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Big Dish Sat Newsletter

Channel Five ... problems on Digiboxes
We tend to get the odd call into the office about Channel 4 and Five being lost on the Sky Digibox. Nine times out of ten, it’s the viewing card that turns out to be the culprit … either being disturbed or mysteriously migrating from its ‘Sky Viewing Card’ slot into the ‘Interactive Card’ slot.
However, we’ve been getting far more calls than normal about Five disappearing from the Sky Digibox … this time, it appears due to a software download fault by Sky that has affected some digiboxes. As we all know, some software downloads don’t always go to plan and this is probably a case in point.

So, if you have recently lost Five and the Five spin-offs like FiveUSA and Fiver, this is what to do:
Firstly, check that the viewing card is firmly home in its correct slot by removing it then giving it a comforting wipe on the shirt sleeve and putting it back firmly into the slot marked ‘Sky Viewing Card’.
Next, unplug your digibox from the mains and look at the front of the box and make sure that the lights are out. (We often do this process over the phone and you would be surprised at how many digibox lights are still on when the mains lead has supposedly been pulled out)
Having verified that your box is separated from the mains supply, plug it straight back in again … but don’t try to switch your box on just yet. After a decent interval, about a minute should do, switch your digibox back on and, statiscally, Channel Five should be returned to you.
There are some Grundig and Thomson digiboxes which are having problems with Channel Five and it has nothing to do with the present software glitch. In this case, it’s likely that you may have problems with other channels like BBC News and the main BBC radio stations.

New EPG on Sky Digiboxes:
When a Sky Digibox is first installed and it doesn’t have a Sky card, then Channel 4 and Five have been missing … they only appear when an activated card is inserted into the viewing card slot. That changed at the weekend and now Channel 4 appears in the TV Guide grid right from the start. Channel Five hasn’t changed and a Sky Digibox still needs the viewing card in the slot in order for it to appear in the channel listings.

This is one step further to the impending end of the Freesat From Sky viewing card, often wrongly referred to as a free to air card. In terms of the actual channels that this card actually decodes, it’s now down to four: Sky Three, Fiver, FiveUSA and Setanta Sports News. Channel Five has two transmissions … the encrypted version received by Sky boxes and the free to air version received by Freesat boxes and free-to-air boxes. I don’t need to remind fellow cricket lovers that Five is the only channel where you will see free to air Test Match highlights this year.

New Product:
Since May last year, we have been supplying and installing Two Way satellite broadband systems for those hapless individuals stuck with Dial Up. For the first time, we can now supply a two way internet by satellite dish with a special bracket that allows for the reception of Freesat or Sky from the same dish. The fact that you need a separate dish for broadband has put some people off going for it … that’s now changed with our special adapter and LNB.

The fact that you can add a second LNB to a dish to capture signals is nothing new. The problem with the Broadband dish is that the LNB transmits as well as receives signals … by transmitting, it automatically causes interference to any other LNB within range thus making TV reception difficult whenever the internet is being accessed.
Astra2Connect, the people who provide the broadband-by-satellite backbone to Nordnet and Vivéole, have come up with a special bracket and LNB which allows reception of signals from Astra2 or Astra1 from their dish. The special LNB has four outlets and has a front end filter built in which effectively stops the transmission of any interference from the broadband LNB to the TV receiving LNB. This means that one satellite dish can provide broadband by satellite and Freesat or Sky.

Astra 2 and the International Space Station:

Many of you will know about Solar Outages … this is where the sun appears directly behind the satellite on two occasions every year. In winter, the sun is below the satellite in the sky and rises so that by mid-summer it’s higher in the sky than the satellite. That means that every spring and autumn, there is a point when the sun is directly behind the satellite and can briefly cause reception problems for 10 minutes or so in the mornings at around 9.30 GMT. This happens at this time of year and in October … disruptions are very brief but there is the added bonus that your satellite dish can be checked for obstructions from tree branches and overhanging rooves … because shadows are cast on the dish from those obstacles. Basically, if you see shadows on your dish from trees etc during the period of a Solar Outage, it means that your signal is being obstructed and could lead to the loss of some channels.
This year is absolutely unique because of the unusually low orbit of the International Space Station and scientists at the Institut La Profiol in France have calculated that the Space Station will be directly in line with Astra 2 and the sun tomorrow morning (Wednesday) between 9.32 and 9.38 GMT … that’s 11.32 to 11.38 French time. So, for the first time, not only will we see the shadows of tree branches on the satellite dishes but also a passing International Space Station. Results will show up better on lighter coloured satellite dishes and you will see the distinct outline of the International Space Station pass from the bottom left hand side of the dish to the top right side … if you have a standard 65cm dish, the silhouette of the ISS should take about 6 minutes to make the passage across the dish.
It’s quite probable that there will be a disruption to your TV viewing for a few minutes tomorrow morning while the space station makes its pass across the dish. Sadly, at only 8 minutes, not quite enough to wipe out the entire Jeremy Kyle show … but every little bit helps.

Go to www.bigdishsat.com

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