FTV Cards - most urgent!
Free To View cards will be available until January 30th, 2004, after which you will no longer be able to buy them for £23.50 from http://www/free2view.tv or by phoning 08700 541800. However, the office will remain open for two years for "Customer Service" which (I hope) means reactivating existing cards if you change your Sky Digibox and for replacing cards which are lost or damaged. As this message is going out on January 30th you should order a card by telephone today if you are in any doubt. You will not be able to buy a card after today (except from "card touts" who are presumably stocking up and rubbing their hands together! But beware - you may not be able to get them activated if you buy from a tout.)
How do new users of digital satellite TV, who do not wish to view subscription channels, receive the FTV channels?
Subscribe to Sky. (Sorry!)
4:30pm As predicted, FTV cards are no longer available. The service has closed. See free2view page (link above).
February 9, 2004
There is a rumour that cards will be available for sale at around £47 in a few weeks time. This is unconfirmed but you might like to wait and see.
FTV cards are being offered for sale at £180 by an Irish company. we have no connection with this company. http://www.irishtvdirect.utvinternet.com
For the latest information, read the FTV discussion in our forum.
A friend brought his Pace BSKYB2500 to me yesterday. He'd ordered a free FTV card for it some months ago, intending to leave it in his holiday home in France. But he'd never used it and now he couldn't receive the FTV channels (ITV, CH4 and FIVE). I phoned the helpline (above) and asked them to activate the card while it was in the Digibox on my workbench. They were quite happy to do that but said that the viewing card number wasn't registered on their computer so they couldn't. End of story!
So I phoned BskyB and asked them to check if the card number was on their computer. It wasn't.
I went in the workshop, connected the Digibox to my phone line and ran through the "New Installation" sequence from the Installer menu. This appeared to dial out and complete OK but the programmes were still reporting "phone this number" so I left it overnight. This morning the FTV programmes had appeared so I gave the Digibox and card back to their owner and told him to keep the box connected to a dish and mains power.
Greek TV and Manhattan
The new Hellas sat satellite (Greek) at 39 east is generating a few problems.
Two of the channels are so close together that some brands of receivers are having difficulty when searching and are either not finding a channel or saving the wrong one.
Below are instructions to assist with our Manhattan receivers.
Models: SKYLINE / STARLIGHT SERIES
Please try the following frequencies if you have difficulty in tuning the two named channels on HELAS SAT 2 (39.0E)
- ANT 1 Freq: 10953
- SR: 2966 or 2964
- Polarisation: Vert.
- FEC: 3/4
- Search Option: Auto All + D
When tuned this channel may be un-named (eg T0001)
- STUDIO ALFA Freq: 10960
- (A INTERNATIONAL) SR: 2966
- Polarisation: Vert
- FEC: 3/4
- Search Option: Auto All + D
Technical Dept: INFO TU080
note... NEW MANHATTAN PLAZA RANGE have over the air software capability, allowing new software to be downloaded direct from the satellite (Hotbird).
Plans are under way for a new download within the next 10 - 14 days, this will place Hellas sat into the receiver memory
PLAZA 1100 free to air with RD modulator & Diseqc 1.2 / USALS
£99.95 + carriage and VAT
PLAZA 3300 As above with 2 X CI slots
£129.95 + carriage and VAT
Hi Martin. Just a quick message to let you know that things have changed on HellasSat2. This is for the HellasSat / Manhattan part of the new mailshot.
Antena Pacific has left 10955V, so the tuning problem will have gone away. AP is currently only available in Videoguard scrambling.
I had similar problems with these two channels on my Echostar 3000IPVA when I had a look at 39E a couple of weeks ago. I discovered that I had to de-tune my receiver to get Alpha International on 10960V. I de-tuned it 2MHz at a time until I finally got a nice strong signal - and the receiver was tuned to 10968MHz! :-)
I dont know the reason for this - I suspect the LNB oscillator is a few MHz out, but this doesnt show up on nice normal signals. Whatever the reason, the Echostar wouldnt lock on 10960, but did with it set to 10968....
Email and Spam
Over the last couple of days I've received a few messages with various "attachments" - some ending in ".scr" which is obviously a Windows thing and doesn't affect my Apple Mac computers. But receiving garbage messages is annoying so I've changed all the email addresses that we use. I've also removed the possibility of emailing direct from the web site. Instead you'll now have to fill out a form which uses some "interesting" spam detection. For a start, it won't accept messages without punctuation or messages typed all in CAPITALS or all in lower case as these are typical spam formats. I don't know why spam has to look as if it's typed by a 7 year old but it often does. The form also checks for certain spelling mistakes. At present it merely mentions these mistakes in its automatic reply but I may have to get it to block such messages in the future. After all, if someone can't copy the word "satellite" correctly (which must appear several times on every one of our hundreds of pages) then they obviously haven't bothered to read the information on the site before writing to me for help.
