Trouble getting started in FTA (1 Viewer)

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49ford

Thread Starter
New Member
Jan 5, 2010
3
0
Georgia
I have had a pansat 150m reciever since christmas. I have an assortment of old satellite dishes retrieved from trash heaps. I have a old direct tv dish a newer one with a dual lnb, a old primerstar dish, and a hughes net dish. I have tried to pick up several satellites with no luck. I get a signal but know quality. What do I need to do to get started. Is there in satellites that I can pick up with what I have to test the reciever. Thanks
 

Inno

SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 13, 2006
1,596
5
NW Ontario, Canada
Well you should be able to get something set up with what you have. Out of what you list there the Primestar dish should be the best candidate. I have not set up a primestar myself but there is plenty of discussion on the topic here.
Essentially find a FTA signal that you are interested in, input the parameters into your Pansat and move the dish around until you find signal and quality.........ok, that is perhaps simplifying it a bit but essentially that is it.
There are MANY threads which contain a wealth of good information.

Basically decide what satellite you want to point at and someone can tell you a good transponder to search for. Check out SatelliteGuys.US - TheList and find something that interests you on Ku band.

And:welcome to Satellite Guys!!! Soon you'll have 'em all up and running!!:)
 

Lak7

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 28, 2008
5,451
7
Near Chicago, Illinois
If you can, post Pics of what you have.
I would start with either the Primestar or Hughes Net Dish.
Look at the LNBs on those dishes, and make note of any info there. Post that info.

FTA Satellite in not Plug N Play.
You have to tell the receiver what is connected to it, that's where the info from the LNBs comes in. You need to enter the proper LNB Frequency into the Receiver, for each and every Sat.
 

turbosat

SatelliteGuys Master
Dec 26, 2006
9,001
75
Oneonta,AL
Which primestar dish do you have? There's a "Mold" # stamped on the back of it, and does it have the lnbf still on it? LNBF is the part in the front, pointed at the dish face. Possibly has 2 outputs on it, one marked H and one V.
How far along are you with the project-got it on a pole yet? More information would help us to help you. You can post pictures too of your equipment---just scroll down to the bottom in your reply to where it says "manage attachments". Welcome in!!!
 

hwm

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 29, 2008
298
0
North Central Idaho
You'll probably need a new LNB.

In my experience it is best to discard old weather-beaten LNBs and buy a new standard linear LNB. This should cost less than $20 including shipping, and will save much frustration. I would also suggest one of the cheap "SF95" type signal meters to help in finding a satellite signal. These can also be had for less than $20 delivered.

Your dish for Ku band FTA Linear satellites should be at least 31 inches in diameter. Bigger is better. Some linear Ku fta sats can be received with smaller dishes, but doing so is primarily just a challenging stunt to see if you can do it.

I would suggest you start with Galaxy 19 @ 97 West. There are plenty of FTA channels here , and the signal is strong on most transponders.

For me, the two most difficult things to learn when starting out in FTA TV were: 1- Finding the satellite signal you are aiming for. 2- Setting all the options in your receiver's setup menu to match your equipment and the satellite signal your are trying to get.

Learn from your mistakes, and don't get discouraged. You'll figure it out.

One more thought: I spent many frustrating hours trying to get 123w back in the day with a Primestar dish and a "Dish1000?" that had 3 LNBs on it, one of them linear. I never did get usable signal quality with my junkyard dishes and LNBs. A year or so later I tried again with a new Winegard 31-inch dish and a new standard linear LNB. In about an hour and a half I was setup on 123w, enjoying old TV shows on RTN network. Sure, I studied about FTA TV plenty in that year, but the bigger dish and new LNB made all the difference in getting good strong signal quality.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
The main challenge is to install and direct your dish properly towards a sat you want to catch. Plenty of "How To" articles describe the right pass. I would start from a strongest signal circular sat positioned near Due South direction from your place, which has at least one clear channel. Try to learn pointing the dish towards that sat and fine tuning its position to max out signal Q. Make sure to use a proper LNB for that sat, and choose Dish Setup options in your STB correctly. Once you master getting a pic from a strong sat, other stuff will come a lot easier.
 

LoTech

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 22, 2009
498
0
Whitesburg, Kentucky
Sadoun has a good installation guide here.

With the DirecTV dish you can probably get 119W with ION, Angel1, and NASA.

With the Primestar dish you should be able to pick up most of the other KU sats.

The trick to fine tuning your dish is to make sure that you have all elements where they are supposed to be. You will need to check the elevation (up/down), azimuth (East/West), and skew (angular orientation of the LNB) and make sure that all three are adjusted for the satellite you want to pick up.
 

classicsat

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 28, 2009
195
0
Ontario, Canada
Make sure the mast is dead plumb, and the dish is tightly assembled.
Second most critical (if you are not using a meter) is setting the receiver for the LNB. and preferable parameters of the signal you want to tune.
Third most critical is the general elevation. Once you get that set, finding the satellite should be as simple as swinging the dish back and forth on the mast and watching signal/quality.
 

