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  1. #1
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    Default USEFULL Help for newbies


    AU = Auto Update
    BIN = File extension for binary file format
    CAM = Conditional Access Module
    ECM = Electronic Counter Measure
    EEPROM = Electrically Eraseable Programmable Read Only Memory
    HEX = File extension for Hexadecimal file format
    MK = Management Key
    MOSC = Modified Original Smart Card
    PCB = Printed Circuit Board
    PIC = Programmable Intergrated Circuit
    PPUA = Program Provider Users Address
    PPV = Pay Per View
    RU = Remote Update
    UA = Unique Address
    GW = Gold Wafer (card)


    The running and returning system for controlling motorized antennas.

    Analog-to-Digital Conversion - Process of converting analog signals to a digital representation. DAC represents

    the reverse translation.

    Amplitude Modulation---The baseband signal is caused to vary the amplitude or height of the carrier wave to

    create the desired information content.

    A device used to boost the strength of an electronic signal.

    A form of transmitting information characterized by continuously variable quantities, as opposed to digital

    transmission, which is characterized by discrete bits of information in numerical steps. An analog signal is

    responsive to changes in light, sound, heat and pressure.

    The Canadian domestic satellite system that transmits Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CSC) network feeds

    throughout the country. This system also carries long distance voice and data services throughout Canada as

    well as some transborder service to the U.S. and Mexico.

    Device that is used to send and receive signals that are passed on to the receiver.

    A cross sectional area of the antenna which is exposed to the satellite signal.

    Highest point. (i.e. on a motorized antenna the highest point in the satellite belt).

    The point in an elliptical satellite orbit which is farthest from the surface of the earth. Geosynchronous

    satellites which maintain circular orbits around the earth are first launched into highly elliptical orbits

    with apogees of 22,237 miles. When the communication satellite reaches the appropriate apogee, a rocket motor

    is fired to place the satellite into its permanent circular orbit of 22,237 miles.

    Satellite belt. A imaginary line that has the shape of half of a circuit and connects all satellites in the

    Clark’s belt.

    The expected TV ratio. Standard TV has a ratio of 4:3, but widescreen TV uses a 16:9 ratio.

    System for digital emitting of audio programs by using compressed signals. It is emitted on sound transponders

    and you need a special digital receiver to receive it.

    The loss in power of electromagnetic signals between transmission and reception points.

    The orientation of the satellite in relationship to the earth and the sun.

    The carrier between 5 MHz and 8 MHz containing audio (or voice) information inside of a video carrier.

    A circuit which automatically controls the frequency of a signal.

    A circuit which automatically controls the gain of an amplifier so that the output signal level is virtually

    constant for varying input signal levels.

    Any equipment for video and audio.

    Antenna mount that requires two separate adjustments to move from one satellite to another.

    The ankle between the satellite and the geographic south (given by the compass) is expressed in degrees and can

    west or east, i.e. Astra 19.2°E.


    A terrestrial communications channel linking an earth station to a local switching network or population


    The process of reducing the input and output power levels of a traveling wave tube to obtain more linear


    An active or passive circuit which allows signals within the desired frequency band to pass through but impedes

    signals outside this pass band from getting through.

    The frequency width on which a signal is broadcasted or which allows devices to receive signals. It can be 18,

    27, 36 or 72 MHz.

    This is the satellite TV signal from the receiver, which has yet not been transformed into a useful TV signal.

    The rate of data transmission based on the number of signal elements or symbols transmitted per second. Today

    most digital signals are characterized in bits per second.

    Low-power carrier transmitted by a satellite which supplies the controlling engineers on the ground with a

    means of monitoring telemetry data, tracking the satellite, or conducting propagation experiments. This

    tracking beacon is usually a horn or omni antenna.

    Signal transmission via satellite. The satellites signal beam emitted from the satellite to the earth. There

    are wide beams- covers a big area, narrow beam- covers a smaller area, pot beam- covers only a specific area.

    The expected ankle of the satellite antenna.

    A connection that is used to connect TV antennas to the TV, receiver and video. In prior times it was used on

    the satellite receiver line in.

    BER Bit Error Rate
    The precision of a digital signal. Similar to the analogue S/N ratio.

    Bird is a word that is often used referring to satellites.

    The speed of digital transmission. Usually it is expressed in Mb/s. the higher the bit rate the better is the

    picture and sound since there are more data sent. I.e: 5Mb/s is approximately PAL quality and 2.5Mb/s is VHS


    An ordinary television signal consists of 30 separate still pictures or frames sent every second. They occur so

    rapidly, the human eye blurs them together to form an illusion of moving pictures. This is the basis for

    television and motion picture systems. The blanking interval is that portion of the television signal which

    occurs after one picture frame is sent and before the next one is transmitted. During this period of time

    special data signals can be sent which will not be picked up on an ordinary television receiver.

