Posts Tagged ‘primestar’

20 Years of DBS

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Twenty years ago, the first direct-broadcast satellite system was sold in Jackson, Mississippi, at Cowboy Malone’s Electric City. They probably sell quite a few today, too.

The business has transformed itself into a competitive alternative to cable and currently counts more than 34 million subscribers (DirecTV & Dish combined). You could, however, argue there was a TVRO service for years, and PrimeStar goes back to 1991.

DIY Friday: Convert Your Primestar Dish to 802.11

Friday, August 4th, 2006

What do you do if you need to get WiFi access in a relatively remote location — say, a distant outbuilding? Waiting for WiMAX might mean waiting a long time in rural areas. Why not just grab an old Primestar dish, a tin can, and some coaxial cable, and rig up your own WiFi antenna?

A student at Walla Walla College explains: 

 It is easy to make a surplus Primestar dish into a highly directional antenna for the very popular IEEE 802.11 wireless networking. The resulting antenna has about 22 db of gain, and is fed with 50 ohm coaxial cable. Usually LMR400 or 9913 low loss cable is used if the source is more than a few feet from the antenna. The range using two of these antennas with a line of sight path is around 10 miles at full bandwidth. I must stress the line of sight part though. Leaves really attenuate the signal.

The "things you need" can be found easily by any aspiring MacGyver:

   1.  A Primestar dish.  (You may use any old dish, but if it is bigger than the Primestar the gain will be higher, and it may not be within the Federal Communications Commission rules for use within the United States.  In fact I have come to find out that there seem to be several different dishes that Primestar used, and I am only sure that the one I used, pictured above, used with the ordinary Wavelan or Airport transceiver card is within the effective radiated power limits given by the FCC.)
   2. A juice can (about 4 inches in diameter and at least 8 inches long).
   3. A chassis mount N connector.
   4. You will also need a "pigtail" connector which has the proprietary Lucent connector (for the PCMCIA card) on one end and an N connector on the other. The pigtail can be obtained from a number of online stores for $35 to $40.

Once assembled, you’ll want to brace the highly directional antenna securely against the wind. 


Dishing It Out

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

For some satellite aficionados– or sat nuts– one dish is not enough.

The Register-Herald of Bethany, West Virginia reports how Al Jessup’s fascination with satellites changed his life– and his house:

Are 20 movie channels on demand just not enough?

Do constant reruns of “I Love the ’80s” on VH1 have you ready to gouge out your eyeballs?

Then come to Al Jessup’s house — where his 5,000-plus radio and television stations from around the world beamed in by his 12 satellite dishes are bound to keep you entertained somehow.

Since 1998, the Beckley resident has amassed a collection of 12 dishes around his James Street home. He said he first just began subscribing to Direct TV and Dish Network, but he later learned that by purchasing special satellite receivers he could receive “free to air” programming from several different satellites swirling the globe. The information on how to adjust a dish and set up a receiver to pick up programming from these stations such as Galaxy 10, AMC 2 and Telestar 5 is included with these receivers.

“Up in the sky, there’s lots of free stuff,” he said.

Over the years, the 54-year-old disabled former ice cream salesman collected more and more dishes so he could pick up more and more “free to air” channels. Neighbors, he said, never complained about his large display of dishes in front of his house. In fact, some of his dishes were hand-me-downs from his neighbors.

The last time he counted, he received more than 5,000 channels.

Read the entire article here.