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Discussion Starter #1
I want to receive Ku Band FTA. After doing a lot of research, I've determined that an elliptical dish (although arguably more difficult to adjust) is better at trying to pick up the more difficult satellites. The largest I've seen so far are 35"/85 cm. Ideally, I'd like to set the dish to 83º W (AMC 9) for RetroTV. Would I be able to also receive 125ºW (AMC 21) for PBS with another LNB on the same dish or is this too wide a spread? I do not want to use a motor - cost of a decent motor seems to be nearly the same price as a dish and an LNB.

I'd also appreciate recommendations for both the dish and the LNB as Brand X may not be as good (physical construction and specifications) as Brand Y.

Would there be any point in buying a combined Ku & C Band LNB with a 35" elliptical dish? From what I've read, you really need a larger (1.2m/7-10') dish for C Band.
 

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I tried using a star choice 60E (their current) oval dish to get RTV.
That dish is just not good enough to get it.
I just recently got one of their older oval's which is 33" tall by 30" wide. I've had some mixed reviews on how effective the dish is. Some people say it's going to work just fine, others say that 33" is the bare minimum and that I'll need at least a 36" or a 1.2m dish.
If you don't have a dish I would say spend the extra money and go as big as you can just to be safe, if you have a dish you want to try, give it a try just don't expect too much.
I'm not sure about multiple lnb's for multiple dishes. A motor and dish combo can be had pretty cheap.

Everything I've read and have been told says that 35" is just too small for C band. I've heard of 1.2 meter dishes with scaler rings getting some C band TP's but that's about it. Perhaps someone with actual C bnad experience can answer this part.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick responses. I figured that an elliptical dish is needed because you can skew it better. One of the Nimiqs is tight on top of AMC 9....

What's the maximum degree spread & max number of LNB's for a 35" elliptical dish?
 

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I wouldn't say there is a set maximum per-say it really depends on how strong the satellites are and where you live. In Victoria I can get 93 to about 119 on one elliptical dish.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Then is an elliptical dish better than an oval? Or is a 33" elliptical = to a 39" (1.0m) oval in gain, reception etc? Even a 4' (1.2m) dish seems excessive. I wonder if anyone from the Ottawa area is actually getting FTA?

I found this by accident & I wonder if it's Lyngsats' best kept secret???

http://www.lyngsat-maps.com
 

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Dish

I would recommend the following:

a 39" elliptical dish (great gain)
a Moteck SG 2100 dish motor
a Sonicview 8000HD receiver
Invacom quad LNB ( 2x linear, 2x circular)

Once setup to due south, you will be able to point to the required satellite via the receivers remote control (using the USALS pointing algorithm) to get the shows you want. If you have any more questions PM me.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Tim. You need to change your setting so you can receive pms.....

I haven't found any 39" elliptical dishes yet, only 36". I have found 39" oval/round dishes. Next size up seems to be a 1.2m elliptical....

Don't want to use a rotor. I've read good reviews about the Invacom quad.... what good will the circular LNB's be? Most Ku sats seem to want linear LNB's...... already have receiver: Viewsat Extreme....
 

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DISHes

You want to use a 39" or 48" dish that is NOT round. Just go to an FTA retail shop and tell them you want the maximum size supported by the Moteck SG2-100 dish motor. A 39" 'non-round' dish can be had for under $100. The dish motors (like the STAB or the Moteck) use offset dishes so that the rotation of the motor tube changes the skew of the dish and points to a different satellite. To do some more reading you should look at DiSEqC 1.2 and USALS. STAB of Italy invented USALS and made it public domain. The STAB website has some detailed information about USALS that is a worthwhile read... BTW it isn't a ROTOR -- is is a dish motor that changes the dish skew according to the programmed settings in the set top box. Is is unlike the X - Y polar mounts found on big-ugly C Band dishes. The Moteck SG2-100 can be purchased in Canada for about $75 -- once setup properly, you can enjoy the benefits of multi-satellite FTA reception with "wrenching and tinkering" with your dish aim again. BTW -- why would you want to go out in inclement weather to change your dish aim to receive another bird's Tx when you can do that from the comfort of your armchair via the set top boxes remote control? I can access 11 FTA satellites using this method...

tim
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now I'm starting to get confused.... satmancanada (in Winnipeg) really pans these elliptical dishes & he has a good argument:

http://http://www.satmancanada.com/Elliptical%20Dish.htm

I also now understand that sats regularly change which transponders these "channels" are transmitted on (ie one week they are on a higher powered one; the next week a lower powered one) and not all FTA sats on Ku use linear LNB's - some are circular ..... so now I understand why the Invacom QPH-031 is so popular.