For those of you who are fairly new to email, let me once more point out our helpful beginners pages:
Unable to access installer menu
Equipment made by: Pace - unknown model.
Dear Martin: I'm trying to access the installation menu on a friend's digibox in order to turn on the 9v supply to the magic link. The 9v is currently turned off. On my own Pace digiboxes, procedure works perfectly. On hers:
Press 'Services' - 'services' comes up (correct response)
Press '4' - 'system setup' page comes up (correct response)
Press '0' - nothing happens (correct response)
Press '1' - highlighted item moves to 'picture settings' on 'system setup' page
Press 'select' - 'picture settings' page comes up
The effect is as if the digibox is ignoring the '0' on the remote, although this works perfectly when selecting a channel such as 501.
Other than denying me access to the installation menu, the digibox and remote work perfectly.
Standard connections, one SCART, RF ins and outs all connected.
I've tried powering-down the digibox (the cure for many ills) - no change.
Have you ever had another report of being unable to access the installation menu ? Any ideas on why its happening ? My suspect was the remote control, but in every other respect it works correctly.
Never had this previously. Usually it's just customers not pressing 401 quickly enough. Sorry, I have no suggestions except to make sure there's nothing plugged into RF Output 2, as interference here can occasionally prevent the remote from working correctly. If that's the case, move the "magic eye" away from the 2nd Tv or monitor. Make sure the cable is fully shielded along its full length with no breaks or unshielded wall sockets.
Martin, thanks for your help.
a.. Friend's remote wouldn't access installation menu: solution, use my remote.
(Why hers not work ? Maybe batteries ? Told her buy new ones)
a.. 9 volts turned off: solution turn on again, installation menu.
a.. 9 volts not present on RF socket in use: solution swap leads over to powered socket.
a.. 9 volts not present on plug on rear of TV: solution, crawl along floor until miscreant splitter between open-plan kitchen TV and living room TV located. Fit 'magic eye' to input of this, works wherever person is sitting.
Remarks: splitter has 'always' been there and 'it used to work OK'.
Have a nice weekend, be nice to meet you sometime.
Disgruntled eBook customer
Dear Mr xxxxx,
We have tried to process the payment for your order this morning but unfortunately your credit card is a swipe-only card. This means we cannot take payment for your order unless we have the card here in our offices.
Please can you provide alternative payment - the links for your books have been sent in good faith.
The following reply duly arrived. I have not attempted to correct the grammar or spelling. My reply is below.
It is unfortunate that the card payment didnt go through but i am VERY dissapointed at what your advertising as sattelite installation books!!
They are a joke! The sky digital in spain i already have and is available for free!!! And youre charging £4 for. The other 2 books are for children rather than people looking to become sattelite engineers, which i think you should point out everything you have included in your books is available for free on the internet no 'years of research' A lot of thing youre clueless about and are wrong in your books. Theres no way you can install a motorised dish with your info in the book. To obtain a true arc you need a Spectrum Analyzer. I suggest you change the info and say 'books for absolute begiinners, givign you very basic information for a lot of money'
Yours a would have been
very disgruntled SATTELITE ENGINEER!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear Mr xxxxxxx,
I'm sorry about the misunderstanding with the eBooks. You are quite within your rights to reject them and not pay. You don't even have to give a reason because you are covered by The Consumer Protection (distance Selling) Regulations 2000.
Please just confirm deletion of all copies.
With regard to "Sky Digital in Spain", the eBook is ours exclusively. You'll see that the Copyright holder is Salvador Ferrairo and we are the Publishers. He is within his rights to publish the information in other ways but NOT as an eBook. If you find any of our eBooks available elswhere, please let me know so that we can instigate legal proceedings.
With regard to "free on the Internet" of course ALL information is available somewhere. The real work goes into finding it, rationalising it, correcting it, adding suitable photographs, explanations, index but, most of all, keeping it up to date. This work never ends.
The "Motorised" eBook was written by Mike Hancox who is now 67 and worked as an installer from 1989 to 2001. He has twelve years of experience in installing systems and wrote his eBook with the beginner in mind. Many buyers of the eBook have written to us with both questions and thanks. Where the questions were not answered in the eBook, we have added explanations. It is our policy to keep improving the eBooks and to issue the updates free of charge to purchasers for as long as possible in the future.
With regard to the target audience, our target is the D.I.Y. person and not the professional. Having said that, I've received several messages from BskyB installers who have praised our eBooks in helping them to do their job. So I'm not taking your comments seriously. Nor would I expect the majority of self-employed installers to own a spectrum analyser. Sky installers certainly don't.
