Newbie, Questions about C band

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cowboymick

Thread Starter
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Mar 1, 2010
10
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Pine Village, IN
Looking to expand my knowledge into satellite a bit more....things sure have changed in the last 20 years :rolleyes:

Here's what I am looking for:

Satellite (C and/or Ku band) to watch FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and possibly PBS. I am in the super deep fringe, and unable to receive signals reliably :(
I am not expecting locals or anything, just something I can catch the shows/series one could with a OTA antenna.

Something on the cheap. I do all my own install/cabling myself; have a great understanding of RF, mechanics, electricity, and electronics. Free is good, trying to steer clear of subscriptions if possible.

When it comes to audio/video, we are a composite/RCA out household. Strictly SD and 2 channel audio, no HD, or anything higher than S-video.

Having said all that....

I have located a wire mesh dish (8-10 foot, possibly Winegard), and a General Instrument 4DTV receiver per a craigslist ad in my area for free, if I take it down.
After a brief conversation with the owner, he admitted that many have been to his house, but he can't seem to get rid of any of it. He said it was all working good 2 years ago.
I did a quick drive-by, and the antenna looks to be in good condition. I'm betting that he's got a dead 920 receiver. Let's assume that for the moment.

Here are my questions:

1) Assuming a dead receiver, what receiver(s) would best fit my needs? Would a cheap analog receiver be in order for testing/alignment purposes? There are a LOT of new receivers out there, and my head is still spinning after trying to catch up on all of the reviews.

2) Should I be looking more into Ku instead of C? I am familiar with the "pencil lead test" for mesh dishes. I'm hoping it passes, it would be nice to have a Ku option.

I will be starting this satellite equipment endeavor from scratch, with the exception of a leftover Dish Network dish and LNBF's, which I have read are not good for much.

Thanks,
Mick
 
phpinfo

phpinfo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 25, 2008
294
0
USA
1) Are you looking to do FTA, or do you want a 4DTV subscription? If you want FTA you will need an FTA receiver such as the Coolsat 6000 which you can get on ebay.

2) You should visit LyngSat - Lyngemark Satellite and have a look at the lineup. But you can do both C and Ku on the big dish with one run of coax. You just need an LNBF like the BSC21-2.
 
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cowboymick

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 1, 2010
10
0
Pine Village, IN
Definitely FTA. I assume I could get the major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and possibly PBS) on that, right?

Let's say I wanted to watch Law and Order on NBC via C or Ku band tonight using an FTA receiver. I assume that's possible? Which Sat?

Where would I go to see a programming guide for the sats?

Please correct and educate me if I am wrong, it's only been forever since I have dealt with anything besides DirecTV and DISH Network.

I appreciate your patience!
Thanks,
Mick
 
Blindowl1234

Blindowl1234

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 16, 2008
2,034
90
SouthWest Ohio
Mick, just my 2 cents worth you could get the B.U.D and if the holes in the mesh are too large you could still use it for the Cband stuff....well old KU dishes should be easy enough to find. New ones aren't too expensive either. Used ones maybe on Craigslist etc...plenty of guys in here to give ya great advice. May need the big dish for Cband and a few fixed dishes for KU. Just curious how far are you from any of the major Tv markets? Is over the air TV possible where you are? I've got 30 plus OTA stations between Cincinnati and Dayton plus Cband and KU. Blind:)
 
greg harris

greg harris

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 18, 2007
208
1
It was pretty easy to watch something on the KU band before the great recession. A few years ago, you could get several different of channels on a few satellites using a a thirty something inch dish.
Today, things are not as easy. A lot of free stations have gone silent and some of the stations that are left on the KU band are transmitted on weak transponders, which requires a bigger dish in order to view them reliably.
IMO, C band is they way to today go for free tv channels and feeds. Some C band dishes will also work in the KU band. As you know, one easy way to check this is to use a number two lead pencil and stick it in one of the holes in the dish mesh. If the hole is about the same size as the dish mesh then the dish is suitable for the KU band. Greg

CandKUDishMesh.jpg
 
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gordonkearse

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 2, 2008
92
0
Fairfax, SC
So you have decided to take the plunge. Well, you've found a great hobby! First, you need to get a system going. Then you can start playing with old stuff.

I would say go fta. Don't mess with old equipment. It definitely has too many limitations -- worn out and analog. We're in the digital age. FTA is cheap, cheap, cheap. If you're not restricted by dish size, definitely go both c/ku band.

Any old BUD and actuator is fine -- new or old. But old ones are free!!! And no postage. Imagine what the postage would be to ship a 12 foot fiberglass dish!! This is as far into "used" equipment as I would go. New fta equipment is perfectly compatible with old dishes and actuators. The wiring is significantly simplified.