Though I'm more inclined to follow advice given here because it is "real world" experience. No one here is trying to sell me anything ....

Where are you located Tim? Could you also tell me a brand/model of dish you mean ie. Geostat or ********...
 

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Best suggestion you will get is to do your research on a few forums,check out a few on line dealers and for heaven's sake do not by any obsolete or outdated equipment (Sonicview is long gone). There are true fta HD receivers out there with blindscan that can decode all formats, rethink adding a dish motor unless you like buying multiple lnbs,brackets and discq switches. I would also suggest reading the free pdf version of the excellent tele-satellite magazine before buying anything link below good luck.

http://www.tele-satellite.us/
 

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DISH

I live in northwest Montana on the Canadian border. I also have a group of rural friends in Southern Alberta who became disaffected with the satellite providers in Canada. I helped them install the FTA / OTA setups. Most of the 39" dishes are OEM units from three factories in Red China. They simply label their boxes to suit the requirements of their customers. Just find a retailer you can trust and make sure they give you a receipt with your name on it -- just in case to have to force them to give you an adjustment for a defective product.

When you do the dish install, I recommend you not use the little tube supplied with the dish as it is very flimsy. Go to your local automotive exhaust shop and purchase a 10 foot length of 1.5" O.D. galvanized exhaust tubing. Get them to cut it to length on both ends and dress the cuts with a grinder and then with a wire brush. Get a post hole digger and make a 4 foot deep hole in the ground. Using ready-mix concrete from the hardware store, while the tubing is placed and centered in the hole, pour in the water-concrete mix until the hole is filled. Repeatedly lift the tube about 6 inches or so and forcibly re-situate it at the bottom of the hole. This will force concrete up the tube. When you have done this a dozen or so times you can relax for a few minutes.

Get a precision inclinometer (about $20 at a tool shop) and measure the the "plumbness" of the pole at approximately 90 degree positions around the length of the pole. If the pole is not "plumb" (90 degree indication on the inclinometer) you must manually adjust its position until it meets this requirement. After it is plumb, add some braces to ensure the pole doesn't move out of plumb while concrete dries. Let the pole / concrete assembly dry for about 5 days before you put any load on it. The pole MUST be PERFECTLY PLUMB -- if it isn't, automatic satellite finding won't work!

During this wait time, purchase a good compass - I prefer a Silva Ranger. Also you will need to buy two cheap plum bobs from a hardware store. The 39" dish package, you will see a long steel arm (hopefully square steel) that supports the LNB and attaches it to the azimuth adjuster. Using a small drill, (1/16") and a drill press you will drill two tiny holes completely though the LNB support arm -- one hole about two inches from the LNB attachment hole and the other about two inches from the arms bend pint before it meets the dish. They must be centered over the width of the arm, so use a caliper to find the arm's center line. After the holes have been drilled, you will attach the two plum bobs to the completed and installed dish assembly so that they ride two inches from ground level. This will take some fiddling.

Go to satfinder.com to find the LATitude and LONGitude of your street address. Write them down. Also use the motorized dish instructions on that website, and select the dish motor you are using -- I like the Moteck SG 2-100. This site will tell you the motor angle and the dish angles you need to setup. The motor angle should be setup to your degrees North -- this appears on the left hand adjuster of the Moteck SG 2-100. The dish angle is setup according to the information on the same screen. Assemble the motor and dish according to the instructions supplied with these products. Install the assembled motor-dish assembly on the pole you previously set in concrete.

Take your Silva Ranger compass, and after reading its instructions, move the bottom reticle ring to compensate for the magnetic declination in your geographical zone. Industry Canada has a website that supplies that information. Remember the two "el-cheapo" plumb bobs you installed on the LNB arm? With the four "tube attachment" bolts on the SG 2-100 motor only "finger tight" simply move the mother assembly until the two plumb bobs line up exactly DUE SOUTH. It is important that you set up the Silva Ranger compass as per this paragraph's magnetic declinations instruction so that it point to TRUE NORTH and TRUE SOUTH. If you only point to magnetic North / South, this dish motor wont find the satellites.

