new to fta

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New Member
Apr 30, 2009
hello. i'm a new member here and i will have questions that have probably been answered before. i want to set up satellite reception at my travel trailer. i was thinking of using my spare dish receiver and dish 500 pro dish. someone told me about fta service and now i'm debating between the two. would one be more difficult to install over the other. which in my case would be hard seeing i've never done either one before. any help and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

thanks in advance...


SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Sep 24, 2005
Los Angeles, CA
Hi and Welcome

Generally speaking, DISH Network or DirecTV is easier to install when you first start out, but after installing and locking onto a signal on a Free To Air system once or twice with either a 30" or 36" dish, just like anything else, it becomes almost second nature.

I would recommend a Free To Air system with a 36 inch satellite dish. Reason being you are not limited to a set group of channels. There are many different stations available to choose from through Free To Air and many different channels come and go... You never know what you're going to get next. That's the part that makes it exciting. Oh, almost forgot.., the programming if FREE!!!!!

A useful place you may want to start is This will give you all the basic Ku band Free To Air stations and it's an excellent site and source of information. A more advanced and more "technical" site is You may want to go here Read The Chart and learn how to read the Lyngsat chart. Then you can go and check out the stations that broadcast off of the different satellites.



SatelliteGuys Pro
May 13, 2006
Lat 39.2°N WV Lo 81.5°W
DirecTV and DISH Network satellites are more powerful compared to KU style linear signals from space. So in the setting up with ease concept, the DIRECTV and Dish would be the easiest to sight in on a travel trailer at different locations!

30 inch to 36 inches is the ideal dish size for FTA and any direct broadcast style dish like the 500 would be undersized for FTA use. Set up is not as easy for some of the KU satellites are not so powerful and there are other variables to calculate to get them up and going!

Another note you can’t use any Dish or DirecTV LNB for linear KU use, and you will have to use a KU standard or universal style LNB to pick up all KU signals.

Well you can kind of. Let me explain,

You can see some FTA stuff with a circular LNB, some of the 300 dish style and the DirecTV ones (single style) can be used better than the duel type and would be easy to mount. They make LNB’S designed just for FTA use that fit the 30 to 36 inch dishes and bigger and they have both linear (FTA) and circular (DBS) on one, the Invacom QPH-031 Quad Polar Legacy LNB can do the trick for both style receptions and is considered the Cadillac of LNB’S and is used by most of us members here like me!

So in short, since you have never set either type system up before the easiest one for someone with no knowledge would be Dish & DirecTV since they are powerful birds. All the knowledge you need there is to read a compass and set the skew of the dish after you line it up to the right satellite.

Visit any of the Gold Sponsors above for systems of FTA, knowledge of the hobby and bundled systems and of course, help is a log in away here on The Satellite Guys website in case you bump into trouble!

For Dishes, The Invacom QPH-031 and much more can be found at our Gold Sponsors at the top of any page here!

Hope that helps!

:welcome To The Satellite guys! :up

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SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
L.A., Calif.
sizing up the situation:

How many days per year would you want to have TV in your trailer?
How many relocations (camp sites) would you have on each trip with the trailer?
What sort of TV shows would you like to watch while living in the trailer?
Would you have room to pack a 30..36" dish, or would you be limited to an 18..22" dish?
Can you borrow an already subscribed DishNetwork or DirecTV receiver from your home when traveling, or would other family members staying at home be inconvenienced?


SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 22, 2009
Woodland, CA
two suggestions for your trailer

