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PART FIVE - Are there any hobbies related to owning a big dish system? Absolutely! Having a big dish system means more than just standard TV watching and satellite audio listening. Probably the largest hobby element to big dish ownership today involves having a DVB/MPEG-2 free-to-air receiver. Unlike standard big dish viewing, DVB/MPEG-2 programming has a higher tendency of being here today and gone tomorrow. DVB/MPEG-2 is also great for its abundance of non-"cable type" programming, particularly international programming. With the right receiver, DVB/MPEG-2 has the added bonus of allowing industrious (and patient) big dish aficionados to possibly find a channel that has never been found before. Another "alternative" form of enjoying TVRO is listening to "non-standard" audio. Besides standard subcarrier audio, there is a fair amount of DVB/MPEG-2 audio for the big dish owner's listening enjoyment. There are also two other forms of non-standard audio that, with a little effort and investment, can be tuned. Although having long been abandoned by commercial radio networks for digital transmission methods (DAT/SEDAT and, more recently, Starguide-III systems), analog single channel per carrier (SCPC) audio is still an interesting diversion from standard satellite radio listening. There was once a large amount of audio carried using analog SCPC; the amount today is limited to roughly 20 feeds on two satellites. In order to receive analog SCPC, you will need either a dedicated analog SCPC receiver, such as those made by Universal Electronics, or use the "poor man's" method by splitting the 70 MHz loop signal output from an older TVRO receiver, with one of the split outputs going to a broadcast TV audio tuner and the other returning to the 70 MHz loop input. Having a phase-lock loop LNB as part of your system will help dramatically for those seriously intent on more than casual analog SCPC listening as the audio will tend to drift with a standard LNB, forcing the listener to have to constantly re-tune the signal. Another form of non-standard satellite audio is FM Squared, often written as FM2, FM^2, or even FM/FM. FM Squared is another older method of analog satellite audio delivery; interestingly enough, it occupies the space on a transponder signal normally used for video. The amount of FM Squared audio available is even less than that of analog SCPC, limited mainly to some in-store audio networks, AP Network News, and some remaining Muzak "environmental music" feeds. Unfortunately, the best method of receiving FM Squared isn't cheap; a wideband radio scanner that tunes between 0 and 5 MHz is needed and few (like the ICOM R100) scanners have this capability. Not only that, such capable scanners are VERY expensive and the benefit of listening to such few remaining audio services probably doesn't justify the cost unless the scanner is going to be used for actual radio scanning as well. The scanner connects to your satellite receiver's baseband output connection. For information on remaining analog SCPC and FM Squared programming locations, checkout out Monitoring Times Satellite Services Guide web page at: http://www.grove-ent.com/mtssg.html Audio isn't the only big dish hobby possibility. With a good horizon-to-horizon, or H-to-H, mount, you can track some international satellites with your big dish system. This is especially true of satellite systems located on the east coast of the United States and Canada. The H-to-H mount allows for more dish movement (a full 180 degrees) than a standard non-motorized mount with an actuator. A good H-to-H mount is fairly expensive at around $400. For the big-time dish hobbyist, the cost is probably well worth it. With special tracking equipment, your TVRO system can also track inclined orbit satellites. Satellites usually go into an inclined orbit once most of their onboard fuel supply is gone. By allowing a satellite to fall into a natural north-south drift when its fuel supply is low allows the life of the satellite to be extended without much cost or added control by the company that owns the satellite. Tracking an inclined orbit satellite requires the use of a special dual axis mount that covers both horizontal and vertical tracking. Most inclined communications satellites are over Europe but there are a few over the Western Hemisphere as well.