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Choosing the right place to install your satellite dish

First, make sure you get an AF1 site survey tool.  This has an excellent compass and clinometer.  This will help you determine if there is an obstruction (building, trees, etc....) blocking your satellite signal from the satellite bird.  If you don't want to spend the money on the site survey tool, get yourself a compass here

 

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, depending on your location.  In most cases, eastern United States will need a clear line of site of southwestern sky.  Central United States needs a clear line of site of the southern sky, and the west coast will need a clear line of site towards the south eastern sky. 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.

 

Walk outside and look around.  Most satellites are located to your south.  Go to our satellite look angle calculator and find the azimuth of the satellite you are trying to point to.  Keep in mind, azimuth is the compass direction, where you point your satellite dish.  Now, look on your compass and locate where you would have to point your dish.  If you are using an AF1 site survey tool, look through the eyepiece on the compass side and locate the azimuth of the satellite you are trying to point to.  Then flip the AF1 site survey tool and look through the  clinometer to the elevation specified in the satellite look angle calculator.  If you see no obstructions at the particular elevation, then you can go ahead and install your satellite dish. 

 

If you see a tree or building blocking the direct line of site to the satellite, then either move back or move forward on to the other side of the obstruction and try the previous steps.  If you are in doubt, it's always good to get a professional satellite installer to come out and either install the system for you or at least do a site survey to let you know where you must install the satellite dish. 

 

Here is some tips and tricks to help you further

 

Make certain that the pole or tri-mast assembly is vertically plumb. Check it with a level. If the pole or tri-mast is not plumb, your azimuth and elevation will not be accurate and will cause difficulty when pointing the dish. Also, if you are using a pole mount, make certain you pour a sufficient footing that will provide proper ballast. A pole that does not have sufficient ballast will lean over time, causing you to lose the signal. Your mount must be very strong and can not wobble. You must use at least 4 lag screws (correct size for your installation) in the base mount one on each corner.

When pointing the satellite dish, allow 5-10 seconds between any movements of the dish. This allows the receiver to complete a -signal scan, and lock indicating that you have located the signal.

A reasonable signal strength is between 50 and 80. If it is lower than that range, you are either pointing into an object (e.g. trees, shrubs, or structures) or pointing above or below the satellite. Your antenna installation position must have a clear view angle of the satellite you are trying to receive.

 

There are other satellites within 2 degrees to the left or right that may use the same frequency. This will provide a strong signal strength reading but no signal quality or signal lock. If you have a high strength reading but are not able to lock on, try adjusting the dish slightly to the right or left.

 

When you are attempting to set up a satellite dish in a heavily wooded area or one with lots of man made obstructions, it helps to understand how the dish really works. One common misconception is that the dish points 'directly' at the satellite. This isn't the case for most dish designs. Prime focal dishes point 'directly' to the satellite, but offset dishes point 15 or more degrees (depending on manufacturer) below there the satellite is actually located.  Take a look at this diagram.... it's easier to see it than it is to explain it.....

 

More Resources.....

 

 

 

 

 

Satellite Motor Installation Help Pre-Installation Site Survey Dish Position Calculator (AZ/EL)

 

www.Galaxy-Marketing.com Satellite Blog & News

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