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What can be done with an old DirectTV Dish?


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I have an old DirectTV dish that I'm not using anymore. It's one of the newer ones with the three nubs on it(Multi Satellite IIRC) and I wonder with it and my RTL-SDR dongle and a coax adapter can I wire it up and do something with it? I'll have to mount it onto a tripod and I'll need to add connector ends to the cables coming out of the board that's mounted on the dish. I guess I'd have to run the 4 coax wires into a spliter and bring it down to a single coax wire that I can hook to my coax adapter then I'd plug that into my dongle but what to do from there?? What freq. range would I need to look at and what can I pick up with a dish like this? Has anyone else messed around with and hacked an old DirectTV dish and if so is there any good web sites with info on what to do and how to do it. Anyway, thanks in advance.

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Watch "Parabolic Antennas for 2 4GHz part 1" on YouTube

Parabolic Antennas for 2 4GHz part 1:

I would build a clean little parabolic reflector... recycle the big ugly dish...

Or if you would like to try and use the dish, build a biquad element

Edited by i8igmac
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I did put the array out of the the support beam and there's 4 coax outputs. I hooked a coax cable to one of the center ones and then hooked it into my dongle with the coax adapter that I have and was able to tune in a local radio station so it works as a radio antenna. Wish I knew what all the outputs were actually for, I'm sure they're tuned to different frequencies or something. I'd like to get the other dish with the dual array off of the roof as well. That'd give me this triple array and a second dual array to play around with. No reason just letting this stuff just sit there and go to waste when I might be able to do something cool with it.


Here's what I've got to play with on the dish I've got right now.


No earthly clue as to what output does what though.


Good video, I downloaded it using a Flash & Video plug-in for my Firefox browser so I've got it for future ref., thanks.

Edited by TN.Frank
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This may also shed some light on the subject. The front part of my Dish is called an LNB(Low Noise Block) and is basically a down converter.


So I guess it converts the really high freq. from the satellite down to something we can use. I'd just like to figure out a way that we can apply this to our SDR dongles to do something cool like listen to other satellites or something.

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generally the LNB must be powered for it to work. most sat recievers put power up the coax for this (hence why you should not short this whilst powered on). the voltage varies , I can't remember exactly but it's something like 12V to make one polarization and 18V for the other. you could just pull this off and build a biquad and use this for 2.4ghz....

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On the multiport LNBs with built in switches, any RF port can switch to any feed horn if you know the DiSEqC code and any port will power the whole device. If this is the feed horn I think it is, it is designed to pick off 101, 110 and 119 degrees and drive 4 rooms/STB's and each box can tune across to any LNB port to tune any of the carriers. Besides the dish and LNB all you need is a power injector connected to any one of the 4 ports, the output of the power injector is then wired to the input of the SDR. With the dish pointed at a known good satellite, if you tune "RAW" with Correct IQ and Swap I&Q and dial up to 950MHz to 2100MHz you will see a collection of broadband bumps of energy, ("barts head") all stacked up in a row across the "L-Band". Those are the transponders on the satellite you are pointed at. And yes, we are all getting a sun tan from all those satellites.

There won't be much interesting stuff up there other than the engineering channels and some of the test channels which are "not announced". Besides, it's all just linear television and it's all DVB scrambled running at fire-hose data rates. Call me jaded but those aren't much of a challenge or that interesting.


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