How to Set Azimuth on Satellite Dish

by Finn McCuhil
Satellite TV image by Bryan Crowe from

Setting the azimuth on your satellite dish simply means pointing the dish in the proper direction using a magnetic compass. Communications satellites maintain a geosynchronous orbit. By matching their orbital velocity to the speed of the earth's rotation, when observed from the earth's surface they appear not to move. Once you have successfully aimed your dish and tightened the setting bolts, you will not have to repeat the process.

Step 1

Loosen the bolts on the dish's mounting collar with an adjustable wrench. The mounting collar connects the dish to the mounting pole.

Step 2

Stand behind the dish and rotate your compass horizontally until the needle is aligned with the north and south readings on the dial.

Step 3

Rotate the satellite dish to face the direction indicated by the degrees on the compass.

Tighten the bolts on the mounting collar with a wrench when the dish is in the correct position.


  • Large amounts of metal can affect compass accuracy. If possible, stand away from cars, metal walls or other objects that can diminish the accuracy of your reading.
  • Satellite azimuth settings for the continental U.S. can be found on the links in Resources.


Photo Credits

About the Author

Finn McCuhil is a freelance writer based in Northern Michigan. He worked as a reporter and columnist in South Florida before becoming fascinated with computers. After studying programming at University of South Florida, he spent more than 20 years heading up IT departments at three tier-one automotive suppliers. He now builds wooden boats in the north woods.

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