SHAW DIRECT  Reception Information         

Global Communications                                           
FEB 15, 2015  UPDATE
Mike Kohl
S-9141 State Road 23                                               
PHONE   (608) 546-2523 
Plain, WI  53577-9612   U.S.A.                                 
E-MAIL   globalcm@mhtc.net

We are pioneers in providing satellite reception solutions around the world.  Please contact MIKE by EMail or telephone if you have any questions on Canadian satellite television.  Global Communications can provide appropriate satellite antennas and other reception components for snowbirds and others in the United States and Mexico, as well as limited areas of the Caribbean and Central America.  Having followed Shaw Direct and its predecessor Star Choice since the start of service in 1997, we have a broad working knowledge of installation and troubleshooting across North America.
Since July 2012, Bell TV (formerly known as Bell ExpressVu) no longer provides a usable signal outside of Canada, with the possible exception of U.S. border areas less than 150 miles from Canadian soil.  This fact, along with a very arrogant attitude by Bell to their customers, suggests that anyone with a Bell system is much better off switching to Shaw Direct.
Shaw Direct's signal coverage (on Anik F1R at 107.3 West and Anik F2 at 111.1 West) extends not only to all of Canada and the U.S. Lower 48, but with appropriate sized antennas, service is also possible in parts of Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, northern Central America and the extreme western Caribbean.  American small dish systems DISH and DirecTV have paralleled Bell TV with recent moves to limit their coverage to Sunbelt areas south of the Rio Grande.  This leaves Shaw Direct now the defacto system of choice by "gringos" in Mexico, because of its high quality, ease of installation., 

You do need a Canadian service address with telephone in order to set up and maintain an account, but once you are in the system, they are thrilled to have you as a customer.
GEOGRAPHIC COVERAGE BY SHAW DIRECT:

Shaw Direct places a very solid signal across populated areas of Canada as well as allow of the U.S. Lower 48.  While still at a respectable level throughout Mexico, it is substantially weaker, and those snowbirds attempting to use a 60E antenna will be disappointed and often frustrated at the results while attempting to receive HD channels, found on both Anik F1R and F2 at 107 and 111.  

The first map outlines receive signal levels on Anik F1R/107 in contours, with +52 dBw being the strongest signal, found in Eastern Canada.  If you go outside the +48 dBw ring to a lower level, do not expect the 60 cm elliptical dish with Quad LNBF to work well, especially in bad weather.  The +46 level covers most of Mexico, but please note that all channels are not at the same power level, with MPEG-4 HD signals typically being 2.5 dB and lower than a regular standard definition signal.  While standard definition channels may work fine, bad weather will rapidly interfere with HD reception.  Time of day can also make a difference, especially with an aging LNBF.  A look at the second map shows that Anik F2 at 111 West is down in level from Anik F1R, but provides coverage slightly further south into Central America.  If your situation is in question, or if you want the peace of mind that comes with having extra signal margin to avoid most of these possible problems, a larger dish (or two separate larger dishes) can usually provide a solution.  We have used independently acquired 85 and 90 cm antennas instead of the normal 75E antenna supplied by Shaw Direct.  Please note that the Quad LNBF shipped with a Shaw system will NOT match any other antenna, so you may need to consider separate LNBFs for each satellite (Anik F1R at 107 and Anik F2 at 111), and connect to an external switch, for 2 satellite reception.  Trying to cram two LNBFs onto a multifeed assembly such as that found on the Patriot 85E antenna can sometimes work, but it leaves little extra signal, and can be a weak link in your system that sometimes requires periodic additional re-alignment.  Two separate 85 or 90 cm dishes, each with an LNBF dedicated to that satellite only, will typically give you a 2 or 3 dB improvement over a combined LNBF for multiple satellites received on one dish.  Still another method to extract more signals is to take a much larger offset dish such as a 1.2 meter (4 foot), 1.8 meter (6 foot), or 2.4 meter (8 foot), fabricate a multiple feed bracket, and find each satellite separately, locking in the hardware securely once things are optimized for maximum signal.

