Total newbie here... please help!

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mastermesh

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 18, 2006
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Just getting in to this fta stuff and need help. I just bought a house a few months back and it had an old directv dish. A few weeks back I read an article in Make 05 about fta sattelites and this got me wanting to get in to it. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble getting started...

I just got an Pansat 3500 SD and am wanting to use it to receive FTA channels (not mod the thing to unencrypt encypted channels).

What I've got:
-Pansat 3500 SD (brand new, (or at least just ordered?))
-RCA Directv DRD420RE with card (hu4?) that's used up (pretty old - found it in the basement of the house we just bought) along with
-RCA DRD420RE dish with LNB (was in the same box as the drd420re)
-Primestar Dish - Part 3040865 - 30" I think (old - just picked it up from someone who offered it on freecycle since I've read that 18" dishes like the drd420re are too small to pick up most fta sattelite channels) +
-old Primestar Dish style LNB that goes with it with 2 LNB outputs (V954273350).

I hooked up the DRD420RE just to see if it could pick up any signals from anywhere. I got a signal from what I think was Directv sattelite at 101 degrees west... but have a big old warning that the access card is expired... Using this setup, I could only find one and only one sattelite. When I tried to swap the cords and hook the dish up to the pansat, there was no signal at all. I was at least hoping that the signal meter on the pansat would pick up the sattelite since I knew that the dish was looking right at the sattelite since the other receiver sees the sattelite - it just can't pick up stuff on it since it's encrypted and the card is outdated. I know that you can mod the fta receiver to pick up directv sattelites, but I'm not interested in that. I just want pure fta if possible...

So far, the primestar can't see any sattelites at all on either reciver... of course, I do not have a multiswitch so I can't hook up the Primestar yet with both of the IF outs to do FTA as suggessted in an article that got me in to this as well as the forums (DIY Television - Legal and Free Digital Satellite TV article on page 145 of Make Magazine by O'Reilly, Vol 05). I just ordered a multiswitch on ebay. Hopefully that might help??? Although, I would think the vertical or circular recievers in there might pick up something on their own???

The Directv dish is only 18 inches I think... and the Primestar is about 30 I think...

The Directv is set up on one of the metal support beams on my porch. The Primestar is a few feet in front of it on a pole that was sticking out of the ground - I have no idea what it's there for, but think it has something to do with drainpipes since they had a cut up coke can on top of it. The Primestar is really heavy. I went to a hardware store and bought a couple of 6" diameter plumbing pipes that are about 6-12 inches each and duck taped them together and stuck that on top of that other pipe as a temporary stand for the Primestar for now... seems ok, but probably not as sturdy and unmovable as it probably should be to do this stuff properly?

Is it possible to use the lnb off of the directv dish with the directv dish on the Primestar dish? I fiddled with doing that a few days ago, but gave up on it since the Primestar wasn't getting any reception... Do I need to buy a new lnb for the Primestar or will the old one on it work?

I bought the Pansat from ftapalace.com. Their website says the receiver comes with a switch and a data cord... It came with neither, just the box + the sd card + remote and audio/video cord. I tried to get a hold of them to rectify the situation and send me the darn switch that I paid for that I thought was a part of the purchase... but their support emails keep bouncing back at me as their email box is full and the phone number on their website is nothing but a recording that says we are busy... call back later. I've tried calling back a few times at various times of the day on various days of the week and the same recording is there every time, so I've sort of given up on them... that's why I ordered the multiswitch from ebay... It's not arrived yet.

I was reading in the faq that you can use the 18" to pick up a couple of sattelites. How in the heck do you do that? The only signal I've gotten with that thing so far is that 100 directv signal on the directv reciever. The FTA receiver doesn't even acknowledge that.

Also, anyone know of a way to get a primestar like that mounted if you don't have the actual mount that came with it? I jury rigged it, but a more pro mount may help?

Please help.

Shucks, if someone in Mid-Missouri knows enough and could promise to definitely get it all working proper, I might even hire you since this is all a little more technical than I thought it would be at first.

I asked around at a couple of local radioshack about some of this stuff and they are totally clueless... their website says they have sattelite finders, but they don't and would have to order them online if anything... and said that "Our guys always just know where the sattelites are..." Of course they do if all they have to look for is 100 like I found on that drd system. I'm wanting more than that though... if it's possible.

