Aligning a Satellite Dish


So, you have decided to get satellite television and now you want to know how to align a satellite dish. My advise is simple. Do not align your own satellite dish. There are professionals who do that sort of thing. If you subscribe to satellite service through a provider, such as DirecTV or DISH Network, they will send installation technicians to your home to install and align your dish for you. Let them do it, since they have been trained.


In order to receive a clear signal, or any signal at all, it is vitally important that your satellite dish is aligned correctly. You would need special equipment, at least a signal meter, to do it properly. You also need to know the location of the satellite you are intending to use. For example, if you try to set up your own satellite dish for DirecTV, it wouldn't do you any good pointing your dish at a DISH Network satellite. There are a lot of satellites in the sky.


When aligning a satellite, you must be sure that the line of sight between the satellite dish and the satellite orbiting the earth is not blocked by trees, buildings or anything else. The satellite dish needs to be aligned both horizontally and vertically and there is little room for error. It is possible to align the dish by a method of trial and error, with someone on the roof moving the dish and someone inside the home checking the signal and relaying information about its status. However, since your direct broadcasting satellite provider, such as DirecTV or DISH Network, will usually install the hardware for free as a benefit of signing the contract, it is best to just let them do the work, even if it means waiting.


If, however, you cannot have someone install the satellite dish for you – for example, if you have Free to Air satellite – then here are the steps for aligning your satellite dish:


First, set up the dish antenna. Then adjust the low noise converter (LNC) horn by moving it horizontally. Connect the LNC to the receiver using the coaxial cable and then connect the receiver to your television. Upon turning on your television, this would be a good time to consult the manual that should have come with the satellite dish or receiver. The elevation of the dish is determined by your location. Find the appropriate elevation and adjust the dish vertically. The elevation indicator should be lined up with the elevation number for your location (found in the manual).


Once you think you have the satellite dish aligned, flip through the channels on your television and make sure they match the channels in your guide. If they do not, then you are picking up a signal from the wrong satellite and your dish needs to be adjusted. Adjust the picture quality by moving the LNC in and out. One you have a good signal and picture, secure the dish so it won't move, even in bad weather.