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             16 January, 2021

Category:  Articles » Communications » Satellite-TV


How to Install a Satellite System

         Views: 2171
2009-01-28 06:24:48     
Article by Andrew Cameron Easton

Before we get started with the installation process, we need to define a few dish parts.

* Mast - Arm that is mounted to a solid surface for the satellite dish.
* Reflector - Large round or oval part of the dish that reflects the signal from the satellite.
* Arm - Extension from the reflector that holds the LNB.
* LNB/LNBF - Stands for Low Noise Block converter or LNB with an integrated Feed horn. This is the "eye" that connects to the arm of the dish.
* Switch/Multiswitch - allows more receivers (than what is allowed by the LNB by itself), to connect to the system.

1. The very first step to installing a dish system is to do a site survey.

Make sure that you have a clear line of site to the South where you will be mounting the dish, and find something solid to mount it to. Ideal locations would include the corner or side of the house where you can mount the mast into a wall stud, a solid immovable post, or as a last resort, the roof. It is ok to mount the dish to a roof, however keep in mind that you will be penetrating it with lag bolts that will need to be weatherproofed with silicone or roofing sealant.

Keep in mind where the receivers are located in the house so that you can plan your cable routing accordingly and where you can ground your dish if you want to make your installation NEC compliant.

Make sure that your view to the Southern sky is unobstructed at the elevation angle you will be setting your dish at. If the setting for your zip code is 45 degrees, check the sky at a 45 degree angle to make sure the sky is clear.

2. Mount the mast to a solid surface using lag bolts.

Use six lag bolts to mount the mast. 2 inch lags for the corners and 3 inch lags for the center holes into a wall stud. Failure to comply with this step could allow wind weathering to pull and wear on the mast allowing it to strip the hold on the bolts and your dish will eventually move out of alignment. Use a level to make sure that the end of your mast is plumb or (perfectly vertical at every angle). If you don't, it will make it more difficult to point the dish and get a good signal. Once your mast is plumb, tighten all the nuts and bolts but do not strip them.

3. Mount the dish to the mast.

Tighten all the bolts and nuts just enough to take all the loose "play" out of the movement of the dish. Get the coordinates from the receiver setup process for your zip code and adjust your azimuth, elevation, and skew accordingly. Use a compass to get a "best guess" for the azimuth. Do not tighten the bolts yet; keep them loose so that you can easily adjust them when you fine tune your signal.

4. Connect your signal meter to the LNB and line coming from the receiver.

If you don't have a signal meter you can pick one up from Radio Shack, other electronics supply or the internet for about $20 for a cheap one. You can use your receiver and TV as a signal meter by choosing the view signal strength option during the setup process on your receiver. You will need someone to assist you as you adjust your dish with this method. Use the default 101° orbital location and transponder 1, for DirecTV users and Press MENU, then option 6, option 1, option 1 on your remote for Dish Network.

If you have a meter turn the db level until you barely get an audible tone and sweep the southern sky to get a good idea of where the satellite locations are. You should pick up 5 or so locations during your sweep. If you do not get any or only get 1 or 2 satellites, adjust your elevation until you pickup more.

For DirecTV antennas, start from the East and zero in on the 101° satellite location. It should be the 2nd one from the East. The first one should be the 98° orbital location which should be slight and fainter if you elevation is tuned correctly.

For Dish Network antennas, start from the West and zero in on the 119° satellite location. It should be the 2nd one from the West. The first one should be the 129° orbital location which should be slight and fainter if you elevation is tuned correctly.

Adjust your db level down to allow you to fine tune the signal. Once you have the best signal possible by adjusting the azimuth, tighten down the bolts just enough to keep the dish from turning. Again turn your db level down on the meter (if necessary) and fine tune the elevation for the best possible signal. If you have a skew setting for your dish type, you do not need to adjust it in this process. Before you tighten all your bolts completely you may want to check the receiver signal to make sure you have your dish set correctly.

If your dish is peaked, tighten all the bolts with your meter still on to make sure you don't lose your adjustments during the process.

5. Connect your receiver to the LNB.

Remove your meter and connect your receiver line directly to the LNB. If you are using a multiswitch you will need to connect at least 2 lines from the switch to the LNB depending on which dish you have. Once your connected you should be able to complete the setup process on the receiver and complete your activation (if it's a new receiver). Refer to the receiver manual for setup instructions and information.

6. If you do not have a manual you can download one from DirecTV here:


Dish network manuals can be downloaded here:


Make sure all of your connections are tight and weatherproof.

Water does get into fittings and rusts out the center conductor so make sure your f-connectors are tight and all wall penetrations are sealed with silicone. Keep cabling and fittings off the ground where dirt and water can corrode and animals can chew or pull on the cable.

For more information on satellite installation or troubleshooting:

http://www.SatPro.us has a comprehensive manual for satellite dish troubleshooting and installation including photos, descriptions of dish parts and components, receivers, and installation diagrams for all systems. It explains step-by-step, how to setup a Dish system and perform a professional installation. They also have a Troubleshooting guide that takes you through all the steps to take if your system ever goes down and how to fix it. To make it even easier they also have videos on how to point your dish if it ever gets knocked out of alignment or you are installing a dish from scratch. You can also read more satellite installation and repair related articles there in the Articles section.

Andrew Cameron is a Professional Satellite Technician with over 6 years of install and repair experience for Dish Network and DirecTV.

Specialized in: Install - Satellite System
URL: http://www.satpro.us
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