Oh yeah, if this helps, here's some output from a sattelite finder program that I downloaded today:
Latitude 38° 57.216'N Longitude 92° 44.700'W

Sat Name Sat Lng Az(t) Az(m) El Skew
-------------------------------------------------------------
*** Of Particular Interest ***

EchoStar 3 61.5W 136.0 134.3 34.5 -32.7
EchoStar 6 110.0W 206.3 204.6 41.4 20.1
EchoStar 8 110.0W 206.3 204.6 41.4 20.1
EchoStar 7 119.0W 218.1 216.4 37.3 28.7
EchoStar 5 119.0W 218.1 216.4 37.3 28.7
EchoStar 9/Telstar 13 121.0W 220.5 218.9 36.2 30.4
EchoStar 1 148.0W 246.4 244.8 18.0 45.5
EchoStar 2 148.0W 246.4 244.8 18.0 45.5
EchoStar 4 157.0W 253.1 251.5 11.2 48.1

DirecTV 3 81.8W 162.9 161.2 43.5 -13.2
DirecTV 2 100.8W 192.7 191.0 44.1 9.8
DirecTV 1R 100.8W 192.7 191.0 44.1 9.8
DirecTV 1 101.0W 193.0 191.3 44.1 10.1
DirecTV 4S 101.2W 193.3 191.6 44.0 10.3
DirecTV 6 109.8W 206.0 204.3 41.5 19.9
DirecTV 5 119.0W 218.1 216.4 37.3 28.7

*** All Satellites 61W - 160W ***

EchoStar 3 61.5W 136.0 134.3 34.5 -32.7
Rainbow 1 61.5W 136.0 134.3 34.5 -32.7
Brasilsat A2 (incl. 5.8 deg) 63.0W 137.7 136.1 35.4 -31.5
Brasilsat B2 65.0W 140.1 138.4 36.5 -29.9
Brasilsat B1 70.0W 146.3 144.6 39.1 -25.6
Nahuel 1 71.8W 148.7 147.0 39.9 -23.9
AMC 6 72.0W 148.9 147.3 40.0 -23.7
Galaxy 12 74.0W 151.6 150.0 40.9 -21.7
SBS 6 74.0W 151.6 150.0 40.9 -21.7
GOES 12 75.0W 153.0 151.3 41.3 -20.7
AMC 5 79.0W 158.7 157.1 42.7 -16.4
DirecTV 3 81.8W 162.9 161.2 43.5 -13.2
Nimiq 2 82.0W 163.2 161.5 43.5 -13.0
Brasilsat B3 84.0W 166.3 164.6 44.0 -10.7
XM Roll 85.0W 167.8 166.1 44.2 -9.5
AMC 9 85.0W 167.8 166.1 44.2 -9.5
AMC 3 87.0W 170.9 169.2 44.5 -7.1
Galaxy 9 91.0W 177.2 175.6 44.9 -2.2
Galaxy 11 91.0W 177.2 175.6 44.9 -2.2
Nimiq 1 91.0W 177.2 175.6 44.9 -2.2
Brasilsat B4 92.0W 178.8 177.1 44.9 -0.9
Telstar 6 93.0W 180.4 178.7 44.9 0.3
Galaxy 8I (incl. 1.0 deg) 95.0W 183.6 181.9 44.8 2.8
Galaxy 3C 95.0W 183.6 181.9 44.8 2.8
Telstar 5 97.0W 186.7 185.1 44.7 5.2
Inmarsat 2 f2 (incl. 1.7 deg) 98.0W 188.3 186.6 44.6 6.5
Galaxy 4R 99.0W 189.9 188.2 44.4 7.7
DirecTV 2 100.8W 192.7 191.0 44.1 9.8
DirecTV 1R 100.8W 192.7 191.0 44.1 9.8
AMC 4 101.0W 193.0 191.3 44.1 10.1
DirecTV 1 101.0W 193.0 191.3 44.1 10.1
AMSC 1 101.1W 193.1 191.5 44.1 10.2
DirecTV 4S 101.2W 193.3 191.6 44.0 10.3
AMC 1 103.0W 196.1 194.4 43.6 12.4
Solidaridad 1 (incl. 2.8 deg) 103.5W 196.8 195.1 43.5 13.0
AMC 2 105.0W 199.1 197.4 43.1 14.7
G-Star 3 (incl. 11.5 deg) 105.0W 199.1 197.4 43.1 14.7
G-Star 1 (incl. 6.0 deg) 105.0W 199.1 197.4 43.1 14.7
MSAT 1 106.5W 201.3 199.6 42.7 16.4
Anik F1 107.3W 202.4 200.8 42.4 17.3
Anik E1 109.2W 205.2 203.5 41.7 19.3
DirecTV 6 109.8W 206.0 204.3 41.5 19.9
EchoStar 6 110.0W 206.3 204.6 41.4 20.1
EchoStar 8 110.0W 206.3 204.6 41.4 20.1
Anik E2R 111.1W 207.8 206.1 41.0 21.3
Solidaridad 2 113.0W 210.4 208.7 40.2 23.2
Morelos 2 (incl. 4.4 deg) 114.9W 212.9 211.3 39.4 25.0
XM Rock 115.0W 213.1 211.4 39.3 25.1
SatMex 5 116.8W 215.4 213.7 38.4 26.8
Anik E2 118.7W 217.7 216.1 37.5 28.4
DirecTV 5 119.0W 218.1 216.4 37.3 28.7
EchoStar 7 119.0W 218.1 216.4 37.3 28.7
EchoStar 5 119.0W 218.1 216.4 37.3 28.7
EchoStar 9/Telstar 13 121.0W 220.5 218.9 36.2 30.4
Galaxy 10R 123.0W 222.9 221.2 35.1 31.9
Galaxy 5 125.0W 225.1 223.4 33.9 33.4
Galaxy 12 125.0W 225.1 223.4 33.9 33.4
Galaxy 13 127.0W 227.3 225.6 32.7 34.8
Telstar 7 129.0W 229.4 227.7 31.4 36.2
Satcom C3 131.0W 231.4 229.8 30.1 37.4
Galaxy 1R 133.0W 233.4 231.7 28.8 38.6
Satcom C4 135.0W 235.3 233.6 27.4 39.8
GOES 10 135.5W 235.8 234.1 27.1 40.0
AMC 7 137.0W 237.2 235.5 26.0 40.8
AMC 8 139.0W 239.0 237.3 24.6 41.8
Inmarsat 2 f3 (incl. 1.9 deg) 142.0W 241.6 239.9 22.5 43.1
EchoStar 1 148.0W 246.4 244.8 18.0 45.5
EchoStar 2 148.0W 246.4 244.8 18.0 45.5
TDRS 9 (incl. 7.4 deg) 151.0W 248.7 247.1 15.8 46.4
TDRS 10 (incl. 6.2 deg) 151.0W 248.7 247.1 15.8 46.4
EchoStar 4 157.0W 253.1 251.5 11.2 48.1

