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Fun To Be Had With a 10-Foot Satellite Dish?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the build-a-death-star dept.

Communications 386

An anonymous reader writes "I'm moving to a rural community in the central United States. On the property is a satellite dish in excess of 3 meters in diameter that seems to still be in excellent condition. I already enjoy shortwave radio and was wondering what interesting TV feeds I might be able to catch with the dish. What kind of equipment would I need and how much should I expect to spend? If it's not useful for that purpose, what other fun projects might I use it for?"

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Astronomy? (1)

G1369311007 (719689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379916)

Amateur radio astronomy? First post?

Re:Astronomy? (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380086)

Maybe a TV broadcast from Omicron Persei 8 [wikia.com] ?

Re:Astronomy? (4, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380234)

Line with tinfoil. Hang a grill over the focal point. Point at sun.

Cook sun-dried beef jerky.

Re:Astronomy? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380340)

It's a bit more than "dried".

a 10 feet dish covered in reflective material will cause anything held at the focus to spontaneously burst into flames in a second.

Re:Astronomy? (4, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380394)

Are you suggesting that wouldn't meet the goal of being "fun?"

Re:Astronomy? (1)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380300)

I hear they might be rebroadcasting Single Female Lawyer [wikipedia.org] this fall now that they have all of the episodes.

Re:Astronomy? (5, Funny)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380152)

I don't get it. How would a 10' dish help him achieve first posts? And why bother?

run your own SETI? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379922)

or listen for military transmissions

UVB-76? (5, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379924)

UVB-76 [wikipedia.org] has been broadcasting new stuff the past few days...

Re:UVB-76? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379990)

I am not that into HAM stuff, but I am almost absolutely positive that a 3m satellite receiver dish (designed for something between 4GHz and 18GHz) would do you absolutely no good when trying to pick up .004GHz transmissions. I could be wrong though.

Re:UVB-76? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380268)

The antenna is what's really relevant. The dish is just a reflector, it's the horn that determines what you will be picking up. You can use those dishes for lower frequencies without problems.

Re:UVB-76? (5, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380390)

Actually reflector size compared to wavelenght is very much relevant.
A shortwave radio signal with a wavelength of 64meters isn't going to be reflected very well by a 3m dish.

Re:UVB-76? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380354)

You're not wrong.

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33379926)

First?

Re:First (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380078)

You'll need a bigger dish to post first.

If you're looking for fun, you're doing it wrong (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379930)

  1. Remove dish from roof or back yard or whatever for this winter
  2. Find ski hill
  3. Group Downhill Saucer

You might even get airborne, in which case you have a real flying saucer. At the very least, it would scare the crap out of the snow-boarders.

Re:If you're looking for fun, you're doing it wron (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379954)

^^^^this. I was going to suggest taking it sledding, but I think hudson's got the right idea here :-)

Re:If you're looking for fun, you're doing it wron (2)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380236)

GP has the right idea. The minute i saw the summary title, I thought, Toboggan!!!

Re:If you're looking for fun, you're doing it wron (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380308)

that, or he could bring a new meaning to 'Extreme Frisbee'.

Re:If you're looking for fun, you're doing it wron (2, Interesting)

pete's-brain (1712936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380312)

i have a crazy texan cousin-in-law that ran up against the same dilemma the christmas that they purchased a dish network rig. the ol ~10' dish's newfound uselessness was accompanied by a freak snow storm that dumped 1.5 foot of snow.

apparently every farmer in texas has an old snowmobile somewhere in their possession. an old tractor seat (with improvised belt) got bolted to the inside of the dish and someone came up w/ 30' of rope for towing.

we never were able to flip it over, but airborne? yes.

---
petes-brain.com [petes-brain.com] - it must be a scary place in there...

ufo (1)

neo0983 (837728) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379932)

You could use it to make a flying saucer for halloween.

How I use my parabolic dish... (5, Interesting)

elewton (1743958) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379934)

Get a biquad,2.4 GHz amplifier, and an AWUS 036h. Install Backtrack, set to monitor mode and start scanning your town!

