Free standing satellite dish

Jul 26, 2018
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Please can anyone recommend an everything thrown in satellite system that is easy to install and set up for my caravan . A good value for money system around a £120 max (I have a tv )
Any advice welcome .

Regards
David
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Garcrogo said:
Please can anyone recommend an everything thrown in satellite system that is easy to install and set up for my caravan . A good value for money system around a £120 max (I have a tv )
Any advice welcome .

Regards
David

I often answer this question as there is a very inexpensive answer.
First get yourself a satellite receiver. Look on line and find out if you have a branch of Cash Converters in your area. It's a good idea to ring before you go but they often have Sky boxes in stock which, complete with mains lead, remote, and guarantee, will cost you less than £20. As you will not be able to record if they have one in stock it is a good idea to get a multi-room box which is the same basic receiver as the Sky+HD box but as it does not have a hard drive it is much smaller and lighter. If you are lucky it will have a used subscription card in it (behind flap lower right front corner) which will ensure that you get the correct local TV region. If it does not have a card you will get BBC1 London and ITV Central West, or you can buy a Freesat-from-Sky card on line for a once off £25. Note if you go this route you will have to set it up at home to activate the card. You do NOT need a Sky subscription and after you have bought the card (if you need to) there are no other charges.
Alternatively you can get a Freesat box but they are rather more expensive and have some channels missing that are free-to-air (FTA) on the Sky platform. Sky and Freesat come from the same satellite cluster, they just have different electronic programme guides which means the channel numbers are different.
Get yourself a dish: I would recommend a 60cm ovoid dish as they work better in weaker signal areas. By comparison a Sky Zone1 dish is the equivalent of 43cm and a Zone2 dish (if they still make them) is the equivalent of 55cm.
You will need a tripod. Dig around eBay and find a lightweight aluminium unit such as the Konig that I have. The dish will work at ground level if it has a clear view of the sky roughly south east but sometimes you might need to point it over a hedge. You will need some awning pegs to stop it tipping over in the wind.
Get 25m of WF100 or similar cable from Screwfix or Toolstation, plus a bag of screw-on F-type connectors and a bag of F-type 'barrel' adapters to be able to connect two cables together. You will pay less for a bag of 10 then you will pay for two from such as B&Q or Homebase.
Finally a good optical compass to align the dish and a signal finder. If you have an Android phone that has a compass then download the (free) Satellite Director app which will show you the direction of the satellite and exactly where it is in the sky - makes it easy to 'miss' trees! The signal finder often comes on offer at Lidl or Aldi and will cost you a fiver or so.
Thereafter its just a case of putting it together. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to show you how to make up F-type connectors and how to set up the dish, but if you need more help just come back here or PM me.
One final tip. When you have all the kit together replace the nuts on the U-bolts on the dish with wing nuts (and carry a couple of spares) as they are much easier and quicker to use. Also get two 10mm ring/open spanners for adjusting the dish tilt.
Simples..................?
 
Jun 26, 2017
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I’m sure that the OP will be grateful for Woodentops detailed, and undoubtedly helpful reply, however, with the greatest respect, I really struggle to understand the obsession with satellite dishes amongst many fellow caravanners,

We have a small 12V TV in our van that we do occasionally use as a last resort to provide a little entertainment for the kids for a short while if its a rainy, gloomy evening. However, when on sites, I sometimes walk past vans with free-standing satellite dishes on posts and tripods, some enormous ones. What is it that they’re trying to tune into ? - Is it something for the kids ? - Surely the adults aren’t so addicted to watching satellite TV that they can’t even enjoy a caravanning holiday without it ? - The time and effort to erect the monstrosity, not to mention having to carry it around, and then the time spent watching instead of enjoying their surroundings ...

Just to be clear, I really don’t have a problem with anyone who does want to sit in their caravan watching TV, as that’s their choice, and none of my business, but I’m just curious.

