I am assuming that you have the necessary equipment as detailed in my previous article about ‘How to get the equipment to watch English TV in Europe’.
- A TV (preferably one with a SCART socket)
- An ex-rental Sky Digibox that has already been used in the UK
- A dish of the appropriate size (see my earlier article and astra2d.com for a size guide) with LNB
- Co-ax cable
- A Sky viewing card or Freeview card
- Necessary fixings to mount the dish
The satellite we are looking for is Astra 2D 28.2E. This located at 28.2 degrees East of South. Let me tell you why setting up the angle and elevation is very important and has to be done very carefully. Astra 2D is in a geostationary orbit, which means it appears to be stationary when seen from the rotating earth. . The normal height for a geostationary satellite is 36,000Km and the satellite is only 8m tall and just over 2m diameter, it actually looks like a tin of baked beans with the lid open! So the alignment of the dish has to be done very accurately.
I cannot help you too much with the exact angles you need as they vary depending on your location. Here in the Southern French Alps a compass bearing of 150 degrees with an elevation of 34 degrees are the figures required. In Bucharest in Romania a bearing of 177 degrees and an elevation of 39 degrees would be required. Looking on the internet, particularly on ex pat web sites for your area, will normally reveal the magic numbers.
So mount your dish where you like, it does not need to be on the roof as it does not work like an aerial. It just needs a clear path between it and the satellite, no trees or buildings. The steepness of the angle surprises a lot of people, in the type of dish where the LNB is supported on an arm attached to the bottom of the dish, the ‘beam’ angle we are interested in is roughly parallel to that arm. Set the elevation to the correct value and leave the bracket slightly loose so that you can turn the dish from side to side. Using a compass, point the dish at a compass bearing you have (150 in my case). You will not get it right first time, but the closer you are, the less danger of finding the wrong satellite there is.
Getting it all working
Now, connect the dish to the box an the box to the TV and switch on the power.
Warning: The dish cable carries a small electric current, so never connect or disconnect it while the box is live; otherwise some of the electronic components could be damaged
Do not worry if the remote control does not react immediately - after switching on the power the Digibox can take several seconds before it will respond. On the remote control, press Services, then press 4, then 6. This will display a Signal Test screen. Ignore the Signal Strength and Signal Quality bars for the moment. You should however have something in the Signal Strength bar. (If you do not, you have a faulty connection on the way to the LNB).
Place the TV where it can be seen while manipulating the dish, move the dish until the zeros change to 0002 (Network ID) and 07d4 (Transport Stream). The change will be quite sudden so go carefully to avoid swinging the dish too far. The Lock Indicator will also change from ‘Not locked’ to ‘OK’. The value of 07d4 is usually the case but you might encounter others, particularly if you are trying to get a signal in southern Europe. However the Network ID must be 0002, otherwise you are pointing at the wrong satellite.
Finishing off the setup
As soon as the Network ID and Transport Stream values change from zero, a digital signal is being received. Clamp the dish, then press the Backup button on the remote control 3 times to return to the normal screen. Now wait until the box has finished getting the program data.
If after aligning the dish, you get a signal but there is interference on sound or vision, it is almost certainly caused by the dish elevation or direction being slightly out of alignment. Move the dish very slightly and carefully and watch the Signal Quality bar on the Signal Test screen for the greatest value. Anything over about 50% should give good reception.
Rick Lomas lives in Serre Chevalier in the Southern French Alps.
There is a good source of information about satellite TV and mobile phones on his website http://www.ricklomas.com as well as ideas on how to make money online.
Rick is currently working on various websites selling mortgage payment protection insurance , as an affiliate for British Insurance.