Re:How I use my parabolic dish... (3, Funny)

elewton (1743958) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379970)

Then, when you locate your enemies' networks, get a magnetron and build yourself a long range HERF gun.

Re:How I use my parabolic dish... (2, Interesting)

SeNtM (965176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380128)

Or, using the magnetron, get different varieties of bird cooked fresh before they even hit the ground.

Re:How I use my parabolic dish... (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380346)

Works great if you also happen to have a Silo on the property.
You could also use it for a really long wifi shot.
If you are a HAM you could use it for EME shoots.
Or you could use it for for home radio astronomy.
And there does seem to be a good number of free channels you can get but they are a little odd.

FTA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33379940)

lots of FTA (Free To Air) stuff -- still have yet to put up my 3meter dish though...

Pond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33379944)

Lay it flat, plug the centre hole and build a pond.

I know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33379960)

A giant frisbee!

TV feeds to the TV companies (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379972)

You might be able to pick up the feeds to TV companies. I knew someone who did this years back but they might be encrypted now. They would sometimes pick up presenters chatting during advert breaks, people waiting to go on air, etc.

Re:TV feeds to the TV companies (5, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380188)

Those are called wildfeeds [wikipedia.org] .

Re:TV feeds to the TV companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380306)

Most are encrypted, but I think the newer receivers can decrypt them.

use it as a skottelbraai (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33379978)

a south african invention: put a gas cooker underneath it and prepare meals for ten! :-)

Attach it to a Tesla coil. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33379992)

Attached it to the output terminal of a large tesla coil, and see if you can cause electric arcs to form between the ground and metallic objects, at a distance.

solar furnace (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33379994)

line it with mirrors and the focus becomes a solar furnace

Broadcast a cryptic signal for years (5, Funny)

Parlett316 (112473) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380000)

Then change it one day and watch the internet implode.

Moon bounce (4, Interesting)

enigma32 (128601) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380008)

My boss at the last place I worked had a number of extremely large dishes that he used for moon bounce: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EME_(communications) [wikipedia.org]

Interesting stuff. I don't know how active and interesting the conversations are (as I understand there are relatively few people that do this) but from a technical perspective I think it's interesting to bounce a signal off the moon and listen to the result...

I've been told that his medium sized dish (approx 10' I suppose) worked best for this purpose...

I'm no expert on this; have only run into it before at that job...

Re:Moon bounce (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380184)

Wow, that sounds way cooler than my initial thought of what you meant (somehow using the dish to build a giant inflatable carnival bouncing attraction).

Re:Moon bounce (3, Funny)

trelf (652908) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380252)

Just don't say anything rude in case you miss the moon. That could come back to haunt you in a few hundred years.

Re:Moon bounce (1)

quenda (644621) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380274)

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to use a laser as the transmitter?
You can use the satellite dish to receive the bounce, if the surface is sufficiently shiny and polished.

Get a second... (4, Interesting)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380018)

1. Get a second satellite dish.
2. Attach a bar between the two, facing each other like this: (-)
3. Turn this setup onto its side.
4. Then mount the base of one dish, horizontally, so that one is facing up to the other, which is facing down.
5. Using a roll of 1-2' sheet metal (sheet aluminum works for me).
6. Attach one end of the sheet metal to the ground with a pair of small metal tent stakes.
7. Attach the other side of this to the dish that is facing up.
8. Spray paint the dishes & landing ramp the colour of your choice, if desired.
9. Presto!

When complete, you will have yourself a nice flying saucer in the yard, to be the envy of all your neighbors and friends.

At least, that's what I did once with two of three old satellite dishes in my yard...

Cheers!

--Stak

Re:Get a second... (2, Informative)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380108)

For a second I thought you were going to have him build a Tie Advanced [starshipmodeler.com] .

Re:Get a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380122)

>> At least, that's what I did once with two of three old satellite dishes in my yard...

Which part of Alabama are y'all from?