49ford

Thread Starter
New Member
Jan 5, 2010
3
0
Georgia
Thanks for all the replys. I will work with it this evening and see what lnbs I have. Currently the hughes net dish is permently mounted and ready to go. Turbosat I see your from Oneonta I have a lot of family in odenville and springville. Very pretty neck of the woods.
 

49ford

Thread Starter
New Member
Jan 5, 2010
3
0
Georgia
The hughsnet dish is not very easy to get to. I couldnt get any numbers off of it. On the primestar dish, it is a channelmaster with mold number 75e-4. The lnb has the number 8462 on it and has 2 coax outlets one marked with an H and the other with a V.
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
In my experience it is best to discard old weather-beaten LNBs and buy a new standard linear LNB. This should cost less than $20 including shipping, and will save much frustration. I would also suggest one of the cheap "SF95" type signal meters to help in finding a satellite signal. These can also be had for less than $20 delivered.

Your dish for Ku band FTA Linear satellites should be at least 31 inches in diameter. Bigger is better. Some linear Ku fta sats can be received with smaller dishes, but doing so is primarily just a challenging stunt to see if you can do it.

I would suggest you start with Galaxy 19 @ 97 West. There are plenty of FTA channels here , and the signal is strong on most transponders.

For me, the two most difficult things to learn when starting out in FTA TV were: 1- Finding the satellite signal you are aiming for. 2- Setting all the options in your receiver's setup menu to match your equipment and the satellite signal your are trying to get.
Learn from your mistakes, and don't get discouraged. You'll figure it out.

One more thought: I spent many frustrating hours trying to get 123w back in the day with a Primestar dish and a "Dish1000?" that had 3 LNBs on it, one of them linear. I never did get usable signal quality with my junkyard dishes and LNBs. A year or so later I tried again with a new Winegard 31-inch dish and a new standard linear LNB. In about an hour and a half I was setup on 123w, enjoying old TV shows on RTN network. Sure, I studied about FTA TV plenty in that year, but the bigger dish and new LNB made all the difference in getting good strong signal quality.

HWM,

You have some excellent points of advice and suggestions! I highlighted the ones that I thought were worded so perfectly and eloquently.

I don't agree that "bigger is better" however. That is not always the truth or the correct way to judge the dish antenna. There are many factors to be considered, beyond just size. You must consider size (diameter), F/D ratio, construction and material, gain rating at the desired or intended frequency use, effective apperture and apperture efficiency and several other parameters. Basically, be cautious about stating that bigger is always better, because it isn't always an accurate statement.

To add to this:

Ensure that your mast is perfectly plumb and sturdy, don't skimp or cut a corner on this. It is highly important that you adhere to this rule.

It is also important to experiment and try to become familiarized with setting up and aligning a fixed point dish antenna, before you graduate to a motorized system.

And, obviously, become very familiar with the receiver that you are starting out with. Learn its abilities and limitations by asking questions and experiment with navigating all of its menus and modes of operation.

Good luck to you, 49Ford and absolutely....

:welcome

RADAR
 

Tron

SatelliteGuys Master
May 6, 2005
6,599
33
Metro New Orleans, LA
49ford, your Primestar dish will work well for you. The LNB is a bit old, but should do the job with one addition--a DirecTV-style 3 x 4 multiswitch. These can be had very cheaply. You would connect the H output from the LNB to the 18V input on the multiswitch, and the V output to the 13V input on the switch. You can connect up to four receivers to the outputs. The multiswitch allows the receiver to select horizontal or vertical polarities by switching voltages, as it would normally do with any regular LNB. You could also buy a new LNB for the dish, but the multiswitch is probably your cheapest option.

I'd personally replace that LNB with a bandstacked one from a Superdish (also found very easily, and usually for free), but I'm not going to advise someone new to the hobby to jump in with a bandstacked LNB (Anole would probably disown me!) ;)
 

phlatwound

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 25, 2007
3,253
203
Goosapeak Junction
49ford, your Primestar dish will work well for you. The LNB is a bit old, but should do the job with one addition--a DirecTV-style 3 x 4 multiswitch. These can be had very cheaply. You would connect the H output from the LNB to the 18V input on the multiswitch, and the V output to the 13V input on the switch. You can connect up to four receivers to the outputs. The multiswitch allows the receiver to select horizontal or vertical polarities by switching voltages, as it would normally do with any regular LNB. You could also buy a new LNB for the dish, but the multiswitch is probably your cheapest option.

I'd personally replace that LNB with a bandstacked one from a Superdish (also found very easily, and usually for free), but I'm not going to advise someone new to the hobby to jump in with a bandstacked LNB (Anole would probably disown me!) ;)

49er, I agree with everything that Tron says here but would add, if you just want to try out that Primestar you don't have to buy a new LNBF or a multiswitch. Just need to hook your coax to the H output if you are scanning for horizontal channels, and the V output if looking for verticals.

Once you have everything working in that state you will most likely want to get a multiswitch, or a voltage-controlled switching LNBF so you don't have to move the cable to select polarities.

Those Primestars are excellent dishes, if you end up using yours and want to consider motorizing it, there is a ton of info on this site on how to do that also.
 
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