Channelhopping is fun!



Just for fun i thought to add a section about satellite tv.
A general worklog/guide of setting up a 1.5 meter offset dish and installing a H-H motor.

Gibertini 150cm dish

Gibertini 1.5 m offset dish
Jaeger SMR-1224 H-H motor
Channelmaster C120 Feedhorn
2 x Invacom LNB's

The advantage of a motorised dish is the ability to pick up many satellites in the sky. I got tired of my fixed dish and limited channels and thought to upgrade. It sounded interesting to explore programming from other countries and cultures. There are so many free to air channels and satellite feeds. I'm sure this is the same for most parts in the world.

It was hard to choose a dish, was leaning towards a Channelmaster dish and here the choice was either a 1.2m or a 1.8m. One being a bit too small and the other too large (if thats possible). The 1.8m would also need a powerful motor.
The 1.5m Gibertini dish sounded quite interesting as there is an adapter plate for it which makes it fit perfect on the well known Jaeger 1224 motor, didnt want too many complications, im a noob. One day though i would love to own a 1.8m Channelmaster. Nonetheless this should be a good entry level dish for a motorized system..

Went on a shopping spree and before i knew it i had the dish, motor and adapter plate.
Next was to have a stand to mount it on.

I drew a plan for the groundstand/groundmount:

ground stand measurements

The buttom of groundstand was not needed and would only make the job harder, dont know where i got the idea from..
Also the angle was changed from 45° to 30°.
I was still worried that the support arms would restrict movement to the far east and west positions. However in the end this was not a problems in the furthest east/west positions as the motor and adapterplate extended the distance to the dish, so maybe this design can be useful to you! (what are the odds on that?).

I had someone build it for me and he did a great job. So here it is! the groundstand installed in my garden:

Groundstand on 3" Pole

3 holes where dug into the ground, each about 70-80 cm deep. The bad news was the cement needed atleast 3 weeks to dry before doing anything further. I was not prepared for this..but no doubt gave me an opportunity to take a photo of the groundstand. Would be a better choice with the fast hardening stuff cause really i just wanted to get the system up and running and watch some exotic channels! No not erotic channels.

Oh and about the dish, it came in white even though the picture on website was black. Im sure we have all had similar experiences, things not always what they seem..
Anyway a shinny white dish would sure create attention. I always like black as it drowns well in landscapes, so it was time to give it some paint! I used Matt Black Autospray. Matt Black is such a dark color that one almost cant see it. The remaining parts were painted blue, hey! trying to create a theme here. Same colors as my casemod.

Anyway, before and after:

painted dish

backplate and support arms being painted, black and blue theme!

Satellite Az-El Calculator:

This page provides information about satellites from your location, giving satellite dish elevation and other useful info. The satellite closest south from you will be the one where the 'Polar mount axis rotation' is 0 or closest to it. When installing a motorised satellite system, this is where you should point the dish to track the arc. You need to know your latitude and longitude but this can be easily found with 'Google Earth'. So this was the first thing to do once the dish and motor was mounted on the pole.

Some tools i used,
Digital Inclinometer:

digital inclinometer, very smart tool indeed!

Sat Finder:

beep beep...beeep!!

The Sat-Finder helps to peak the signal. I packed it in tape because the casing for some reason gave me electric shocks :/

Yes the cement was finally solid and was time to mount motor and dish:

Jaeger 1224 H to H Motor

Next wiring the Jaeger 1224 motor to the V-Box II.


The V-Box II acts as a link between the satellite reciever and the motor. The satellite reciever sends pulses to the V-Box II and these make the motor move dish. Very simple!
Wiring the + - wrong would make the motor turn opposite direction but as ive understood, if one wires the sensors wrong it could damage the 'Reed switch' in the Jeager 1224 motor.
The instructions did not make it clear so i tried my luck. Must have got it right cause it worked, dish moving as channels are changed.
I was very excited at this point.

You can see how i wired the connections:

1224 wiring VBOX wires

So the thing still to do was to point the dish duo south. This way it should track the satellite arc (providing both dish and motor elevation are set correcty and pole is totally plumb).

Duo south from my location is 15.2° East. As there are no satellite channels at this position, 16°E was the closest.

So tuning in 16°E and then moving the whole mount on pole -0.8° would be south. I didnt have an idea how much that was and meanwhile to get the correct motor and dish elevations. I tried adjusting things while writting down on paper how the east and west satellite signals where effected and in the end could work out matematicly what to do..something like that.

This was lot of work but knew it would be, cause even a small adjustment could throw the signal completly off on a far east or west satellite. In the end everything was spot on! I now get channels from pretty much every satellite between 80°E and 45°W..Thousands of useless satellite really there are many good ones too. Was hoping most of all with this 1.5 meter dish to get the BBC channels from the UK. They came in clear so hey no problem- GREAT!
However i cant get the Vertical transponders on Astra 2D but have all the Horizontal transponders: BBC 1,2,3,4 and ITV 1, 2+1, 4+1. So in that sence i'm only missing ITV3. The Russian channels on 40°E which many across Europe have problems tuning come in just ok but break up in bad weather (weak signal).
Arabsat 26°E Horizontal no probelm. Vertical transponders on 7°W with channels such as Al Jazeera Sports.
All mentioned signals above are FTA like the BBC's.

