Kriiing! Krrriingg!! Kengele imelia, wanafunzi njooni hapa!


Village Elder

Okay guys, got some time so lend me your ears.

Of importance before we commence is to recall that all satellites are positioned in a geostationary orbit far above (at an altitude of about 35,000km) the equator, an area referred to as the Clarke Belt, to maximize coverage over the inhabited portions of the earth. So for us whose country is around the equator, it's relatively easy to nab some of these birds.

Let's say, as a beginner for instance, that you were interested in receiving Tv & radio stations from Tanzania kwa mfano tu. What to do? The first step is to find out the satellite location of these stations. To do this you go to (Fig. sat1) View attachment 130216

then click on the Free TV, Africa tab. This'll open up a list of all African (or other continent) countries (Fig sat1a), View attachment 130217

Clicking on your country of interest opens up a list showing their tv/radio channels and the satellites on which they're located (Sat1b). View attachment 130218

Clicking on the channel name or satellite name opens up a page (Sat1c) showing all the parameters/settings for that channel and satellite. View attachment 130219

Ordinarily, as long as your satellite dish is properly aligned,you don't have to enter these settings manually (unless perhaps for weak & unstable signals). Usually your FTA decoder is able to automatically pick up and store the settings when you do a blindscan.

Once we get our satellite details, we then open which'll show us the footprint of our satellite of interest, i.e the region on the earth's surface where the satellite beam of interest is pointed or focused at. Staying with our example above, we found EATV, ITV, Capital & TBC1 located on Intelsat 906 at 64.2 degrees East. The footprint for this satellite will appear as shown in (fig Sat2 below). An alternative to this is which'll give us the beam as appears on complete with recommended dish size. View attachment 130221 Zooming in will show you that the West Hemi beam clearly covers Kenya, among other countries. Of importance here is to note that I've specifically selected the west hemi beam and not any other because this is the beam specified on lyngsat (the 1st column, beneath the tp/ frequency) as containing those TV & radio stations from Tanzania.

Having established that the beam covers our region/country, we then log into to get the parameters we require for our set-up, i.e stuff like azimuth, LNB skew, elevation, etc. On dishpointer (Sat3) View attachment 130224

key in your location and satellite of interest to get the set up parameters. Staying with our example of IS906 and assuming a random location of Machakos town, then the Elevation=58.5°, Azimuth=87° and LNB Skew=86.6°. DishPointer Augmented Reality app is available from your respective phone's app store, very handy.

This done, we then head online once again, download and instal a software called GorbTrack from View attachment 130226

This now will assist us to know if that satellite is receivable at your specific location. After installing GorbTrack, it'll direct you to where to get the list of towns for your country of residence, in our case Kenya. It'll also be able to tell you if the satellite signal is receivable at the place where you position your dish taking into account obstacles in your area such as buildings, walls and trees. View attachment 130227 View attachment 130228

It'll still be able to compute the azimuth, elevation as well as the LNB skew, as can be seen in the two figures above.

Once all this is done, you may now go ahead to assemble and install your equipment using those parameters in conjunction with a digital satellite meter.

Additional references:

Cc. @Meria Mata, @Giggz, @coldpilsner, @SnazzyKenyan, @kwido, @Kdawg254, @maks and other FTA enthusiasts.

Queries, clarifications, additions are most welcome.
Pewa ndùgugio kwa bill yangu. Halafu ambia waiter atume paybill.


Village Elder
There're different types of decoders in the market,each of which has its own unique capabilities. Ensure you get a decoder that at the bare minimum has DVB-S2 capabilities (as an aside, just as terrestrial broadcast has evolved from analogue to DVB-T & the more advanced DVB-T2, so too has satellite transmission shifted from analogue to DVB-S & on to the more advanced DVB-S2 transmission). The most common and affordable DVB-S2 decoders in the Kenyan market are OpenBox V7, Strong SRT-4955, OpenBox V7, Strong SRT-4950 Series, SRT-4962L, etc. They're good to start you off.

The satellite dishes also vary in size, cost and type. There're 2 main types: Offset

and Prime Focus
dishes. The offset dishes tend to outperform prime focus dishes of the same size but setting them up is a bit more challenging in terms of where & how to anchor them as well as how to affix (multi-) LNBs, unlike the prime focus for which you only require a flat surface ya kuiwekelea. It's important to mount your dish where there're no obstacles e.g. tall buildings & trees in the 'line-of-sight'. As a general rule, the bigger the dish the better it is in terms of signal reception and stability.

LNBs are what actually receive and transmit the signals to the FTA decoder for you to watch. They come from different manufacturers, avoid the very cheap ones. Yaani, your decision on which to buy should not just be informed by the price. For C-band reception, the common ones are Eurostar ES-21 Gold+, Pauxis PX-2000, Eurostar ESCDT-700 Dual, Supermax VH-777 Super, Eurostar ES51 plus and Eurostar ES21 in no particular order of preference; all are locally available. A good C-band LNB should have a noise level <17degrees. For Ku-band reception, the commonest are Stargold Fuji, Eurostar QP4 Gold, Samson Universal Twin LNB, Invacom QPH-031 0.3dB quad lnb & Inverto Silver Tech 0.2dB quad lnb. Of these, only Invacom in unavailable locally but can be imported e.g from or; a good Ku-band lnd should have a noise level <0.6dB.

The length of cable required depends on how far the dish is from your house or decoder. The longer the cable, the higher the signal loss. As a general rule, it should not exceed 30m (100 feet) from the LNB to your decoder or else you'll require an in-line amplifier

to mitigate signal loss. For the same reason, avoid joints in your cable. The best cable is RG-6 co-axial cable. RG56 is cheaper but would work too if rg6 unavailable.

Then of course there's the DiSEqC switch

which integrates signals from all your LNBs (you can have more than one LNB in a single dish as shown here: and here: prior to their reception by the decoder.

A DiSEqC switch makes it possible to combine and connect up to 64 sats to only one decoder.

are what you use at every point where a joint is required.
My hisense TV set has an s2 specification. Do I still need a decoder or I could use it?


Village Sponsor
You have a really interesting hobby, and how many channels do you get on all?
Ni nyingi sana. 7°W alone will easily give about 1200 channels. What o do then is to edit out all those that are in ‘foreign’ language, leaving only those in English & Kiswahili. This brings down the total figure to about 80 to 100 for TV and about 40-50 for Radio.


Village Elder
Ni nyingi sana. 7°W alone will easily give about 1200 channels. What o do then is to edit out all those that are in ‘foreign’ language, leaving only those in English & Kiswahili. This brings down the total figure to about 80 to 100 for TV and about 40-50 for Radio.
If you compare satellite and iptv, which does better assuming you have good internet connection?


Village Sponsor
If you compare satellite and iptv, which does better assuming you have good internet connection?
The genre of channels (be they news, sports, kids, entertainment, movies & documentaries, religious, etc) available may often be a little different. Satellite is often a one-off cost while internet is a recurring cost. Given a choice, I’d prefer to have both. In the days before the then Orange Kenya canned their EVDO, I used it to stream through the decoder.