How Can I Get GBN from the Satellite?
Late in 2011, GBN was approached by our current satellite uplink provider with an opportunity to reduce the cost of our uplink fees by $15,000 per month. Along with these cost savings, we also gained the ability to expand the network into cable systems once again through the use of modern C-Band technology. We carefully weighed these tremendous cost savings and the ability to expand the network into more cable systems against losing the ability for viewers to receive GBN on a small, KU dish. While we value our Ku-dish viewers highly, there were only about 2,000 of the KU dishes installed, so the Ku-dish was no longer a cost-effective way to distribute our programming to individual homes. Additionally, we have already added several cable systems and several others have expressed interest in including GBN in their programming!
A significant part of the transition process has involved getting our current cable providers to convert from the old Ku-band to the new C-band signal. We have learned many things about this transition process and thought that some of our existing Ku-dish viewers may be interested in getting GBN via a C-Band dish in the future. With the generous and kind help of Ken Golson, an experienced volunteer Ku-dish installer for GBN, we sought to find the most inexpensive way to get the new signal into an individual home.
The Dish – The general rule with C-band reception is that the bigger the dish, the more signal that is received. We have found that a 10-foot dish works well, but a 6-foot dish isn’t capable of bringing in the signal. As a result, we are recommending a 10-foot dish as the recommended size for people watching in the continental US. While purchasing these dishes new can be quite expensive ($1,200+), there are many of these dishes available used from people who no longer use their old C-band equipment. As a result, some viewers have received C-band dishes for free! However, the installation of these dishes is quite a bit more involved than the former Ku-band dishes, so it would often be beneficial to hire an experienced installer for the project.
The Receiver – The new C-band signal that we are utilizing is a state-of-the-art DVB-S2 signal with an MPEG-4 compression. As a result of it being the newest standard, there are very few receivers that can handle the signal. Sadly, the old Ku-band receivers will not work with our new broadcast signal. We have found one, called the OpenBox S10, which works great for our signal and it’s available through Amazon.com for $93 plus shipping. One great feature of this little receiver is the ability to attach an external flash drive or even a hard drive to its USB port and record programs directly to the drive. This feature could be especially helpful for those who like to record programs and share them with others.
The LNB – Our satellite uplink provider strongly recommends the use of a “Phase Lock Loop” LNB to receive GBN – these are available starting around $250. The LNB is the item that sits in front of the dish and acts as the “receiver” for the satellite signal. We have used the Norsat 3220 LNB with great success. We have had some reports of inexpensive LNB’s (around $50) working for people with larger dishes, so that may work in some situations, as well.
In total, the cost of a C-band dish that can receive the GBN signal can be as low as $150 (with a free dish, self-installed, low-cost LNB) up to $2,500 (with a new dish, professionally-installed, PLL LNB). This should allow for some of our viewers who don’t have access to high-speed internet to receive GBN via satellite in their home.
AMC-10 GBN - Technical Information Sheet
Signal Location Satellite: AMC-10
Location: 135 degrees West
Downlink Polarity: Vertical
Downlink Frequency: 4000.00 MHz
L-band Frequency: 1150.00 MHz
Symbol rate: 29.067 Ms/s
FEC Rate: 5/6
Modulation: DVB-S2 8PSK MPEG 4
Network ID: 1
Channel Number: 111