How to Aim a Satellite Dish

by Diane Dilov-Schultheis

When you are installing a satellite system, it is important to know how to aim the satellite dish accurately. The dish receives a signal from a satellite and then transmits it to your satellite receiver and TV. This must be done correctly to pick up the needed signal. There are a few things you will need to complete this, and the time required may vary.

Locate a clear view of the southern sky for dishes installed in the United States to aim your satellite dish. You can utilize a compass to locate south, if you are not sure where it is. The signal is at an angle of approximately 30 degrees for the north of the country, and 60 degrees in the south. There must not be any objects obstructing this line of sight. Find an area that will work.

Install the satellite dish according to the directions accompanying it, or have it done professionally. Confirm the following (if you install it yourself): Check to be certain the pole the dish is mounted on is completely level. Verify the elevation on the dish is set correctly. This is on the backside of it. Use a 7/16 wrench to loosen and move, if necessary. Set this according to the instructions provided with the satellite dish.

Turn your receiver onto the satellite signal on-screen meter. You can find this under Menu and Setup, or Installation. You may already have a signal showing, if the satellite dish is aiming in the right area of the sky. You will need to know what the signal strength is while you are aiming the dish. You can watch the signal, if it possible for the TV screen to be seen from the location of the dish. You could also listen to the sound put off by the receiver. This noise will vary according to the signal strength.

Tweak the satellite signal. The only adjustments you should have to do when aiming the dish is to move it to the left or right. If the dish is accurately installed, the signal should be easily acquired. Simply loosen the bolts, and start slowing moving the dish and watching the signal meter. A DirecTV system's highest strength is 100, and Dish Network is 125. You do not need to be that high, but it should at least be 70. You will have fewer problems when there is bad weather with higher satellite signal strength. Once you have a high enough signal, use your wrench to tighten the dish.

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About the Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.