The Kathrein Cap 900
The Kathrein CAP 900 self seeking satellite system has without doubt been the most expensive motorhome accessory I have bought, but they do say that you get what you pay for, and the Kathrein CAP 900 is no exception to this. I purchased my system from Roadpro in 2009 and have been impressed both by the system itself and also the technical assistance offered by Roadpro when I was connecting a second receiver and also running extra cables to a second television point within the motorhome.
Quite a lot of British television programs are broadcast via the ASTRA2D satellite and the “signals” are focused on the UK. The further away from the UK you travel, then generally speaking a larger satellite dish will be required to receive signals for these programs. You may have seen dishes in excess of three metres diameter in the Canary Islands for example, but of course a dish of this size and weight is not really practical for motorhomers and caravanners. The Kathrein CAP 900 operates with a 77cm dish.
The Kathrein CAP 900 comes complete with a UFS 740 receiver which is capable of receiving many of the UK channels, but the receiver is also pre programmed with various other satellites, so at the touch of a button you can easily watch French, German or Italian television! The latter is a regular feature in my motorhome and was a tremendous help when I was learning to speak Italian. It is also possible to connect another receiver, such as a Freesat box or SKY box to the Kathrein CAP 900, thus increasing the channel choice even further. The Kathrein uses GPS technology to “find” the broadcasting satellite and as such, the self seeking system very quickly finds the selected satellite.
Kathrein CAP 900 overseas
From my travels to date, I have found that the Kathrein CAP 900 performs better overseas than other systems on the market, and I am able to say this as I had a different system fitted to a previous motorhome. Once in Northern Italy, this system did not perform as well as the Kathrein does. Simple things such as darkness, cloud and rain can all affect the performance of a satellite dish when overseas.
Note the angle of the satellite dish in the above photograph. The further south you travel, the further back the satellite dish must tilt in order to align with the satellite transmitter. Don’t worry though, the Kathrein CAP 900 takes care of this as the system is “self seeking” meaning human involvement is not required! Despite being surrounded by trees, this photograph shows the Kathrein CAP 900 earning it’s living at Millau, France.
The signal strength and quality mentioned below relates to the onscreen display for the Kathrein CAP 900 system and not the strength indicators for a Sky box.
Reception reports for the Kathrein CAP 900
March 2011, Paris, France – all UK channels available and the on screen display shows 100% signal strength and quality.
April 2011, Sully sur Loire, France – all UK channels available and the on screen display shows 100% signal strength and quality.
April 2011, Millau, France – all UK channels available and the on screen display shows 97% signal strength and 90% quality
April 2011, Santa Susanna, Spain - all UK channels available and the on screen display shows 93% signal strength and 79% quality.
April 2011, Avignon, France – all UK channels available.. 93% signal strength and 88% quality.
April 2011, Antibes, France - all UK channels available. 97% signal strenth and 90% quality.
April 2011, Cerial, Italy – (50 miles west of Genoa) – all UK channels available – even in darkness – signal strength 97%, quality 70 – 80% (darkness). Given the location, the reception of the BBC & ITV channels is impressive and demonstrates the Kathrein CAP 900 performance overseas.
April 2011, Pisa, Italy – C5 and all SKY channels available. BBC Oxford available at certain times of day. By changing the frequency settings on the SKY box, it was also possible to receive ITV and C4 transmissions.
April 2011, Rome, Italy – C5 and all SKY channels available. No BBC. ITV & C4 as per Pisa. Strength and quality both 93%
April 2011, Pompei, Italy - See above photo for location and signal indications. All SKY channels available, plus ITV, C4 and C5. The transponder settings were manually changed on the SKY box.
May 2011 Orvieto, North of Rome, Italy – as Pisa
May 2011, Florence, Italy – as Pisa
May 2011, Manerba del Garda, Lake Garda - all channels available.
June 2011, Lucerne, Switzerland – all channels available
June 2011, Obernai, near Strasbourg , France – all channels available
Throughout my travels, I will update this page with the performance of the Kathrein CAP 900 in respect of receiving the channels broadcast via the ASTRA2D satellite.