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Manual Build Your Own Free-to-Air (FTA) Satellite TV System

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If however you wish to receive multiple satellites, you will need an unobstructed view. A do it yourself site survey with a compass and a satellite location chart or a professional satellite site survey will determine your eligibility for free to air reception. Dish In order to receive most Ku band signals in North America, you will require a minimum of a 30" 75cm Ku band satellite dish antenna. For fringe area reception or reception of signals outside of a satellite footprint, or locations with an abundance of trees, you will need to upgrade to a larger dish size.

Additionally, if you live in an area prone to heavily rain showers, you may want to consider a larger dish diameter as weather can adversely affect satellite signal quality. If you also wish to receive the low power C band signals, you will need a much larger ' C band dish and a more elaborate setup.

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Your dish must be installed in a location where it will not be prone to excessive movement. Smaller dishes, such as 30" can be mounted to a building or roof. Larger dish sizes should probably be mounted to a firm pole in the ground, reinforced with concrete. Most dedicated Ku band systems use offset dishes, meaning the dish is designed in such a way that the LNBF is offset towards the bottom of the dish so as not to interfere with the signal.

This allows a smaller dish size as opposed to large C band systems which locate the LNB at the focal point or center of the dish which tend to block out a portion of the incoming signal. A superior one will be.

Free to Air (FTA) Satellite System

C band LNB's are measured in degrees. A good quality C band LNB will have a rating of 17 degrees of below. LNBF's designed for use with direct to home satellite services such as Directv or Dish Network which use circular polarization and are not compatible with free to air satellite signals.

For all free to air signals, you will want a linear Ku band LNBF as conventional Ku satellites use linear horizontal or vertical polarization. If you only are interested in programming from a single satellite, you will more than likely not require one of these devices as your satellite dish will be fixed in one constant position. However if you wish to receive signals from multiple satellite, you will need a dish positioner. Most recent quality receivers now come with a feature known as DiSEqC Digital Satellite Equipment Control , which can control a dish positioner directly. However if you have an older satellite receiver than does not support this feature, you will likely need to purchase a seperate dish positioner control if you wish to track multiple satellites.

Free to Air Satellite Receiver This of course is the most important part of your system. When selecting a satellite receiver, you will want to ensure that you are choosing a receiver that decodes the correct format. If you reside in Europe, many pay broadcasters such as Irdeto, Viaaccess, Nagravision, Mediaguard, Betacrypt also use the MPEG2-DVB format and you can receive these signals upon subscription if you select a receiver that supports a common interface module which is a removable module that allows for a smart card which is required for reception of various European pay services.

Additionally, a number of foreign pay channels receivable in North America can be decoded using a common interface and a subscription. If you intend on using your DVB receiver for pay programming, you will need a smart card and a subscription, both of which are available from the satellite service provider. North American direct to home services cannot be received via a DVB receiver as they use proprietary equipment. Common interface modules are due to laws in several European countries that forbid sales of proprietary satellite receivers that are locked into a single service.

However, for most North American free to air applications, you will need little more than a quality free to air receiver.


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If you wish to record your programming, you may wish to invest in a free to air receiver with a integrated personal video recorder pvr , allowing for dozens of hours of recorded programming. Additionally, there are a number of things to be taken into consideration when choosing a satellite receiver. Some retail outlets offer European DVB satellite receivers. While these will work with North American signals, some are not pre-programmed with the locations of North American satellites as are most receivers designed for North American users and most come equipped with connections that are for the most part inapplicable here in North America, such as SCart connections and different coaxial connectors.

As well, not all receivers are created equal, many have features that others do not.

For example, if you are interested in good sound quality, then you will want a receiver with a Dolby Digital or AC3 connection. Not all receivers are equipped with this. As well, you will likely want a receiver equipped with an S-Video or at the very least composite video and audio connections.

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Also if you are interested in looking for hard to find channels or "wild satellite feeds", then you may want to invest in a receiver that has a blind search function which will scan an entire satellite for all channels on all bands. As well, you will want to ensure that your receiver has a fairly fast processor, some can take 1. Free to air satellite programming transmits using C-band a frequency allocation used for a communications satellite that uses 5. Analog Dialogue, Volume 47, Number 1. Digital Compositing for Film and Video. Understanding and Building Tube Amps. Ham and Shortwave Radio for the Electronics Hobbyist.

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