Radio Astronomy (5, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380020)

We did this at my school. We took a bunch of 3 meter dishes like on your property and turned them in to a astronomy farm. Now to be fair the software end of the project was intense to say the least but the pay off was huge. It was a sweet project and we accomplished it in under a year, It might be something for you to take a look at. Here are some links.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_astronomy [wikipedia.org]
http://www.nrao.edu/index.php/learn/radioastronomy [nrao.edu]
http://www.radio-astronomy.net/ [radio-astronomy.net]

Re:Radio Astronomy (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380182)

Now to be fair the software end of the project was intense to say the least but the pay off was huge.

Setup of software or actually coding it from scratch?

If from scratch that seems like if you/they haven't done so already that would be the perfect type of thing to release as open source. You've already put in the work so it doesn't cost you anything, and the goal was to have functional software, not to sell it.

If that's the case the worst case scenario you release the code and nobody does anything with it. Best case other people get it, improve it, and your radio array reaps the benefits of it.

Re:Radio Astronomy (2, Informative)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380278)

I would LOVE to release it open source, but the school being what they are wont let us keep the code or release it. We had to sign away all the rights to code and yes we did it from the ground up so it was unique crafted code base.

Also due to the tight constraints I would love go back and now edit the code to actually make it look good, I'm sure it's a mess. I haven't looked at it in over a year now but it's still kicking it.

Re:Radio Astronomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380314)

No, the worst case scenario is patent violations being found in the code, and being sued for it.

Re:Radio Astronomy (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380318)

This is what I was going to suggest... Not much aperature in a single 10' dish; but, it's a start.

Re:Radio Astronomy (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380414)

If you make sure the surface is GOOD and I mean really good and you get it's aim perfect. You'll be able to get great results. The problem with this kind of small dish is that if the surface has imperfections they show up and can end up destroying the images.

The other thing you can do is see if you can find a cluster and tie into it. I know there are some groups that allow you to plug your dish into there networks and join them.

get some bean dip (4, Funny)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380022)

and some giant fritos...

Solar furnace? (4, Interesting)

berryjw (1071694) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380034)

I've always wanted to line one with Mylar, point it at the sun, and see what temperature you could generate at the focal point. How cool would it be to hang a crucible, and melt bronze?

Re:Solar furnace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380150)

Or line it with mylar and aim the sun at the neighbor's cat, dog, house, etc. See how long it takes to evaporate their pool water. (Do this while they're at work, of course.)

Re:Solar furnace? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380218)

That would be far past the focal point of the dish.

Re:Solar furnace? (2, Informative)

JDevers (83155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380332)

Since most pools already receive substantially more solar radiation than a 3 meter circle, I don't think they will have to worry too much. Now the cat might get blinded, but would have to be really stupid to not run when you get within 5 foot or so with a giant reflective dish.

Re:Solar furnace? (1)

dlingman (1757250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380362)

So - we finally find out what all those AOL CD's mailed out were really for. Beam weaponry components.

It may still have LNA attached (5, Informative)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380036)

There are loads of unencrypted satellite feeds. Whole communities of people who explore them can be discovered with a little Googling. They'll tell you what the best receivers are and how to set up a mechanism to swing the dish to different satellites. NASA TV comes to mind

Solar Concentrator & Generator (2, Interesting)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380040)

Place 100's or 1000's of tiny mirrors all over it. Mount it on a cellestial tracking device pointed at the sun. Install a small boiler and use it to produce steam and turn a small turbine. Or, use it to burn insects out of the air!

Radio astronompy (1)

uburoy (1118383) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380042)

You could do radio astronomy with this.

Not sure you will get much TV these days (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380044)

I would have thought anything worth having would be encrypted or encoded (TV station feeds would likely be encrypted to stop new shows being grabbed off the sattelite and uploaded to the internet commercial free before they ever air on the TV)

Solar concentrator (4, Interesting)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380046)

I've seen a few people make solar concentrators out of them, for thermal energy. Remember that sunlight is good for about 1 kiloWatt per square meter. The best way is to get 1-inch hex-shaped glass mirror - a whole shitload of them. Glue them onto the dish with epoxy until as much surface as possible is covered with them. You will get a few thousand degrees Fahrenheit temps at the focal point. You can use this to generate steam by putting a water block at the focal point - save on your heat bill, or make some electricity. For instance, by using an ordinary air-powered die grinder and run it on the steam instead. You can do a lot with 20 thousand RPM's that way.

