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How To Set Up Satellite TV

Dish Installation

 

The satellites are "parked" approximately
22,300 miles above the equator. In reality, the satellites travel from west to
east, but to us on Earth they appear stationary because they match the exact
speed of the Earth's rotation. (This is a geostationary orbit.) If you stand up
now, turn towards the southern hemisphere, and tilt your head up to the heavens,
you'll be looking in the general direction of our satellite


Step 1: Site Survey
 

The first step is critical as it will determine your
eligibility to receive satellite signals. Not all homes
are cable of receiving signals as natural barriers such
as trees, mountains and also man-made barriers such as
buildings and other structures can block signals. Many
areas will be able to receive some satellites, but
possibly not others because of these barriers. If your
site survey reveals that you are not able to receive the
entire satellite belt, you will need to determine the
best location for your dish to be able to receive the
satellites of most importance to you. Bear in mind that
if a particular location in your yard is not suitable,
moving the location 100 feet or more can make a
tremendous difference.

Consult our

Free to Air Channel Listing
and pay particular
attention to the satellites that you are interested in
receiving. Each satellite will have an orbital slot,
such as 119 degrees West. You should now choose the
furthest Eastern satellite and note down the orbital
location. Now choose the furthest Western satellite and
note down the orbital location. The difference in the
two locations is your ideal uncorrected satellite range
that you will be aiming to receive. Note that your
actual pointing direction will require correction due to
the difference between true and magnetic North. You will
now need to lookup your Eastern and Western satellite
locations on our

Satellite Pointing Page
in order to receive your
corrected values. Select the city nearest to you and
select the far eastern satellite from the list. Your
"Azimuth" or compass heading will be calculated, note it
down. This is the precise compass direction that you
will need to point to in order to receive that
satellite. Now repeat the procedure for the far western
satellite.

The two locations are your corrected ideal range of
view. Additionally, if there is a particular satellite
of paramount importance to you, will will also want to
note down the azimuth for it as well, as you will want
to ensure that you can receive it, even if it means not
being able to receive some others. Also make a note of
the elevation of the satellite. The lower the elevation,
the closer it is to the horizon. You will also need to
bear in mind of your physical location. If you live near
the East coast, the farthest western satellites will be
much farther down on the horizon that the Eastern
satellites. This will make it more likely that trees to
buildings can block the signals. If you live near the
West coast, the opposite is true.

You will now need a good compass. Walk outside and
locate your far eastern satellite azimuth on your
compass. If the elevation for the satellite is low to
the ground, such as 5-10 degrees, you will want to make
sure that there are no tall trees or other obstacles in
your path within 200-400 feet from you. Now slowly sweep
your compass west until your reach your far western
satellite azimuth. As well make sure there are no tall
trees in the way. Are there any tall trees in between
the two points? If so, you may want to try other areas
of your yard to see if a better location is available.
If there are some tall trees in your way and there is a
particular satellite of interest to you, you will want
to compromise so as to favor reception of that
particular satellite over some less important ones. Once
you have located an ideal location, ensure that you will
be able to install a pole in the ground at that location
and also that you will be able to bury the coaxial cable
from the location to your house.


Step 2: Aquire and Install
Mounting Pole

You will now need to determine the diameter of your
mounting pole as well as the height of the pole. Most
small Ku band dishes use a 1 5/8" diameter pole. Larger
dishes will require a larger diameter of pole. If you
already have your dish, consult the manual or measure
the mounting bracket. Your pole should be a minimum of
5' above the ground and 18-24" below the ground. If you
have some obstacles to overcome, you may wish to use a
taller mounting pole. Your pole will need to be secured
with numerous bags of concrete to prevent movement. A
general rule of thumb is one bag for every foot of pole
height. Stormy locations may require more. For best
results, use a steel pole which can be obtained from
most steel fabricators. You will also need a 4' level
and a small torpedo level.

Dig a hole 18-24" or more below the surface. Install
the pole and fill the hole with concrete. You will also
want to use a generous amount of concrete above the
surface or you will need to bury the pole deeper.
Assuming the cut on the top of the pole is a square 90
degree cut, place the torpedo level on the top of the
pole and the 4' level on the sides of the pole. The pole
must be both plumb (90 degrees vertically) and level (90
degrees horizontally). Check for plumb in three
directions on the pole and also place some sort of brace
against the pole, preventing movement while concrete is
curing. You will need to check the pole for plumb
several times in the first few hours to ensure no
movement has occured and correct it if it has. You also
need to allow 24-48 hours to the concrete to harden
before attempting to mount the dish. Once cured, the
dish should be solidly mounted and should not move if
shook. If movement occurs, you will need to further
solidify the pole with additional concrete above the
surface.


