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Satellite Television On Narrowboats

Satellite TV Equipment For Narrowboats

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For Narrowboats

Jean and Graham Bevan write:

We have had 'freesat' satellite television on our narrowboat since August 2010. As continuous cruisers moving every two, three or so days we have only found ourselves in a position during the first 12 months where we were unable to get a 'freesat' satellite signal on just three occasions!

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For NarrowboatsFreesat has over 150 free TV and radio channels, and they're adding more all the time.

Satellite TV on narrowboats seemed a complicated subject when we first looked at it but we find it remarkably simple! There are a number of individuals that perpetuate the myth that it is a 'complex subject', who will install and set up your narrowboat's satellite TV but really you shouldn't need to pay them for their services!

We bought all we needed from Maplin Electronics for under £150! That included the "Satellite Suitcase", satellite finder, extra cable & fixings.

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For Narrowboats

Our Maplin's Satellite Suitcase- just over £100 - Quote - A60GY - on the website Product Search

Complete suitcase system including 39cm dish and receiver - all in one portable compact case - Receive up to 250 channels -
Includes low noise LNB, satellite cable and SCART cable - 10m cable with connectors and various mounts - 12/230V satellite receiver - Full fitting and installation instructions - DiSEqC 1.0, 1.2, USALS - 4:3 standard screen or 16:9 widescreen - 8 programmable favourite lists - EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) - Base equipped with suction mounts for mounting on a smooth surface - Steel bracket for vertical mounting support - Dimensions: 150 x 405 x 500 mm - Weight (boxed): 6.1kg


You can't rely on the British weather! Receive digital satellite programmes without depending on a fixed mounted satellite aerial. The mobile aerial allows you to receive signals at different places such as in a marina or along the towpath! You can also connect the receiver to a fixed installed satellite aerial. The most common broadcasting stations are pre-programmed to the ASTRA, Hotbird, Sirius, Hispasat and Hellasat satellites.

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For Narrowboats

For a simple and effective set up, all you need to receive satellite TV on a narrowboat is:

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For Narrowboats
A satellite dish - Which in effect is your aerial that gathers the signal and reflects it onto the mushroom shaped low noise block (LNB) which is facing the center of the dish. The dish should be of a manageable size as you will need to set it up every time you moor in a new spot.

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For NarrowboatsA satellite receiver - The 'black box' that decodes the signal. This can be one of any number of makes and models on the market. So choose a satellite receiver that suits your viewing needs! We are quite happy with the freesat service but sports or movie fans might want to subscribe to 'Sky' or other systems.

A television - Any modern digital television will do! Any size or type can be connected via the TV's scart socket, aerial socket or even the phono sockets. But if you want to receive HD TV you will need an HD Ready TV set!

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For NarrowboatsThe connecting cables - Coaxial cable from the satellite receiver to the satellite dish. Scart / coaxial / HD cable / phono cables between the satellite receiver and TV (depending upon setup).


Useful accessories for satellite TV Equipment for narrowboats include:

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For NarrowboatsA Satellite Finder - A device with either an audible or visual indicator (or both), that is temporarily placed between the satellite dish and the satellite receiver to help you to position the dish precisely on the sweet spot! Once you are experienced in satellite sweet spotting you may never need it again! If you have a smart phone you can download an app to show you where the TV satellites are. This particular app is not free.

A small spanner - To tighten / loosen the cables for the satellite finder.

Satellite Television - TV Equipment For NarrowboatsA Compass - A useful tool to help you get into the ball park area of the chosen satellite! Again if you have a smart phone, you can get a free compass app which will work better than a standard compass as it is not magnetic and therefore not affected by the boat structure.

We originally bought a freesat travel kit, all contained within a 'briefcase' from the Maplin Electronics Store in Bath.

We fitted the satellite dish to the top of our existing digital tv aerial, as shown above, following the cables through the bulkhead.

The 'black box' fitted under the tv's foot. All was well!

A few months later we added an extension to the system for the digital TV in the bedroom, by feeding a cable through the boat to the bedroom and moving the original 'black box' to the foot of the bed. We replaced the original 'black box' in the saloon with a new HD satellite receiver (remoting the extended bedroom cable through the in/out sockets on the back of the HD box).