    A device used to convert the 3.7 to 4.2 KHz signal down to UHF or lower frequencies (1 GHz and lower).

    A method of transmitting and scrambling television signals. In such transmissions MAC (Multiplexed Analog

    Component) signals are time-multiplexed with a digital burst containing digitized sound, video synchronizing,

    authorization, and information.

    The side of the antenna that is turned towards the antenna.

    Corporate communications tool involving video transmissions of information via satellite. Common uses of

    business television are for meetings, product introductions and training.


    Conditional access module- systems that are used to decode encoded satellite programs.

    The basic radio, television, or telephony center of frequency transmit signal. The carrier in an analog signal.

    is modulated by manipulating its amplitude (making it louder or softer) or its frequency (shifting it up or

    down) in relation to the incoming signal. Satellite carriers operating in the analog mode are usually frequency


    The main frequency on which a voice, data, or video signal is sent. Microwave and satellite communications

    transmitters operate in the band from 1 to 14 GHz (a GHz is one billion cycles per second).

    A sort of parabolic satellite antenna that uses a convex hyperbolic secondary reflector.

    Area of frequencies from 3.700-4.200 GHz that is used for satellite signal transmission, mostly in use in the


    A satellite antenna with the focus in the centre.

    Part of the signals that carries the data for colour.

    Common Interface- the standard connection to connect additional equipment on the receiver. Mostly used by CAM’

    s. Basically it is the same system as the PCMCIA system used by computers and notebooks.

    Unlike many domestic satellites which utilize vertical or horizontal polarization, the international Intelsat

    satellites transmit their signals in a rotating corkscrew-like pattern as they are down-linked to earth. On

    some satellites, both right-hand rotating and left-hand rotating signals can be transmitted simultaneously on

    the same frequency; thereby doubling the capacity of the satellite to carry communications channels.

    Look geostationary orbit.

    C/N (carrier to noise ratio)
    An antenna performance measure. Refers to the ratio between received power and noise power. Is expressed in dB.

    Coaxial cables and connectors that are used for satellite and antenna equipment.

    Satellite that have the same positions (i.e. Astra and HotBird). Usually the distance between satellites is


    TV signal that contains data about colour, luminescence and synchro data. Used in scart-connectors.

    TV signal that is digitised and compressed, because repeating signals are left out. It enables to send more

    programs via one transponder.

    A coding system for Scandinavian digital programs developed by Telenor.

    A device that unifies a feedhorn, depolarisator and a polarisator. Usually used in C-band LNB’s.

    A digital program coding system.


    Part of the Ku band 11.700-12.500 GHz that is used for direct transmission of satellite programs.

    The small ankle between the polarmount and the antenna that enables it to receive all satellites in the

    satellite belt.

    Device that enables you to watch encoded programs.

    A filter that is used with another one (pre-emphasis that is there when signals are sent) to decrease the


    This is a receiver part and it has the function of dividing audio from video signals in the incoming signal.

    Device that enables the changing of circuit polarisation into linear polarisation.

    System for digital radio program emitting, which uses 16 uncompressed stereo stations on one transponder.

    See compressed TV.

    Digital Satellite Equipment Control- it is a system that is made to control satellite equipment digitally. It

    is developed by Eutelsat for watching Astra and Hotbrid with one antenna by using universal LNB’s. the system

    is used to control peripheral equipment like LNB’s, rotors and switches with a digitised 22kHz signal from the

    satellite receiver.

    Parabolic antenna that collects satellite signals.

    Two subversions of the Mac system.

    The way from the satellite top the antenna.

    DTH (Direct to Home)
    Satellite TV for reception at home.

    Reception of two satellite’s signals by using one antenna on which are placed two LNB’s.

    DVB (Digital Video Broadcast)
    European TV standard for digital program emitting. It is used everywhere except for the USA.


    ECM (Electronic counter measures)
    Electronic counter measures are signals that are sent via satellite to disable pirate cards.

    EIRP (Effective Isotropic Radiated Power)
    This is the measure of the power of satellite signals that is emitted to the earth.

    El-Az (Eleveation-Azimuth) Mount
    A simple fixed antenna that allows you to adjust it in horizontal and vertical directions.

    The ankle between the direction of received signals and the horizontal.

    The encoding of signals. You can’t receive encoded signals and use them if you don’t have the decoder. Also

    called scrambling.