Welcome Wolfrat1 to the world of FTA! I would recommend that you read everything in the FTA FAQ section. It will answer a lot of your questions. Sadly though, the only channels you can pick up with a DISH or DirecTV dish is NASA and Angel One on 119 degrees. All of the other FTA channels require at least a 30" dish. I briefly thought about your situation in wanting to take satellite TV when you go camping and I do have a couple of suggestions. Camping World - the national chain store for the camping and RV enthusiast - is now carrying compact satellite dishes for receiving DISH and DirecTV. CW has portable satellite dishes ranging widely in price between $55 to 1,800 - depending on the complexity of the dish. It's very likely that all of the dishes CW sells will not work for FTA except for NASA and Angel One. Another suggestion would be to buy a tripod, a few foundation blocks, a mast, and a fixed or motorized dish. You would need to have some way of getting the coordinates of your camp site (i.e. a GPS) and a way to get the dish elevation angle and LNB skew (if using a motorized dish, just the motor and dish elevation angles) to get a coarse lock in on a specific satellite. Once you're at the site, you can fine tune the reception by slowly changing the azimuth and dish elevation angle and using the DirecTV/DISH or FTA receiver's signal strength /quality meter.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Welcome to FTA and SatelliteGuys. I live in one of 2 motor homes. I have the Glorystar system (From SatelliteAV - one of our gold sponsors) and have set that system up all over the country. To me it is easy, almost always less than 30 minutes from the time I stop the motor home until I have all hook-ups done = Motor home leveled, water, power, sewer and Glorystar all hooked up and working. For two and a half years we were on the road 8 months a year, but this year with a daughter having several surgeries and some other needs, we have not been setting up on a regular basis! (Even though we are at home base, I am not fully set up - because of animal destroyed co-ax.)

FTA is easy, once you learn how!


SatelliteGuys Family
May 26, 2008
Los Angeles
A Dish 500 works pretty well on a tripod. I got the tripod for $18 off eBay, and used half of a fence post for the pole. It's actually pretty stable even with nothing weighing it down, although in windy areas I would recommend putting heavy bricks or cinder blocks on each of the feet.

I actually had a motorized 75cm Primestar mounted on the thing for half a year and it never blew over! :D I also had a fixed Fortec 90cm on it for a while and it worked well too, but was a bit too top-heavy for my liking. One problem though: with both of those dishes the tripod itself would twist a bit in the wind (although it didn't seem to affect the signal much).

For the lower elevation satellites, turning the dish upside down helps to make it more stable in the wind. It causes the dish to be at a higher elevation setting for a given satellite, which puts more of its weight over the center of the tripod and reduces it's wind profile.

It also works great for small OTA antennas, which is what I use it for now.


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SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 3, 2004
Roseville, CA
RV with both a FTA system and a Dish Network subscription. Use a portable 35cm SINGLE LNBF DISH mounted on a suction cup for Dish Network.

Mount the 36" Glorystar dish on a PA STAND tripod from DVB Hardware weighted with PhotoFlex water filled BALLAST BAGS

Keeping both dishes on portable mounts helps in campgrounds with trees. Both are usually set-up and operational within 15 minutes.


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

If you decide to take your subscription receiver on the road with you, make sure you discuss this plan with DN or DirecTV first and explain what you are doing. They will assist you in this and you will need to let them know this ahead of time.

They poll your receiver via your home telephone line to see what PPV items you may have requested/purchased. If your receiver is disconnected from the phoneline and they cannot poll the reciever, they will eventually shut off your PPV privilages as well as charging you an additional fee for each receiver not connected to the phone line.

This is because you could purchase all the PPV programs available and leave your phone line disconnected so they don't know what you purchased and they cannot charge you for each program. So they avoid this by blocking the PPV service and charging you the additional fee. To reinstate the PPV service, you must connect to a phone line and then, if you had purchased a ton of PPV, they will know it and charge you as that information is stored in the receiver until downloaded (or rather uploaded).

Therefore, in this case, you have to let them know that you are taking your receiver on the road ahead of time, to avoid this whole fiasco.

I don't know how they handle this today, but in the past, this was the gist of the thing. If you called them ahead of time, they would accomodate you somehow.

I know some people that this happened to. They weren't aware that they had no PPV as they never used this, but they couldn't figure out what this extra charge was. They had brought one of their receivers out to their cabin during the summer season and this happened to them. When they called DN, it was explained to them in this way. That was quite a long time ago, now they even offer some sort of travel package so that you can get distant networks when out of state. Or something like that.

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