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Beginner

absoluteb

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#1
This site probably has a big link "Beginners Click Here" but I've missed it, sorry.

I am interested in setting up a system to point up at Astra (1 - I think) to pick up the German range of channels. I haven't done anything like this before, but I am prepared and interested to learn, as I am not prepared to pay the ridiculous £700 charged by professional companies (I am serious - I called up 4 places).

Where could I buy a cheap and simple Satellite aerial and receiver, and how could I find a guide on installing a system.

Could somebody please point me in the right direction.

Thank you,
Lech
 

rolfw

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#2
Hi Lech, welcome to the forum, if you are looking to watch the analogue German language channels on Astra 19.2, then you should be able to set yourself up very cheaply.

First of all make sure that you have a wall facing anywhere between South and East, but with a relatively clear horizon above 30 degrees elevation., that's about 1 in 2.

You can get yourself an ex Sky analogue receiver and dish for nothing and I really mean nothing. :) Setting it up is much easier than a digital system and can be easily achieved by the DIY user, once you've got it we'll all help out..

Rolf
 

absoluteb

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#3
Thank you,

You answered a question I had in the back of my mind regarding the elevation angle. I have a tree in the way that is a potential problem (nothing a chain saw can't fix).

Where might I find an old sky dish and receiver? Are car boot sales good places? The problem I anticipate is that I will not know whether the receiver and LNB (what does this stand for by the why?) are in working condition.

I wouldn't mind paying a little for good picture quality - just not the £700 wanted by companies.

Despite wanting to pick up these channels (and learn some German, after all I do have a German passport), I am actually interested in the technicalities of setting up a system. Where should a beginner like myself look as a good start?

Thanks again,
Lech
 

rolfw

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#4
You'll almost certainly find them at car boot sales Lech, you'll also find them in some of the free ad papers, but don't pay too much, you can get a brand new analogue receiver for less than £70. A 60cm dish with an enhanced LNB (Low Noise Block Converter), or better still Universal LNB can be bought brand new for £30 or so, but possibly £5 at a boot sale.

Once you have the equipment, you need a long extension power lead and a portable TV, you can then sweep the sky and see when you get a signal. A cheap compass would also help, better still a borrowed one. :)
 

absoluteb

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#6
I have been reading information on the site mentioned by Old Satellite (thank for the link). In my particular case, will I have to worry about the polarization of the signal to receive all the free channels from Astra 1?

This site talks about either having a servomotor, which mechanically changes the polarization received, or a dual feed (LNB?).

Am I correct in thinking that it is possible to receive both vertical and horizontal polarization signals through one cable into the receiver, because I recall somebody switching between V and H (this making a difference) and there was only one cable entering the receiver?

Would an Amstrad SRD700 be appropriate in my case? I believe I can get one for under £10.

Lech

Ps. This web page http://www.geo-orbit.org/sizepgs/tuningp2.html is more concerned with tracking satellites systems, which appears to be a different ball game to standard satellites. However, the site explains things very well. Does anyone know of a similar site that deals with ordinary systems?
 

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#7
Hi Lech, the Amstard should be OK, I believe that its one of the later models, although some of the Amstrads' picture quality left something to be desired. As for the LNB polarisation, a universal LNB has built in polarisation control which works by changing the voltage and will be ideal for your single sat requirements.
 

absoluteb

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#8
I am also looking at a 60cm mesh dish with a “universal ae14 single” LNB. Just to check that I understand, "single" means that the LNB can only be connected to one cable, but receives both polarizations. (What does the ae14 mean?)

On that note, in the future, would it be possible to ‘split’ the signal via a booster to two receivers? (In a similar way that you can do it with a signal from a standard aerial?)

The satellite will be mounting quite far from the receiver (about 30m) will I need a very good coaxial cable and some kind of booster?

Which of the following receivers is the best: Toshiba TS540, Amstrad SRD700, Amstrad SRX-200, Ferguson SRD4, Pace MSS 301?

General curiosity: is a different type of LNB required to receive a digital signal (don’t worry I’m not going there – I understand it is far more difficult to set up a digital system).

Sorry – So many questions!!
 

rolfw

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#9
From London the 60cm dish on Astra1 will be fine with a 30metre cable run, providing that the cable is good quality (CT100 or WF100) and the dish is well aligned, in most standard installations an amp/equaliser will make little difference and sometimes cause problems.

Don't know what the AE14 stands for, probably just a product code, the Pace MSS300 is in my experience the best of the ones you mention.

The step to digital once fully set up and aligned with the analogue system on a newish universal LNB, is a relatively small one, just swap receivers. Alternatively by changing the LNb for a twin version (you cannot split the signal from a single and have independent operation), you can then feed a digital receiver as well, this will open up a large number of extra channels.
 