    Converter (9.750 GHz oscillator) or receiver that can receive signals in the frequency width of 10.700-10.950


    Electronic program guide- an on-screen graphical program view for digital satellite programs. The EPG is sent

    by the program itself and the receiver just displays it. If it is not sent the receiver display no Information

    or no EPG.

    A coding system used for programs emitted in the D-MAC and D2MAC system.

    A timer that is placed in the receiver. It enables the receiver to turn itself on or off when you are not at

    home so you can record programs.

    The frequency width of the receiver that allows you to receive all frequencies that receives a universal

    converter. Usually 950-2050MHz or 700-2150 MHz.


    A connector used to connect converter and receivers.

    FEC (Forward Error Correction)
    Signals that are added to the main signal so that they can correct errors that may appear during emissions.

    Signal collector. Collects signals into the focus of an antenna and send them to the LNB

    A flat, usually quadratic antenna that collect satellite signals on its surface and sends them to the LNB

    A satellite antenna that has a LNB that is placed on motor, which allows to move it lef and right so you can

    receive signals from more satellites.

    Area in front of the antenna where signals of the focus antenna are collected.

    Areas on earth where signals from one satellite can be received. Includes the power of the received signal.

    Emitting satellite program without encoding them.

    FSS (fixed satellite services) BAND
    A part of the frequencies 10.700-11.700GHz that are in commercial use, but today they are mostly used for

    analogue programs.


    The orbit used by TV satellites at a height of 36.000km. at this height satellite move with the same speed as

    the earth does, so this satellites are always visible on the same spot.

    See geostationary orbit

    Gigahertz. 1 000MHz. One billion vibrations in one second.

    A subversion of satellite antenna that uses a concave hyperbolic reflector that points signals to the converter

    and that is placed opposite of the main reflector.


    This is a method of sending two programs on one transponder by dividing the bandwidth. It decreases the EIRP

    for about 4dB. Therefore you need an antenna with a bigger scope.

    Device for the turning of antennas. It contains a motor and enables the antenna to receive all satellites in a

    belt of 180°.

    A satellite antenna that uses a bigger feedhorn and no reflector.

    HDTV (high definition Television)
    A future TV system that has more lines that build the visible picture with more quality. PAL uses 625 lines and

    HDTV uses 1250 lines.


    IF (intermediate frequency)
    The signal in the cable between the receiver and the LNB. It’s also the reception frequency of a receiver. By

    standard it is 950-1750MHz.

    Devices that is inserted into the LNB cable. It enables the LNB to receive frequencies it normally couldn’t.

    The movement of satellites above and bellow the ARC. Satellites that are placed in this orbit usually have

    already come to their ends. To receive their signals a polarmount antenna is needed.

    Device for measuring of vertical ankles.

    Disturbances in sound and picture caused by unwanted signals.

    IRD (integrated Receiver Decoder)
    Device that unifies a satellite receiver and a decoder.

    A coding system used for digital programs by German, Italian, Greek and Arabic programs.


    It’s an audio de-emphasis system, which is used on some programs. It gives you a cleaner sound.

    See actuator.


    Kilohertz. 1000 vibrations in one second.

    Frequency width from 10.700-18.000Ghz that is used for satellite transmissions.


    Expressed in degrees. Refers to the geographical width. Distance south or north from the equator.

    Device ina LNB that receives satellite signals and transforms them into frequencies that can be used by the

    receiver. Mostly used are 10.000GHz for FSS ban, 9.750GHz for enhanced FSS band, 10.750 for DBS band, 11.475

    GHz for telecom satellites, 10.600 GHz for the upper band of a universal LNB and 5.150Ghz for C band.

    Distance to east or west from the 0th meridian. Geographical length.

    Pairs of incoming and exiting connections on a receiver that enable adding other equipment into the TV signal.

    LNB (Low noise block)
    LNB, converter. Device that receives and enhances incoming satellite signals and then transforms them into

    electric signals of a lower frequency so that they can be used by a receiver.

    Part f the TV signal that carries information about the luminance of the picture.


    MAC (Multiplexed Analogue Components)
    Divided transmission of analogue components. This system was especially developed for satellite TV. It is

    replaced by the digital standard MPEG 2!

    A polarisation chooser that is controlled by the receiver’s power.

    Device that unifies LNB and polariser. Polarisations are chosen by using voltages of 13V and 18V. Most of

    today’s LNB’s are of this kind.

    MCPC (Multi Channel Per Carrier)
    Most digital programs are transmitted so that there send more programs on one transponder. All these programs

    have the same frequency but they differ in video and audio by their PID.

    It’s servo polariser that is controlled by electric impulses from the receiver.

    Coding system for digital programs that is used by the Canal Plus Group and some other stations.

