Setting up a non-Sky receiver

Finding the satellite

The sad fact of life is that some stuff that seemed so simple on the Digibox is not so simple on some FTA receivers.
What I am referring to, in specific, is the netword ID and transport stream. You may be lucky enough to have a receiver that shows this - so network ID "0002" is what you are aiming for...

I could not find any mention of this on the Silvercrest SL65; so my advice to you is to simply blindly add a channel. How you achieve this depends upon your receiver - refer to the handbook for details.
Here is a reasonably good signal you can use:

        Channel:   Film4
        Tuning:    10.730
        Polarity:  Vertical
        Bitrate:   22000
        FEC:       5/6
        Video PID: 2311
        Audio PID: 2312
        PCR PID:   2308
Now select this channel. Most FTA receivers have a way to call up a signal strength meter (try 'i' or 'info'. If your box has a 'beeper' function, turn that on too.
Channel information showing signal meter.
Channel information showing signal meter.
The SL65 has only three beep pitches. Anything under 50% is "poor", a low pitched beep. Between 50% and 70% is a medium pitched beep. Over 70% is a high pitched beep for a good signal.
The receiver treats anything lower than about 30% quality as a useless signal and so it shows the strength/quality bars in shades of grey. It is an bizarre quirk that with no LNB connected, the receiver claims 14% signal strength with a quality of 11%.
Some receivers offer a beep that changes pitch in direct relation to the signal. These are easier to tune with if you can only hear the receiver. If you can see the TV screen, and this is recommended, then go by the signal quality bar.
Now, simply go out and point your dish sorta 28 degrees east, inclined so the back of the dish is roughly vertical. It helps greatly to be able to directly see and hear your receiver, rather than having somebody call out to you.
Now, simply move the dish around in sweeps, using the receiver's signal metering as a guide. This is possible as the FTA receivers I've seen provide near-instant feedback, unlike the delayed signal information returned by the Digibox.
Your heart will take a little flutter when you see that signal bar turn green and zip up to 70% or higher yet. If you get a signal quality reading and a picture - whooee! You've found Astra 2/Eurobird. If you don't get a picture, either the signal is not aligned well enough or you're looking at the wrong satellite.

I wish to greatly apologise for not being able to provide precise directions to the satellite. Exactly how you fix up your dish depends upon your location. For example, imagine where the sun is at noon in Cornwall. Where do you think it will be at the same moment in Sardinia? A bit more to the right and higher up in the sky. Same thing with the satellite.

Adding channels

The next complication is how do you add channels? You could download the Lyngmark channel listing, which is very comprehensive. Or you could simply bite the bullet and let your receiver scan for channels. Unless your receiver has a Dragon CAM with a Sky card, you cannot watch scrambled channels - so best to limit your scan to 'free' channels.
The SL65 receiver searching for channels.
Searching for channels.

Be warned - you'll quickly have to delete a hundred-odd 'telesales', 'babecast', and 'religion' channels, not to mention the Bangla/Punjabi channels - unless they are what you wish to watch. Deleting channels is usually quicker than adding only those you wish to view.


Next: What an FTA receiver cannot do...


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Copyright © 2007 Richard Murray