A guide to choosing the right Satellite system for you !

When choosing a Satellite System for your Motorhome , Caravan , Horsebox or Boat, there are a number of things to consider!

There are a multitude of different Dealers out there all with their own recommended and preferred Systems, all wanting you to buy their System. Many, only providing you “the customer” with a small part of the picture, persuading you to buy their particular product, making them a sale. If this product turns out not to be the right choice, many don’t care too much. The key to Jacksons success, over the last 50 years, is that we are passionate about customers feeling and always aspire to providing a full and informed experience. Most of all making sure the customer is fully satisfied with the information they have received, throughout the full service we have provided including the fitting, on what is your pride and joy. If during the years to come, something goes wrong for whatever reason, you will find us willing and able to help get you going again, with the minimum of fuss.

This guide is designed to help you the customer better understand all your options to make the right choice “not just for today” but also for the years to come when your requirements may change. Example; people say to us they only travel within the UK, but then may change their mind in years to come and want to travel further afield “Europe” which will requires a different Satellite System.

Things to consider

All our British television comes from Astra 2 at 28.2 degrees east (actually a fleet of Satellites, collectively called Astra 2 (b, e, f, g) the latter ones being High definition, using the very latest SVB-2 protocol. All our Systems use this.

Generally the further you go into Europe the bigger the dish you will require (up to a maximum of 85cm) which is the largest available Self Seek Automatic Satellite Systems.

If you want a Dome 

Domes are OK for use in the UK and Northern France but not further afield (Spain or Portugal). If you want an in-motion System that tracks as you drive, for example; allowing the kids in the back to watch T.V, or for Radio Reception in bad terrestrial areas, then a Dome is for you. Our SatTracker Dome, which is incredible value for money compared to others could be your chose.

  1. What do you want to watch? 

All Satellite Systems include television and radio channels. If you just want Free to Air, no subscription (FTA), there are two types of FTA, one is Freesat where the broadcaster (Freesat receiver needed) controls the channel line up and Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and all that is needed “as and when the channel line up changes” is for the Freesat box to be updated over the air (software update ). This usually happens automatically/periodically and the whole process is controlled by Freesat and requires no intervention by the user. The other type of FTA, available, are those where you buy a FTA receiver, be it a Maxview , or Humax or whatever, and tune it in yourself, this method pulls in everything that is FTA and  broadcasted at the time of tuning.  The box puts them in the order that it sees them, so you end up with more channels than Freesat, but in a random order that you can edit yourself into a favourites list. If and when channels change transmission, frequencies you will have to retune the system yourself.  All the receivers that we sell, we tune in for you, so the channels are all there for you at the time of installation.

  1. If you have Sky in your home and pay for subscription SKY channels, and want to watch your Sky box in your van, then that is quite possible, but bear in mind that Sky is licenced for the UK only. However, the channels you pay for (not the FTA) are receivable all over Europe including Spain and Portugal using your Skybox, on the Pan European beam from Astra 2 on an 85cm dish. All the FTA channels stop around Narbonne in South of France on an 85cm dish. FTA on smaller dishes like the Oyster Cytrak or the 60cm SatSeeker stop around ¾ way down into France but Sky subscription channels on the Pan European beam are still receivable in Spain, even on these smaller dishes. Sky cannot tell where its channels are being received, so does not know where you are, unless you tell them. The other thing to consider about using your Sky box in your Leisure Vehicle, is that Sky boxes are mains powered, so you will need an inverter to run it from your 12 volt supply, we can supply one for you. 

  2. As mentioned the FTA reception is very limited past the South of France on 85cm dish. There are a few areas in Spain where spurious lobes of the beam allow reception, but in general no.  However, there are other Satellites at 27.5 degrees West called Intelsat 907 and this Satellite transmits duplicate BBC and ITV , CH4 and 5 and a few others, including the main BBC radio channels, like BBC Radio 2  this is as a backup for the UK terrestrial network. Signals are scrambled using a method called BISS Codes, so that people in Spain and Portugal can`t watch (UK networks) for free when we all pay a licence fee in the UK. Therefore, to be able to watch FTA in Spain and Portugal, you will need a system, which can lock on to Intelsat 907, which the Oyster and  SatSeeker  achieve,  but very few others on the market can compete. You will also require a satellite receiver with a BISS code editor, built in. These receivers are very rare and thin on the ground now, but we can supply one with every system we sell.  By law we cannot supply these receivers with the codes input into them, however the information on how to input the codes, is available from sources on the Web.

  3. Televisions with Satellite receivers built in such as the popular Avtex DRS range have a FTA receiver but are not suitable for BISS codes, or Sky reception.

  4. Finally all our Satellite Systems have the ability to receive almost all European Satellite signals, many of which are targeted at specific countries and languages. One Satellite signal, to note (apart from our very own Astra 2) is Astra 1 at 19.2 East, which is the main German Satellite, which has a large footprint over almost all Europe and can be received on smaller dishes. Astra 1 transmits a few channels, which are in English, such as CNN News, Sky News International, and a few others. Astra 1 also carries Euro sport Deutschland, which is FTA and is not scrambled as it is here in the UK. The sound and commentary are in German, but it is still highly watchable.

  5. The last consideration to make is do you want a single LNB (Low Noise Block down converter) System or a twin LNB System? And do you want automatic skew? (to avoid having to go on the roof and adjust it yourself ).  For maximum reception the angle of the LNB, within its holding bracket, on the dish assembly, must line up with the transmitted signals, which are vertically, and horizontally, polarised. This is especially important at the edge of the footprint, where the signal is at its weakest because of the curvature of the Earth the skew is variable, and correct skew can extend the range, by several hundred kilometres.

All our new amazing value for money SatSeeker and SatTracker Systems have twin LNB ,  Autoskew  and Intelsat 907, as standard. 

A single LNB allows one feed to a receiver, which will feed a single TV or a couple of TV’s. 

A twin LNB, allows you to watch one program and record another program at the same time, like SKY + or to watch two different channels at the same time on two different TV’s.

If you have a SKY + receiver we recommend you have twin LNB system.

If you have the new SKY Q system we can adapt your existing Oyster System to work with the Sky Q or supply a new System with a Quad LNB, together with a bit of internal wizardry.

For any questions or queries on the above, and prices, please contact Sam on:

Call Sam on 01924 654155 to order or for more information