I must be missing something, surely ? :unsure:
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Same here, I am not one for satellite dishes, like yourself we have two small TVs , 1 for us one for the kids at the back end of their part of the caravan and that's it . TV gets tuned in and that's what they get ! They also have their DVDs which come in handy for a rainy day or just on a night time but I laugh when I walked through some sites and see they have all the different markings on a satellite dish for the degrees and where they need tuning to each place !! :lol:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Icaru5 said:
I’m sure that the OP will be grateful for Woodentops detailed, and undoubtedly helpful reply, however, with the greatest respect, I really struggle to understand the obsession with satellite dishes amongst many fellow caravanners,

We have a small 12V TV in our van that we do occasionally use as a last resort to provide a little entertainment for the kids for a short while if its a rainy, gloomy evening. However, when on sites, I sometimes walk past vans with free-standing satellite dishes on posts and tripods, some enormous ones. What is it that they’re trying to tune into ? - Is it something for the kids ? - Surely the adults aren’t so addicted to watching satellite TV that they can’t even enjoy a caravanning holiday without it ? - The time and effort to erect the monstrosity, not to mention having to carry it around, and then the time spent watching instead of enjoying their surroundings ...

Just to be clear, I really don’t have a problem with anyone who does want to sit in their caravan watching TV, as that’s their choice, and none of my business, but I’m just curious.

I must be missing something, surely ? :unsure:

We used to have a satellite system until we sold caravan, car et al in 2014. The sat dish was useful in both U.K. and Europe and we only used it on Freeview. Since re-equipping ourselves last year we’ve decided not to invest in a satellite system as digital in U.K. is good coverage and the footprint of the European coverage is now more skewed to the northern areas. Can’t say we miss it as we don’t watch a lot of tv and generally take some dvds with us.
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Well I guess it depends on what people like. I love watching sports, interesting news items and yes movies on Netfilx, at least one a night. So after buying a flat dish and free-view box that turned out to be a little too much trouble for my liking I am now waiting for Sky Q and an easy way of setting up to come along. My hope is since Sky are going to move from "dishes" to broadband, that will solve my problem since as we all know Netflix is via broadband. I am hoping that once that is in full swing, it will be easier setting up a "satellite broadband" receiver than it is with full Sky dish setup. I have realised that some on here say they find it easy to set up a Sky HD box but they do not specify that they generally do not manage to get the subscription channels so may as well be using a free-view box for what it's worth. Apparently not long to wait.
 
Dec 7, 2010
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There are often plenty of times that you cannot get a signal, due to location with the caravan aerial, so I just put the sat dish up and get a good picture in about 10mins. I have a Avtex DRS TV with freeveiw and a free to air sat receiver built in.

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Oct 8, 2006
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Grey13 said:
Well I guess it depends on what people like. I love watching sports, interesting news items and yes movies on Netfilx, at least one a night. So after buying a flat dish and free-view box that turned out to be a little too much trouble for my liking I am now waiting for Sky Q and an easy way of setting up to come along. My hope is since Sky are going to move from "dishes" to broadband, that will solve my problem since as we all know Netflix is via broadband. I am hoping that once that is in full swing, it will be easier setting up a "satellite broadband" receiver than it is with full Sky dish setup. I have realised that some on here say they find it easy to set up a Sky HD box but they do not specify that they generally do not manage to get the subscription channels so may as well be using a free-view box for what it's worth. Apparently not long to wait.

I think my friend you are seriously confused or do not understand.
For a start Freeview is terrestrial television - it has nothing to do with satellite.
Freesat is the satellite equivalent of Freeview and carries much the same free-to-air (FTA) channels albeit with different channel numbering (different too from Freeview).

Sky is an encrypted subscription service which for sports or movies usually needs a landline connection.

Netflix and the like come from broadband only. You can have broadband by satellite but it requires a professionally installed (and usually somewhat larger) dish as it has to both receive and transmit and it is silly money. As most camp sites are not in city/town centres broadband tends to be rather slow and whatever it is it is potentially split between the number of users on the site. As Netflix requires a minimum of 2.5Mb/s you are realistically unlikely to be able to get it working.

