sell of the last of his equipment for such usage.

He had a used 36" dish for $80 and includes a universal LNB that he'd guarantee for 6 months. I figure the cost of a dish+shipping from an online store versus buying it from him was negligable.. he'll have it set up to show that everything works on Friday.

However, this leaves the matter of the receiver box. He only had a couple left of various brands. The only one I recognized was FortecStar, and it was a Lifetime Ultra.. has anybody used or heard of one of these? It has blind scan, and it seemed pretty fast at channel switching too (it was hooked up to a dish fixed at some arab/russian satellite). This was $90.

There was another box, the Rex 1 I believe.. this was $50.. but didn't have blind scan. I did not test this one.

Suggestions? comments? The Fortec star seems like it will suit me well, but the price seems kind of high?

Local dealer who seems to really knows what FTA really is and those prices cover shipping! WOW! He may throw in some RG6 cable too! The Fortec would have my vote - at that price it is good even though it is not the latest model, I should work well for you. ENJOY!
POP
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
The dish is a good deal for you.
But he's not exactly falling on his sword.
I would recommend it, with LNB.

As for the receiver, others will have to comment on that particular model of Fortec.
I think in some communities, it's called: FLU

But for $50 or less (maybe $35) you might get a new Coolsat 6000 or 5000 on eBay.
It's got blind scan, and though discontinued (as I think the FLU is), it sure gets a good rating from the members here on the forum.
At least, from reading all the comments by users.

Of course, if your dealer throws in switches, cable, and setup help, maybe buying from him is attractive.
The choice is yours.
 

Wescopc

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 11, 2005
1,891
199
Canby, Oregon
The Lifetime Ultra is a good box, good blind scan. I have used one for years.
Bob
 

tester239

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 27, 2008
72
0
Got the stuff a few weeks ago, finally set it up. First satellite I could lock on to was Galaxy 25, but I'm now idling on AMC1 and occasionally move back to Galaxy 16 (which is a pain without a motor). Those get me news feeds which was exactly what I was looking for :)

However, every time I look at Lyngsat, I want C-band more and more...

In case anybody was wondering, the local shop I got the stuff from was Gene's Antenna Service in Corvallis, OR
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
interested in C-band?

. . . I'm really curious what's on C-band.
People practically give their old dishes away since they have long since upgraded to a much smaller dish with DirecTV or Dish Network and are happy to have the "eyesore" disappear.
We have a very active BUD Forum department, here.
Many users have gotten old eyesores for nothing more than the labor and gas to go get 'em.
The guys in the BUD forum are very helpful in getting newbies educated, 'n operational.
Look through some of the threads and see what's gone down in just the last few months.

As for dish size, Iceberg will tell you he's getting 98% of C-band on a six foot dish.
Other users are totally pickled over their 7½ foot dishes.
I know some 8½' owners who keep quiet their success.
So while the 10' and 12' may be nice, there's a lot going on with smaller BUDs, too! - :up
I think it's more about:
- quality (picking/combining the right hardware), and
- fine tuning (getting educated, and following instructions 'till it's perfect).
 
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