DIY Freesat Satellite Dish Installatio


Thought I'd write this up for anyone else contemplating fitting one of these 39.99 dishes.
Assembly is pretty straight forward other than the two halves of the main bracket being not that well fabricated. Had to squeeze the smaller of the two in the vice so that it fitted inside the larger piece.
Installation on the wall and cabling was no problem but then you come to the bit where you use a compass and satellite finder (both included) to aim your dish. For where I am, the azimuth (compass direction) was 147 degrees and the elevation (tilt of the dish) was 28.5 degrees. Set up the azimuth easily enough, there is a very good website called www.dishpointer.com where you put in your postcode and it zooms in like Google Earth. You can get in close enough (or I could) to click on the part of the building where the dish is mounted and it displays a line for your setting. In my case that told me I had to aim it between my shed and next door's garage. That bit was fine.
Now the 28.5 degrees elevation. Logic says that the dish starts in the vertical position (i.e. facing forward) and is then tilted backwards the required number of degrees. Did that and spent the next hour moving it up and down in small increments and got powerful readings for several satellites but the screen simply said "Astra 2 satellite not found". After an hour or so I got p####d off and rather careless and, whilst slackening the bolt to slightly change the elevation again, I inadvertently let go and the dish dropped to its lowest position (what I would describe as vertical) accompanied by a whole row of lights and a continuous scream from the finder. "That's it" cried my wife, "It's found it". Sure enough. The instructions said 50% signal is adequate. This was showing 80% and is working fine. What it comes down to is that the elevation setting is obviously very misleading. I recommend trying much lower.
The only other point to note. The TV has a built in Freesat tuner and, when I first turned it on, I got a message that the satellite had not been found and to press OK to start finding channels. I noticed that the green power light on the finder was not lighting so, although it seemed pointless as the satellite had not been found, I pressed OK. The set went to the next page which, far from finding channels, displayed the signal strength and quality in bars graded from 0 to 10. At this point the finder's power light came on. Obviously power is only fed to the satellite cable once you reach this point.
Anyway, I hope this may be of use to anyone else struggling with a DIY dish.
--
Keith W
Sunbury on Thames
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Interesting, many thanks for the write up & the link to the website, much appriciated.
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On Tue, 22 Sep 2009 20:41:44 +0100, Keith W wrote:

Thank you for this. It's very useful for me as there are trees on a slight hill; I get figures of d%0m and h4m. As the trees are about 30m at most and the local 'hill' is about 15m above my house, it's just about OK.
As for accuracy of position: the map actually shows my dish! Helps that it's 65cm and white; when I bought it I'd no idea of the size of the standard black mesh dish.
--
Peter.
The head of a pin will hold more angels if
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Answered out of original post order ...
On Tue, 22 Sep 2009 20:41:44 +0100, "Keith W"

You don't give a link to the dishes you mean. Lidl often have very good value offers.

I have a number of pages on my site that can help those considering improvements or changes to their TV system ...
Intended for DIY Satellite TV enthusiasts, a series of pages entitled 'Mounting A Dish Or Rotor': http://www.macfh.co.uk/JavaJive/AudioVisualTV/SatelliteTV/SatelliteTV.html
There will be a similar series to the above covering DIY Terrestrial TV aerial installation, but for the moment there is an aerial alignment calculator, which for the UK excluding NI can also build a terrain profile for the path to the transmitter (this page will ultimately move into a new Terrestrial TV section under AudioVisualTV of the website proper, hopefully within a month or so, but currently it's in the Test section of the site) http://www.macfh.co.uk/Test/UKTerrestrialTVTest.html
Intended as a useful starting point for buying a new TV: http://www.macfh.co.uk/JavaJive/AudioVisualTV/ChooseTV/ChooseTV.html
A document summarising the options, particularly non-subscription options, for receiving TV in the UK: http://www.macfh.co.uk/JavaJive/AudioVisualTV/TVInTheUK/TVInTheUK.html
A brief jargon dictionary/glossary http://www.macfh.co.uk/JavaJive/AudioVisualTV/AVTVGlossary.html

See also my Satellite TV Calculator page linked above, but see also the following adapted from a previous post of mine on this subject ...
I really don't understand how all the various dishpointer clones get such differing results. I've compared my own Google pointers and theirs with my OS one for the same five points reasonably spread to cover the UK (Tavistock, Reading, Cambridge, Lochinver, and Edinburgh). For reasons too complicated to go into here, at any one given location, I wouldn't expect exact agreement between an OS one and a Google one, but there is no reason why there should be such discrepancies in the Google ones as there are.
My current site gives the best agreement, then my previous version, then the dishpointer site itself (linked by you above). All these are below 0.1 degree error which is accurate enough for purpose.
However, I think my advice has to be to avoid the following (munging the URLs - I don't want search engines to find rivals that IMO aren't sufficiently accurate) ...
    w w w . u k s a t e l l i t e h e l p . c o . u k     f r . d i s h p o i n t e r . c o m
The first calls the second, which has an average error of 0.37 degree over the same five points.
Even worse is the dishpointer widget, which is something that 3rd party site owners, like myself, can embed in their own web pages, rather than creating their own mapping coding from scratch as I chose to do. One of the main reasons I chose to do it was that the average error of the widget is 0.54 degrees!
It's difficult and frustrating enough aligning a satellite dish. You have to get the initial alignment within about a degree or so to pick up a signal from the intended sat (as opposed to the confusion caused by picking up a neighbouring one), so you really don't want your starting point to be a significant fraction of a degree out!
HTHs
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----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: free.uk.diy.home Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:51 PM Subject: Re: DIY Freesat Satellite Dish Installatio
<snip .

The dish is produced by Philex http://www.philex.com /
I looked at Amazon (Amazon.com product link shortened)
and Screwfix http://www.screwfix.com/prods/85448/Electrical-Supplies/TV-Range/Aerials-Fixings/Freesat-Installation-Kit
Amazon won because they had free delivery.
I wasn't aware of Lidl's offers.
<snip>
--
Keith W
Sunbury on Thames
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message

The dish has a built-in vertical offset - it isn't 'looking' where it is facing, so for most of England the dish has to be mounted not far off vertical.
If you look there should be an offset scale on the rear mounting which is in absolute degrees.
--
Woody

harrogate three at ntlworld dot com
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I expected to find something like that on the mounting but it was totally unmarked. Hence my extended searching. Plus all the neighbouring dishes (admittedly Sky ones, not Freesat) were tilted backwards at roughly the angle quoted which seemed to confirm it.
--
Keith W
Sunbury on Thames
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Yes, an increasing number of dishes seem to have no scales, or even worse mis-stamped ones, on the elevation mechanism. The first page in my DIY series linked previously has some suggestions for solving this problem.
On Wed, 23 Sep 2009 09:55:16 +0100, "Keith W"

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