Based on what I've read at lyngsat, 91 degrees, and 123 sound interesting. Others are interesting too if they are in the clear, but I don't have a motor, and only two dishes, so figured I might try for 91 on the 18" (since the faq mentioned that you can see that bird with an 18 incher) - can you pick up both G11 and Nimiq at 91 with an 18 or just Nimiq?

Thinking of maybe going after 123, Galaxy 10R with the Primestar... Can a Primestar pick up that sattelite?
 
W

Wholeshoe

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 28, 2004
354
0
You need to invvest in a Linear LNB. Your Primestar LNB should be linear but probably isn't worth messing with.

Also you need to set the LNB LO on the Pansat to 10750. If this is not done you will never see a signal.

The 30" Primestar should make a fine dish and likewise your pansat. Your on the right path and with a little more effort you will stumble onto some signal.

I hope others will chime in,

Wholeshoe
 
PSB

PSB

On vacation
Nov 5, 2003
1
5
WELCOME to the SatelliteGuys.US FTA forum!

I think you have seen this but here is the link to what you can expect to get with the DirecTV dish and LNB. (Not a lot)

Set the L.O. in the antenna set up screen to 11250 when using the DirecTV LNB

http://www.satelliteguys.us/showthread.php?t=34131

The LNB on the primestar dish will work (better when you get the switch), the L.O. should be set to 10750 in the antenna set up screen. One output is H and the other will be V.

If its all getting too much have a look here for a local installer....

www.dbsinstall.com

Otherwise read as much as you can here, pictures always help. And the members here are always quick to help!
 
W

Wholeshoe

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 28, 2004
354
0
Good point on the LNB Pete. I just thought with the inexpensive cost of a new one it would be worth it.

If your just itching to get something though the primestar lnb will work like Pete said. I think they usually have an H and V stamped on the end of them for Horziontal and Vertical polarities. If your working without the switch you'll want to make sure your looking for a H transponder when your hooked to the H side of the lnb. It seems elementary but worse things have screwed me up in the past.

