Newbie Here Bank holiday balcony adventures with a 35cm camping dish

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astra19

Member
Messages
22
My Satellite Setup
South-east facing window, setting up a portable dish
My Location
NL
Hi all,

It's been a while since I've been active on here. My last saga was about a flat dish that didn't work, that I eventually replaced with a normal parabolic antenna that worked perfectly (with the help of this forum!). However, the overzealous housing association in my building forced me to remove the dish even though it wasn't visible to anybody but myself and the wider world who decided to look above the trees to the fourth floor... Anyway, in another development we moved back to the UK (the NIMBYness of the Netherlands formed a part of this decision!).

Our flat is on a high floor with a reasonably clear view south, so I decided this bank holiday to treat myself in lockdown by getting a satellite dish. I'd sold the Dutch one before we moved, and being burned in the past by complaints I knew I couldn't get a permanent solution. So I decided to see what I could grab from my little balcony using a camping dish. I ordered a German-branded 35cm dish from freetv.ie. It arrived within a couple of days and after the strong winds of Saturday died down, I decided to spend the afternoon doing some hunting.

There were a couple of options. I have a south-facing window so I was curious if the glass would allow the signal through. Unsurprisingly it didn't as I think it's treated. I have a very narrow balcony which allows a little garden table, so I decided to use the suction cup on the dish to 'mount' the dish on the table. I was curious to see if the metal pole or the glass on the barrier would affect the signal too much, but it didn't seem to be a problem.

My building has a communal dish for 28E, but it's almost certainly misaligned or something because there's a lot of breakup on some channels and neighbours have noticed the same. Lockdown has stopped it being fixed. But helpfully it was fully tuned into my non-Freesat box, so it would be a good anchor to see if I could get anything at all. Within seconds of plopping the dish onto the table and vaguely orienting it in the direction of the dishes I could see across the road, I had an excellent reception of 28E. It was as good as the communal dish, and I could get the problematic channels no problem on my little dish.

Armed with the knowledge that the dish and lnb worked on the balcony, I wanted to see as many sats as I could. I thought it'd be a fun experiment given the smallness of the dish as well as the limited manoeuverability I had on the balcony as you can see in the picture.

I managed to lock onto my namesake birds Astra 1 with similar ease to Astra 2. I wanted to see if I could pick anything up on Astra 3, but I could only find myself in a bit of a deadzone between Astra 1 and 2. I know only a couple of TPs would be strong enough there to lock on using my small dish but I couldn't get it to bite.

I knew I'd be able to hit Hotbird very easily since it is one of the strongest in London but I wanted to challenge myself first. I headed west and hit on 9E, but only one TP, 11919 V. Interestingly while trying to tweak the dish I ended up simultaneously locking one TP at 7E, 11471 H, but a barely watchable signal.

Heading west again, I got a nice strong signal at 1W on 11900 H. I could tell that I was getting some signal on a few other TPs but not strong enough to hold. Similarly at 5W there's not much that isn't Multistream these days but I managed to get some French radio stations without too much trouble. I think 5W was probably the furthest I was going to be able to get in my set up so I swung back east to see what the furthest east sats I could find.

There was one data TP at 33E that seemed incredibly strong, 11350 V. It seemed to follow me wherever I went. Around this location I also hit a couple of frequencies on a blind scan that I couldn't identify: 11073V SR 11000 and 11542V SR 20000. Both seemed strong but didn't carry any TV or radio that I could see. Any ideas where these are? I'm curious to try to go even further east but it would require me setting up the dish on the other side of the balcony which I was trying to avoid for safety reasons. Maybe on a calm day I'll give it a go.

I ended the day at 13E, which had a great quality on most TPs though 10815 H I struggled to get a clear picture without breakup.

It was a fun experiment, and my next challenge I hope to see 16E and the elusive 23.5E. Might give it a go today if the weather holds up.
 

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nelson_b

nelson_b

Contributor
Messages
1,729
My Satellite Setup
Strong 4375 driving 1.8 C.M. offset + Inverto Black Ultra twin + BSC 421 and Zinwell C band l.n.b.,s - DR HD F15 - TM5302 and Skybox/Openbox M3 - HD receivers.+ other dishes in use - 2.4 CM offset - Alcoa 1.8 P.F. - C.M. 120.
My Location
north west yorkshire
Excellent results from a tiny dish ..... well done :cool:
 
A

astra19

Member
Messages
22
My Satellite Setup
South-east facing window, setting up a portable dish
My Location
NL
I managed to get Turksat at 42e today which I think is the max of how Far East I can go from the position. 12009H with the Iraqi-Turkmen station came through incredibly strongly which allowed me to anchor for the rest of the channels on the West beam. The LNB skew was so strong I was worried I was going to rip the cable out.

Still for the life of me can’t get to 16e! Is the dish just too small? From the EIRP values it doesn’t seem like that should be the case. It’s my next priority. Any ideas on a strong TP to aim for
 
nelson_b

nelson_b

Contributor
Messages
1,729
My Satellite Setup
Strong 4375 driving 1.8 C.M. offset + Inverto Black Ultra twin + BSC 421 and Zinwell C band l.n.b.,s - DR HD F15 - TM5302 and Skybox/Openbox M3 - HD receivers.+ other dishes in use - 2.4 CM offset - Alcoa 1.8 P.F. - C.M. 120.
My Location
north west yorkshire
I managed to get Turksat at 42e today which I think is the max of how Far East I can go from the position. 12009H with the Iraqi-Turkmen station came through incredibly strongly which allowed me to anchor for the rest of the channels on the West beam. The LNB skew was so strong I was worried I was going to rip the cable out.

Still for the life of me can’t get to 16e! Is the dish just too small? From the EIRP values it doesn’t seem like that should be the case. It’s my next priority. Any ideas on a strong TP to aim for
Nice result - Again.

According to the strongest transponders list by William-1 this one below should be strongest - although i fear your dish may be too small . Also a link below to William-1 ,s latest list
Eutelsat-16A @ 16° east 11427 V 27500 S2 Fax News

 
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astra19

Member
Messages
22
My Satellite Setup
South-east facing window, setting up a portable dish
My Location
NL
Thanks for the link. I had tried the pretty unscientific locking onto 19e, scoring with a pencil where it was, then 13e, doing the same, then heading for the middle. But I just couldn't seem to get it to bite. I'll give it another go.
 
Channel Hopper

Channel Hopper

Suffering fools, so you don't have to.
Staff member
Messages
29,897
My Satellite Setup
A little less analogue, and a lot more crap.
My Location
UK
On such a dish the beamwidth is close to 6 degrees, the two - stronger - satellites either side may be swamping the receiver's tuner.
 
A

astra19

Member
Messages
22
My Satellite Setup
South-east facing window, setting up a portable dish
My Location
NL
Interesting. There certainly did seem to be a lot of leeway with aligning the dish. Some of the stronger TPs on sats like Astra 1 and Turksat stuck around for at least a couple of degrees.
Anything noddy I could try to see if I can grab 16e with the two strong sats on either side?
 
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