There is also Freesat-from-Sky which is the FTA channels of Freesat (plus quite a few more) received on a Sky box.F-f-S does NOT require a subscription although it may need a viewing card which is a once-off £25.

Sky subscription channels should be no more more difficult to receive than the FTA channels - indeed it should be easier. FTA channels are not encrypted so the satellite footprint has had to be considerably tightened onto the UK and Eire so that non-licence payers in other countries cannot watch - in theory at least! Your BBC/ITV etc channels will still come from this satellite/footprint whether you are watching using a Sky box, a Freesat box, or plain sat boxes such as those by Manhattan, just the EPG is different. However there is a satellite cluster at that location and some of the others are used by Sky to carry their subscription channels on pan-European footprints. As the channels are encrypted it matters not if you are in Greece or Estonia or whatever, if you don't have the right viewing card - such cards are only available to UK addresses - you cannot watch UK subscription channels, period. Sky operates in several places and some of those subscription channels carry more than one soundtrack in different languages - the viewing card ties the right language for your home country to the programme. A good example of this is Eurosport which shows touring car racing with English and German audio (mainly as TCR is much more popular in Germany than it is in the UK on TV.)
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Thanks for the comment Woodentop - Interesting reply.

Forgive me as a layman for mixing up the words “freeview” and “freesat” but even you agree they are principally the same:

Quote: Freesat is the satellite equivalent of Freeview and carries much the same free-to-air (FTA) channels albeit with different channel numbering (different too from Freeview).

Yes the one is digital celestial and the other is satellite but more or less the same. No confusion there then.

I would be interested to hear your comments on this next point.

You said - Quote: As Netflix requires a minimum of 2.5Mb/s you are realistically unlikely to be able to get it working.

A quick look on trusty ole Google and I found this.

https://www.hyspeedbroadband.com/satellite-broadband-home.html
Hyspeed 1 - 4 Mb
Hyspeed 2 - 10 Mb
Hyspeed 3 - 12 Mb

Correct me if I’m wrong but even the cheapest will easily more than cope with Netflix 2.5 mb

Quote from Netflix: According to Netflix, the Internet speed you'll need for downloads is as follows: For any streaming at all, you'll need a minimum of 0.5 megabits per second (Mbps), but Netflix recommends 1.5 Mbps.

Again from where I sit seems again no confusion there but you may be able to explain your comment better. Perhaps you were implying “difficulty in setting up a “satellite broadband dish” would mean “realistically unlikely to get it working” I would like to understand your comment better please.

Lastly when Sky installed my Sky Q box there were 2 tech’s both of whom said once Sky Q was on broadband, any broadband connection anywhere will be able access it as long as you have the subscription card and box from them sourced in the UK. That is the advice from 2 Sky tech’s but it is possible they may have been misinformed.

Time will tell.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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OK if you want to be pedantic....
Digital celestial? No, Digital terrestrial - abbreviated as DTTV.
Dish alignment is difficult enough to receive only until you get used to it, but satellite internet uses two-way transmission which (1) needs much more accurate alignment with specialist equipment and (2) needs a bigger dish. Just go and look at the dish on your local Post Office or betting shop and you'll see what I mean. For all practical purposes satellite internet is a non-starter for caravanning.

Per broadband on campsites, even CMC sites with their new 'Gold' standard' (supposedly fibre optic) broadband only get 25-100Mb. If you need 2Mb then anything more than 50 users will make the system crash - or you'll be sitting watching that rotating circle a lot of the time! On most sites that I have been they very specifically ask you NOT to use streaming or do major downloads as it spoils it for everyone else.

No the Sky techs are correct. You don't need Sky broadband to use Sky Q, but it has the same limitations as in the above paragraph - it is streaming and you are asked not to do it.

If people must have streaming available on sites then they should choose sites that have good 4G (soon to be 5G) coverage and do it through a mi-fi unit. SD will use about 1GB per hour or 3GB per hour using HD which means unless you have totally unlimited download on your connection (at what cost?) it will not be viable either.
:)
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Ok. Now in order to get Sky Q full subscription reception.

