Point me in the right direction... (1 Viewer)

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bohack

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Oct 15, 2011
15
0
Pa
I am looking to get some TV channels regardless of where I go camping with my RV. I'm not looking for free paid TV, but that would be nice too :) I actually interested in FTA satellites like AMC 3 and AMC 9 for the RTN channel and whatever else is entertaining for the family. I am an experienced electronics enthusiast and a ham radio operator so I kinda know what I'm doing...

What I know so far, correct me if I'm wrong: I am looking for the ku band for dish size... Unless I can get c band off of a 30 cm dish... What I'm not clear about is: what size dish for the AMC3 and AMC9 sats? and more importantly which LNB... I am assuming that a linear LNB is what I want, but I read that circular/linear gives more options... I am also looking for a receiver brand that will allow me to watch TV in both HD and regular TV without breaking bank. Also I'm not clear on vertical and horizontal polarization, other than a notable db drop between them... Do I need more than one LNB and if so does the receiver need more than one tuner?

So... What would you recommend?

It's so confusing and I get side tracked with all of the pirate FTA stuff out there... TIA
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
welcome

You've come to the right forum. No Pirate-talk here.
In fact, you get your hand slapped for even bringing it up.

One LNBF (not circular!), one tuner, for HD maybe one of the following new receivers:
- OpenBox S9
- OpenBox S10
- Manhattan
- whatever GeoSatPro box SatelliteAV reveals by Xmas (can run directly on 12v DC, we think)
- maybe an AZbox, but there are many new and recently obsolete models to wade through (and probably not the best choice for camping)

There are a few discontinued receivers that might work, but the chance of running across one, picking a decent one, et al, is modest at best.

I don't think you get to be picky about your choice of programming, if you are camping.
And trying to use a too-small dish.
Consider the several hundred channels on the bird at 97° west.
You can get some of their stuff on an 18-22 inch dish, if you -must- live with a small one.
I don't like recommending too-small dishes to newbies, so I suggest >30 inches wide (if not round) as a minimum.
There are some DishNetwork and DirecTV dishes you might recycle and press into service, just look around and measure.

This post only scratches the surface, and hopefully gives you a few ideas and directions to educate yourself.
Others will post friendly and helpful comments, too. ;)
Member named RV1pop is probably going to be one of your new friends. :)
 

bohack

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Oct 15, 2011
15
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Pa
Thanx... That definitely reinforces what I've thought already. Yea I'm just getting a thrill out of pulling a signal out of a satellite for the first time. I've been wanting to do this for some time now and I just needed a reason the RV is my reason. That and my son is 7 y'old and gets a kick out of his dad home brewing stuff.

I forgot to mention that I like to play xvid and divx movies and other movies in various codecs are there any boxes that do usb playback with either built in codecs or loadable codecs? I heard everyone talking about Dreambox?
 
Last edited:

Nosbod

SatelliteGuys Guru
Sep 1, 2011
136
5
Blind River Ontario
I agree with the 30 inch dish, I would suggest even larger 36. If you want multiple satelites then you will need a motor, a Stab HH 90 will work fine for a 30 or 36 inch dish. Make sure the dish is offset not round. With an offset dish you don't have to worry about declination only elevation. The problem you are going to have if you are RVing and travelling a lot of distance, then dish pointer.com will become your new best friend because depending where you are you will have to adjust the motor inclination to your current latitude and dish elevation each stop. Being able to anchor a 30-36" dish so wind ect. doesn't affect it will be another challenge. Open box S9 or S10 are good choice receivers. FTA channels are linear and any single ku lnbf will work OK.

There is a lot of channels on 97 west but your have to be multilingual, if not and English is your language then there is about 1/2 a dozen mostly news.

