Questions before I get into FTA (1 Viewer)

Tylorert

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Guru
Sep 14, 2016
120
14
Grayeslake
Hey all! I wanted to mess with FTA for a while and I just got a house to do it at. I have a few questions before I deside if its worth it for me to invest in it

1. What's good to watch?
2. What happens if my FTA project fails? What could I use the dish for?
3. What are some good budget STBs
4. How is your experience with FTA and how often do you watch?
 
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Magic Static

FTA Geek
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
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Oct 12, 2010
7,418
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Montana
1. www.ftalistings.com
2. It only fails if you give up. ;) repurpose a dish? depends on type and size.
3. Until you are familiar with FTA, stay away from budget STBs. You want one that a lot of people use and can help you with.
4. I have FTA and OTA only and watch every day. I got into FTA years ago as it was the only way to watch my local college football team play in real time. They tape delayed the game at that time and the feed was the ticket. :)
FTA is one of those things where what you get from it depends on how much you put into it.
 

FTA4PA

Satellite Guys Family
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 13, 2013
4,970
2,833
Central Pennsylvania
Hey all! I wanted to mess with FTA for a while and I just got a house to do it at. I have a few questions before I deside if its worth it for me to invest in it

1. What's good to watch?
2. What happens if my FTA project fails? What could I use the dish for?
3. What are some good budget STBs
4. How is your experience with FTA and how often do you watch?
1. Depends on what appeals to you and the equipment you set up. Personally, we like a lot of older shows - comedies, crime series, sci-fi, etc - and C band and is good for that. If you like news and sports feeds a decent ku setup will get you a lot of that. Take a look at North & South America - LyngSat to see what is in the clear.

2. If your project fails offer it to someone else who is interested in fta. Please don't scrap it or turn it into a bird bath or gazebo roof. We don't take kindly to that around here. :rolleyes

3. There are always cheap receivers offered on eBay but most will leave a sour taste in your mouth as they come with little to no support. I would recommend one of the following. They are sold by members here at Satellite Guys who care about the FTA hobby and will provide you with good after-sale support. I use an Edision and an older Amiko and can say they are quality units.




4. We watch FTA daily. As far as my experience you should know that it is not like having a Dish or DirecTV subscription. You will need to devote time to setting up and servicing your own equipment. Also, channels come and go so you will need to rescan your satellites frequently to keep up to date. You will get many channels that are not offered elsewhere. You may also get some of the channels that Dish/DirecTV offer (pay channels sometimes go in the clear for short periods) but don't expect it. Overall, really a great hobby! :)
 

N5XZS

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 23, 2005
3,521
1,444
Albuquerque, NM, USA
That's how I get my UNM Lobos basketball game with no commercials and better picture quality a true master feed!

FTA, is like shortwave radio picking up weird stuffs out their as long they stay in the clear! :) :hungry

Remember this a fun hobby and fun to play with!:cool::hatsoff
 
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Tylorert

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Guru
Sep 14, 2016
120
14
Grayeslake
Okay, some more that I thought of
1a. What size dish should I get? I’m north central Illinois
2b. Would you guys recomend a motorized mount?
3c.Ka and Ku and iirc C band? What’s the different? LNBs?
4d. What LNB? Does quality matter or does any really work?
5e. I seen multi LNB brackets for dishes would they work? Are they good?
How about a satellite finder? I seen one with fancy screens and they look cool to get but I’m sure the basic cheep ones with the LCD screens would work fine?
 

FTA4PA

Satellite Guys Family
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 13, 2013
4,970
2,833
Central Pennsylvania
Okay, some more that I thought of
1a. What size dish should I get? I’m north central Illinois
2b. Would you guys recomend a motorized mount?
3c.Ka and Ku and iirc C band? What’s the different? LNBs?
4d. What LNB? Does quality matter or does any really work?
5e. I seen multi LNB brackets for dishes would they work? Are they good?
How about a satellite finder? I seen one with fancy screens and they look cool to get but I’m sure the basic cheep ones with the LCD screens would work fine?
1a. For c band nothing smaller than 8 foot but 10 foot or bigger is better. For ku band although a smaller dish will get you some channels I would not go less than a 90cm (36").

2b. Generally the answer is yes. A motor will allow your receiver to point your dish at any satellite you can 'see' and receive channels from it. Some people are happy with just a few satellites or need to send signals to different receivers from different satellites at the same time. They set up multiple dishes connected to a multiswitch. Depends on your needs.

3c. Ku band uses a smaller dish, five digits for the frequency, can be susceptible to rain fade. C band uses a larger dish, four figures for frequency, less problems with rain fade. Info on the ka band can be found here.

4d. For c band: The C1-PLL or C2-PLL from Titanium: Titanium Satellite - Store For ku band: The Maverick from KE4EST: MAVERICK KU BAND PLL LNBF Free-To-Air Standard Linear FTA LNBF 737534698778 | eBay

5e. Yes, multi-lnb brackets do work but would not recommend them to a beginner. They are a trade-off as you are aiming at signals off the focal point of the dish. As such they may be weaker and harder to find. Get a little experience first aiming dishes then experiment. As far as a meter, if you ask ten different FTAers you will likely get ten different answers. :rolleyes I use a cheap analog 'squawker' meter Analog Satellite Signal Strengh Dish Meter Finder Directv Dish Compass FTA Level | eBay to locate signals. These are subject to false signals though if you are in an area with a lot of terrestrial interference (power lines, etc) so they work better in the country. I also use a Satlink WS-6933 meter.
Easy to add satellites and transponders and it has worked great for me. :)

WS-6933 Menu.jpg
 

mr_rye89

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 5, 2020
59
66
Central New Mexico
Definitely right about finders/meters. I have a unique way of bird finding, my sat receiver is hooked to a Blonder Tongue modulator transmitting on NTSC channel 9 and I take a Sony Watchman with me to see the signal meter on the sat receiver. Yes it’s clunky but it’s already in place to feed content to my vintage TV collection.

I’m gonna get one of those handheld deals like FTA4PA posted to take some of the @$$ pain out of setting up that BUD I just got.
 
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cyberham

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 16, 2010
3,356
1,274
Nova Scotia
Regarding sat meters, I've never owned one. Right now, I use an app on my smartphone which connects via wifi to my Edision receiver. I can control the dish motor and monitor received signals on my smartphone while standing beside my dish.
Smartphone Sat Meter.jpg
 

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