Yes, old Dish 500 can receive (some) FTA sats
I had an old Dish 500 dish on the side of the house from back in the day. As a FTA satellite hobbyist I loved the look of it hanging there but hated that it wasn’t doing anything. So a quick mod got it pulling in a couple channels. The mod is simple enough to be done by anyone with a little handy work.
So I think photos will do help on this topic as opposed to long drawn out explanations. Its simple really, I held the linear LNB up to the old to see where it would need to be to have the feed horn be in about the same place as the factory LNB. Found what I think the sweet spot is and drilled a hole for the mounting hardware and there she goes!
This is where I settled in on. I seemed to get the best signal here. It came up as about 49-52% Q on my meter (V8 Finder). This is the exact model I use however I don’t suggest you buy it from this link. Shipping is astronomical. Just giving you a reference point. It can be found much cheaper on fleabay, thats where I got mine.
The only real dilemma I had was in relation to the skew. Do I skew the LNB or the dish? Due to the nature of this dish’s original purpose of receiving two satellites in the arc, the dish it self is able to be skewed to meet that arc. I went ahead and skewed the LNB. It worked fine.
So that about it. It was simple and worked well for 12145 TP on 103°W. That was my target as its a very powerful transponder, exactly what is needed to receive on an undersized dish. It was a fun little project and has added that transponder to my system.