In 2008 I became dissatisfied with my cable TV provider and switched to a commercial satellite company. I had heard of home satellite systems for many years and had seen the "Big Ugly Dishes" (BUDs as they are known) especially in rural areas.  I learned that there is a thriving hobby of do-it-yourself home satellite dish owners who set up their own "free-to-air" systems to view whatever is being beamed to earth from the "birds"  flying miles above the equator.

For Christmas 2008, I was given a Sadoun M1 FTA Motorized Satellite System (Ku) that included the Fortec Star FC 80 dish and Fortec Star Dynamic receiver. Two months later I ordered a similar 1.2 meter dish package for C-band transponders. The latter included a GeoSat CK-1 LNBF for both C- and Ku-band reception and a Sadoun SDS41C four-way DiSEq switch enabling the Fortec Star receiver to access both dishes. By 2015 the installation had grown to eleven receivers connected to two satellite dishes by way of two Zinwell multi-switches all feeding a single TV monitor through three A/V switch boxes.

Over the years several of the eleven receivers have died and as a result the installation has been simplified. In particular with fewer receivers the second Zinwell multi-switch and four splitters could be eliminated on the input side somewhat reducing the resistance from the dishes. A Manhattan DJ-1997 was added in 2016 bringing true high definition to the system through its HDMI output. As a result, the output side was upgraded to HDMI by taking the outputs of the three AV switch boxes through three Enko ENK-ATH2020 converters into a ZetaGuard HDMI switch. The latter provides picture-in-picture (PiP) into the single monitor. Also added was a Zenith DTT901 digital TV receiver issued at the end of analog broadcast television in 2009 and which arguably meets the literal definition of "free to air."

The components (2016) are as follows (refer also to the diagram at the bottom of this page):
Fortec Star FC 80 CM (Ku band) satellite dish with DiSEqC 1.2 HH motor 
LNBF 1: 
Sadoun Kul 1 LNBF
Fortec Star FC 120 CM (C band) with DG-380 motor
LNBF 2: 
WS International DMX 242 LNBF
Zinwell 4 x 8 multi-switch
OTA broadcast TV antenna
Fortec Star Dynamic
Pansat 4500 (2009)
Manhattan DJ-1997
Zenith DTT901
Neusat I Pro 2000
PowerVu D9234
PowerVu D9835
QQ Box
AV S: 
JVC JX-S900 A/V selector
RS1,  RS2: 
2 Radio Shack 15-1977 A/V selectors
E 1-3: 
Enko ENK-ATH2020 converters (3)
ZetaGuard HDMI switch
  Also a Pansat 3500SD as a spare (not shown).
    (Click for larger image)

All eight receivers connect to both dishes through the Zinwell multi-switch. The Fortec receiver is connected directly to the Ku band dish motor (D1) and the Pansat receiver is connected directly to the C-band dish motor (D2) so that only those receivers are able position their respective dishes. Any receiver may access either dish independently by setting the 22khz signal to the Zinwell multi-switch (on = Ku, off = C). Seven of the receivers feed to both the JVC and Radio Shack A/V selectors as shown which select the signal going to the TV monitor. Since the JVC only has seven A/V ports the second PowerVu receiver is connected only to the second Radio Shack switch. The QQ Box receiver (9) is connected directly to the Dell PC. Of course, the same viewing options could be accomplished using only one receiver and one 2-way multi-switch but the interest is in comparing the features of the different receivers.  Deceased receivers from previous configurations include Orasat V5.0, Captive Works CW 800S, Mini Sat 2012, and X2-M1. An X2 Premium Mini HD receiver was DOA with a message "Program Not Exist" and no firmware upgrade could be found.




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