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Canal Boats & Narrowboats


Although a domestic satellite dish may work on your canal boat / narrowboat, there are now many specialist marine options available.

Some of you may be surprised to know that satellite systems are available for canal boats. They come in various guises from compact portable suitcase units to low-profile fixed roof domes.

The principal advantages of satellite reception over standard digital free-view are clarity of image and number of available channels. Some may not see this as a particular advantage but as with all things boating, it’s your personal choice that matters!

So you need a satellite dish and a digital satellite receiver. A standard domestic dish would work but may cause issues with mounting and clearance at some bridges so it’s probably best to go for a specifically designed portable dish or, as we mentioned above, a roof mounted dome. Do your maths carefully if choosing this option. We have seen the odd dome around the network that’s got a non-standard chunk out of it due to clearance issues!
Portable dishes have the added advantage of being able to be mounted at either end of the boat thus increasing tuning options.

With regards the receiver, Free-sat was set up by the BBC to provide a quality, free, but relatively limited (140 odd stations), access to digital TV across the UK. Sky have their own Free-sat system which offers a few more free choices for a little more money. The Sky box is an option for those who require more, such as access to more sporting choices but there will be a monthly subscription to this service.

Receivers can be in the form of stand-alone boxes but televisions are also available that have built in HD satellite receivers. These compact units are ideal space-saving devices.

Receiving the signal is simple. Point the dish at the satellite and press play on the receiver. Satellite finders are essential as the dish has to be precisely pointed at the signal source and with the meandering of the canal, a compass will give you a rough idea at which point to initially direct the dish towards before fine tuning.

So that’s satellite TV in a nutshell. A satellite dish and receiver combo simply replace a conventional aerial and allow the user greater access to TV programmes.
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