What can this Satellite dish do?
March 24, 2008 5:30 PM   Subscribe

What can I do with a VERY LARGE mesh satellite dish on my roof?

I bought this house, inheriting a very large (I'm sure it's about 10 ft wide) black, mesh satellite pointed at the Southern, SW sky sitting on my tall A-frame roof. It has four or five coax cables (manufacturer bundled together) coming off of it into my third floor room. It is being held down by what appears to be giant bags of concrete.

What can I possible do with this? Free internet? Catch premiereship games from England? Anime specials from China/persian videos:middle east/whatever?
posted by omidius to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Make a death ray?
posted by jamaro at 5:40 PM on March 24, 2008

Is it load-bearing? If so, sounds like you've got the world's best papasan chair, for you and 15 of your friends. Great for stargazing.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:42 PM on March 24, 2008

Oh crap, strike that, I didn't read the part about the A-frame roof. In this case, you've got the world's best holiday light stringer-upper backdrop! Angels, Star of David, constellations...obnoxiously festive light displays await!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:47 PM on March 24, 2008

Why, you take it off and make a SATELLITE DISH GAZEBO, of course. Duh.
posted by Ostara at 5:53 PM on March 24, 2008

What you have is a TVRO Dish or BUD (Big Ugly Dish). With the correct receiver and LNB, it can be used to receive TV signals from C and Ku bands from many satellites up overhead. There's quite a bit of programming up there, much of it free, some of it paid a-la-carte (so, if you want ESPN, but not the rest of basic cable...).

Your best bet is to see if you can find a local satellite retailer who still sells/services C-band and 4dtv stuff, and have them come take a look at the dish (and any receivers or other gear that you might find in the attic or basement). If you're willing to spend a few hundred dollars, you should be able to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of channels for free, and the ability to purchase many more.

But... you may also discover the magic of the wild feed. During live sporting events, or press conferences, all sorts of unedited video goes out over the birds unencrypted -- and your big-ass dish can probably receive it. The yahoo group named backhaul is a good source for these (especially sports). You'll also be able to get many syndicated and network shows, which are sent via satellite (often commercial-free) to local affiliates. Orbit Magazine publishes a schedule of these for C-band, and I believe there's another one for Ku/DVB.

Now... whether you want to become a TV Hobbyist or not... that may be another question. This is not point-click-watch, the way that modern small-dish and cable systems are. But the depth of programming more than makes up for it -- if you care for the programming itself.
posted by toxic at 6:25 PM on March 24, 2008 [7 favorites]

Cut it down, hack it up, sell it for scrap.
posted by slogger at 7:32 PM on March 24, 2008

I'd geek out: Amateur Radio Astronomy, Earth-Moon-Earth communications, Ham satellite work. A bit of work, to get 'em running though. Maybe contact SARA and see if anybody local wants it for their own geekery (it's good karma.)
posted by Opposite George at 8:13 PM on March 24, 2008

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