Good Luck
 

rv1pop

SatelliteGuys Pro
Welcome to satguys. You did not say if this is your first RV experience or if you all an old timer, so some of what I say will be elementary. FIRST THE DISH. A tin dish may work for a week or two. But they are not sturdy enough for a long journey. Are you a campground family or boondockers? Campgrounds have horrid HOAs, (Regulations) which limit where you can place a dish. I now use a ChannelMaster / Primestar dish. They travel well, taking the LNB arm off and the post off, allow it to be fastened to the ladder or spare tire. Fasten it well, though. You do not want to lose it on the freeway - or anywhere else!
But campgrounds have power.
Which leads to RV power. Have strong deep cycle batteries and use inverters like the truckers use- 400W / 800 watt surge ~$40 at truck stops. Get away from tube type TVs. Most LED/LCD combination TVs run on 12VDC. And be sure the engine battery is a separate circuit!
I carry a 25 foot and a 50 foot RG6 cable to run to the dish and an extra 25 foot cable so I can move the TV away from the receiver. We are Full-Timers. Typing this on the counter of our RV - but on our own property. ENJOY!!!!
 

bohack

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Oct 15, 2011
15
0
Pa
This is our first year camping with the RV... I bought a 28 foot Catalina Travel Trailer in the spring and we used it every other weekend, so I think it was pretty successful. I had only done tent camping before, so it was a tremendous leap of faith. It wasn't until the last few months I got a real tow vehicle F-250 v10 to pull with, so I am sooo ready for next summer. We are weekend campers... I gotta say it was the best investment for the family I ever made! We have a nice size LCD TV in it and when it's the wife, me and my son it's gotta be an RV park with full utilities... However when it's just my son and I; we'll attempt dry camping with power. Pennsylvania has a lot of state parks with RV camping and power.

I have a Prime Star dish I'm gonna pull out of the cob webs, your idea I fabricating the removable arm sounds like a plan... As for mounting it... I'm thinking of making a mount off of the rear bumper... Maybe something universal so I could attach to the front A frame. I will post pics for sure...

Thanx for the welcome and the advice, I've got a plan now...
 

bohack

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Oct 15, 2011
15
0
Pa
So I just pulled the Primestar elliptic dish out and it's a big one! The LNB is quite old and weathered it's a NJR2162F... link to: "NJR2162F GlobeCast WorldTV SINGLE Output LNBF" Looks like I got half of what I need... Now I just need a box and i'll be FTA-in...

Do LNBs weather out over time? I guess like all electronics it can "go bad"?
 

phlatwound

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 25, 2007
3,250
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Goosapeak Junction
So I just pulled the Primestar elliptic dish out and it's a big one! The LNB is quite old and weathered it's a NJR2162F... link to: "NJR2162F GlobeCast WorldTV SINGLE Output LNBF" Looks like I got half of what I need... Now I just need a box and i'll be FTA-in...

Do LNBs weather out over time? I guess like all electronics it can "go bad"?

That old LNBF will probably work just fine, tons of them still in use. That LNBF and the feedhorn that matches that dish is the optimum setup, good stuff.
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
I didn't look up your LNB, but it could be single polarity, or more likely dual polarity (V & H).
There have been applications where they were shipped one way or the other.

If it has two connectors on it, see if there is an "H" by one and a "V" by the other.
No sense complicating this discussion needlessly, unless that's so.

edit: okay, sorry, I just looked at your LNB link.
That's the soup-can, with single output.
Should be just fine as is.
I was thinking about a square one which is single polarity.

Also, what is the width and the height of the dish.
Just throw a tape measure across it on the front, and measure edge to edge.
They made/sold a lot of different sizes, and you will get more feedback once we know that info.

Oh, and by the way, if you are willing to go with standard def programming (most of it is, anyway), then that list of HD-capable receivers above might be a bit misleading.
We could give you a laundry list of (mostly discontinued) SD receivers well worth picking up at a yard sale or on Craig's list.
Many for $20, 30, 40 or so ...and some to avoid at any price... :)
 

Tron

SatelliteGuys Master
May 6, 2005
6,599
33
Metro New Orleans, LA
Welcome to satguys. You did not say if this is your first RV experience or if you all an old timer, so some of what I say will be elementary. FIRST THE DISH. A tin dish may work for a week or two. But they are not sturdy enough for a long journey. Are you a campground family or boondockers? Campgrounds have horrid HOAs, (Regulations) which limit where you can place a dish. I now use a ChannelMaster / Primestar dish. They travel well, taking the LNB arm off and the post off, allow it to be fastened to the ladder or spare tire. Fasten it well, though. You do not want to lose it on the freeway - or anywhere else!
But campgrounds have power.
Which leads to RV power. Have strong deep cycle batteries and use inverters like the truckers use- 400W / 800 watt surge ~$40 at truck stops. Get away from tube type TVs. Most LED/LCD combination TVs run on 12VDC. And be sure the engine battery is a separate circuit!
I carry a 25 foot and a 50 foot RG6 cable to run to the dish and an extra 25 foot cable so I can move the TV away from the receiver. We are Full-Timers. Typing this on the counter of our RV - but on our own property. ENJOY!!!!