About feeds: There is a Gibertini feedhorn available with f/d ratio 0.66 to match the dish but have heard its not very good(?).

Im using the Channelmaster feedhorn which has a f/d ratio of 0.60. I think because this feedhorn is built of such high-quality meaning that it will also perform well on the Gibertini's. I guess there isnt much choice and the Channelmaster feedhorn may just be the best option for this dish(?).
Judging by the footprints i think the satellite dish is performing as it should. Atleast im very pleased with the results!

Few people have asked if its possible to get European channels in the US. Well its really difficult to get them as the beams are mostly focused in Europe. For exaple the British Sky package is at 28E but in the US this satellite is below the horizon, so no way to pick this up even with a huge dish. I was reading about someone in Brazil having an 8 meter dish and was able to pickup Astra 19 East (satellite with German channels).
Havnt checked but i think the same about getting USA channels in Europe, the satellites are most likely below the horizon, if not it would require a HUGE dish.
However there is a thing called a 'Slingbox', this you can hookup to almost any satellite receiver and control/stream channels to anywhere in the world, just as if the receiver was in your living room. There are comnunities where people share with eachother and i'm sure if you had channels from the US to offer, there are European viewers who like to see them, well both ways. The picture quality depends on your internet speed so if you have a good connection, this is a plus. Having your own satellite dish can save you quite a bit of money when paired with plans like Choice Extra that include a free DVR and extra channels.

Now to some pictures of dish:

setting up the dish for the first time

wires all hidden under ground

nice weather but thunderstorm on the way..oh oh

clear view across the horizon

Dish pointing at 1°W, Thor 3/5 and Intelsat 10-02:


Dish pointing 45°W Intelsat 1R:

45°W - 9° elevation to Intelsat 1R satellite

Dish receiving signal from 80°E Express AM2/MD1:

80°E - only 5° elevation to Express AM2 satellite!

Notice how the dish is pointing into the ground. Whats that about?
This being an offset dish, it receives the signal from an angle, not quite the same angle as with a primefocus dish where here the LNB is in the center which makes the dish elevation the same elevation as to the satellite..did you understand that?

The LNB's:

Invacom LNB's

I have mounted a second LNB which is a Invacom QPH-31 0.3db Circular LNB.
The Linear LNB is a C120 flange Twin Universial TWF-031, also from Invacom.

A photo of my old dish, Raven 70cm multifocus dish:

70 cm Raven Dish

Being a multifocus it originaly had a LNB arm with 4 LNB's for recieving the main European/Nordic satellite positions 1°W, 5°E, 13°E and 19°E. The LNB furtherst away from the center was the one with weakest signal and this happen to be the satellite where i was subscribing to channels, some of them simply didnt have enough to give stable picture. On the other satellites it was ok but still problems picking up weaker transponders on Astra and Hotbird. A lot of finetuning and in the end frustration, did not help at all :/
It may be a good performing dish for its size but to me a 70cm was simply not enough! Notice the garbage can, thats where it belongs. sorry for the ranting..just a 90cm would have been alot better! To be fair it depends on your location and which channels you want to watch :)

Im having second thoughts about a new dish in future. Pretty sure the Channelmaster 1.8m is one of the best performing dishes for its size. Being a solid glassfiber dish its something that would last a lifetime and with a matched feedhorn, perfect!
Im thinking about a 3.6m mesh dish specialy for C-Band. There is this micromesh dish where the holes are very small which means there is not much loss of signal with KU-Band compared to other satellite dishes of this type. This 3.6m should perform like a 3m solid in KU-Band!
It might sound crazy with such a huge dish but the thing is knowing there are all these channels out there and the only reason i cant get them is because my dish is not big enough. I guess deepdown i am a motorised satellite enthusiast.
It also brings to my attention that here in Denmark 95% of dishes i see either point at 5E or 1W, our danish Pay TV providers, Viasat and Canal Digital. The truth is and what many people may not be aware about is there are so many other satellites and channels out there. Can imagine the similar situation in other countries. Like in the UK, Sky UK and in USA, DirecTV.
So for example if you want to watch football match or other events you often dont need a subscription to a package as these are also broadcasted on FTA channels.

Must say though that i am really happy with the Gibertini 150 satellite dish and the Jaeger 1224 motor.

Wind is the enemy when having a somewhat large satellite dish. The Gibertini so far has survived 3 hurricanes. The first one really freaked me out, i saw the dish dancing in the wind. I was often looking out the window, oh good its still there! At one point i was literally outside holding onto the
When its bad weather like this, i found its a good idea to turn the dish so it not facing directly into the wind but instead at an angle so it to its side, blowing accross. I also loosened the bolts on the groundmount so the whole installation could tilt off the ground, keeping the strain away from dish itself. Also motor not completely tightened on the mount so it could rotate in peak gusts. I'm sure the dish could break up and fly away and its felt close sometimes, or atleast some scary moments here.

I think i will end it here for now, we dont want this page to be as large as the MAME one, do we?
Soon im going to make a video where you can simultaniously see the dish move satellites as well as the screen on tv.

Thanks for reading and as always if you have any questions or comments..

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