Re:Solar concentrator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380228)

I think you're more likely to get around 100W/m^2, not 1kW/m^2.

Lyngsat & Azbox HD (2, Informative)

MarkVVV (740454) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380058)

Just buy an Azbox HD and check the feeds on Lyngsat [lyngsat.com] , its all you need.

World's biggest... (2)

JustinFreid (1723716) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380064)

Bird bath

Look for alien chicks (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380072)

Start a private setchicks@thefarm project Get inspiration here [berkeley.edu] . You can at least not do any worse than they have, even though three meters is a little smaller than the Arecibo. You won't be looking for any non-random signals, you can be more specific and look for chick music only [amazon.com] , and remember size doesn't matter!

Free transmissions (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380084)

You can get DVB listening equipment (or software) pretty easily. There are a lot of satellites out there that broadcast PBS for free, and other stuff. Program/broadcast listings are available variously on the interwebs.

Basically, you'll have a small receive suite, decide what you'd like to hunt, and calculate the azimuth/elevation for your lat/long/alt. I start by slewing with a sat meter (horizon) in the horizontal axis and locate the strongest point before sweeping vertically to the expected altitude. There's a lot of methods for accurate aiming. Google. There's a host of sat information on http://www.lyngsat.com/. It'll tell you things like the bird's location, what it carries, transponder types and configurations, etc.

I set up a small hughesnet based ISP in Afghanistan a few years ago with what most people would consider a horribly barebones set of gear (including a wifi mast crafted from a cable spool with a length of pipe stuck through it), and I can tell you that you can definitely get by with some fun and interesting signal grabbing with practically nothing. Rather than explain it with a poorly written slashdot comment, check out http://sattv.lounge0101.com/free_to_air_satellite.php for some basic info. Free-to-air stuff is just a fraction of what you can pick up.

There's also more interesting stuff out thee, with the correct equipment you'll discover amateur repeaters, very capturable simple data broadcasts, meteorological phenomena, and other cool junk. I believe there's even a radio station/repeater on the ISS. Failing satellite reception, it's still just a huge parabola which focuses on the feed horn. Replace the feed element with something from another band and voila. Of course, antenna optimization for something like this is a book in itself, but I imagine you could have reasonable dish utilization by throwing a 2.4Ghz-tuned biquad at the focus point and probably get about 20-30 dBi of additional gain.

If you live by the border, you can probably pick up the border patrol's predator drone feeds using the correct equipment/software. It's broadcast in plain-jane video most of the time, although since I doubt there's border agents down there with mobile terminals in this case, the area-wide broadcasts are probably disabled in favor of LOS. Might be able to pull it off though.

Re:Free transmissions (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380396)

Also try dishpointer.com, you use google maps to locate your property and it shows your lat/long and the elevation required for the sat, it also works out how high obstacles can be at a given distance.

FTA is alive (5, Informative)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380088)

There are lots of feeds to find, if the dish has a motor.. You may need to get some different LNB;s the polorization of the antenna will determine what you can find... There are many many many lists available.. but for the most part, it will be lame... however, if you subscrive to Dish Network (or Bell ExpressVu if you are north of the border) and the mesh of the dish is less than 1/4" you can mount a Dish500 LNB on it and use it to get 100% signal from the Echostar (or nimiq) birds... even during a huge rainstorm or snowstorm

Re:FTA is alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380266)

I didn't know a circular antenna could have different polarizations. I would have thought it a combo of vertical and horizontal polarizations. Not so?

Alien signals from space (5, Interesting)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380090)

Whatever you do, don't make any broadcasts to alien vessels.
Also, any signals you receive from the alien's should not be made public,
or else YOU and your satelite dish will dissapear curtesy of secret UFO coverup agencies etc.

Eat this message.

