Satellite TV the EasyFind way
You’ve probably seen those impressive, roof-mounted automatic systems at shows: they lie flat on the roof of a (usually very expensive) motorhome, then raise themselves automatically and begin searching for the satellite of you choice – all at the touch of a button. All very impressive, but unfortunately, the prices can be as stratospheric as the satellites themselves. The most sophisticated can cost in the region of £2,000 and in any case, you might not want to risk the effects of having holes drilled into the roof of your caravan or motorhome.
The obvious answer is a portable system; one that you can fold up when not in use, that you hide away to protect from theft and damage, and better still, easily transfer from one vehicle to another. There have been systems available for quite a while, but they could be so fiddly to set up, that portable AV specialists In21Now refused to stock them. This all changed with the introduction of a revolutionary new system called EasyFind – the name provides you with a clue about its benefits.
I’m not a habitual TV watcher and have always managed quite happily with terrestrial Freeview. However, when offered the chance to witness a demonstration, my curiosity got the better of me.
My tutor was Ollie Gwilt, the Operations Director of Proactive Products, which supplies satellite dishes and accessories to mobile leisure specialists, In21Now. We met up at Grantham Caravans, long-time Proactive Products stockists, who kindly allowed us the use of one of their caravans and provided a slimline Avtec television - one of the industries best sellers. Ollie brought along the entire kit, although In21Now will sell you the components separately if you are upgrading from previous equipment.
The first task was to assemble the tripod stand and then mount the Triax dish, to which is attached the folding Easyfind LNB (the bit on the front of the dish that looks like a microphone).Ollie then plugged in the Micro Electronics Free-to-Air EasyFind Satellite Receiver, which plugs straight into one of the caravan’s 12v outlets (you will probably require a double adapter if you also need to run the TV on 12 volts).
Now back to the dish for what used to be the tricky part. We were aiming to pick up the Astra2 satellite, for which you first need to set the angle of the dish. This is easy in the UK, because merely setting it at 90 degrees to the horizontal will do the trick. Now you have to find determine the direction of south: this is where that compass comes in handy, that you pulled out of a Christmas cracker five years ago and is still nestling in the kitchen drawer.
Imagine a clock face with the dish facing south at 12 o’clock. You now need to rotate the dish on its mounting pole to about 11 o’clock, but here’s the neat bit. When facing south you will see a small red light on the end of the LNB; rotate the dish slowly to the left and watch the light change from amber to green. When it remains green you are locked onto the satellite. It’s as easy as that.
The 54cm dish we used will receive all UK channels throughout the UK and will also work in Ireland and North-West France (outside that area you will require a larger dish). We set the receiver scanning and it immediately picked up hundreds of channels, including some weird and wonderful ones I wasn’t expecting (and some that I'd rather not mention). What makes it even more useful is that it can pick up the local news from every region around the UK, so you can find out what's going on in your current region, but you can also eavesdrop on the local news back home.
Then, when it is time to move on, the tripod collapses down and the LNB folds back into the dish to make it easy to pack away. The whole kit can be packed away into a heavy duty holdall about the size of a sports bag. If you have a secure place for storage, you can even leave the dish attached to the tripod if you prefer. In21Now also sells a neat little extra, the Magic Cable, which includes a ribbon section that enables you to feed the cable through a window, then close and lock it with the cable still attached.
Easyfind Touring Satellite Kit with 54cm dish £199.98
Dish - Triax Satellite dish, featuring a foldable LNB arm, including a stable non-slip mast bracket with U bolts. Galvanised steel with polyester powder coating.
Tripod – this sturdy weatherproof tripod folds down to just 85cm x 15cm x 15cm and is suitable for all dishes up to 90cm diameter, with a universal type U-bolt mounting.
HD Up-Grade - up-grade any Microelectronics satellite kit to full HD with the M150/12HD receiver.
Free to Air, 240volt/12volt operation, HDMI output. HD up-grade is £80 extra
Satellite Bag – this custom made Satellite kit bag is uniquely designed to withstand the rigours of camping. Made from a durable polyester/denier mix, with webbed carry handles and a non-rust easy glide zip. £26.40
Triax 54” satellite dish £39 (65” £49; 60” £59)
TPLW Tripod £50
Micro Electronics EasyFind Receiver inc LNB and remote control £104.58
Optional Magic Cable £19.20
Tel: 01335 344544