Does Satellite Signal Suffer With Weather?

by Joy V. Smith

Satellite signal can be affected by storms, heavy wind and rain, snow and ice; accumulated precipitation also causes poor reception. In cold climates, the satellite dish may need a heater in case of accumulated ice.


Rain fade will subside when the rain does.

Heavy rain affects TV reception, depending on how heavy it's coming down, resulting in "rain fade," but it should clear up after the rain subsides. However, in a region such as the southeast in the U.S. where rain is more frequent, it can depend on the annual rainfall, especially, for instance, in the rainy season in Florida, there will be more frequent signal interference. Heavy snow also affects the signal, but not so much as rain because of the way rain drops affect the electromagnetic waves surrounding them. A larger dish may help in those areas.

Satellite Placement

Accumulated frozen precipitation is bad for satellites.

Television satellites are positioned high and provide good coverage, though they're highest for U.S. southern states and a bit lower for other states, resulting in the southern states being less affected by bad weather. Continental U.S. states that are further east or west and receive their signals from special programming satellites rather than main--or core--satellites are more likely to experience rain fade. Again, a larger dish may help.

Satellite Signal Variations

Rain isn't the only thing that can affect TV reception.

The length of the radio waves sent from the satellite also determines how affected the signal is by rain fade. Longer wavelengths are less affected than the shorter bands.

About the Author

Joy V. Smith was first published in 1964 in "The Christian Science Monitor." She has contributed to "The Antique Press," "Dog World," "Working Writer," "Calliope," "Inscriptions," "Expressions" and several anthologies, including "WomanScapes." Smith received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Satellite TV image by Bryan Crowe from