-paul

Re:Alien signals from space (2, Funny)

jbeach (852844) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380364)

I love the meta joke of this message being modded as "interesting".

Use it for what it is... great dish (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380094)

There are many signals you can receive from space and 10ft is perfect for that.
With some equipment (preamplifier, receiver that can do 2.3GHz) you can receive signals from interplanetary sondes and classified satellites.
It's completely new world and if you enjoyed shortwave radio, you will love this.
For list of signals you can receive check http://www.uhf-satcom.com/ - 10ft will do L-band, S-band, C-band and X-band with correct feed.

Have Fun with the neighbors (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380114)

Point the dish at your nearest neighbors house to make them paranoid.

Screw TV (1)

olehenning (1090423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380116)

SETI is the way to go here. Think of the possibilities. You can spend the next 50 years of your life fruitlessly listening to static from outer space!

Re:Screw TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380296)

You can spend the next 50 years of your life fruitlessly listening to static from outer space!

and having casual sex with Matthew McConaughey!

Grill stuff! (0, Redundant)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380124)

Cover it with aluminum foil or something else that reflects light well, and try using it as a barbacue!

But with a dish that size you can fit it with quite a few antennas and add a motor to access an insane amount of satellites. A hassle to set up and maintain though.

Solar oven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380136)

Aluminized Mylar sheet over the dish, vacuum pump behind the dish... Variable focus reflector. Yay!

Birdbath (0, Redundant)

trainsnpep (608418) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380142)

A birdbath for ostriches and emus. Except, you need to leave it on the ground since they can't fly.

Super Ear (2)

CrepitousCurmudgeon (1572327) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380144)

Remove the LNA bits, put your head in the same spot and then swivel the reflector towards a neighbor's house. Instant super ears. Now put a microphone in the same place, use the old coax line to bring the output into the home, connect to the audio input on your PC. Use Audacity [sourceforge.net] to record the audio. Enjoy.

cook with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380170)

Cover it with tinfoil, wait for a sunny day, place a potato at the focus point of the dish. Eat.

Sound Mirror (3, Interesting)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380198)

I remember on a trip to jodrell bank playing around with a sound mirror [andrewgrantham.co.uk] where two dishes were placed pretty far apart. Due to the dishes focusing the sound where you stood, it was possible for someone to whisper into the other dish many meters away and for you to hear it.

One of the astronomers there told me that while calibrating the main 78m dish he started hearing childrens voices. They had coincidently pointed the dish at a local school and were able to hear everything said.

So may I suggest using the dish for a bit of covert surveillance of neighbours.

Re:Sound Mirror (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380280)


So may I suggest using the dish for a bit of covert surveillance of neighbours.

I don't think having a 3M dish pointed directly at your neighbours could be classified as "covert" :)

The answer is obvious: (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380230)

An umbrella.

Live feeds US air force (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380250)

I remember in the 90's my father was watching unencrypted feeds from the US air force, during the wars in Yugoslavia and the Gulf. Pretty amazing to watch live attack feeds...

Solar generator (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380264)

Weld a black powder-coated tank at the focus, and set it up as a solar steam generator. Be careful, though - the focus is *very* hot. 3rd degree burns hot.

Re:Solar generator (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380356)

Be careful, though - the focus is *very* hot. 3rd degree burns hot.

That sounds like advice from experience lol

Moonbounce/EME or FTA sattelite (1)

pa3gvr (548273) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380276)

Just get you Amateur Radio license and start bouncing signals off of the moon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EME_(communications) [wikipedia.org] http://www.nitehawk.com/rasmit/ws1_1.html [nitehawk.com] An other option is watching "free to air" FTA TV channels. If you like to channel surf just Google FTA receiver. A good receiver plus C-Band (or C/Ku) LNB will cost about $200.

