Newb bought house, got BUD free (1 Viewer)

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steelypip

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 18, 2010
5
0
NW VA USA
The title pretty much says it. I've had no luck identifying the thing - can't find any labels/stickers, although I'm guessing it's a Janeil Darkstar since it has plastic ribs.

While it looks like it has been out in the weather, it seems to be in pretty good shape. I'd heard a little about FTA, and decided that if I can get things up and running easily enough, I'd see if I could put it to work instead of tearing it down.

The actuator is a Uniden model. I haven't had a chance to get out there with a ladder and have a look under the rain cover, but I'm guessing the LNB is both ancient and shot. Since I'm doing it from scratch, I guess a C/Ku LNB is the way to go?

The cable run to the house appears to be still there, although a lot of the cables have been cut at the dish end - I think somebody was planning on getting rid of the dish and gave up because everything was rusted together. The pole looks pretty close to plumb, although I have not put a level on it yet.

I'm debating about whether to go with a standard receiver or just use a card. I've been reading here for about a month, so I have a pretty good idea of what I'd have to get to get stuff working other than that.

I've got lots of electronics and computer experience, but I've never had anything to do with sat com stuff of any kind before other than installing my own pizza dish systems a few times. Ideas, suggestions, and encouragement are all very welcome!
 
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turbosat

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 26, 2006
9,001
75
Oneonta,AL
Welcome to the forum, you've come to the right place! Take a couple of closer pictures and post them , somebody will ID your find. I had a 12' dark star for awhile, they dont tend to hold up very well where it freezes, lol. Hollow inside those big plastic ribs, and rainwater gets in, freezes,expands and cracks ?m.
Mine did a nice job while I had it going , though. Dont think the mesh on it was fine enough to do much ku band but I never tried ku on it myself. Read around here, you?l find answers to most common questions, the List, link at top, gives some ideas about some of the programming up there, what equipment you buy depends mostly on what you want to watch. if you want pay-tv, there'š still the 4DTV receiver to be found. Mostly on ebay or forums like these though, they don't make them any more.
 

Bill_KY

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 2, 2008
713
0
Northern Kentucky
Welcome to the forum!

My advice would be to get a inexpensive FTA receiver and reconnect the coax to the LNB and to the receiver. The purpose is to test out the LNB and try to determine where the dish is aimed to. Your going to need the coax and receiver anyway.

This way you are not spending a lot of money while checking out the dish. If the LNB is good, maybe just keep it as a dedicated C Band dish. If not then get a C-Band/Ku Band LNB.


If you decide to go C-band with a 4DTV sub, you will need a special 4DTV box for that, then the inexpensive FTA receiver could be used in another room if you get a dual LNB. Use that FTA receiver for non 4DTV , FTA viewing.


.
 

steelypip

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 18, 2010
5
0
NW VA USA
I took more pics, will post them soon.


On another note, I'm already an owner of a fine Channel Master Primestar oval dish that I was using (very successfully) to kill off rain fade with DirecTV. I've seen several postings here that suggest that this might be a good dish for Ku along with a rotator. I have an existing pole in the yard that had a three-LNB Dish pan on it that might do well, but it's pretty thin looking - looks like car exhaust pipe, and I have no idea how big/deep the footing goes. The Primestar dish is a lot bigger/heavier than a pizza pan, so I am not sure how well this would work. OTOH, it saves me from digging a hole...
 

freezy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 19, 2009
959
0
Land of Sky Blue Water
there are thousands of cheap FTA receivers out there on ebay* and new at many etailers. You have the hardest part of getting a BUD going done...It's mounted and if you have a concerned significant other worried about putting a Big Ugly Dish in the yard, it's already there. I wish I had your good fortune.

I not sure what extra equipment you'll need to operate the actuator. My receiver sends power and control to my dish motor. I imagine there would be another box in between for another power supply to run that bigger motor.

before jumping into a subscribed services receiver, see whats out there for free. A blind scanning receiver like the Traxis 3500 would help you do that the most. Later on if enjoy that, you can look at HD and multi-mode (dvb-s2, 4.2.2 etc...) receivers.

*there are many fortec lifetime ultimate and pansat 2500 receivers out there that were paperweighted due to anti-piracy and anti-cloning 3rd party software. They will require a process called J-Tagging to make them operate again. It's a pain in the rear and a waste of time. I would avoid these models. Coolsat 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000HD, 6100, 7100, 8100HD are pretty good but may locked up also but its much easier to restore these to factory programming.
 
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steelypip

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 18, 2010
5
0
NW VA USA
Hi freezy - thanks for weighing in on what definitely not to buy. Useful information.

Yes, She Who Must Be Obeyed initially was all for tearing the BUD down. Now that I have explained that there's a lot of content available free (as in beer) on it, she's much more interested in the idea of keeping it around. As you say, it's already there.

Further, it looks like it's well-placed. The footer looks like a big pole with plenty of concrete. I'll check it for plumb soon; possibly tonight.

I was planning on going the FTA route (hence posting here), rather than the subscription route. Since there's no new production of subscription-enabled receivers for the US market, I have the feeling that it's just a matter of time until residential subscription on C band just goes away.

I was assuming that I would need a box to translate the dish move commands from the receiver into something the stupid old actuator would understand. First I'm going to have to spend some time looking at the actuator - I'm sure it needs some grease on the gear train at least. It might be junk. The good news is that new ones aren't hideously expensive.

First things first, though. I'm going to have to hook up a toner to each piece of coax and get them all labeled - there's a bunch. I'll have to properly terminate the ones that have been rough cut if I think I need them. Once I think I can get signal into the house I'll pick up a receiver or card.

My comments about the primestar dish were in response to turbosat's remark that the mesh might be too coarse for Ku band use. It seems like there's a lot of FTA content on Ku, and I have the feeling that I'll end up wanting a solution for that in addition to the BUD if the BUD can't do Ku.
 

turbosat

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 26, 2006
9,001
75
Oneonta,AL
Primestar dishes are 'prime' for fta ku, go by the building supply store and grab yourself a corner post for chain link fencing. Ten or twelve bucks, and just the right size for the primestar mount.
 

freezy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 19, 2009
959
0
Land of Sky Blue Water
I have an actuator on my Ku FTA dish. The day to day English language programming available on just one satellite is limited at best. setting up for 5 or 6 channels seems to be a waste of time, but by all means, ranger around manually and see what's out there. Like mentioned before you can set a post in the ground temporarily with a post hole digger. Re-aiming on the ground is much easier and safer than on a roof. The List tab on this forum is a great resource for what satellites to aim at.
 
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steelypip

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 18, 2010
5
0
NW VA USA
I was assuming that an actuator would be in the mix for the Ku dish as well. Just glad to get confirmation that Primestar will get me where I want to go with that. I saw at least one thread showing how people hacked actuators onto the things. I certainly can see the value in doing that.

Likewise, turbosat probably saved me lots of time and some money with the fence post suggestion - simple, straightforward, and meant to be put in a post hole. Can't beat that. Now I just have to figure out where to site the dish - as you can see from my avatar pic, we have plenty of trees on our hilltop, and I am not particularly interested in cutting a big swath of them down.
 

freezy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 19, 2009
959
0
Land of Sky Blue Water
I had my Ku dish on the ground for a couple months. Tamp little rocks (2" diameter or so crushed limestone, river rock etc...) into the hole between layers of clay or sticky dirt. It'll be as solid as cement. If you put some long bolts thru the mast that will be buried it wont twist

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