Wholeshoe
 
F

Freekmastr

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 7, 2006
16
0
another question in this question

You said to set his L.O. at 10750, one at V and one at H? Can you explain further?
 
W

Wholeshoe

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 28, 2004
354
0
That particular LNB happens to have 2 seperate outputs. One for H polarities and one for V. Either needs the receiver lnb LO set at 10750. It is in the menus of the receiver when setting up for a particular satellite.

If there is no switch to "combine" the H and V polarities you can only receive one at a time due to the receiver only having 1 LNB input.

Make Sense?

Wholeshoe
 
techpuppy

techpuppy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 15, 2005
154
0
Hi!

It looks like you're near Booneville. I was checking to see how far away you were. As it turns out I'm about 100 miles south of you.

While you're waiting for your switch you may want to try for Galaxy 10R. I use a Primestar dish for it.

You don't need to wait for a new LNB either most likely. Almost everything worth watching on G10R is vertical polarity so you can run a coax directly to the lnb connection labeled "v". While you have access to the lnb set the skew by loosening the four screws slightly. There is a scale on the lnb adjacent to the screws. My skew was 36. The closer you get this to start the easier it will be to find the signal. Looking at the skew scale from the dish you will want to move the lnb clockwise so your skew is indicated to the left of zero.

I wasn't clear on whether you have the dish bracket with elevation scale on the back of the dish or not. If you do try mounting the dish on a level pole. The elevation scale on the back of the dish is notoriously inaccurate. For instance my elevation was supposed to be around 36 degrees. When I finally found the satellite the scale showed approx 52. If you don't have any bracket at all on the back of the primestar dish you're going to have a rough time aiming it. If you don't have a bracket I can send you a photo showing the angle of mine pointed at G10R which might be of some help. If you're going for G10R the easiest way to find the satellite is to program in 12114 (one of the stronger transponders) and as has been pointed out by many: take your receiver and a small TV out to your dish while aiming it. Be patient. Take your time and pay attention only to signal quality. Completely ignore signal strength.

I don't think there's anything on DirecTV you can get FTA. You'll only be able to pick up some music channels, NASA, a religious channel and Gol off of the Dish satellites.
 
N

neil_kc1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 14, 2004
401
20
KANSAS CITY AREA
Hi master, Welcome. Hang in there. Your primestar dish should work fine. You will need to eventually get a motor if you are going to go multiple sats. You will learn much as you try and get everything set up. Ant these guys will be great. Don;t give up. By the way I am in Odessa just down I-70 from you.
 
M

mastermesh

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 18, 2006
1,987
0
Thanks guys. You've really helped me out. I am still waiting for the multiswitch and ordered another lnb for the primestar on ebay. The lnb that's on there might work, but maybe not? I'll have to tinker with it. Thanks for telling me it's the V to use for g10r. I read somewhere else that you wanted to try the H. I'll swap that and look for it tonight after work.

I managed to the fta reciever is calling Echostar7 (i.e. 119) but I think it's really Echostar 6/8 (i.e. 110) on the 18" last night. I say that because the only fta channels on the thing are gol and something called Test, which looks like nothing but a re-run after re-run of the first season of Survivor.

I may try turning another 9 degrees tonight...

It's sort of take times to tune in but once you do, the mpg2 quality makes it worth while! :)
 
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mastermesh

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 18, 2006
1,987
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yep, I'm in Boonville.

Also, the Primestar does have a connector for the pole on the back that does have the tilt, but the pole that I'm on now is just some little pole thing they had in the flower garden in the front yard. I have no idea what it's true purpose is for being there but think it has something to do with drainage. The front yard is basically just a hill that the previous owner turned into a flower garden. There's an apartment across the street, but we are above them in elevation on the hill, so I'm hoping that the apartment won't block the reception on the primestar since the primestar is currently a few feet below and in front of the directv dish. If it does, I might have to try crawling on the roof - something that I really don't want to have to do if I can help it since the roof is pretty high and is pretty darn steep.

Boonville and Odessa High Schools are rivals in football. The competition used to be real steep back between 1990-94 when I was at BHS. I haven't really kept up on it much since then, but imagine I might keep an eye on it now that we actually live here instead of in Columbia.

:)
 
Last edited:
N

neil_kc1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 14, 2004
401
20
KANSAS CITY AREA
mastermesh, you need to make sure you pole is plumb or you will always be off no matter what lnb you use.
 
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