    Megahertz. 1.000.000 vibrations in a second. Equal to 1000 KHz.

    Electromagnetic waves at frequencies from 1-30 GHz.

    This device forces TV picture and sound on a radio carrier for ground emitting or on a looprthrough.

    It is the carrier of an antenna. It is used for the installation and stabilisation of an antenna.

    MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group)
    International group for achieving standards in digital TV. MPEG 1 – picture quality of VHS and CD-Video, MPEG

    2- picture quality useful for satellite transmission.

    An unmovable satellite antenna that has two or more LNB and is therefore enable dto receive signals from more



    A coding system that is used for analogue and digital programs.

    Unwanted signal in a wanted one.

    This is the rustling that a LNB adds to a signal. It expresses the quality of LNB and is written in dB, i.e.

    0.7 dB. The lower it is the better the LNB. Today we have LNB’s with a noise figure of 0.4dB.

    NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)
    System of television transmission mostly used in USA and Japan. On a Pal receiver there will be no viewable

    picture at all or there will be a b/w picture with many disturbances. In jokes this system is called Never The

    Same Colour.

    NVOD (Near Video On Demand)
    Emitting programs, mostly movies, with a time delay of mostly 15 minutes to half an hour, so you can always

    watch the movie with only little waiting times.


    Type of satellite antennas with the focus somewhat bellow the centre.

    OMT (orthogonal mode transducer)
    Device, which enables two LNB’s to receive horizontal and vertical polarisations at the same time.

    The orbit of a satellite around the world.


    PAL (Phas Alternate Line)
    TV system that is used for ground and TV emission in most parts of the world.

    PANDA 1
    Noise reduction system that is used for audio signals and was developed by Wegener Corp.

    Encoding of programs or menus to prevent uncontrolled watching or adjusting. A security number of 4 digits is


    Connectors that are mostly used for audio, video and baseband.

    Personal Identification Number- this number serves the purpose to give the users of original satellite cards

    access to information about their subscription, ordering of PPV programs and sometimes some menus on the


    Devices that is put in front of LNB and serves the purpose to divide vertical and horizontal polarisations.

    Device that is used to turn the antenna. This movement allows to watch more satellites and to receive every

    satellite in the band.

    Device used to control the motor that is connected to a satellite antenna and makes it possible to choose

    positions of where to stop the antenna. This can be a separated device but it can be also a part of a receiver.

    Coding system for digital programs.

    PPV (Pay per View)
    This system enables you to watch exclusive emissions, but you have to order them and pay for them. Mostly it’s

    abut movies or sport events.

    Subversion of satellite antennas that have the focus and the feedhorn in front of them antennas centre.

    PRO LOGIC (Dolby)
    System for recording and reproduction of sound, which is developed by Dolby Laboratories Corp. It is used to

    give you the sound reproduction of a cinema at home.


    This device receives signals from a LNB and transform them into signals that can be seen on a TV set in form of

    a picture and sound.

    A shape of an antenna-reflector that collects signals.


    Societe Europeenne de Controle d`Access – SECA. System for encoding of digital programs. This system is mostly

    used by the Canal Plus Group.

    SECAM (Sequence a memoire)
    TV system that is used in some countries like in example France. On Pal TV’s the picture of this system will be

    display black and white.

    Fine tuning of polarisation that has the different ankles of incoming signals from different satellites in


    Scart connectors are a European norm for connectors that uses 21 pin. Each pin transmits different signals.

    A secondary focus receives signals from another satellite. This is used on dual and multi feed antennas.

    The position of satellites in the Clark’s belt which is described in degrees east or west from the south (0°)

    This is a plastic card the size of a credit card. It contains the electronic key ro decode encoded programs. It

    is used with according decoder.

    SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna Television)
    Satellite system for buildings and neighbourhoods, which use one antenna and the programs are distributed via

    existing antenna cables.

    S/N (signal to noise) ratio
    The ration between signal power and noise power. Expressed in dB.

    SNG (satellite news gathering)
    Sending of materials via movable uplink stations.

    Decoding method that uses no subscriber card, but only a decoder.

    Type of emitting where information about sound a put into the synchro impulses of the TV picture. Without the

    according decoder this picture is instable and has no sound.

    SCPC (single channel per carrier)
    Some digital programs send information via special frequencies on a transponder and they are independent from

    all other signals.

    Picture disturbances in form of little black and white sparks, caused by weak signals or by using antennas of a

    smaller scope than it is recommended.

    Compression technique that enables to put more programs on one transponder.

    Auxiliary signal that is combined with the TV signal and is used for sound and radio transmission.

