Choosing the right place to
install your satellite dish
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
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.
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
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
certain that the pole or tri-mast assembly is vertically plumb. Check it
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.
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.
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
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
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.....