The satellite market is full of automatic self-seeking satellite systems, some are good quality some are not so good. One thing that is for certain is that they are in the not too distant future going to experience problems locking onto the Astra 2.
This is because the satellite that is orbiting earth beaming down the Astra 2 signal is now coming to the end of its life cycle. The satellite weighs about 5 tons and has large solar panels that produce the power needed to transmit the TV and radio signals from it
These solar panels also charge up the nuclear batteries used to power the satellite as it passes through the earth’s shadow (when in darkness), allowing it to function normally. On average the life span of a satellite is around 12-15 years, at this point the batteries and transmitter boosters will have deteriorated so much that they can no longer be used. Another factor that determines the life span is the fuel. These satellites have steering boosters, these are used to keep the satellite in the correct orbit. The last bit of fuel is used to propel the satellite out of orbit in order to make way for the new one.
During February 2014 the satellite that supplies the signals for Astra2 will be starting its first stage of its replacement, bringing a new frequency and band with it. At this stage uncertainty starts to creep in. This unknown frequency and band is where the systems are going to have difficulty finding the Astra 2 satellite.
In August 1998 the Astra 2 satellite was first launched, although since then 9 more satellites have appeared on either side of the Astra 2. Now you can see why changing the frequency and the bandwidth causes problems with the satellite dishes finding the Astra 2 satellite when on automatic search. The foot print of the new satellite is also uncertain which means the point at which you start to loose TV channels, say when you are in France is also unknown.
In August 2014 the second stage of the renewal will be completed and all of the uncertainties will be then clarified.
At LAS Motorhomes we have prepared a step by step guide for you to follow, allowing you to re-program your Oyster set yourself.
N.B. If you are the owner of a first generation system (the one with the map of Europe on the control panel) you will no longer be able to update it. The system however, can be upgraded to the second generation while still using your original dish.