All you'd have is two wires to the motor (24 or 36 volt) and two wires to the reed sensor. All the other wiring goes away. (Except the stuff behind your tv set).
LOL.

You need 1.) any good blind scan standard definition fta receiver, 2.)a v-box or g-box to position your antenna, 3.) a six foot or larger dish and actuator, 4. a combo c/ku lnb, and 5.) plastic conduit to run underground with sufficient coax and orange extension cords cut to carry your motor/reed sensor signals to your receiver.

You can even splice the wires together by hand. Mine work fine. Except the coax. Don't splice it. You want as "pure" a tv signal as you can get.

It ain't even rocket science.
 
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cowboymick

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 1, 2010
10
0
Pine Village, IN
Blind,
We are in such a fringe with OTA here in Indiana, that when tropo occurs, I can watch YOUR stations for a while...LOL!
The NBC here stayed on VHF after the switch, and they have been severely limited on RF output from the FCC. It seems my wife likes all the NBC shows, while I am a FOX guy (can get 2 or 3 FOXes OTA here), but just one (sometimes) NBC. I reworked an old Winegard CM series antenna with an AP-8275 amp, new cables and rotor before the switch happened. It does better than most around here, but diffraction and refraction are killing us here, with the digital transition and all.

Greg, Gordon, Phlat and others: Thanks for the ideas and info. Can't wait for a little time and a little warmer weather. Time to plant a BUD!

Mick
 
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gordonkearse

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 2, 2008
92
0
Fairfax, SC
I noticed soon after I started watching 99W that it didn't have CBS programming.
But if you look at other c-band satellites, you can generally find it somewhere.
The only problem I found with that is the other CBS stations aren't broadcasting
in the eastern time zone so times are off.

I was just kind of puzzled why all the networks weren't there. I guess they didn't want to make it too easy for us to get it "free."

Some of my favorites are Fox Movies, AMG, River Broadcasting, Louisianna Connection Network, Texas Cable, France 24, Russia Today, Al Jazeera, ABC News Now, History, Bio, the networks on 99W. And I know there are lots more. Those are just a few off the top of my head. Some are c-band. Some ku.
 
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cowboymick

Thread Starter
Member
Mar 1, 2010
10
0
Pine Village, IN
Yeah, when storms happen around here, our CBS station (within 30 miles) is about the only thing we can get with any reliability OTA.
Tropospheric ducting is the other killer.

Being less than 20 miles from the Illinois border helps. I can receive those stations as a backup sometimes. I am just in a rough spot with no backup for NBC, and marginal reception if any from that station even on a good day.

But is always seems that when you are watching something really good on NBC, the "reception gremlin" wrecks havoc to your signal!

Glad to hear that network programming is still available for free on a satellite.
If I can reduce the "reception gremlin", mama will be happy.

And when mama's happy, EVERYONE'S happy :D
 
G

gordonkearse

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 2, 2008
92
0
Fairfax, SC
I put up an OTA antenna last summer when all the stations made the transition.
Actually, the signal is better because it is HD. The network channels on 99W c-band are SD because of my receiver. And I can see the difference.

But with OTA and two fta receivers, I've got great viewing options. I've heard someone refer to fta as shortwave tv. And I like that description. Its close to short wave radio of the 1950's and 60's.

I've got input one of my tv's running to an old Buzz receiver on which I get four ku satellites through a 4x1 switch.

Input two is coming from my BUD in the backyard. I'm getting everything c-band and ku on it.

But my wife won't touch it. She's got Dish Network in the living room. She's happy watching "girlie" tv.
 
Robert_W

Robert_W

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 23, 2009
109
0
SE Iowa
OTA is killed via the switch over. I do not get NBC or CBS PERIOD
Tell you the truth the KU does not have much to offer,,,
History and Biograph channel on 101 degree satellite, and RTV (old stuff) on 83 degree satellite. And Ohio News inbetween.
I suggest a C-Band, with a digicipher 2, (Motorola DSR 922). I have got a 10 footer myself, with the feeds, I have a coolsat 5000 that could catch the DVB Free but not the powervu, powervu+ or digichipher 2. Digichipher you could get subscription from NPS or Skyvision programming. Some even said that you can even get your Digichipher's ID number can get you authorized to veiw their program.
But as far as your OTA stuff,,, the C-Band is THE WAY TO GO.
I need to look at my e-mail to see if the FCC is going to allow the Nagivision to FTA the OTA networks that are on some satellites. The only problem with this is that the nagivison had route the local broadcastors into their (Nag) to reformat the signal to shoot it to staellite to bounce to receiver's with territorial reception. But are charging the people to have it. (Example a additional charge to get "local" stations.) Which FCC allowed,,, Which I hope to be able to fight. Money hungry providers, to receive free and then sell.
 
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