    Video format that uses independent emitting of luminescence and chrominescence information.

    Signal that synchronizes the TV picture with the emitted picture. If they aren’t the same the picture will be


    Coding system that is used for analogue programs.


    Part of the frequency width of the Ku band 12.500-12.750 GHz. First used by the French satellites telecom. Also

    called BBS (broadcast satellite services) band.

    Minimal C/N that is need for a picture without disturbances. Refers to the sensitivity os a satellite receiver

    expressed in dB. The lower the better.

    Method used to lower the existing treshold of a receiver.

    Device that is used to translate one TV standard into another one (i.e. PAL into NTSC)

    TRANSPONDER (transmitter-responder)
    Device in the satellite itself. It’s used to receive signals from earth and to reemit them to earth.

    LNB that is enabled to receive signals from FSS, DBS and Telecom band in two areas that are chosen by changing

    the voltage sent by the receiver (13 or 18V).

    22kHz SWITCH
    his switch uses a 22kHz sound signal to switch between the upper and lower band on a universal receiver and to

    control other equipment, i.e. DiSEqC switches.


    UHF (ultra high frequency)
    Signal that uses frequencies from 300-890MHz and is used to emit ground programs.

    This LNB uses two local oscillators and has two frequency bands: 10.700-11.700GHz, lo.9.750 GHz and 11.800-

    12.750GHz l.o.10.600GHz. to switch between them a 22kHz sound signal is used.

    The way of the signal from the station on earth to the satellite.


    Coding system used for digital emitting

    Coding system that was first used by BSkyB and is today no longer in use.

    Coding system for digital programs that is used by *** and lately some others too

    VOD (video on demand)
    Programs are emitted directly after they were order in this emitting system.

    Combined LNB with a polariser, which is mostly used on Astra systems where the polarisations are chosen by

    using 13 an 18V voltages send by the receiver.


    Precisely made channel for microwave signals

    See Panda1

    TV programs and receiver that do not use the conventional ratio 4:3 but they use the cinema ratio 16:9 or

    sometimes 14:9 and 21:9

    Large frequency width for satellite receivers that is usually 700-2150MHz.
    Fte Max 100S
    Humax IRCI-5400z
    Asiasat 3S,NSS 6,Insat 4B,Thaicom2/5,Intelsat7/10,HB 6/7A/8

  2. #2
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    29°20'N 47°59'E
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    nice one. much appreciated.
    HP-Compaq DC5000 MT 1.5GB RAM
    Debian Squeeze with Smargos
    CCcam 2.1.4

  3. #3
    Junior Member Teacher
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    Thanks Dear masood for such a nice info
    keep it up.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Teacher
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    Default Its' good

    It is really good and informatiive. Can you pleas ekindly advise on teh following also


    bt 06

    Thanks in advance

  5. #5
    Junior Member Junior
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    I am new to satellite TV and just bought an Illusion Sat M3 Conax. It uses applications called Multicam & Vectra . Please could you tell what these applications are and what is the purpose of having them installed in the system.
    If you can give me any info on this I would be very grateful.
    Also if you know where I could get a user manual in English.


  6. #6
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    Welcome to RDI Gerry!
    I have noted your point and will search a reasonable reply for you
    Fte Max 100S
    Humax IRCI-5400z
    Asiasat 3S,NSS 6,Insat 4B,Thaicom2/5,Intelsat7/10,HB 6/7A/8

  7. #7
    Junior Member Friend
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    Default Re: USEFULL Help for newbies

    Hello Masood,

    Thanks for the information. Really appreciated.
    It is very helpful especially for me.
    I am newbie and i have learned a lot of things from this forum.
    I want to thank you all for your help and support.

    Satellite is one of my hobby and i am enjoying it so much.
    It is very hard to the begineer because you do not know where to start.
    What to do and how to do it?

    I want to improve my skills and learn many things.
    I am travelling around the world and i have been searching for satellite, most of the channels are encrypted and also there are good FTA channels.

    I found this web site and i think i am on the right channel now.
    There's a lot of questions in my mind.

