Advice needed on Satellite Systems for caravan

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 20:37
ThreadID: 106787 Views:3749 Replies:6 FollowUps:9
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Can anyone please advise on the Optima 75G Compact VAST FTA Satellite System & the Oyster Smartsat Fully Automatic system?

I have no idea on either except one is manual set up & the other is automatic.

Help!!!
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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:15

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:15
Hi Sheryl,
The first system will cost you approx $600 to set up & operate the other will cost you about $5000.
Both work....well.
The cheaper setup I have & it works well & when u have 'set it up' a few times it takes no time & is easy.
The dearer system (automatic roof mounted) I personally think is an overkill......it works NO BETTER than the manual system......sure it maybe easier and quicker to use, but I would rather have the $'s in my pocket.
I have rigged up a mount on the drawbar of my van to carry the dish (rather than carrying it in the van or in the tow vehicle) 99.5% of the time I can find the satellite just by lifting the mounting bracket & turning the dish......if on the VERY RARE occasion I can't find the satellite due to a tree or obstruction being in the way I can remove the dish from the mounting bracket & fit it to a tripod I carry. This works very well for me.
If on the other hand you couldn't locate the satellite with an 'automatic system' set up you would have to move.....a bit hard if your in a caravan park and paid for that site.
One other thing to consider is that fitting an 'automatic system' is best done during your vans or motorhomes construction....NOT installed afterwards.....not that it can't be done.....but it would be a lot neater & tidier & possibly a better installation if done during construction.
The 'manual system' can be easily done after construction without any major dramas!

I'm currently considering purchasing a new van..... I WILL NOT be getting an 'automatic system' installed into it, as I feel the cost far out ways the benefits & the dollars I would spend on it ........I can spend on other luxuries.
I hope this helps you in your enquiry
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:23

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:23
One other thing to consider with the 'auto system' is bracing of the roof to support the unit..... It's not that's its all that heavy, BUT mounting a dish and all that goes with it on a van or motorhome roof that was not prepared for it is asking for trouble.
Cheers
Tony
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 14:41

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 14:41
Tony, I doubt that there would be much additional cost, if any if the bracing is applied in the manufacture of the caravan. I think Sheryl was discussing it after the Melbourne caravan show.
Cheers,
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:37

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:37
A 'normal' dish is about $100 and easy to set up. Unless you need the $600 folding dish for transport space reasons I would save my money. I too have a folding mast on my A frame and transport the dish there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 23:10

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 23:10
Hi Rod,
The $600 is for the dish, tripod, cabling, AND the VAST box...
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 23:30

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 23:30
The ones I found are $1095 for the package Optima Package
And $595 for the dish Optima Dish
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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 04:50

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 04:50
I have an Oyster system on my motorhome. Did have a manual system on previous caravan. I found the position to get the cabling into motorhome was too high and could not be reached withouit getting onto the roof (ladder on rearis fixture). I thought about the cost then decided I only needed to fall off once and I would be in front with the oyster. With motor home it is easy to shift a few feet to get clear view to operate if necessary. I have a compass inside and work out direction when moving onto a site.
Wouldn't go back to a manual system now. Once you have paid out the money it is gone but there is never any more frustration getting signal.

Neil
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Reply By: K&FT - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:47

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:47
Hi Sheryl

have you had a look here?

www.satplus.com.au

excellent service and support and the prices are good by industry standards

frank
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Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 20:29

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 20:29
I agree with Frank, Satplus is a good deal and they sell the whole kit, Dish, decoder box, sat finder, all in a handy carry bag.
Cheers Andy
P.S. I paid $660 delivered for the lot 3 years ago
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 22:46

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 22:46
I agree with the comments about Satplus.

The Optima 75T kit mentioned by the OP is $1095 from Satplus too. Satplus Optima 75T Kit

A system with a non folding dish is about $700.
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Reply By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 14:38

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 14:38
Sheryl, if you are in the process of ordering your caravan as I believe you are, see what the manufacturer of the caravan or fitter of the audio visual system recommends.

I know that we have travelled with people with manual systems, who won't set them up if they are stopping one day, or stop in the dark, because it isn't a priority to rummage in the dark. Their latest caravan has an automatic dish

Just like an electric awning against the manual ones, the bigger the chore, the least likely it will be done.

In Western Queensland last year, there were three other, older Bushtrackers and ours at one camp. We had the awning out and the satellite set up, and the ones with manual didn't do either, as the benefit wasn't there for the time spent.
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John

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Follow Up By: Member - Sheryl M - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 15:47

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 15:47
Thank you for your advice. I will check with Bushtracker. We decided to purchase the demo van from the Melbourne show. We have some sort of manual system with our Winnebago but have never used it as it is too difficult to set up. I guess this manual set up would be the same?

regards
Sheryl
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 16:22

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 16:22
Very much the same Sheryl. Once you get practice it may only take 15 minutes, but if it is raining, it may not be done. The preliminary aiming, selecting the elevation, and a sat finder, and then plug in. Then turn on and tune.

With a demo van, they may actually have put in the bracing and even the wiring, but you can't be sure until you ask.
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Reply By: Chris S1 - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 18:41

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 18:41
Hi There,

The difference between Auto and manual is the setup (apart from the price).
In terms of usage they are quite different.

An Auto system is roof mounted, and as such you need to bear this in mind for parking, both at home and also under tree's etc, you also need to remember that a satellite works only as long as the dish can see the satellite, tree's and other obstructions will prevent this, with a roof mounted unit this can mean the difference between parking under the shade, and having to move to a unprotected area or turn the van/camper.
Having said that if money is not an obstacle they are obviously easier to use.

Also with the auto units you get what you pay for, and personally my money would be spent on a different unit, such as the German made intellisat autosat 2s.

In regards to manual units you need to remember a few things.

Small 60 cm dishes while they appear practical are not ideal, and do not work well in central and northern area's, in fact people traveling to say Broome find they cannot set them up and are forced to purchase a new 80 cm dish.
The mount, or tripod needs to be adjustable to enable you to get a level, no ground is the same, therefore a triangular base may work fine in a caravan park with a nice level pad, will not work well in a free camping situation.

The manual setup consists of a dish, tripod and cable outside and would take at most 5 mins to setup, assuming you get a good satellite finder and dish, and get the angles correct you can find the satellite in less than one minute.
I can honestly park and setup in less than 3 mins.

The advantages of a manual setup is that you can move the dish further away from the van if required, this aids in finding levels and over coming any obstacles, and, you can park under shade should you wish to, unfortunately as someone else said in the rain you may choose not to set it up.

You can purchase a good manual setup for under $600.00.

For my money I'd much rather the thousands difference went towards my camping :)
I do work in the industry, and would be happy to help further if need be.


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Follow Up By: Member - Sheryl M - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 20:15

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 20:15
Hi Chris

Thank you for your advice.
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