Beam in on satellite TV

April 13, 2005
Beam in on satellite TV

Shooting for satellite TV connection is exactly like shining a powerful torch into the night sky.

Avoid obstructions and digital satellite images will light up the TV screen in most parts of
Australia . The picture is sharp; the selection of stations good and after a few run-throughs a feel for getting the satellite angles develops.

Some satellite kits are better than others so cheap in not always a cheerful result. Inaunit triedby GoSeeAustralia the Satellite finder kit, gives a clearly audible guide to finding the Optus C1 satellite.

We used an Eildon camp site as the launch pad for the GoSeeAustralia trialin the sure knowledge that if it worked within the high encircling hills it should work almost anywhere.

To make a real experience of setting up satellite TV my mate Andy Anderson and Itackled the satellite kit from its boxes with no prior knowledge of what we were about.

Do up the U-Bolts
Sadly our egos took a battering. We worked through the instructions well enough until we reached instruction 22 of 24, press Exit three times until you see a picture and then some hours of frustration set in.

As we found out later, at a highly successful second run-through, the station we were trying for had been discontinued. So yes we got it right first time, but we did not know that at Eildon.

The satellite TV kitcame with a satellite finder, 78cm dish with a collapsible arm, digital Homecast Irdeto receiver/decoder, Low Noise Blocker (LNB), 15 meters of terminated RG6 cable, a compass, Optus Aurora Smartcard and a portable, collapsible stand to bolt the dish to.

When travelling we strapped the big dish at the head of the double bed in our test campervan. The rest of the equipment stowed easily underneath the bed in the big lockers.

When setting up the light, strong tripod needs a flat surface. It pays to set it as low as possible, spread its legs to the maximum and use tent pegs if it is windy.

Set low noise block cable
The comparison with a torch beam really matters when pointing the dish. There must be a clear line of sight to the north. No trees, no buildings just a clear shot at the sky. Andy is a plumber so we had no technical problems with fitting the LNB to the dish arm, but pay attention to the assembly detail in the instruction drawings, it would be possible to fit the arm upside down.

The clue is the arms locking lugs face up. Once the arm is fitted the LNB goes on with its cover facing the dish. Before tightening it down stand in front of the dish and rotate the LNB so the connector faces

A short coaxial cable connects the LNB. The other end goes to LNB In on the satellite finder. The 15m cable gives plenty of scope. One end goes to receiver on the Satellite Finder and the other end to LNB In on the back of the Receiver/Decoder.

Switch it on, the switch is at the back, and also press the power button on your remote control.

The dish Satellite Finder and Low Noise Block hooked upAV cables are supplied and they connect the Receiver to the TV. Plug in following the color code, switch on your TV and change to the AV channel.

The next move is to press OK on the satellite remote control and select the channel called SBS SA, using the up and down buttons. Press OK, then press menu, select installation and then press OK. Enter the password, ours was 0000, select scan transponder and press OK.

Then press i and the bar meter on screen will display signal quality (do NOT confuse with signal strength). The Satfinder will sing like a crazy cricket so turn down its squelch control knob until the signal can just be heard.

Now, from the elevation and compass bearings chart which comes with the kit find the nearest city or town, use the relevant elevation for that centre. That is 44 deg. of angle to the Optus C1 satellite in Eildon and Melbourne. Then set the marked bracket that clamps to the tripod when the dish is assembled, up or down by adjusting the dish angle.

The unit we tried came with nuts to lock the clamps. This leads to some contortionist spanner work.

Turn on the receiver switch at the back and the remote.Find the relevant compass bearing for the nearest centre and adjust the dish left or right. In Eildon and Melbourne the bearing is 18 deg. east of north.

We did no need it, but there is also a high angle elevation bracket supplied which can be used if the location requires. If you have to fit it subtract 20 deg from the angle you read from the elevation chart.

Move the dish left, right and up and down slowly until the Satfinders loud tone indicates you are beamed in on the satellite.

If it is the right one there will be a red signal bar on the receivers signal quality metre. If there is no red bar then work the dish until it shows up. Then peak the signal from the satellite by slowly going through the up, down, left and right routine with the dish.

Lock the bolts on the dish, remove the Satfinder and connect the long main cable directly from the LNB to the receiver. Press Exit three times to bring up a picture. View the activated channels by pressing OK and choose the program.


We thought the kit we tried left gaps in finish and ease of use and our next experience with Campersat showed beyond doubt that you only get what you pay for.

Editor's note also see: