How to Check Your Satellite Cable Transmission

By Jack Gorman

Coaxial cable is the standard for both satellite and cable installations.
i Don Farrall/Digital Vision/Getty Images

So you think you may be having some problems with your internal satellite or cable transmission and you need a way to check things out. Coaxial cable, which is the standard wiring for both satellite and cable, is capable of transmitting high definition television and digital audio signals, but requires the full extent of the cable's bandwidth to do so. If your cables have some wear or damage, they may not transmit properly and may need to be replaced.

Determine where your cable's main line comes up onto your property. This is generally outside your home near your telephone box or your power or water meter. This will be a coaxial wire that either comes in from a telephone pole on the street or from beneath the ground. A coaxial wire is round with a metal end. If you have a satellite system, simply trace the wires down from your dish as a starting point.

Trace the wire to the point where it first splits; this will be apparent from the large hunk of metal on the end which splits the wire from one to two or more. Disconnect the main line from the splitter by twisting the metal end until it comes loose. Then insert the pin from the main line into the pin-sized hole of the test input port on your tester. Twist the end of the cable to secure it in place.

Run the test and note the signal's strength. How this is done varies based on your tester, but there's usually a button right on the front. Reconnect the main line to the input side of the splitter when done.

Follow one of the lines from the splitter until you reach another split or a television. Disconnect the wire and test it again as you did before. Take a reading. The signal should be similar to the one you got from the baseline. If not, the cable should be replaced.

Repeat for all remaining cables.