I have decided to come up with an improved and updated guide of basic FTA satellite channels for existing and potential free-to-air(FTA) users. FTA satellite frequencies are just one of the requirements needed to receive FTA channels. First off, tracking any satellite TV channel/position is location and Dish size dependent. Fortunately, I would also be providing you with tips on how to predetermine the exact size of the dish you will need in your location.
Furthermore, irrespective of your location and dish size, “footprint and the satellite beam plays the most important role”. No surprise why even the biggest dish cannot get Hotbird 13e signal in Uganda while 2.6meter dish and above can receive it in Nigeria.
In this article is all about FTA channels, FTA satellite frequencies and all the requirements needed to successfully install any FTA channels of your choice. It is unrealistic and impracticable to give an exhaustive list of all FTA satellite packages and channels. Hence we are going to limit ourselves to the most popular ones. Apart from this, I will also be providing links to resources that can help you be in charge as to get fresh FTA channels and their frequencies as they appear.
Below is the list of questions this article will be answering:
- What is free-to-air(FTA)?
- What are FTA satellite frequencies?
- Types of FTA satellite tv channels and their features
- Requirements for tracking or installing FTA satellite frequencies
- List of some major(basic) FTA satellite frequencies and channels
- How to track/install a dish for FTA channels
- How you can get latest updated and working FTA satellite frequencies.
What is free-to-air(FTA)?
Within the context of this post and according to Wikipedia, Free-to-air (FTA) are television (TV) and radio services that broadcast their programs in clear (unencrypted) form. This allows any person with the appropriate receiving equipment(e.g an FTA receiver) to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription. In a layman’s language, any satellite tv packages or channels that you can receive with any FTA decoder without any form of subscription or internet connection is a Free to air(FTA) channel.
FTA also refers to channels and broadcasters providing content for which no subscription is expected, even though they may be delivered to the viewer/listener by another carrier for which a subscription is required, e.g. cable, satellite or the Internet.
What are FTA satellite frequencies?
FTA satellite frequencies are also known as transponders is the series of interconnected units that form a communications channel between the receiving and the transmitting antennas(Dish). It is mainly used in satellite communication to transfer the received signals. In addition, FTA satellite frequencies bands consist of the following parameters:
- Satellite name: e.g DStv, Mytv, Kwese canal, nigcomsat, sky, directv and so on
- Orbital position: For example East or west
- Transponder frequency: usually in numbers e.g 12345,01234
- Symbol rate: also in numbers
- Polarity: either Horizontal or Vertical (V)
Types of FTA satellite tv channels and their features
FTA satellite tv channels can come in three forms and they are as follows:
- A satellite tv service provider may launch a permanently free channel. For example, CCTV has been free on 36e for a very long time and it still is. Therefore, we have channels that are free on some positions indefinitely.
- Secondly, channels on test transmission are also considered free to air. Channels on test transmissions would always end up being encrypted in the long run
- Thirdly and finally, some live feed channels are free to air. However, they only broadcast when there is a live event.
Nature/ features of FTA satellite tv channels
- FTA channels are free of any form of subscriptions. Once you have the right equipment, you can enjoy them indefinitely.
- Also, another feature of FTA channels is that they are prone to volatility and instability. Many FTA channels have come and gone and the trend is continuous. Also, there may be inexplicable instability that might interrupt users viewing.
- It is a general belief that FTA channel consists of uninteresting programs. I object to this as i will consider it a subjective claim. For instance, if you are s clergy and the only thing that interest you is religious channels and news, you can be a lifetime FTA viewer.
FTA Channels misconceptions
There is this erroneous belief that FTA is the act of watching satellite tv program free of charge. Hence some people believe even if they get a device that is designed to circumvent pay-TV subscriptions to watch pay tv contents, they are using an FTA receiver.
For all intents and purposes, IKS or SKS decoders are not exactly the same as an FTA receiver. Pure FTA receivers would not come with special accounts and they would not require internet connections to watch any programs. If what you are watching is programs that would otherwise have been paid for free, then you are not doing FTA.
basic FTA satellite channels & Frequencies: Taxonomy by Dish & LNBf
Another means of categorizing FTA satellite frequencies is by doing so along the dish/antennas and LNBf wavelength. The FTA Tv channels you will have to receive depends on the size of the dish you’re using. In addition, the location of your dish is facing also plays a major factor.
There are two types of dishes or antennas that you can use to track FTA channels. These are Ku band dish(also known as offset dish) and prime focus dish known as c band. Some packages consist of both band and ku band frequencies e,g NSS7, ABS 3W and so on. Another difference between a c band dish and a ku band dish is that the former is larger and by extension capable of receiving more channels than the later.
What are the requirements for tracking FTA satellite frequencies?
Generally, FTA satellite channels are easy to track. However, there are some indispensable requirements you must meet before your quest for FTA channels is successful. Below is the list of the must-haves before you attempt to track any FTA channels.
- Capital: You need some money to purchase the required equipment. You capital depends on how much FTA channels you wish to receive. Budget between #40,000(for small dish and equipment), to #100,000($277) ( for a basic big dish).
- Next is the service of a skilled professional satellite installer. Good for you if you are one.
- The most tricky decision to make is that of the type and size of the dish. Please go with the best your money can buy. Hence the dish /antenna is the next requirement.
- Now you need to have the decoder. I will place a strong decoder over and above any FTA decoders in Africa. When you are buying a strong decoder, please go for an HD like 4920 or above. If you don’t want a strong decoder, go for any one of your choices.
- In addition to the above, you need a wide range of satellite dish components like LNBf, F-connectors, coaxial cables and so on. When buying your LNBf, go for Original inverto or Fuji stargold. You can get the pictures to further list of satellite components here. Pay particular attention to the quality of LNB you buy. See pictures of some great LNBfs below.
- Additionaly, you may opt to buy a satfinder if you are new into the installation games. We have budget stafinders like hellobox B1, satlink and Freesat
How to track/install a dish for FTA channels
FTA satellite frequencies are intertwined with FTA channels. Also, It is impossible for you to track any satellite TV channel without having its frequencies. Moreover, I will give you tips on how to track any satellite tv channels of your choice. Of course, this includes FTA channels. I am assuming that you already have all the necessary tools.
Steps to setting up your satellite dish for installation
- Unpack all the materials from their boxes
- Assemble them using the user manual
- attach your LNBf to the dish Lnb holder
- Next, attach the coaxial cable to the LNBf
- Also, link the other end of the coaxial/LNB cable to your tracking device(this could be a decoder or satfinder)
- Finally, start adjusting your dish’s azimuth and elevation until you get the required signal strength and quality. The quality percentage depends large on the quality of your LNBF, coaxial cable and the distance from the receiver to the dish. 60% is fair, 70% is good although above 80% is the best.
- For the purpose of every newbie reading this, please proceed to my article on how you can track a dish manually. You can find the article here