3. You need an FTA (Free-to-Air) MPEG-II (MPEG-2) DVB-compliant receiver, along with the dish hardware, etc., that has a clear line of sight to one of the satellites carrying 3ABN. In North America, we recommend a 75 cm or larger satellite dish; a smaller dish may work, but the signal will die more easily due to rain fade. Check out the satellite coverage map to see which satellites cover your area. See our satellite parameters page for basic receiver settings and a list of the 3ABN channels available from each satellite. Please note that technical support for people who build their own system is very limited; most likely we will not be able to give you detailed, step-by-step instructions for how to program or reprogram your receiver.
Longevity: No one can really say. At present the Iridium network is due for upgrade – expect this starting in 2017 with no firm completion date. The new network will be backward compatible with legacy handsets. Inmarsat are committed to maintaining functionality and there’s often talk of 15 year life for their satellites. Globalstar has just finished launching a bunch of new satellites so one would expect the network to be running in the present state for quite some time. Thuraya have indicated a commitment to the Australasia and European markets, but at this stage don’t have spare satellites, but there is indication that an upgrade and redundancy can be expected soon.