Q: Can I use my Sky Q box from home in my van from different locations in the UK and get full subscription reception, especially including sports channels etc?

Q: I am told that Sky Q will soon offer Netflix as a part of their package. Well then presumably I will get that via the dish along with the full Sky Q sub package.
https://helpforum.sky.com/t5/News-Updates/Sky-and-Netflix-agree-new-European-partnership/ba-p/2804255

Q: You say it becomes easier to set up with practice: Would a dish like this do the job. Used along with a compass etc? Without any signal detector thingies? https://www.maxview.co.uk/mobile-satellite-systems/portable/Precision-Portable-Satellite-System-Sky-Q

Q: now disregarding all the above, If you wanted to access full Sky Q sub transmissions via satellite dish on a van site, what equipment would you go for?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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In answer to OP
Our system is Maxview dish and tripod £11 from ebay
Freesat set top box from Argos £28
25m satellite cable with fixings already on the ends from e bay £20 ish from memory so all set to go for £60 add on a fringe signal strength meter another £20
Just updated the box to LG tv with built in freesat from Currys,
 
Sep 5, 2016
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Without going into gobbledegook, just look on ebay for your dish and stand, its up to you if you want afreesat box or sky box you will still have to pay for sky in the caravan, but you will need to buy a descent sat finder also on ebay, to set up your dish, if you have ever put an awning up for the first time we'll setting up a sat dish for the first time is something similar veryfrusting,
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Ok. Now in order to get Sky Q full subscription reception.

Q: Can I use my Sky Q box from home in my van from different locations in the UK and get full subscription reception, especially including sports channels etc?

Q: I am told that Sky Q will soon offer Netflix as a part of their package. Well then presumably I will get that via the dish along with the full Sky Q sub package.
https://helpforum.sky.com/t5/News-U...x-agree-new-European-partnership/ba-p/2804255

Q: You say it becomes easier to set up with practice: Would a dish like this do the job. Used along with a compass etc? Without any signal detector thingies? https://www.maxview.co.uk/mobile-sa...ble/Precision-Portable-Satellite-System-Sky-Q

Q: now disregarding all the above, If you wanted to access full Sky Q sub transmissions via satellite dish on a van site, what equipment would you go for?

In theory you should be able to use your Q box anywhere in the UK. Sports channels still come from satellite but you will need a different (so-called wideband) LNB (the bit on the end of the dish arm) to use the Q.

Netflix comes down your broadband pipe, not from the sky, so you will need a good broadband connection. As described before you can do that through the 4G cellular system using a mobile wi-fi (a.k.a. mi-fi) again in theory at least. I am not familiar with the Q box but if it will work from wi-fi then you are laughing, but if it requires a cable connected broadband connection then you will need some other bits as the mi-fi unit only generates a local wi-fi field. You are unlikely to get fast enough wi-fi from the site system, unless that is at a site like the CL that we use where the landline feed (on a good day, downhill, with a following wind) can manage about 1.8Mb so the farmer has put a 4G EE router in place to feed the wi-fi - 40Mb or more is quite common.
However you are unlikely to be able to use this config when outside the UK as the network address the system allocates to you will show the system that you are not in the UK and hence you may get blocked. You can by-pass this by use of a Virtual Private Network or VPN which can make Sky think you are in the UK wherever you are in reality, but you are talking more technology and cost. Satellite reception will work anywhere there is a signal.

The Maxview system will do the job, but a compass or (preferably) the Android app will make dish alignment much quicker and easier. The dish has a sat finder built in. I would advise buying the 65cm dish as the best compromise between signal 'getability' and the space and weight of the system. Don't forget the pegs to hold down the tripod legs to stop it blowing over.

On site you will only be able to get the stations that come from the satellite - which does include movies and sport - unless you have a good solid and fast enough broadband connection which will allow you to watch PPV and catch-up as well. (PPV = pay per view.) If I didn't want the PPV stations like Netflix and could live on satellite sourced stations I would do as I have done and described in my first post. Get a used Sky+HD box and tell Sky you are using an old box so they send you the right sort of card and live with that.
 
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