Just Sharing This Fisty's temporary fta set up (28.2 e (ku) & 9 e (ka)), april 2019

Fisty McB

Fisty McB

My Satellite Setup
Currently under redevelopment.
My Location
County Tyrone, N. Ireland
First things first, I haven't been terribly active on dealing with my satellite set ups in the past couple of years, mainly due to having the set up I had not really having much I could improve upon for what I've had, along with long bouts of episodes concerning my mental health that are still continuing meaning it's often had to get motivated to do much on it, and when I can I don't have a lot of energy. But aside from I'm planning on getting a shed for the back garden soon, that means that the current dish farm has had to be taken down. In it's place for the time being, where the yellow & red 1.2 metre motorised dish used to be situated is a temporary two-dish set up.

This involves one 45cm dish aimed at 28 East for the Astra 2E/F/G satellites, and an 80cm dish aimed at 9 East for the Ka Sat. The former for (mainly) FTA UK transmissions, the latter for the FTA Republic of Ireland transmissions nominally branded Saorsat. Both dishes are Emme Esse (80cm is aluminium, 45cm is steel), 45cm LNB is a "narrow" Amiko Universal Ku band that actually works quite well with the diddly dish, the 80cm LNB is a Triax Ka Band LNB intended for the reception of Saorsat TV & radio services, with two separate outputs. Both feed into a Technomate 4/1 Diseqc 1.0 switch.

The photos were taken earlier this month on a rainy afternoon after a passing shower, the receiver being a Dr. HD D15. Even with just a 45cm dish and a nothing special LNB, signal levels from 28 East are stonkingly big! As expected the UK beam channels give the best results - in dry weather the Channel 5 transponder gives the best S/N level shown on the receiver's meter topping out at 17.1db, the transponder hosting BBC One Northern Ireland HD is a little weaker usually hovering around 14.9-15.0db in dry weather - UTV HD and Channel 4 HD lie between these two, around 15.7-16.1db. The weakest signals came from, again as expected, some transponders on Astra 2G on the Pan-Europe beam inc. NHK World & Talking Pictures TV but even these were at over 12db (again, dry conditions). Experience with this dish/LNB set up indicates that in more heavier rain the S/N margin can fall up to around 3db from when it's dry, but even then the likes of NHK are still well above lock level. The only time signals are lost is during torrential rain or hail showers that last a matter of minutes with pictures reappearing almost as soon as it eases or stops - while the European beam channels are normally the first to go, even the UK beam channels can disappear during this time too, so there appears to be a "tipping" point in the weight of the precipitation where once it's heavy enough, reception turns to sh*t!

Saorsat & Ka band reception is a new one to me. At first the meter I had (Freesat V8 finder) was having trouble showing signal levels with the Ka Band LNB, even with the dish first lined up for Ku Band at 9 E from Eutelsat 9B and then just swapping over the LNB - that problem was solved by using one of those cheap satellite meters with a deflecting needle, tone indicator and attenuation dial in between the V8 and the coax to the LNB helping give attention to detail. Went back inside, fired up the receiver & telly in anticipation of seeing something and yes, I got pictures! In dry conditions, the S/N ratio for the single transponder hovers around 12.0-12.2db. From reading stories about how Ka Band signals are significantly affected more by rain fade compared to the Ku Band I did wonder how this set up would cope when a good rain shower hit it - interestingly the S/N decrease was only ~2db, never going below 9.9db! Given the rugged parameters of the Saorsat transponder transmission I reckon that using the Ka LNB on a moderate offset of an 80cm dish, or the main focus of a 60cm dish, would be perfectly fine with only a very small further rain margin penalty. If I get round to it, I might fix the LNB up to the 45cm dish and see how that copes, I'd guess that in dry weather reception will be fine but in wet weather it would be borderline at best. I also remember reading somewhere that circularly polarised transmissions (as used here for Saorsat) tend to not be quite as badly affected as linear polarised transmissions are on the same frequency and radiated power to rain fade. Not entirely sure how true this is, but my limited experience so far leads me to think there might be something to it.

As for Saorsat itself, the main omission compared to Saorview (DVB-T) is the three Virgin Media channels (formerly the TV3 group of channels, TV3, 3e & be3), while the lack of Radio Maria is the only other one I can think of. All the RTÉ services on Saorview are available including the recently launched RTÉ2 +1 & RTÉ1 +1 going full time as well, with TG4 & The Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Channel also available. Screen resolutions are the same as that for Saorview, 544 x 576 for SD and 1440 x 1080 for HD. The D15 receiver has no ability to resolve the MHEG5 services available that an "official" Saorsat receiver can use, but that's the only thing missing that I know. Saorsat also uses the DVB 7 day EPG standard that pretty much any FTA DVB-S2 receiver can resolve.

Just a few pictures to wrap up for now. I'll describe what I plan to have for a full set up for Fisty's Earth Station v2.0 in the near future.