 
   
                     107.3 West / Anik F1R coverage map
                     111.1 West / Anik F2 coverage map
                    107.3 West / Anik G1 Extended Band coverage map

 

 
The new ANIK G1 satellite presents some challenges as well as opportunities.  See the last coverage map just above, and note that it only is listed down to the +48 contour, and that only extends less than 300 miles onto U.S. soil.  This means that the stock SHAW DIRECT 75E antenna with Xtended Quad LNBF should work for this new satellite at least down to the +48 dBw ring under most conditions.  But given any heavy precipitation situations, you might as well think about separate larger antennas once in the U.S.  The Anik G1 satellite does NOT replace the two existing ANIK F1R and ANIK F2 satellites.  It SUPPLEMENTS them, with the primary mission to add about 75 new HD services across Canada.  It will include some HD feeds from local broadcast affiliates.  But it should have little or no effect on the availability of channels that are presently viewed on existing satellites ANIK F1R and ANIK F2.  
Not readily apparent is the possible coverage of ANIK G1 to the South of locations within the predicted +48 contours.
Bigger antennas can sometimes perform small miracles, within reason.  We predict that on the East Coast, there will be a number of locations between the latitudes of Cincinnati and Atlanta where it will be possible to receive reliable signals from ANIK G1, through the use of a sufficiently large enough antenna.  Possible areas to the west could include Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver and Kansas City.  We would appreciate any input from viewers during coming weeks, to see what actually works.  This also allows us to introduce a new product to those with larger offset Ku-band antennas.  Global Communications has put together a number of components that can make an add-on kit for those wanting to receive Shaw Direct's Anik G1 satellite, and use existing or American-sourced Ku-band antennas instead of having to pay the rather expensive delivered cost of a 75E antenna, which will have limited areas for successful use anyway.

Enter the EXTENDED KU-BAND LNBF, with two separate outputs.
It has an unusual local oscillator frequency, which matches that of the 3-satellite Xtended Quad Ku-Band LNBF's 107 West side, shipped with recent SHAW DIRECT systems during the past year.  This allows one to use an existing Ku-band antenna and replace a conventional 10750 MHz local oscillator device for the 107.3 West satellite with the new EXTENDED KU BAND LNBF.  It is backwards compatible to the channel mapping given to new installed Xtended Ku systems from Shaw Direct.  A separate 22 KHz switch also selects a "normal" Ku-band LNBF to access the 111.1 West ANIK F2 satellite.  Existing receivers must be remapped for the entire system, and Shaw Direct will not mix conversion schemes for individual receivers in your system.  All receivers in newly activated systems use the Xtended Quad LNBF logic, and all existing receivers in a converted system must be set up for the same.  If you have an old one-dish system with normal Ku-band LNBF fixed on Anik F1R, you will need to acquire a second dish as well as this new EXTENDED KU LNBF.  Might as well replace the old one at the same time.  EXTENDED KU LNBF goes on the dish pointing to 107.  Normal Ku LNBF on the dish pointing to 111.

While all of this converting is going on, you must also have at least one DSR-600 series receiver (also includes DSR-605 and the 630 DVR) in order to see the new channels found in MPEG-4 format from SHAW DIRECT.  From now on, all new services will use MPEG-4, whether they be standard definition or high definition.  MPEG-4 format requires more signal than previous old regular Digicipher 2, which means that undersized antennas will need to be replaced.  Even the DSR-505 HD receiver will be invisible to ANIK G1, and any MPEG-4 channels that happen to go onto existing satellites ANIK F1R and ANIK F2.  While you will continue to receive signals from ANIK F1R and F2, Shaw Direct will begin a process of converting some existing channels to MPEG-4, to allow a further increase in their channel capacities.  Therefore, if you want all of the channels that you are paying for, getting at least the basic model DSR-600 is a good idea.  It will give you standard as well as high definition reception, in new and old formats.  

