Satellite TV - useless or not?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Touchwood, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Touchwood

    Touchwood Funster

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    Some months ago I bought a free standing satellite dish and receiver. After some teething troubles it seemed to be working, at home at least, so took it with us on our current jaunt to Devon & Cornwall. It worked once, and never again in the last two weeks. I had all the leads checked before the trip, and am sure I'm not making any silly mistakes in trying to set it up. So is it a duff system, or are such systems generally pretty useless? If the former then I'll try to get my money back. If the latter I'll bin it.
     
  2. Revk

    Revk Read Only Funster

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    I spent two weeks in france trying to get my satelite working, got home worked fine, then realised I had the tele set to digital instead of scart whilst in france. whoops!:cry::Rofl1:
     
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  3. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    its very dependent on what exactly isn't working

    when you plug it into the tv and change the input source to suit, can you see anything on screen?

    If yes is it just a tuning issue with the dish?

    these boxes tend to be pretty reliable and although you cant get all the channels everywhere, they're a cheap way into satellite TV in the van or at home. A little more info would help
     
  4. Touchwood

    Touchwood Funster

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    I take your point re more info helping, but I'm pretty sure it's a tuning issue. When I switch the receiver to "info" I get a screen showing signal strength and quality, both low. The system has an easy tune facility with a red light on the transponder which goes amber then green when on target, but it resolutely stays red. I'm using a hand bearing compass for approximate bearing to Astra 28.2 (about 147) and slowly moving up to 30 degrees each side in very small increments. Tried half a dozen times or more in last two weeks, and am totally fed up with it.
     
  5. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Setting up sat systems seems to be the bane of my life..

    Why ? Well not what your expecting.. in fact just the opposite !

    Usually takes no more than 5 or so minutes to set up everything, and it drives me NUTS when I see folk faffing around for lord knows how long trying to get a picture..

    So I wander over and do the biz.. Pretty soon they tell their mate and THEY come and ask.. And so it goes on..

    The upside is:

    1) I usually get paid in a wee dram or two

    2) The more you do the quicker and easier they are to set up..

    Like all things in life the more you practice the easier it becomes..
    Before we had the auto system we had one of those £50 Aldi kits.. worked all over the UK and all over France, Italy, Austria and Germany
     
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  6. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    Well mine is a fully auto dome system which I take my spare sky box (with card) and get all the movies and sport. Down in Cornwall last week, got the lot.

    That said we didn't use it apart from weather forecasts as we played cards and generally enjoyed the late sun in the awning and the grandchildren's company.........Griff
     
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  7. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    sat tv

    Hi Touchwood
    I bought a freestanding system from Road pro about 5 years ago. Also got a fancy digital sat finder to test from an MH mag (which they let me keep). I swore I would never be one of those poor sods who spends hours fiddling with the dish to get a signal whilst providing entertainment for the rest of the site, but guess what?.. The system seemed to work when it wanted, and I became that man more than once. So I gave it away and bought a van with an auto dish on top. Now at least no-one can tell if its working or not!

    Cheers, Gary :BigGrin:
     
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  8. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    I understand your frustration, but seriously dont give up too easily. ignore the LED on the LNB and get yourself a cheap meter, it gives far more feedback and allows you to zero in the direction with some ease. It would really annoy me too spending on a system that just refused to perform as advertised. However from experience I take little notice of gimmicks and rely on tried and trusted methods instead.

    Once you have the knowledge and the knack it will all seem so simple, so please do persevere. Its certainly worth it to have access to a good choice of channels and programs when the weather outside means being trapped indoors for the day
     
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  9. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Oh, should have said...
    I use a digi compass ( £15.00 ) to get a rough idea, and then just a simple tonal thing with no meter at all.
    Basically it just whistles or fades.. Once it is as good as I can get by ear ( so to speak ) I then revert to the meter bar on the telly/sat box its self
     
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  10. Jazzbow

    Jazzbow Read Only Funster

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    How about you do a video and show us all how to do it? I just took mine back to the shop because it 'appears to be faulty' - I realise that it's me that's faulty though!
     
  11. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    When we had our tripod mounted dish I used the app on the iPhone ( I know you may not have an iPhone, but also works on other phones ) called Satfinder. I could setup and lockon in 2/5 minutes picture running. Saved me loads of time and hair!!!!
    I demonstrated it for a member at the "bring & buy" 2 weeks back as he could not lock on to Sky UK, he was so pleased 2 minutes later.
    When I get back to Spain next month I will dig out my old system ( now running Mobilsat system ) and take some photos of how I marked it up for quick setup.
     
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  12. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    I would love to but how can you film a 'feel' for the right tone ?

    I use nothing different to everyone else,, do nothing wonderful or clever ( clever? Me ?? LOL !!! Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!! )

    It is simply about experience..

    I can offer tips of course which might help..

    Such as ALWAYS use a compass.. Always take the time to check 'on line' the expected elevation where you intend travelling ( elevation is the back and forth angle and is JUST as important as the direction )

    If you are not using a dedicated Sky box such as a Pace or similar do make sure you select the correct satellite from the list on the menu ( Astra 2 is the normal one )

    If you are stuck look for a BIG signal 19 d east of south.. It is massively strong so you should find it with ease and is the old Astra bird now being used by all and sundry, but with little english content apart from news and the like

    Then lower the angle of the dish a bit and turn it to the left.

    Listen for the FIRST peak in sound you get, and then tweak VERY SLOWLY up and down and then left and right.. Then up and down again and again left and right

    The reason you do the up and down bit first is cos there is another bird ( Satellite ) just a tiny bit further round from the Astra one..
    28.2° east (Astra 1N/2A/2B/2C/2D) and Eutelsat's Eutelsat 28A satellite at 28.5°E.

