How to Install a Satellite Dish

How to Install a Satellite Dish

Choosing The Site for Dish Installation;
The first thing you need to do is choose the installation site. The area must have a clear "line of sight" to the satellite. This means there can be no obstruction between the dish and the satellite. This includes building, tree branches, mountain, etc. In order to receive a good signal, select an outdoor site with a clear, unobstructed view of the South, Southeast, or Southwest. If you install the dish in the winter, leaves that are normally on the branches may not be present. A problem with reception may occur when the leaves grow back in the spring and summer.

Dish Pointing Basics;
To receive broadcast signals for Astra 1 or any satellite, your dish must be positioned correctly. The exact direction that your antenna will have to be pointed is dependent upon your location. The elevation angle is the angle relative to the horizon, that the antenna must be raised in order to be able to receive signals from a particular satellite. The azimuth compass bearing is the compass bearing, left to right, that the antenna must be pointed toward in order to receive the satellite signal. Those two angles will help you determine if the location you have selected for placement of your antenna will permit unimpeded satellite reception. If you don't know the elevation angle and the azimuth compass bearing of where you live type in your address here
To calculate the elevation and the azimuth, you need to know the satellite degree and your GPS co-ordinates. For example: Astra 1 is at 19.2east, Hotbird is at 13east, and Hispasat is at 30west. If you are not familiar with the orientation of the location where you would like to place the antenna, a directional compass will be very helpful.

1. Hold the compass horizontally in your hand in front of you.

2. Ensure that you are at an adequate distance away from any metal object that may give you a false compass indication. As you hold the compass, allow the compass needle to stop moving. Once it has stabilized, the arrow or red end of the compass needle should point toward the North.

3. Gently rotate the compass such that the 0-degree mark on the compass scale sits under the arrow, or red end of the needle, pointing toward the North .

4. Since 0 degrees on the compass denotes North you can now locate the compass azimuth bearing on the compass scale. You will probably note that the direction of the satellite, as indicated on the angle calculation or data sheet, is somewhat towards the South. That direction is the physical direction that the dish will have to be pointed.

5. Once you have oriented yourself in that direction, consider the elevation angle. Now, make a judgment based on the elevation angle of where you live. Keep in mind that 45 degrees is halfway between 0 degrees and the horizon while 90 degrees is straight up. If while looking in that direction, given both the compass azimuth and elevation for your location, you do not see any obstacles, that location should be adequate for the placement and installation of your dish-antenna.

Dish Aiming Procedure;
1. With the dish facing South and an unobstructed view of the sky, place the compass on the ground 10' to 20' behind the dish to avoid magnetic interference. Turn the compass until the compass needle aligns exactly with magnetic North (or make sure the color needle points north at 0 degrees). Use a straight object such as a stick or rod between the compass and the dish to match the Azimuth angle of your location. Move the whole dish to face the same direction as the stick or rod.

2. Set your basic elevation angle. Refer to the elevation scale located on the elevation plate at the back of your dish. To set the correct elevation angle, loosen the bolts that connects the elevation plate to the triangle base just enough so that the reflector can move up or down without binding. Carefully set the elevation to the angle value of your area. You can get you elevation and azimuth readings by typing in your address here

Dish Alignment;
If you do not have a Satellite TV Meter follow the directions below.
Before the actual dish alignment can be done, it is necessary to connect a coax cable between the LNBF, attached to the dish and your receiver. Both connections use the standard coaxial F-connector. Now your dish will be in position to lock in on the satellite signal. You will need to have your receiver connected to your television.

It is recommended that you place your satellite receiver and television set close to the dish during the dish alignment procedure. If that is not possible due to where the dish is located, a second person may be helpful to relay information seen on the screen of the TV when the dish is being aligned. Do not turn the power on until all the cable connections have been made. There are two options when connecting the receiver to your television or monitor. The receiver has both audio/video outputs as well as a regular coax output. Attach the appropriate cables according to the system you have. If you use the standard coax, UHF output, ensure that you select the channel, that is not used in your area for local off-air broadcast television. Your television would have to be set to the channel you selected, in order for you to receive the programming. If the audio/video/SCART outputs are used, your television typically would need to be switched to the "video" input mode.

Now turn on your receiver and television. Use the on screen menu to locate the signal strength meter on your television.

Ask a helper to watch the signal strength screen for indications you are receiving the signal. Stand behind the dish, and holding its outer edges, slowly turn it a little to the left or right about 3 or 4 mm at a time to adjust the azimuth. Pause 4 or 5 seconds, giving the receiver enough time to lock in on the satellite signal. Continue turning the dish in this way until you have acquired the signal then adjust the elevation for maximum signal quality.