Satellite update for summer 2008

2008-06-28 16:06

Currently, I have antennas looking at these orbital locations:

  • 61.5°w: Echostar 3, 12
  • 82°w: Nimiq 1, 3
  • 89°w: Galaxy 28
  • 91°w: Nimiq 2, 4
  • 97°w: Galaxy 19
  • 110°w: Echostar 6, 8
  • 119°w: Echostar 7
  • 121°w: Echostar 9
  • 123°w: Galaxy 18
  • 129°w: Echostar 5
  • 129°w: Galaxy 27
  • 148°w: Echostar 1

Out of these, Echostar 9 is the only one that doesn’t really come in. I pick up two very strong transponders on it with a linear LNB as a side-effect of aiming a Dish 500 at Echostar 5. The 500’s pan is too small to receive a good signal from Echostar 9, and its 9-degree separation misaligns 121°w when 129°w is locked in. This same arrangement picks up one strong transponder from Anik F3, Echostar’s odd bird at 188.7°w that transmits circular signals on linear frequencies.

My switch configuration is unchanged since last time, but the last leg has been filled by 89°w.

A line of satellite dish antennas installed behind a house. Here are my four linear Ku-band antennas. They are all ex-Primestar Channel Master hardware picked up for free from people who wanted them gone. I have one 79-centimeter, two 1-meter, and one 84-centimeter reflector.

Macro photograph of a Primestar soda-can-style LNB attached to the feedhorn on one of the antennas. This receives Galaxy 28, and spiders like to nest here. I should really cut up a coffee can lid and cover it and seal it with epoxy. The plastic doesn’t attenuate Ku-band by a noticeable amount and will keep out the elements.

A one-meter Channel Master fibreglass reflector. The 1-meter antennas are my favorite. They’re so sturdy and will pick up everything even in the worst weather. Their obvious downside is their monstrous size. Good thing I don’t have to care about that!

Invacom QPH-031 dual-polarity LNBF installed on the one-meter Channel Master.

This Invacom QPH-031 will be motorized some day. The 22khz tone switch selects linear or circular output from the LNBF. There’s no circular signal at this orbital location, but it’s a very nice linear Ku LNBF.

Several eighteen and twenty-inch pizza pan reflectors mounted to the side of a house.

These are aimed at Echostar’s Dish Network and Bell Canada’s ExpressVu satellites. They have some unencrypted channels worth recieving, like Hallmark Movie Channel on Echostar 3 or NASA-TV on Echostar 6/8.

Twelve RG6 lines switched into a single output by three DiSEqC switch, an Ecoda 22khz tone switch, and an Echostar SW21.

Here’s where it all comes together. It’s the same switch setup as last time, just with that last leg utilized. Twelve RG-6 runs are trenched under the skirt of the house up and out through the wall behind the television.

Zinwell multiswitch strapped to the side of a soda-can Primestar LNB with separate outputs for each polarity.

This ex-Primestar LNB outputs the vertical and horizontal polarities on different connectors. You can re-combine them using a standard multiswitch. I like Zinwell’s switches and seal the VHF/UHF input to prevent water seeping in.

Wide shot of the complete nine-reflector setup on and behind my house.

The whole setup. I know my house isn’t very glamourous, but farm living has its advantages in lots of available space for satellite projects!

Bird feeder and bird bath constructed from warped satellite reflectors.

Bonus photo: The birds get to enjoy my bent reflectors. One is for water, one for seeds and our stale bread.