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Campersat tunes in an eye in the sky for RV wanderers

March 15, 2006
Campersat tunes in an eye in the sky for RV wanderers

We have done extended trials with Campersat satellite TV and in the great outdoors we find it is right on with Satellite TV, in concert in the caravan and a RV Radio Head on tour.

The whole unit lives under the big double bed in our Jayco Heritage caravan and from there to set-up and receiving is a quick easy process. It is available in Australia and New Zealand in a similar price range despite the exchange rate variables.

The whole unit, dish and all,lives under the big double bed in the GoSeeAustralia Jayco Heritage and from there to set-up and receiving is a quick easy process.

The Campersat Compact Digital Satellite TV and radio system is a well made companion for travellers in caravans, campervans, camper trailers, motor homes, tents and RVs looking for high quality reception regardless of location.

It is easy to use and is blessed with good quality in finish and performance. The Campersat Parabolic Dish lines up with the Optus Aurora C1 Satellite on three axes to give perfect reception. (Campersat's Wall Shand says in New Zealand there have been issues with the B1 satellite so local set-up willnecessary).

The Dish is offset and seems to be pointing lower than it actually is. This keeps the Dish electronics casing outside the beam from the satellite. This clever design does not obstruct the signal path.

GoSeeAustralia takes Satellite TV on the road

The Installation and Operations Manual is a model of Basic English and simple directions. The initial time it took to read the manual was about half of the initial process when GSA put the Campersat to air.

Audible digital satellite lock on and sat. angle adjustment, vertical and horizontal   Your correspondent enjoyed Free to Air TV and excellent radio reception too in about 25 minutes from first opening the two Campersat boxes. After the first run through we shut the system down. The dish was moved and we went through the 'find the satellite' experience again. This time we put satellite Free to Air TV on screen in about 10 minutes.

The Campersat assembly is minimal and requires a Phillips Head screwdriver and an 8mm spanner. A useful elastic travel strap is part of the initial fit-out. On the road it holds the folding Low Noise Block Converter and Feed (LNBF) pivoting arm firmly against a rubber stop which sticks to the 75cm Standard Satellite Dish.

The dish fits over the LNBF arm and bolts to the backbone mount on the mounting hub which slots into the compact tripod. That is it; the Campersat Portable Compact is ready to go. There is also a cabling accessory kit to help keep things neat in caravan, motor home or campervan.

Campersat Kit It can all be unbolted for transport, but the unit is small and light enough for that to be unnecessary unless space is at a premium.

A big benefit of reading the Installation and Operation Manual in conjunction with the KOSCom 1600A Digital Satellite Receiver Operation Manual is that 'Techo Speak' is blown out of the water with plain instructions, simple graphics and a portable, laminated one sheet guide to 'Finding the Satellite' and 'Satellite Signal Location Maps'.

The Receiver connection to the Campersat and the TV is simple. Just plug the color coded jacks into the corresponding colors in the AV Outputs. Plug the Coaxial cable for the Campersat Dish into the 'Sat In' connector on the back of the Receiver. Plug in the 240V power cord and turn the Receiver on at the power switch on the back panel.

The only 'Must Dos' with the Receiver are keep it dry at all costs and dont block the ventilation holes on top.

And now a few words about patience. On our first attempt at Dish Pointing we hit the Optus Auroa C1 satellite first shot. This may have had some science, but was more likely beginners luck.

The strap holds the LNBF against a rubber stop for travel When we shut the system down and moved the dish some distance to fairly uneven ground we were not so smart. Most of the 10 minute set-up time went on fine tuning the dish elevation and Azimuth angle to the satellite.

Patience pays. The tripod is well engineered and is easy to adjust and set through lock knobs. A one degree tweak can make a huge difference. So follow the manual. Connect the generous 25m coaxial signal cable to the Sat in plug on the back of the Satellite Receiver. Run the cable to the dish and join the connection to the Test Meter. Set the TV/VCR to AV. Set the Satellite Receiver to Channel 1, the Optus Aurora Tuning Channel. Use the Campersat remote. It comes with two batteries which are fitted during set-up.

Press the Electronic Program Guide button (EPG) on the Campersat remote and the channels come up on the TV screen.

Get a clear line of sight to the north. Thats just right of the sun at mid-day. A compass helps, but is not essential. Get the tripod steady and level and stake it down through the holes at the end of the legs.

LNBF settings come from the Polarisation chart Aim for clear sky, no trees, and vehicles, clothes on lines or buildings in the line of fire. Take your time and think logically. You cant see the C1 satellite, its signals transmit over 36,000 km. So imagine you are looking through a pipe. That is all the clear space you need to hit the C1 satellite. Refer to the laminated 'Satellite Signal Location Maps'.

Set the Low Noise Block Converter and Feed (LNBF). It is on the end of the arm which extends from the Dish. Use the LNBF Polarisation chart to adjust the calibration scale.

In Sydney set 38 deg. In Melbourne -32 deg. turn the whole LNBF unit and line the scale up with the blue arrow. Work for accuracy 5 deg is much better than 15. Dont use the Test Meter to check or adjust the LNBF it wont help. Once set only minor adjustment is necessary as the Campersat is moved around Australia.