 
ANTENNA SUGGESTIONS:  
  30 x 36-inch elliptical offset       PATRIOT 85-E or equivalent Medium Duty / High Gain
NOTE that Patriot Antenna is no longer in business and is used only for illustration.
"Bigger"      120 cm to 240 cm offset antennas
                   
Larger Commercial Antennas - 
Custom Installations -
We have electronics packages that include 2-output Extended Ku-Band LNBF for 107, and a conventional 2-output Ku-band LNBF for 111 West satellite.

Also a multifeed bracket system to allow installation of both LNBFs onto a 1.2 meter, 1.5 meter, 1.8 meter or 2.4 meter antenna, for "fringe area" reception of Anik G1.

22 KHz switches are also available. 

 

 
RECEIVER OPTIONS:  
DSR-600 Basic High Definition Receiver with Infrared Remote Control
Combines a full-featured MPEG-4 capable digital receiver with an advanced HDTV decoder to deliver dazzling high definition programming.
Easy to use interactive menu.
Enhanced viewer menu system contains an interactive program guide (IPG) that provides extensive program information.
Output connectors include:

Channel 3/4 RF Out via F connector
HDMI for High Definition Video/Audio
Yellow RCA for standard video
Red & White RCA for stereo audio 
DSR-605 Deluxe High Definition Receiver with UHF Remote Control
All of the basic features of the 
DSR-600  -plus-

Triple Video Component for HD video
(no Ch 3/4 RF modulator)

UHF F-connector for whip antenna

NOTE:  Model DSR-605 no longer available since it was discontinued by Shaw Direct

Output connectors include:

HDMI for High Definition video/audio
Triple Video Component for HD video
Yellow RCA for standard video
Red & White RCA for stereo audio 
DVR-630 Deluxe High Definition DVR Receiver with UHF Remote Control
Output connectors
Same as DSR-605

320 GB hard drive can record up to 175 hours of standard definition and 45 hours of HD programming
  NOTE:  Information given on the 630 strictly for comparison purposes.
Due to questionable reliability of this receiver, we do not recommend or sell it, and suggest that you consider one of the other two HD receivers along with a DVD recorder or other separate digital recording device.
LNBF OPTIONS:  
KU-SAT Extended Ku-Band LNBF  (RED Base)          Custom LO 2 output LNBF for ANIK F1R and ANIK G1
KU-SAT Standard Ku-Band LNBF  (BLACK Base)     10750 MHz LO 2 output LNBF for ANIK F2
PANSAT PF-7600 Single Ku-Band LNBF                   10750 MHz LO Single output LNBF for ANIK F2 
PANSAT PT-5900  Dual-output Ku LNBF                   10750 MHz LO Deluxe 2 output LNBF for ANIK F2
   
SWITCH OPTIONS: NO SWITCH REQUIRED FOR SINGLE RECEIVER, SINGLE SATELLITE
22 KHz Switch  (ONE) 2-SATELLITE,  SINGLE RECEIVER INSTALLATION
22 KHz Switch  (TWO) 2-SATELLITE, TWO RECEIVER INSTALLATION   (or single DVR-630)
1 COAX CABLE FROM DISH FARM TO EACH SEPARATE LOCATION.
5-input  8-output  Powered Multi-Switch
Consumer Unit, with separate power supply
2-SATELLITE, UP TO 8 RECEIVER INSTALLATION
4 COAX CABLES NEEDED FROM DISH FARM TO CENTRAL LOCATION
FOR SATELLITE.  OFF-AIR VHF-UHF INPUT AVAILABLE.
   
MULTIFEED BRACKET OPTIONS:  
2-satellite reception from One Large Offset Dish 2-SATELLITE MULTIFEED BRACKET ALLOWS ONE DISH TO GET BOTH 107 & 111 SATS.