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little_duck

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#1
Installation of Sky Digital
For the benefit of new starters in Sky digital I list my experiences. Please feel free to add!

What do you need?
1) Sky Digibox (the "receiver" set-top box)
2) Satellite dish (the round mesh thing outside the house)
3) F-type male-male co-axial cable to connect the Dish to the Digibox
4) Aerial cable or Scart to connect the Digibox to the telly
5) Sky subscription card to put in digibox slot (if you want to watch anything more than TV shopping). A list of all the Free channels is available here: http://www.wickonline.com/fta.htm (some of them need the free BBC card which UK residents can get for free by calling 08702 438000).
NOTE: There is no way to hack Sky Digital yet (unlike ITV Digital and possibly cable). If you want to watch then you got to pay! Any hacks would NOT appear on this forum anyway but somewhere more "dodgy"! Even if you have a hack post it in a more "dodgy" forum as my guess is that this one is moderated and it would be deleted / reported!

How to install?
1) Call Sky to come and do it
(Advantage is you don't have to worry about anything and it may all be cheaper at the end! Disadvantage is the one month waiting list and having to be present when they are going to install.)
2) Do it yourself and call sky to send you subscription card
(Advantage is not having to wait, maybe utilise an existing installation and the knowledge you gain on the matter. Disadvantage is it may all go wrong, it will take time and it may end up costing more!)

My experience:
There was an existing dish in the house, I don't want to wait a month and I don't want to take a day off to wait for the engineer! So I tried the "do it yourself" method!

The digibox
I looked at e-bay but realised that in order to get a half decent and reliable receiver it would cost more than most second hand shops. I tried www.digiboxes.net where they gave me a professional and personal service and got a very new looking and excellently packaged Amstrad DRX200 which works beautifully. I did a bank transfer and two days later the box was delivered at my office. Most digital (you need digital for sky) digiboxes will do but of course the more you pay, the better! I would recommend in this order:
Sony is the best, followed by Panasonic and Grundic. Then the Pace 2500 is quite good and the Amstrad DRX200. Avoid the Amstrad DRX100 or other old models because they are slow and they tends to break down (something to do with their tuner which costs £50 to be fixed).

The dish / Installation
I hooked up the dish (60cm is standard for the UK fitted with a Universal type LN:cool: to the digibox (which is a basic plug in job) but I got the message "No signal received from the satellite". Then I got worried as I didn't expect any problems ... but none of us does!

I went into "Services", Selected option 4 and in the next menu option 4 to check that the frequency was 11.778 Mhz / 27.5 MBauds / Vertical / FEC 2-3 which seem to be the default Sky settings. If they are not, you need to go into the secret menu by pressing "Services" / Option 4 / Option 0 (even though it doesn't appear on the screen) / Option 1 (even though the screen hasn't changed) / Then press Select. Then you are in the secret menu which allows you to change and store the default settings to the ones mentioned above.

Afterwards you go back into the "Services" menu / Option 4 and then Option 6 to go into "Test Signal". There you can see the Strength of the signal and the Quality and whether it's locked to a satellite. This should read at least 70% for Strength, 60% for Quality (which is the most vital parameter as Strength could just be indicating the presence of Noise!) OK for Locked and the satellite should be 0002.

In my case I realised (thanks to Rolf W) that the dish was pointing at the old 19.2 East Sky cluster. The satellite was 0001 and when I tried to add some channels (will explain how afterwards) I was getting a list of French channels like TCM, Planet J, etc. So I had to move the dish ANTI-CLOCKWISE about 9 degrees to find the new Sky digital cluster at 28 degrees.

If you need to move the dish to find the satellite it is not as bad it may sound but if you don't have a meter you need to have a good view of the television and Test Signal. I know it is a big sky out there and the task of pin-pointing a tiny little point in the sky sounds horrific but in reality it's not that bad: You should have the dish almost perpendicular to the ground (for UK), just a touch up (say 1-2 degrees). Then check the compass and point the dish in the direction of approximately 25 degrees East and then turn degree by degree ANTI-CLOCKWISE until you find the signal. After that you may do a bit of fine tuning (slightly left/right up/down) until you get the optimum Signal Quality). You WILL know when you hit Sky ... just be slow in the turning. Turn a touch, count to ten while looking at the Test Signal and repeat!

I ordered a subscription before I started all this so I had a contract ready to sign and return four days later in my post. I did not send it until I got the "Lock" above! But I still didn't have the subscription card at the time so: I went into the secret menu and selected option 6 (New Installation). That sets up all the channels in the memory so you can view the free ones until you get your card.

To set up channels which are outside the Sky list:
Go to "Services" Option 4, then Option 4 to Add Channels. Select any of the other frequencies as seen in the lists at satcure.com or lyngsat.com. Select "Find Channels" and the box will do the work! You can store these channels and they will end up in your "Other Channels" list.

Most of all: GOOD LUCK!
 
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