    Soo..
    Check your box is on the right satellite
    Find a BIG signal at 19 degrees east of south at 27degrees elevation if you are somewhere around the midlands ( see note below )
    Lower the dish a bit and SLOWLY swing it further east..
    If you find nothing, return to roughly where the dish was and lower it a bit more.. Keep doing that until you come across a new large signal

    To give you an idea how far you have to turn the dish, there is 11degrees difference, it is about the difference between 12 oclock and 11.30 ( big hand location ), so not a massive amount !

    NOTE:
    The elevation varies depending on how far north or south you are.. but the info is available on line..

    Further note..

    You may find the writings of this chap useful.. A motorhomer like your self, he explains all in greater detail :)

    http://watkin-online.com/satlocate.html

    Oh, one last tip !!

    Unless you KNOW for sure your neighbour is aiming at Sky do not take it for granted and use his dish position as a guide..
    Nowadays, with so many folk living in the UK from all over the world, he could just as easily be shooting HotBird or PolskaSat !
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
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  13. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    I was in the Sat game for a long time, pre-sky (as we know it)..

    Manually alignment, even with a cheap in-line meter can be a bit hit and miss.
    In the early days of my motorhoming I used to take a dish and tripod. Had days where I could spend an hour on it, get nothing, have a cuppa and then on a new attempt. "Bingo"
    Also had the opposite and had signals up and running in seconds...

    Dont give up BUT try your receiver on a fixed dish, someone that you know has a working system. There is a chance you may have a fault but that will be down to elimination.
    If you have the tiny 30cm dish the look on ebay for an old Sky dish or something a little bigger.

    Good luck.:thumb:

    ps... Not this big..:Rofl1:
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. laneside

    laneside Funster

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    One thing Jaws forgot to mention if there is a huggin of trees between you and the satellite then afraid it will not happen----you do need a clear view of the sky--oh and slowly slowly is the other secret
     
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  15. FM02MZO

    FM02MZO Funster

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    We usewd to have a dish on a tripod, but we got fed up of spending ages to set it all up, then you would get up in a morning to find that someone had turned it round, so you had to set it all up again. At the NEC this year we got a very good offer on a 85cm Oyster auto skew setup, this along with our Avtex satellite tv is perfect.
     
  16. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    What type of dish are you using?

    If you are using a "Sky" dish like this
    [​IMG]

    Remember that the lnb on those dishes is offset. So if you want an elevation of about 26 degrees the dish is actually almost vertical, or just slightly above the vertical. If you go up the North of Scotland the dish can actually be pointed slightly downwards from the vertical, which just looks and feels odd.

    I used a Sky dish on a tripod for a couple of years. I set it up outside the van and looked through the window at the TV when tuning. I had a Sky box so I just put it on the signal strength page on the menu and used that as my signal meter. Never took more than 5 minutes to get a signal. If there are other vans or houses nearby look where their dishes are pointing for guidance. Remember though on the Continent most foreign vans will be using 13E or 19E so you need to swing your dish a bit further east.

    As mentioned before you can also get Apps which will find your position and give you the azimuth and elevation required for the satellite. You can also use an digital compass App.

    I just set it up by pointing generally SE and used the menu to tune it. Move in small increments though as the TV menu takes about 4 or 5 seconds to catch up.

    Just practice, don't give up, you will soon get the hang of it. One time though I did have a duff lnb when I bought the dish. I tried setting it with the van up at home, so the dish was pointing the same way as the dish on my house. Zilch. I had a spare lnb, swapped them over and signal boomed in. Never had a problem after that......


    We now have a Road Pro dome..... so no faffing about any more....:Cool:
    :thumb::thumb:

    :BigGrin:
     
  17. keith

    keith Funster

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    The 3 most important things to get your sat. dish aligned are:

    PRACTICE ................. PRACTICE .................... PRACTICE

    But not in the same place. :BigGrin:

    I use my Androide phone to SEE EXACTLY where the satellite is using Satfinder app. which is one of a few on Android. :thumb:
     
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  18. Leftlegger

    Leftlegger Funster

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    I have a look on this site for different locations:
    http://www.dishpointer.com/
    just type your postcode town or coordinates ,choose your sattelite and away you go,magnetic and true settings will have to be taken into account.I always use a compass in front of the dish and stand behind it aiming the lnb in the right direction from there.Also when moving the dish up and down i find mine looks almost vertical when getting the strongest signal.
    don,t give up
     

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  19. bobandjanie

    bobandjanie Funster Life Member

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    Keith has it right, we use Jane's phone to decide on our pitch, and then you know that at mid day you have sunshine. :Wink: :Rofl1:
    We have various size dishes on a tripod, depending on what country we are going to.:BigGrin:
    But must admit we got one of the cheap satellite kits from Aldi and when you open the suit case you think :Doh: this is a bit :Doh: but having used it and having the HDI lead also we can plug our external hard drive in and watch that too, our other box has been removed, :Smile: even impressed with the micky mouse sat finder you get with it. :Rofl1:

    But it's practice makes perfect, saying that one day your straight on it, the next time takes a bit longer, normally when the dish is only just big enough and you on the edge of the foot print. :cry::Rofl1: Bob.
     
  20. Touchwood

    Touchwood Funster

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    Many thanks to all who responded; haven't had internet access for a couple of days.

    On balance I think I'm going to ditch it, TV isn't that important to us and it sounds like far too much hassle and frustration.

    So - any offers for a satellite system that may (or may not) have nothing wrong with it? :BigGrin:
     
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