    This is my first post and i am very glad to be a member on this forum.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Teacher
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    Very nice masood Brother
    Its great
    Please make it Sticky as soon as possable

  9. #9
    Gold Member Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by aqeelraza
    Very nice masood Brother
    Its great
    Please make it Sticky as soon as possable
    As you wish Aqeel Raza!,,it is sticky now Don't forget to contribute your help in this thread

    LNB stands for low noise block
    the lower the number the better the lnb i,e a 0.3db is better than a 0.9db
    the more noise you can block the better the signal strength on your set top box.
    Noise is measured in db (decibal)
    Fte Max 100S
    Humax IRCI-5400z
    Asiasat 3S,NSS 6,Insat 4B,Thaicom2/5,Intelsat7/10,HB 6/7A/8

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry
    I am new to satellite TV and just bought an Illusion Sat M3 Conax. It uses applications called Multicam & Vectra . Please could you tell what these applications are and what is the purpose of having them installed in the system.
    If you can give me any info on this I would be very grateful.
    Also if you know where I could get a user manual in English.
    @Gerry and @walkonwater
    click Here to find your reply
    Fte Max 100S
    Humax IRCI-5400z
    Asiasat 3S,NSS 6,Insat 4B,Thaicom2/5,Intelsat7/10,HB 6/7A/8

  11. #11
    Junior Member Friend
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    tike kuaybatiniye


  12. #12
    Gold Member Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by senpasky

    tike kuaybatiniyesen

    sorry my friend I can't understand ,,what you want to say
    Fte Max 100S
    Humax IRCI-5400z
    Asiasat 3S,NSS 6,Insat 4B,Thaicom2/5,Intelsat7/10,HB 6/7A/8

  13. #13
    Junior Member Friend
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    Quote Originally Posted by masood
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry
    I am new to satellite TV and just bought an Illusion Sat M3 Conax. It uses applications called Multicam & Vectra . Please could you tell what these applications are and what is the purpose of having them installed in the system.
    If you can give me any info on this I would be very grateful.
    Also if you know where I could get a user manual in English.
    @Gerry and @walkonwater
    click Here to find your reply

    Masood, Thanks for the links. Really appreciated.
    I have FortecStar FCSI 5100 Ultra, i just want to know if possible to crack SKy channels on 28.2E? Many thanks.

  14. #14
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    thank you for posting such information like these.
    its a great help for beginner like me.
    hoping for your next helpful post again.

  15. #15
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    1. How does it work?
    A number of satellites have been launched into orbit around the earth. They sit in a circle above the equator at a distance of 36,000km. This position allows them to remain in the same relative position in the sky.
    To a viewer on Earth, they do not appear to move.
    Each satellite has the ability to receive signals transmitted from Earth and to re-transmit them back to Earth over a wide area. The satellite on-board equipment which does this is called a Transponder. A satellite can have several transponders - typically 16. On the ground, large transmitting dishes are used to "uplink" the programmes to each satellite. Each transponder of each satellite beams the programme back down so that it reaches an area designated the "footprint". This is the area where the signal is strongest. The signal becomes weaker towards the edges of the footprint.
    To receive a signal you need a dish. This acts as a curved mirror and focusses (concentrates) the weak signal at a point in front of the dish where an "LNB" sits.

    2. What is an LNB?
    "LNB" stands for Low Noise Block-downconverter. This LNB often has a horn which collects the focussed signal and feeds it to a tiny aerial inside the LNB. The job of the LNB is to convert the weak microwave signal into a stronger signal at a lower frequency. This lower frequency signal can then be fed down a coaxial cable to the satellite receiver.

    3. What is a satellite receiver?
    The satellite receiver is able to separate the mess of signal coming from the LNB into several recognisable TV picture channels and soundtrack channels. Normally you will be able to "tune" the receiver so that you get your desired programmes at particular channel numbers.

    4. What is a decoder?
    Many of the programmes are scrambled before they are uplinked to the satellite. In order to descramble them you need a decoder. The usual type of UK decoder is called "Videocrypt" which is licensed by Thomson plc. This type of decoder is usually built inside a receiver. For most scrambled channels you will also need a Smartcard to allow the decoder to work. Smartcards are generally available by subscription in specific countries. This is because the programme providers are licensed to broadcast programmes only to certain countries for which they pay a fee. Apart from "Videocrypt" the next most common type of decoder is called a "D2MAC" transcoder. This is not really a decoder but simply a means of translating a different transmission standard. (Most European broadcasts transmit using the "PAL" system, but D2MAC, DMAC, SECAM are also used. In the USA "NTSC" is used.) Inside most DMAC/D2MAC transcoders is a "Eurocrypt" decoder as well. This works very much like "Videocrypt" and has its own Smartcards.

    If your receiver does not have a suitable internal decoder you will usually be able to connect one externally. You should consider this point BEFORE you buy because some combinations of receiver and decoder will not work. Always get the whole bunch of equipment demonstrated before you buy and make sure that the connecting leads used to demonstrate are the ones you take home (these can give problems as well).