Finally, I wish you luck in obtaining your degree in engineering. It took three years of study at university before I was allowed to use "engineer" after my name. (If you use the word without obtaining a degree then you run the risk of having Trading Standards after you for deception).
You might also like to make a note of how to spell your chosen profession - "satellite".
Martin T. Pickering B.Eng.
Car Alarm Problem
I appreciate you are a busy person but would like to pick your brains and 41 years experience. Have you heard of any complaints with Digi-Boxes interfering with car alarms etc. Two neighbours either side unable to alarm or disarm car alarms when in driveway or outside house, move car...alarm works. I have been advised that it could be a digi-box by someone with same problem.
Thank you for your time
That's an interesting question. I've never heard of this.
Anything transmitting around the same frequency as the car alarm could cause the problem. Modern car alarm key fobs operate at either 418MHz or 433MHz. I doubt that a satellite system could cause a problem. Transmissions from the LNB on the dish and from the Digibox are at an extremely low level. I would guess it's much more likely to be a problem with a DECT portable phone in the house or a local transmission from a mobile phone mast because these often carry TETRA transmissions between 390 and 395MHz for police use. These frequencies are probably close enough to the key fob frequencies to "swamp" the receiver in the car.
Proximity to the house is a big clue that the problem is coming from the house of course so investigate that first. Switch everything off (including TV, Hi-Fi, Phone base station, computer and monitor) and test the key fob. If it works then start switching everything back on, one by one, till you locate the culprit.
If switching everything off doesn't help, try switching off the mains power to the house and try again. If this fixes it then you know there's something else in the house causing the problem. Possibly gas boiler control panel or similar. Unfortunately, if you have to switch off the mains power, you may have to reset your central heating timer, video etc.
If the house has a "clean bill of health" then try neighbouring houses. If all else fails, it must be a stronger transmission from elsewhere.
Investigate logically and keep notes. Let me know if you find it!
Cracking website as always. With regard to the car alarm problem, you got me thinking. Do any of these houses have a wireless networking hub for Broadband etc? Could this be the source of interference?
When I was an AA man, cars at Membury services on the M4 Eastbound would have trouble because of the proximity of a huge aerial at that site. The solution was to tow them to the lorry park where the remotes would then work again.
With regard to the car alarm problem, a friend of mine had similar problem (and his neighbour). Problem caused by new central heating oil tank with radio sender fitted to give remote indication of oil level. Apparently unit had been left in TEST position so was constantly transmitting instead of a short burst about every 24 hrs to update receiver unit. When reset to normal position the problem went away
Regards Peter G
Customers are complete idiots?
When you read the following message, bear in mind that we had not heard from this person previously. He simply looked at the web site, took an instant dislike, and decided to take out his anger on our poor Sales girls. If he'd been more constructive we could have done something about it. As it is, I have no idea what irritated him. I suspect he's on drugs.
From Gary Hentschel at IP address 220.127.116.11
I just felt that I must email you to say that I find your site so insulting and offensive that I would not even consider using you. It seems you believe that all potential customers are complete idiots!!!
I do hope that you are not doing very well in your business! You should sack your web designer!
Another lost customer.............
Actually, 99.99% of our customers are wonderful people. But about once a week we receive an insulting message from an idiot....
I'm continually adding new pages to our web sites. Many of them are simply designed to increase the "click through" revenue from adverts but they are nevertheless interesting. I obtained permission to reproduce some magazine articles and one of them is especially interesting because it deals with the testing of coaxial cable.
You can see the full list of pages on this web site at:
Remote extender "eye" for the Grundig GDT 1500T Freeview digital terrestrial TV receiver. Also suitable for later models including Ferguson FDT500, Ferguson FDT2000 and Thomson DTI1000 (any that have the same socket).
Use of this IR Extender will allow you to install your Freeview receiver in a location that is hidden from view (make sure it's well ventilated). Cable length 75cm. RJ45 plug fitted.
Order Grundig IR Extender £12.95
(NOT compatible with Sky Digiboxes)
There are some new items on offer HERE
We can also now supply the "Handylink" remote extender systems which let you control almost anything via the RF cable going to another TV set.
From Radio Bullet ( http://radio.mediabullet.co.uk ):
From Sky Digi Online ( http://skydigital.mediabullet.co.uk ):
Since the last newsletter, the following eBooks have been updated. If your download link no longer works, please contact me (with proof of purchase).
- "Understanding Sky Digital TV" (free).
- "The Freeview Bible".
- "Piping TV Around the House"
- "Sky Digital in Spain"
A naughty man decided to sell my "Installing.." eBook on Ebay (for the second time). You can see a copy of his auction here:
I copied it before Ebay removed it.