Free to air sat TV kits


I'm still considering getting a VAST free to air system kit. Has anyone bought one lately and are you happy?

I'm drawn to the SatPlus product - they appear to be practical with a good padded bag for the dish etc.


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Reply By: Dust-Devil - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 12:55

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 12:55

Firstly - In case you are unaware of this, VAST is the only system available at the moment providing Australian Digital TV via SATCOM from the Optus C3 satelite.

Secondly - It is a system 'welded together' in the same fashion as the soon to be redundant AUSTAR system in that the data card to operate the system is dedicated to the VAST box that it comes with and cannot be used in any other VAST box or other SATCOM box.

So! at the moment the VAST system(SATCOM box) is your only option for Digital SATCOM TV.

In view of this the only things you now have to think about are the rest of the kit needed to get a digital picture on your TV via SATCOM is the following.

Size of SAT receiver dish

Stand alone(portable) or fixed mount for Dish

Satellite Finder ( many types and prices)

Connecting Cable/s (Co-ax, HDMI etc) VAST box has a HDMI port

Power source. (when I purchased mine - only available in 240V) 12V may now be available.

There is no quick fix solution to this as everyone has their personal preferences and unique setups to cater for, so it boils down to what best fits/suits your situation. Also, and very important, what price you can get it all for.

If I was you the padded bag for the dish would be my last consideration.

Good luck with whatever you buy


AnswerID: 487948

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 14:28

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 14:28
Firstly VAST is transmitted from the Optus C1 satellite. D3 is co-located with C! and at the moment transmits pay TV.

What do you mean by SATCOM? The only 'box' is the UEC DSD 4121 satellite decoder. This decoder is still only available in 240v. To power it from 12v an inverter is required.

The Satplus, or other kits are the easiest way for most people to get up and running.
FollowupID: 763168

Follow Up By: Racey - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 15:26

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 15:26
You are 100% correct Ron. I have using the system for around 12 months works a treat. We also purchased our Vast box from Satplus (Edithvale) and found them most helpful.

FollowupID: 763170

Follow Up By: Dust-Devil - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 16:00

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 16:00
How very remiss of me Roddy old chap re the satelite thingy. I did say C3 not D3 and should have said C1, but there you go.

SATCOM old boy stands for S a t e l l i t e o m m u n i c a t i o n . You Queensland chappies obviously missed that module at school

Now to be more precise the VAST system is available on a Altech UEC DSD 4121 S a t e l i t e or SATCOM decoder (made in South Africa by the way) and VAST certified. Just as an aside I am looking at my VAST SATCOM box as I type this. Very compact unit

There are a swag of stockists/resellers etc etc who will set you up with whatever floats your boat.

Last weekend I watched a fully automated system on a Bushtracker locate the satellite by itself in under a minute and VAST running immediately thereafter. However that system cost many Thousands of dollars, compared to mine which took a little longer to set up, but produced exactly the same product on a bigger TV.

"What do you mean by SATCOM " Thats my next fireside story Roddy, thank you for providing it.

Have a nice day


FollowupID: 763173

Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 16:12

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 16:12
Thanks DD. You know what they say about Qld. We have just got to plastic cans instead of tin cans and string, let alone SATCOM.
Ref the auto systems, there are a lot more enjoyable things to spend all those thousands on. I'm with you. The manual system is pretty easy to set up.
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Follow Up By: Racey - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 17:43

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 17:43
SATCOM, Well you learn something everyday. Looks like we were almost on the same page :-)

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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 21:51

Friday, Jun 08, 2012 at 21:51
I note the comments by a certain Dust Devil about an auto setup in a minute. It has to be pretty correct, where as the Dust Demon actually waited over half a day to see the direction the BT dish was pointed, and THEN set up his own. DD effectively losing his evening news services for half the weekend and gave the BT owner time to brew Mrs Dusty Demon's coffee and keep up with the political intrigues.
FollowupID: 763204

Reply By: Toowoomba Antenna & TV Services - Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 21:22

Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 21:22
Hi Geo,

My business in Toowoomba only stocks SatPlus satellite products because I have found them the most reliable and easiest to use for the average consumer.

On a weekly basis I have "Grey Nomads" come to my home office for product demonstrations and without fail the comment is made "I didn't realize it would be so easy to setup".

In relation to your question "Has anyone bought one lately and are you happy?" I have never sold a VAST portable satellite kit to someone who has not been over the moon with it. The only regret people have is that they didn't buy one sooner.

I hope this encourages you bite the bullet and get yourself a good quality portable satellite kit - you won't regret it.


AnswerID: 488211

Follow Up By: 222 - Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:04

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:04
Thanks for that 'first hand experiemce' comment Paul - and for the other replies.

Paul - is their satellite dish easy to set up on less-than-flat ground? I have heard that the tripod type are better - the ones with the spirit level bubble in the top. I think the SatPlus dish has a circular tube base. I'm sure all the rest of their kit is fine but I'm just unsure of the dish design

Also, AccessAntennas (Perth based) offer a heavy duty bag which might be very valuable if the contents are going to taken over 700k's of corrugations... !!


FollowupID: 763473

Follow Up By: Toowoomba Antenna & TV Services - Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:58

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:58
Hi Geo,

The sloping ground question is probably the most common question that I get asked. I actually stock both the tripod & stable base models (which are both SatPlus products) so my opinion is certainly not bias.

The tripod model is without a doubt the best setup if you are going to be spending a lot of time on sloping ground but it will add an extra 10 minutes to your setup time and 5 minutes to your pack-up time. The question I ask to most people is if you are caravaning generally speaking you need to find a flat spot to setup your van so there is likely to be a flat spot to put your dish also.

If you are using the stable base model and the ground slopes you can chock on side if you need to and instead of pegging it down simply put something heavy (like the stabilizer bars from your van) across the top of the base to hold it in place.

To give you an idea of the difference in ease of use - my 8 year old son can setup the stable base model (MiniMax system) and align it with the satellite but he cannot setup the tripod model.

The other advantage of the tripod model is that you have the option to pull the dish off the tripod and mount it on your caravan A-frame which you cannot do with the stable base model because the dish is fixed to the base and doesn't have the necessary mounting points to mount it to a pole.

I would sell 10 of the stable base models (MiniMax systems) for every one tripod mounted dish.

In relation to the heavy duty travel bag I'm pretty sure that this is a standard item that most distributors supply with their kits (I know that I do and SatPlus do). These are a necessity not just for convenience but for protection of the dish. If you are travelling 700k's over corrugations I would be very careful how you pack the dish in the bag as the dish will definitely dint if you have objects bouncing up and down on it (like cables or satellite finder).

So in summary, there are pros and cons of both models but for easy of use alone it is hard to go past the MiniMax stable base model.

I hope this helps.


FollowupID: 763478

Follow Up By: 222 - Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 11:06

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 11:06
Thanks Paul

FollowupID: 763479

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