Once this is done, apply a little Blue Loctite to the four attachment bolts and you are home free -- almost. With your satllite receiver POWERED OFF, do the following:

Connect the receiver to the Moteck SG2-100 input.
Connect the SG2-100 output to the input port of a four port DiSEqC switch.
Connect port 1 of the switch to port one of the Invacom LNB. Continue to connect the switch ports to the corresponding ports of the Invacomm LNB. Remember what port of the LNB is Circular polarity and what is Linear polarity.

Go inside the house and power up the FTA receiver, and make sure it is connected to your TV. Go back outside and look under the Moteck SG2-100 motor and you will see two plastic buttons -- one covers and LED indicator and the other covers a motor drive switch. look ant the angle indicator on the motor, and ensure it is at ZERO DEGREES. If it isn't repeatedly press the motor drive button until it is. Go back in the house, and enter the FTA receiver's dish setup menu, and select a satellite from that menu that is closest to the LAT / LONG of your house (remember you got this information from satfinder.com). This will be your reference site. Enter the USALS menu for that satellite, and enter the LAT / LONG for your house. Tell the FTA receiver to "go to satellite position".

You should then go outside and make VERY TINY adjustments to the DISH elevation to maximize your signal strength and quality levels. When this is done, you reference point is set and you can then use the USALS menu to acquire other satellites. During the satellite acquisition process you will have to fiddle with LNB type (Circular or Linear polarization) and LNB frequency via the menus in order to maximize signal strength and quality. This LNB type usually appears under the DiSEqC menu -- it corresponds to the port on the DiSEq switch used to connect the four ports on the Invacom LNB. Once you've done this run a Blind Scan and then save the satellite and channels. I would run a Blind Scan on my favorite satellites every two weeks or so because the providers change their lineup quire frequently. I hope this helps.

tim
 

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I can't imagine stations being moved regularly to different transponders. That would be a nightmare to inform your viewership that you are moving every week.
I think there is some confusion on the other forum you are referring to. Dish and Bell regularly move networks to different transponders. however they just update their IRD's and the end user never knows Channel A moved to a new transponder.
I don't think you'll see RTV or Al Jazeera or any other FTA channel being moved regularly if at all.

As for Circular FTA channels, I had assumed they were all Linear with the circular being used by Bell and Dish. The Invacom LNB is one of the best from what I've read and have been told, and if you happen to have a Bell sub then you would only need a single dish on your roof.

Oh course I could be completely mistaken on this.

I'd also recommend the setup given by Tim.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Tim! Loads of info.... of course, I have more questions....

I'm still trying to find out about the LNB's: are all Ku sats linear? I've been also thinking of C Band (I know that means a larger dish) .... are C Band LNB's linear or circular? How/Where can I find which LNB type for each sat? What does Lyngsat mean by digital clear. Is this unencrypted and free? They don't mark these with an 'F' - just a colour indicating digital/clear.
 

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All domestic (North American) C/Ku satellites are linear, except for the DBS ones, which have no FTA to speak of anyways.

Some Atlantic satellites may be circular.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Classicsat. Now things make a lot more sense. That qph 031 may be good but the 2 circulars would be useless. Can you recommend a linear LNB? I've noticed the European ones look a little better constructed (maybe it's because they're all in 1 bright colour - and not grey). Ideally I'd like to get 83ºW to 103ºW - approx 4 sats. It sounds like they'd all fit on a 1.2m dish. Want to avoid the expense of a motor. Now if I can only get an answer to the digital/clear....
 

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Yes. you are correct 4 good LNBs will cost as much a a good motor. The two benefits to not using a motor is you do not have to wait for the position movements and there is a chance after many years the motor will fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The more I read, the more I get confused..... Do I need a C+Ku band LNB? I'm also confused over the purpose of a dual LNB. Apparently it has 2 functions: 2 outputs for 2 receivers or it can tune both H & V Tp's .... but a single LNB tunes both H & V too, doesn't it???
 
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