Step 3: Install Dish
 

Installation of standard stationary dish

A standard installation of a stationary dish or
several dishes connected to a DiSc switch is fairly
straight forward. Many late model digital receivers come
with an on-screen dish signal meter, however you may
find it far easier to purchase a low cost satellite
signal finder, available from most satellite retailers
for under $25. The signal finder will allow you to
locate Ku band satellite signals as well as fine tune
them for optimum operation.

Your first step will be to run your coaxial cable
from your house and satellite receiver to your dish
location, allowing for enough cable to secure it to your
mounting pole and run through your dish and to your
LNBF. It is always better to leave too much cable until
your permanently mount your dish rather than too little.
For best results, you should staple the cable to the
side of your house and bury any exposed portion that
runs across the ground to prevent damage. When stapling,
ensure that your staple does not penetrate the cable or
you will have a short which will prevent your system
from operating.

Assuming that you have a pole in the ground in in
some cases a mounting bracket affixed to a solid surface
and assuming that you have checked the mounting pole or
bracket to insure that it is both plumb and level, you
should assemble the dish and LNBF mounting arm assembly.
At this time, you should have all your satellite
locations as well as all your elevation and azimuth
settings. As your dish will be fixed in one position in
the sky, you will be limited to whatever programming is
on the satellite of choice. Locate your chosen
satellites elevation and set the elevation angle on your
satellite dish, you will find the elevation reference
points on the side of your dish. Bear in mind that you
may still need to fine tune it after you have located
your signal. Mount the dish to your mounting pole, run
your coaxial cable to your LNBF, set your satellite dish
polarization by adjusting or rotating the LNBF to the
required setting and secure your LNBF to your dish. Most
dish manufacturers include a polarization scale that you
can use as a reference. You will still need to adjust
this setting later, so tighten the LNBF just enough to
prevent movement. If you are using an external signal
finder, connect the LNBF end to the LNBF and the coaxial
from your house to the receiver side of the finder.

Step 4: Receiver Setup

You should now have your dish mounted temporarily
outside and your coaxial cable connected to it. The dish
should be set to the elevation and polarization that you
calculated earlier. Connect the coaxial from your
satellite dish to the receiver and connect the receiver
to your television. Consult your receivers operating
manual for the setup setting. Initial satellite setup
varies from receiver to receiver, some are easier than
others. Follow the setup procedure and setup the
satellite from which you will be receiving programming
from. Once you have this complete, you will want to
return outside to your satellite dish in order to locate
your desired satellite.


Step 5: Satellite Dish Alignment
 

Assuming that you have your elevation and
polarization setting correct, and assuming that you have
a signal finder connected to your dish, set your signal
meters sensitivity to the half way point. Move the dish
to the far left and slowly rotate it right until your
signal meter picks up an active signal. One you have
locked onto an active signal, you will need to adjust
the signal finders sensitivity so that you can find the
optimum signal strength. Once you have peaked the signal
by adjusting the dishes azimuth, you should return
inside to insure that you have locked onto the correct
satellite. Peruse the available satellite channels and
compare them to your satellite channel reference. If you
are locked onto the wrong satellite, you need to return
outside and continue searching for the correct
satellite. Once you have the correct satellite, you now
should return to the on screen dish tuning meter and
return outside. Once again, ensure you have optimum
signal by minutely adjusting the sign from left to right
until you have peaked the signal. Once you have achieved
the optimum signal, you should lock the dish into
position by securing the azimuth adjustment bolts which
secure it to your mounting pole.

You now need to loosen the elevation bolts so that
you can slowly adjust the dishes elevation for optimum
signal strength. Once again, you may need to adjust your
signal finders sensitivity to achieve this. Slowly move
the dish up and down again until you have peaked the
signal strength and lock the dish into position.

The final setting is to fine tune the polarization
setting. Some receivers have a seperate meter for this,
consult your manual for details on accessing this
feature. You may find it easier to have a person on the
inside watching the meter while you are adjusting the
dish on the outside. Loosen the LNBF and slowly rotate
it clockwise and counterclockwise until you have
achieved the optimum signal. Once complete, disconnect
the signal finder from the LNBF, measure the final
coaxial cable length, allowing a short drip loop to hang
from the bottom of the LNBF mounting arm and permanently
secure the LNBF and all other mounting bolts.

Your final signal strength should be in excess of 60%
or more. If it is below that level, you will need to
check for obstacles in the satellites path, such as
trees. A low signal will cause outages in heavy rain or
other weather. This is known as rain fade. If you have a
tree in your way, you my find upgrading to a larger dish
is necessary. This is also true of satellites that do
not specifically target your area in their footprint.
Once you have achieved a good signal, congratulations
and enjoy your free to air system.

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