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How do I make my own satellite dish to capture free to air broadcasts? Answered

I would need a list of materials suppliers and drawings. please work from the premise that I know very little ( which is true! ). I would also be interested in motorizing the dish and making it remotely operable. Also what would I need to decode the signals?


FTA or Free To Air is alive and well. There are hundreds of channels available and while you may not want to watch some of them, they provide a service to some people who understand the language, or have that particular interest.

True FTA (not pirate TV) requires a linear LNB which is an antenna that converts the high frequency of the satellite signal to a lower frequency that can be transmitted on coax cable. The lower frequency doesn't have the same loss characteristics.

Linear LNBs are available from many computer/satellite stores as well as several web based retailers for $20-50.

You will also need a dish. This is a parabolic reflector, not the antenna, and it will focus the weak signal from the satellite onto the LNB. For FTA you will need a dish of at least 30 inches in North America, and you will want a larger dish the farther north you live. In Canada 33" is recommended minimum, and 48" if you live in Alaska.

To get more than one satellite, you will need a dish mover, or another dish and LNB. Off the shelf motors cost approx $100 with heavy duty motors ranging up to $200.

You will also need a receiver that is specific to FTA and digital satellite TV. These are currently in the $100 - $300 range for most and can include PVR (recording) capabilities. A starter set that will receive about 200 channels can be purchased new for about $200, and can be added to as you wish to receive more satellites.

If you are interested in more channels and HD channels, you will have to look at C-band in North America. This means a 6-12 foot dish and an HD receiver. Large dishes can often be found unused in rural areas, and often can be had simply by asking if they are using it anymore.

Look for a forum that specializes in "true FTA" or "legal FTA" and read lots. There will be people who can help you, but it is recommended that you spend a few days reading before you start asking question.

More for C.B radio beam.

Are you asking how to make an antenna "dish" to capture over-the-air broadcast now that DTV (digital TV) is taking effect? Not "satellite" as you worded it. I am looking for the same thing. There are some on here, however I didn't write it down when I saw them. (TSK!) Perhaps someone can guide both of us if that is also what you want. The DTV converter box is useless without it. (We were using a piece of coax cable with a hanger balancing on it before that. It worked!)

I don't believe free-to-air is carried by satellite. Are you asking how to crack satellite encryption, or do you just want a terrestrial aerial?


Wikipedia has a a great page about free to air broad casted television, the satellite dish is rather easy to get/make, just get a largish parabola dish from your local electronics store, but getting a reciever would be much harder.

I know this isn't very "Instructable-ish" of me, but i think it would be much, much easier just to buy a set top box. I've pulled one apart and they're extremely complicated.