    5. Do I need a decoder?
    You can watch a lot of "free" analogue programmes with only a receiver. However, only a few of these are English. But do remember that you can receive dozens of "RADIO" programmes from analogue satellite (audio sound tracks without pictures) and you don't need a decoder for these! Some broadcast in stereo and some in mono. Currently, BBC Radio 1 and 3 are in stereo. BBC Radio 2, 4, 5-Live and World Service are in mono.

    6. How do I decide what to buy?
    Ask several satellite-owning neighbours to demonstrate their systems. Usually they will be pleased to do this. See if you can find somebody with a big motorised dish who will show you the vast choice you can receive from different satellites. Apart from looking at picture quality, performance and price, consider reliability, too. About ten percent of satellite receivers fail within two years.

    7. What is Astra?
    Astra is the name given to two groups of satellites, owned by a company called S.E.S., which are located above the Earth (around 19 degrees east of south and around 28 degrees east of south). As far as your dish is concerned, each group of satellites looks like one large satellite because they are so far away and so close together. Each Astra satellite has at least 16 transponders. At present there are six satellites in the 19E group, labelled 1A to 1F. Satellite 1A to 1D transmit mostly ordinary "analogue" signals and E, F transmit mostly digital on a higher frequency band.

    8. What is Digital?
    Astra 1E transmits mostly digitally compressed signals. This method is more efficient because it allows one transponder to transmit up to fourteen different programmes at the same time! However, you will need to buy a Digital Satellite Receiver in order to receive these new programmes. Such receivers are in use in the UK, parts of Europe, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and the USA (and other places). They can be more than four times as expensive as current "analogue" receivers. However, analogue transmissions are likely to continue for at least two years and the average life of a satellite receiver is only about five years.

    9. What is "Hot Bird"?
    Hot Bird is the name of a satellite that is located at 13 degrees east of south. You can point your dish in that direction and receive signals from Hot Bird just the same as you can from Astra. There are some English programmes which are not scrambled but most programmes are foreign language (sometimes English with foreign subtitles). At the same location as "Hot Bird" is another, older satellite called "Eutelsat II-F1". You will see the programs from this as if they came from "Hot Bird" but the signals tend to be weaker in the UK. There are other "Eutelsat" satellites located at 7'E, 10'E and 16'E of south.

    10. Can I receive both Astra and Hot Bird?
    Yes. You need a slightly bigger dish with two LNBs fitted on a special adaptor bracket. The dish and LNBs have to be aligned very accurately to receive good pictures from both satellite groups.

    Switching between two satellites

    If you have a fixed dish with two LNBs fitted on something like a LittlExtra™ bracket, you will need an A-B switching box to select each LNB as required. This type of manual switch sits near to the receiver and is fed by two cables from the LNBs on the dish.

    The disadvantage is that you have to get off your butt to operate it!

    Another type of switch is available. This one goes under various names but the original one is the "Wych Switch" designed by me, Martin Pickering, and marketed by a company called Wychavon (now defunct). It was also sold under the name of "Twin-Sat" switch. (I made the prototype on "Veroboard". The circuit is available for a very small fee if you want it).

    It is fully waterproof and clips to the dish arm. Two short cables run from the LNBs to the switch. Only one cable is required to connect the switch to your satellite receiver.

    This unit responds when the voltage supply to the LNB goes off then on again fairly quickly (within a couple of seconds). On most receivers this effect is achieved by pressing the STANDBY button twice. On some receivers such as Pace, however, you will need an additional Slave unit which fits at the receiver end of the cable and has a SCART plug which must go to the TV SCART socket on the satellite receiver. (This means that you can't use the SCART socket to feed your video or television).

    This type of switch allows you to switch from one satellite to the other from the comfort of your armchair. Of course, if you buy a twin input receiver in the first place you will not need such a switch!

    If your receiver is more modern you can use its 22kHz tone system to control a different type of switch. This is called a "22kHz switch".

    11. Can I install my own system?
    Yes. You don't need any special equipment, although you can not guarantee perfect pictures without the use of a meter. There are lots of books on this subject. *Ref1.
    The dish has to point towards the desired satellite(s). It can be mounted almost anywhere, provided that it has "line-of-sight". For Astra analogue you need a clear view at 19 degrees East of South (plus magnetic variation - about 6 degrees) at an angle of about 25 to 27 degrees upwards from the horizon (England). Make sure that there are no trees or buildings blocking this line.

    A fine example of an extremely buckled dish. As you look from edge to edge you should see a straight line - but not with this one! Also, the cable is hanging down instead of being secured to the dish arm and clipped to the wall.

    This dish is OK but the "installer" used brown TV cable (wrong!) and threw it over the roof. Now, every time the wind blows, the cable gets dragged and wears a hole in the outer sheath. Result - rainwater runs down the cable into both the LNB and the satellite receiver.

