Copyright D.Sullivan 2001 Satellite for Caravans
(Satellite TV at home and abroad)
  Don't let anyone tell you it's complicated or needs an expensive satellite finder. It isn't and it doesn't!  
my blog link
  Last updated 3 Apr 2014

 

 

 

 
 
 
Copyright David Sullivan, 2001 - 2014.
Except where specified, the text and images supplied here are the intellectual property of the author. The article may be printed out for your own personal use but may not be copied into other websites or distributed in any other form either whole or in part.
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IMPORTANT NOTICE - PLEASE READ.
My email inbox has been inundated recently with pleas from expats wanting to know what to do about their missing BBC/ITV signals. So by all means write to me but please read this notice first because it might save you some time and certainly some typing!
Two new satellites, the Astra 2E and 2F, have recently been deployed to replace the existing ageing fleet, and they both have a much tighter spot beam than their predecessors, focused tightly over the British Isles. So anyone living south of a line from say Bordeaux to Lyon, or east of France, will find it much more difficult to pick up any BBC/ITV/Channel 4/etc channels.

You might like to consider alternatives such as FilmOn which provides live access to several popular channels, and there are also virtual private networks (VPNs) which mimic a UK-based internet service provider and thus allow you to access the BBC iPlayer and other catch-up services. But note there's usually a fee and you also need a broadband connection with a generous download limit.

 
Recent updates to this website
(17 February 2014)

 

 
 

Welcome ...

     ... to my website. It's been running since December 2001 and in that time has had over a million visits. So if you've only just found me, I hope you'll find the information useful (if not, do please get in touch and say why!). If you've been here before and are returning, welcome back - always glad to greet old friends!

I am occasionally recognised on campsites. It sometimes takes the form of the rather enigmatic question "Aren't you the guy off that website?". And a few years ago on a campsite in France, someone arrived at Reception brandishing a printout from this website and told the owner he'd got their site from it. Did she know me? Yes, she said, he's next door in the laundry room!

Anyway, to business. Some people use their caravan to get away from the television; others can't live without it. Love it or loathe it however, one fact remains - cross the English Channel and it's useless. No more Eastenders, no more Coronation Street, not even any news or weather reports. Even in the UK there are plenty of caravan sites in areas where it is difficult to get a decent signal through an aerial, so what can one do about it? Get satellite, that's what! You can get all the main UK channels (including your own local BBC and ITV variations) with a crystal-sharp picture and CD-quality sound. Unfortunately many people are put off because they think it will be too expensive or too difficult to set up. (I also suspect there are people who think a satellite dish is too tasteless to have on a caravan roof but I'll bet most of them have one of those flying saucer aerial things on theirs!)

This website sets out to dispel some of the mystique surrounding satellite broadcasting (including the widely-held but mistaken belief that Sky runs the whole system) and will, I hope, show that it isn't difficult to make use of it on the move.

There is still some confusion about the cost of satellite TV. A lot of people are discouraged because they think they'll be tied to a monthly subscription. Not so - there are many free channels for which no subscription is required, and which only need a dish and receiver to get them. You simply have to buy the equipment, just as you had to buy a television and an aerial in the first place. Once you have the equipment there are no further ongoing costs (unless you want the extra pay channels provided by Sky). In addition to the main terrestrial channels, you'll also get all of the BBC's and ITV's digital channels including BBC Three and Four, and ITV2, 3 and 4, (and not forgetting CBeebies for the little ones!) which are included in your licence fee. You'll also get the BBC's national radio stations. You'll also get Channel 4's digital variants, E4, More4, 4seven and Film4, together with Channel 5's - 5 USA (formerly called Five USA) and 5* (formerly Fiver which allowed me to use the joke about its programming budget).

There are several options to choose from when it comes to buying satellite equipment. You can opt for Sky (with or without a monthly subscription) or freesat which is the alternative satellite service sponsored by the BBC and ITV.

I should also mention that it is and always has been possible to buy generic non-Sky free-to-air receivers. They're becoming more widely available as well, with even the likes of B&Q stocking them. However I personally have no experience of using any of them and therefore can't offer any advice on them. I have included a brief page on the free-to-air options available but apart from that, this website will continue for the moment to concentrate on Sky and freesat. Having said that, if anyone wants to fill in that gap in this website's knowledge base, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Paradoxically the launch of freesat in 2008 made the choice more complex, with many people writing to me to ask whether they need a new dish for example. So I've added a new page which will help to put the whole caboodle into perspective.
Click here to go to it.

A satellite receiver can be any of the following 3 types and will connect to the TV via a scart lead, (or better still an HDMI cable if both the receiver and the TV are HD-enabled).

Click one of these links for further information.
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Free-to-air
(Comag, Maxview, etc)

    Contact me.
Contact me.
Any queries or comments? Drop me a line.
  Links to other pages in this website:
 
Satellite viewing without a subscription (Freesat etc)
Recent updates to this website
(17 February 2014)
FAQs
 

Database of dish sizes for BBC/ITV reception around Europe
(latest updates throughout Spring 2014)

Where's the satellite? Compass bearings from various towns in the UK and Europe.
Links to other sites (Equipment suppliers and technical info.)
 
What equipment will I need?
Jargon buster!
How to use a signal meter correctly (what the suppliers don't tell you!)
 
How to fit a cable connector or check for a faulty connection

Can I use a multiroom Sky digibox away from home?

How to tune in other ITV regions
 
New Astra satellites for the UK service
An easy way to set your dish elevation.
Who am I? This is me and my boss!
       
 Our 2014 diary: March 2014 Chester CC site
April 2014 Much Wenlock CC site
June 2014 France.

 

Note about the use of 'cookies' on this website
In the interests of openness I should say that this website uses cookies to keep track of how many people visit the site (it allows me for example to monitor which pages are of the most interest and to tailor the site accordingly). The relevant software is supplied and administered by a company called Bravenet.com in the States but it doesn't gather any information about any of your other activities on the web, and of course my site doesn't collect any of your personal data, nor do I pass on your details to anybody else without your express permission. Nevertheless if you object to my use of cookies, you can easily disable them on your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.).

 

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  Copyright David Sullivan 2001-2014