Ricks Satellite Wildfeed and Backhaul Forum (4, Informative)

HansKloss (665474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380284)

Get yourself good DVB-S2 receiver like PROF 7500 USB or PROF 7301 PCI or Azbox HD
from ebay or Ricks site http://www.gofastmotorsports.com/rickssatellitehome.htm [gofastmotorsports.com]
and check out all the HD feeds you can watch.

http://rickcaylor.websitetoolbox.com/ [websitetoolbox.com]

Satelliteguys is another good website but their wild feeds subforums is invitation only
http://www.satelliteguys.us/free-air-fta-discussion/ [satelliteguys.us]

Amateur radio astronomy (1)

jddimarco (1754954) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380288)

Try some amateur radio astronomy, now that you have the fixin`s for your very own radio telescope There`s plenty of suitable resources on the web, e.g.: http://www.signalone.com/radioastronomy/telescope/ [signalone.com] http://www.bambi.net/sara.html [bambi.net] http://www.nrao.edu/epo/amateur/ [nrao.edu]

Sonic Cannon! (1)

CCTalbert (819490) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380292)

Something I've wanted to try- mount a speaker at the focal point (or actually a little off from the focal point, ideally you would focus the sound to a "point"), and then use it to torment the neighbors pets. Better yet is some manner of mounting something louder- something like a firecracker- at the focal point. And of course servo controlled X/Y pointing on the dish. And a camera "sight" in the dish connected to your computer so you can aim remotely.

I don't know how tight a focus you could get out of a TV dish, I don't know if quite the right shape.

Or, you could get two of them and then.... torment two pets at once?

Audio Eavesdropping (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380294)

A large radio telescope makes a very good audio dish (the wavelengths are similar). If you can point it to the horizon, you might be able to hear conversations a mile or more off. Of course, it works both ways - they can hear you well too.

I was once working on the receiver of a dish on the Potomac, while the dish was at "service" (i.e., pointed to the horizon, in this case over the water). When a sailboat would go through the beam, I could barely see it, but could hear the creak of the rigging and the slosh of the water, as if I was on it.

jenneNguyen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380316)

Whole communities of people who explore them can be discovered with a little Googling. They'll tell you what the best receivers are and how to set up a mechanism to swing the dish to different satellites.mua ban xe [timsethay.com]

Rly? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380320)

How about building a time maching and go back 30 years when this was interesting and relevant. Or, go to Radio Shack, which also used to be interesting and relevant. There's a reason it was left behind. The question is when you will realize why.

DIY Radio Telescope (4, Informative)

aqui (472334) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380324)

There's a number of people that have turned old TV antennas into radio telescopes.

Here's an example:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Poor-Man-s-Radio-Telescope/ [instructables.com]

For more just google "DIY radio antenna"

There's even online stores that sell everything you need:

http://www.radioastronomysupplies.com/radio_astronomy_supplies.php [radioastro...pplies.com]

It could be an interesting project.

Solar Furnace (1)

shallow monkey (155686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380334)

I saw a solar furnace at a sustainability fair a couple years ago. It tracks the sun and is generally used to heat water. It is built with a satellite dish lined with mirrored material:

http://www.krawlr.com/solarfurnace/solarfurnace.htm [krawlr.com]

Bird bath (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380336)

Set it up as a bird bath, and get yourself a shotgun. With the size of the birds that would visit, you could feed your whole family.

Two words (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380416)

GIANT PAELLA [google.co.uk]

Play Ben Franklin (1)

jackjumper (307961) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380436)

As someone who had one of these, I can tell you they make excellent lightning rods... Not so good for the electronics, however.

Listen to spysats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33380444)

Spy on the spies, and listen to signals from (HEO and geostationary) spy satellites.

lyngsat (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380446)

The website with all the satellites, all the transponders and all the frequencies

http://www.lyngsat.com/ [lyngsat.com]

You'll need some sort of receiver (lots are linux based), aim for a Dreambox, or equivalent. It's likely yo'll need to replace the LNB and cabling if it's been neglected for any length of time. You should also check to see if the dish is steerable (doubtful for that large size - too hard to stop it moving in the wind) and also get a satellite alignment meter and a compass to point to whichever satellite takes your fancy. Reckon on less than $1000, maybe even less than $500.

What I would do. (1)

Smooth and Shiny (1097089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33380474)

Find an 80 foot dog and play Frisbee fetch!
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