I wish I was doing motorhome trips with the technology of today versus what I was using back in the 80s when we traveled. We had a 1977 Allegro motorhome, and I ran all of our video gear from the engine battery via the cigarette lighter :eek: ... We had deep cycle batteries, and in hindsight, those should have been used for our primary video power. I wanted to keep them charged for the lights and water pump, since we rarely camped where there were utility hook-ups available. Usually, our resting places were 24-hour supermarkets. Running from the engine battery meant that every time we got into stop-and-go traffic, I had to yank the plug on the video camera (which was tripod mounted facing the road in the front window) to keep it from drawing too much power. Basically, I was running off of the alternator. VHS recorders and tube-based video cameras take up loads of power compared to what is out there now! :D
 

bohack

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Oct 15, 2011
15
0
Pa
It looks like I have a solid plan for the dish and LNB... However now before I purchase a box... steer me in the right direction on your picks:

Looking for:

DIVX / AVI / MPG / misc Codec playback for movies via USB drives
High Def either 720 or 1080 (28" TV so 720 would work)
Motorized dish pointing
PVR capability with USB storage
Fast scanning
KU Band and maybe later C band, but it's not a big deal for the C band.
Easy to customize... I'm not afraid of Linux and I actually do it for a living.

What is your picks guys? Openbox S10 or is there something better?
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
10
L.A., Calif.
are you ready for more?

Looking for:

High Def either 720 or 1080 (28" TV so 720 would work)
Motorized dish pointing
Fast scanning
KU Band and maybe later C band, but it's not a big deal for the C band.
Easy to customize... I'm not afraid of Linux and I actually do it for a living.
Reasonable request.
I think all those points are met by the receivers listed earlier in the thread.

PVR capability with USB storage
This is getting into a sticky area...

Some of the receivers don't record really high bit-rate signals very well.
Some have timers that will only record one show, then reset (won't record another).
Some have timers which won't maintain proper time, and will miss your show.

Some receivers won't play 4:2:2 video, but will record it.
You could play it back on your computer, but not the receiver.
(probably not your biggest worry; depends on what programming you watch; mostly applies to certain live sports feeds)

Yes, USB storage is the name of the game. ;)

DIVX / AVI / MPG / misc Codec playback for movies via USB drives
Technically, this requirement might restrict your inquiry to one or two receivers.
I think that's an unreasonable demand to put on your FTA receiver.
There are too many trade offs to support this request.

What I have to do this job, is a little media player box.
It's from Western Digital, and called the WD Live Plus.
I got a refurb from Meritline.com for around... $85 (?) last year, and it'll do the deal!
... and a whole lot more... !
In fact, if your FTA receiver records high bit rate, or 4:2:2 video that it can't play well (or at all), the WD will play it!
I've tested on some 4:2:2 Indy Car races at outrageous bit rate, and it looked beautiful!
There are two USB connectors, and I use 'em for solid state thumb drives and small hard drives.
Actually, my hard drives are the portable units, with a 2½ inch laptop drive inside, and the only power comes in over the USB cable from my receiver or WD live plus.
(less cables to contend with!) - :up

And if it wasn't obvious, I use multiple little rotating hard drives and solid state thumb drives to move between computer, FTA receiver, and WD media player, as required.
As an example, you can make a direct rip of a DVD (nothing special but decrypting), and the WD plays it.
You can use downloaded .AVI or even 720p .MKV movies or TV shows, and the WD plays it.
DivX, XviD, Avi, Mkv, MPG, all the usual suspects all the way up to 1080p works fine.
Not a feature I'd rely on in an FTA receiver (even if one or two might do it). :)
Also, when you're at home or a campsite with internet (do they have those?), youtube , Netflix, and many other on-line media choices are available.

So, moral of the story:
- pick an FTA receiver that receives well.
- pick a media player that plays media well.
- :up
 

bohack

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Oct 15, 2011
15
0
Pa
Yea I have a WD Live already... I was hoping to replace / merge the functions... However I agree it may be a little unfair to ask the box to do all of that, it was a hope. So what would you recommend as a solid box, besides the playback requirements?
 
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