The test meter allows users to hear and see signal strength Read off Elevation (Tilt) = In Melbourne 44 deg. Sydney is 50 deg. It is a right hand thread but, the Campersat elevation marker can be set up for left-handers.

Now get the test meter on the back of the dish backbone buzzing by pressing the two yellow buttons on its face simultaneously. You get a visual read out too in red bars.

Read off Direction (Azimuth) = In Melbourne 17deg to the right (east) of north. Rotate the Dish to get the maximum signal from the test meter. Lightly lock the Dish and press Channel 1 OK on the Campersat remote. There on the TV screen will be information about the C1 Satellite and Optus matters.

Maximum signal strength helps reception in heavy rain. Normal rainfall will not affect the system, but reception on the high frequency Ku band can be effected by excessively heavy rain. But this only happens if the rain is directly in the path of the satellite beam.

We used the Campersat through days of normal rain with no apparent reception issues.

CI satellite introductionThe Test Meter reads relative signal and both elevation and azimuth must be trimmed to peak the satellite signal. Pressing the two yellow buttons on the meter turns the tone on and off. There are two scales; the bottom scale is tens and the top scale units. If the Test meter runs full scale press the left button to reduce meter sensitivity. This helps with reading maximums. Once set on maximum this can only be reversed by disconnecting and reconnecting the signal cable. If you lock onto a satellite other than C1, the same sharp peak signal will come from the Test Meter, but the Receiver will report ('E48 Search for signal,'). There are three satellites close to C1. Satellite PAS8 is very strong Australia wide and only 20 deg east of C1. C1 is at its maximum strength along the east coast from Adelaide to Rockhampton. Also close to C1 are B3, close to the west and B1, just east of C1. The Test Meter will respond to all satellites, but the Campersat Receiver will only load C1 and B3.

If C1 is not found tilt the Dish up or down one degree until C1 loads on the TV screen on Optus Aurora Tuning Channel 1. Be patient, take your time and it will happen. If you can see the TV screen and the Receiver while you are making adjustments to the dish you will see the Campersat Receiver lock and load when you score bulls-eye lighting up the Channel Lock Indicator in its face a happy green.

The unit fits to the TVSatellite B3 can be targeted in the same way for international or multi-lingual/religious programs. B3 is about one degree higher in elevation (tilt) than C1 and about 10 deg to the west. Follow the Reloading satellite services menu in the Receivers manual and change the satellite to OptusB3Ku. The receiver downloads the B3 information and 'stacks' the B3 channels after the C1 channels. To change satellites, re-point the Campersat Dish, press the SAT button on the Campersat remote and select the satellite at which the Dish is pointing.

If the Smart Card, which is preloaded in the Campersat Receiver, is a little behind the Optus satellite updates, open Channel 1. It does not need the Smart Card. Press OK on the Campersat remote and let it run. System updates will download from the satellite for an hour or two. Then 'normal programs are available'.

The Campersat equipment uses about 30 watts at 240V AC. On a 12 volt system a small inverter is needed and the system uses only 3 amps. Inverters are recommended to avoid running fuel powered generators. This provides many hours, or days of viewing on a single battery charge.

We enjoyed ABC and SBS Free to Air TV Channels in all states and the NT plus

<img alt="Tune in to Optus Auroa" src="/dbimages/ArticleImage/1/1/fullpage

campersat7.jpg" align="left" border="0">Channel 7 (Central) and Channel 9 (TV IMP). Channel 10 is not available due to satellite broadcasting agreements. ICTV Imparja is interesting and its music compelling. An unexpected benefit for this Dr Who fan was being able to tune in ABC WA when I missed the ABC SE program. It just shows the advantages of Time Lag travel.

The Satellite radio is brilliant. The list is ABC FM and Regionals, including the specialist youth and news at a click of the T/R (TV/Radio) button on the remote. SBS is available in all states and the NT, plus BBC Radio and a raft of interesting Regionals. Add some more speakers and surround sound for the RV, caravan, camper trailer, motor home and tent can happen anywhere in Australia.

Campersat Portable system (all models)

Dish assembly: 6kg.

Compact tripod: (as tested) 2kg.

Dish size:75 cm.

Dish elevation range: Satellite location 30 deg to 70 deg.

Digital satellite receiver: Optus approved KOSCom 1660A 2kg.

Smart Card: Optus Aurora.

LNBF: Videosat model C871 duel polarity.

Test Meter: Videosat model T280.

Cable supplied: 25m RG6.

Power requirement - receiver + LNB + Test Meter: 30 watts at 240V

Or 3 amps at 12 volts.

strong pictureEditors note: Campersat always ask customers if they have satellite Foxtel or Austar to make sure they understand that they can take their box with them and also enjoy programs they have paid for,

From Campersat Division of Videosat Pty Ltd

Systems Engineering 2/28 Salisbury Rd.,

Hornsby NSW 2077

Phone: (02) 9482 3100

Fax: (02) 9482 3999

Free call: 1800 226 865



Cost: $1295 (including GST).

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