IN THE LATEST issue of Caravan World we will be running a very informative article on how to use the new VAST (Viewer Access Satellite Television).
In a nutshell, this new, free service will allow you to watch every available digital TV channel from anywhere in Australia. The picture quality is just superb plus you can even get the nightly news from your hometown area. There are actually 20 extra news channels covering Tasmania, Mount Gambier and Cairns to name a few.
Now I hear you say that satellite is just too messy for you. Yes, it used to be — in the days prior to the invention of the smartphone. Everything has changed, however, and it is now possible to find a satellite in just 30 seconds.
This occurs by way of these little programs called "apps". Nowadays, when you rock up to a campsite, you simply get out your iPhone and open iSatFinder ($1.19 from the app store). In seconds, it works out your GPS position and then tells you the angle to set your dish. All you need to do then is move your dish in the direction of north. Can’t find north? Go into Utilities in your iPhone and use the electronic compass.
This is the bit of magic. For $10 you can buy an app called DishPointer. This would have to be the cleverest thing I have seen in years and it doesn’t need the internet to work. Tell it you want Optus C1, hold it horizontally until the compass reads 156 then press "Lock compass". Raise it up above head level in front of you and you will see a bright red arc with a big red blob. This is the satellite. The clever bit is that the camera is on, so you get a real time picture of anything that is blocking the view to the satellite.
This has wonderful possibilities. You can now park in forests and simply look for a gap in the canopy. When you arrive outside a caravan park, walk around first and find a vacant site that works fine with satellite.
Even the humble satellite finder has moved on. The Digi 7 is a state of the art device and can be bought for as little as $65 from Access Antennas. When nowhere near a satellite, it sounds like a badly tuned outboard motor, but as you get closer it starts to purr. It has two red bar graphs. The more illuminated they are, the closer you are to C1.