Channel Hopper

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#10
If memory serves me correctly AE14 is a Cambridge model code for the LNB

It was one of the earlier Universals and will bolt straight onto the Pace unit with no adjustments

Being universal it will also work on your systerm when upgraded to digital
 

absoluteb

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#11
I can get a second hand 60cm mesh dish with the universal LNB mention and mounting brackets for £10. Is this a good offer?

How much should I pay maximum for a second hand Pace MSS 300? They seem to be between the £20-£30 price range. Any good?

On another note,
I am assuming that the receiver powers the LNB, and this is why you need a twin LNB to connect two receivers independently?
 

rolfw

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#12
The prices sound OK, so you should be ably to set yourself up for less than £40, all you will need on top of that is a length of decent cable, CT100 or equivalent, a couple of F connectors and a couple of inches of self amalgamating tape.
 

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#13
Rawl bolts, rudimentary tools and a bit of patience also helps
 

absoluteb

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#14
I’m going a round about way of sorting this out. So far I’ve only got the receiver: no dish or LNB yet.

As things turn out, I’ll probably buy a twin lnb straight off to avoid the job of changing lnbs later. I’ve checked out most of the online shops in the Independent Dealers section of links in search of a suitable lnb and dish. Any recommendations? Or do you all think it’s a stupid idea to buy these things new, especially online? If so, I’ll probably look round London.

One more thing: will mounting a dish to wood be a problem? The only place I can really put it is on a shed.

Thanks
Lech
 

rolfw

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#15
As long as the shed is sturdy there is no problem Lech, as for buying the Dish and LNB on the net, well many people do and get some good deals.

If you look in the yellow pages under Aerial services, you'll probably find a local wholesaler who is prepared to sell retail, you would be able to get cable from him as well as connectors and bolts.
 

absoluteb

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#16
Good news on my front. My friend has a mesh, 60cm (I think) satellite he can take down for me. It should do the trick.

I came across www.hisat.com on the links page. They are selling a twin lnb for £33 (ex. Vat) and what seems to be a good fitting kit (cable, f-connectors, self-amalgamating tape, bolts and sleeves). However, the cable is not the CT100 recommended. It is described:

“Foam filled double Telflon coated and SKY and CAI approved, It truly is the best cable and Ideal for DIY
the foam filling means the cable recovers it bent unlike more common air filled cable
the Teflon coating means the cable is entirely waterproof and the cable can even be buried under ground the screening of the cable includes foil and wire mesh and is ideal for the requirements of modern digital receivers”

The site does sell the CT100 as well, at 43p per meter, just not in a kit. The kit suits me because it has all the necessary things. Does this cable sound good for approx. 30m?

One more thing, (probably a stupid question) should I buy two 30-meter kits or one 60-meter kit (cheaper) because they only give 4” self-amalgamating tape per kit, and I will need to cover two LNB inputs (I haven’t got a clue what this stuff really is and whether it is easy to come by)?

Thanks for the help
Lech
 

rolfw

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#17
I prefer and use foam filled cable, this one is Sky and CAI approved so should be no problems, 4 inches of self amalgamating tape will do two LNBs, it is stretched when applying to approximately twice it's length.
 

absoluteb

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#18
Just waiting for my stuff to come through… I’m having a look at the satellite finder calculator at http://www.satsig.net/ssazelm.htm and I’m not sure I understand.

The satellite longitude is 19.2 in my case for Astra 1

The earth station latitude for London I approximated to 51.5 and the longitude to –0.1

What is “E/S azimuth”, “E/S elevation”, “Slant range” and “Polarization tilt” (I think I get this one)? The polar mount settings I think I need not worry about.

Thanks
 

rolfw

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#19
The Azimuth is the compass setting, this site I believe gives you the magnetic as well as the true figure, the Elevation is as it says, but difficult to measure on an offset dish.

For both of these, you can guess them just by looking at other people's dihes, if they are the Sky minidishes then the Azimuth will be slightly further west and the elevation slightly higher. The nice thing about analogue dish tuning is that you will see a picture almost instantly when you are on beam.
 

absoluteb

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#20
The satellite receiver I managed to get was the Amstrad SRD700. It has 2Ghz on the box; will this be good for the new twin LNB I bought?

I think I will get the second receiver from ebay. Right now they have the following in a reasonable price range:

NOKIA videocrypt SAT 1700 Currently at £25.00 (4 days to go)

Pace 200 MSS Series Currently at £21.00 (ending soon)

Pace MSS 100 Currently at £20.00 (This one seems to look more modern than MSS200)

PACE MSS301 Currently at £10.00 (just the beginning)

Pace Model PRD 800 2GHZ Currently at £10.50 (ending soon)

Ferguson SRB1 Currently at £1.00 (long time to go)

Which one, if any, should I go for?

Thanks,
Lech