    More information about installation

    12. Can I receive even more programmes?
    You can install a larger dish on a "polar mount". This is a special swivel mounting which allows the dish to move in such a way that it tracks the satellite arc above the equator. There are several variations on this theme: another is the "Horizon to Horizon" mount which gives a longer arc of travel. For most purposes, an ordinary polar mount with a linear actuator (motor) is the most cost-effective solution. You will also need a "positioner" (power supply and control unit) to drive the actuator which moves the dish.

    13. What is SKY?
    SKY is the name of a company which provides most of the English-language programmes broadcast from Astra. At the time of writing, only Sky News can be watched without the use of a decoder. The other SKY programmes require the use of a VIDEOCRYPT decoder. The "QVC" shopping channel is the only one of these which does not require the use of a smart card. To get a SKY smart card you have to obtain an application form (ask your nearest satellite shop for a form). Decide what you want to watch and how you want to pay. Fill in the subscriber agreement form and post it to the SKY address. You can speed things up by faxing a copy. As soon as your card arrives, phone SKY, give the card number, and ask to have it turned on. They will tell you to switch your receiver on, stick the card in the slot then wait till they broadcast your turn-on signal. Obviously this will only work if the receiver is getting a SKY channel. No need to leave the TV set on but the receiver and dish system MUST be working to receive the signal. It's all very exciting! The cheapest "multichannel" package costs Ł12.95 per month (at the time of writing) and gets you everything except the Movie channels and Sports channels. A similar situation applies to Sky Digital but please read the specific page about this.

    14. Should I buy the cheapest?
    This is the question which nobody likes to answer. The cheapest systems are fine if you don't need the best picture and sound quality. Even the lowest price systems can be expected to give better pictures than ordinary terrestrial TV. If not, there is something wrong so don't accept it. However the price tends to reflect the build quality and, therefore, the reliability. The installation cost also tends to reflect the quality of materials and workmanship.
    How can an installer save money? Easy: by using a low-quality cable which does not carry the signal as well as good cable (but you won't see a problem till it rains) and which does not last as long outdoors (ultraviolet light from the sun cracks the plastic and water gets in). By skimping on the length of cable and on brackets and clips (eg. install it on the front of the house instead of round the back out of sight). By skimping on other items (connectors, LNB noise-figure, Dish quality). By joining lengths of short cable (never!)
    For the best quality equipment and workmanship it pays to find out about specialist installers. There are some but they take a lot of finding. They won't do a low-cost job but they'll be happier to come back to sort out any problems because this cost will be built-in to the price. You get what you pay for. Ask yourself if your thousand pound widescreen Nicam Stereo TV really deserves a 99 pound satellite system! Check with your friends to see if they can recommend an installer. Look at the workmanship.

    15. Will my old LNB work with a Pro-Logic receiver ?
    Yes. The LNB simply converts the microwave frequencies to lower ones that ANY receiver will use. The LNB does not care what kind of receiver you connect. However, you may not receive ALL available channels if you use an older LNB with a new receiver (or vice-versa). Read the LNB FAQ page.

    16. Is it possible to add a second LNB to my existing equipment ?
    If you add a 2nd LNB you will need to put it on a 2nd dish! Much easier is to swap the existing LNB for a "twin output" type which will feed two receivers. This could lead to problems however because the new LNB will probably be an "Enhanced" or "Universal" type which will not directly match your existing receiver in terms of frequency range.
    If, however, you are adding a second LNB to watch programmes from a second satellite then you may be able to fit it to the same dish by using a special bracket (but you will probably need a larger dish). Read the LNB FAQ page.
    (See question 10).

    17. Should I buy an analogue receiver and LNB or buy digital?
    Digital Sat TV is certainly here but whatever you buy now will be obsolete in a few years (apart from, possibly, the LNB). However, that will always be true. In five years time the satellite systems on sale will still be obsolete a couple of years later. How long do you want to wait? Manufacturers are making "improvements" all the time in order to sell new equipment. Buy what you want now. There are many good deals around for both used analogue receivers and for new digital systems. Digital systems are inherently more expensive to manufacture and you might find your programme choice is limited if you like to watch foreign broadcasts and buy a dedicated Sky receiver.

    STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Information is given in good faith. No responsibility will be accepted for any loss, damage or injury which occurs directly, or indirectly, as a result of your use of this information. It is your responsibility to check the facts.

    Thanks to afzalpk
    Fte Max 100S
    Humax IRCI-5400z
    Asiasat 3S,NSS 6,Insat 4B,Thaicom2/5,Intelsat7/10,HB 6/7A/8



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