Authored by Dave Mallisk in Communications
Published on 08-30-2009
You can save money by installing your own satellite dish (satellite-TV antenna). A complete satellite-TV system includes a satellite dish, as many as five LNBs (Low-Noise-Block down converters), coaxial cable, and a satellite-TV receiver. In a satellite dish, each LNB receives a signal from its own satellite, ‘down converts’ that signal to a lower frequency, and then sends it through a coaxial cable to a satellite-TV receiver that is connected to the TV.
Planning Your Satellite Dish Installation
Before you purchase any satellite-TV components, you should:
- Contact your local satellite-TV provider (such as Direct TV or DISH Network) and explain that you plan to install your own dish.
- Determine which subscription plan includes the TV channels you want. Of course, you should not yet purchase that plan because you are still doing research.
- Ask the model number of the satellite dish you need for receiving your selected channels.
- Find a website that sells that dish, and then download its installation manual. Two example manuals are TRK-S26 for Direct TV and SuperDISH for DISH Network.
- Determine the approximate direction (elevation and azimuth pointing angles) to the satellites that transmit your selected channels: You can observe the direction in which your neighbors have pointed their satellite dishes, ask your local satellite-TV provider for the approximate angles, or go to DishPointer and do the following:
- Type in your ZIP code.
- Select “Multi-LNB Setups” (below the list of satellites).
- Click on the “Go” button to display the approximate pointing angles from your area to the satellites.
- Inspect your planned satellite dish location to make sure there are no obstructions between your dish and its satellites, which are in the approximate direction that you have determined above. Your dish must have unobstructed lines of sight to its satellites. Buildings, hills, and trees make satellite-TV reception impossible.
Purchasing Your Satellite Dish
To purchase your satellite dish and other satellite-TV system components, do the following:
- Contact your local satellite-TV provider and purchase a satellite-TV subscription plan that includes the TV channels you want.
- Make sure you have the correct model number of the satellite dish you need for receiving your selected channels. Also, ask for other component model numbers, such as for the specific satellite-TV receiver you need.
- Find a website that sells the satellite dish you need, purchase it, and then download its installation manual if you have not already done so above.
- Purchase the satellite-TV receiver you need. If you cannot find it at a local electronics-parts store, you can buy it online.
- According to your satellite-dish installation manual, determine what other components (such as cables and mounting hardware) you need, and then purchase them either locally or online.
Installing Your Satellite Dish
To install your satellite dish, use the following general procedure to install your complete satellite-TV system according to the detailed procedures in your satellite-dish installation manual:
- Install the mast, making sure it is solid and level.
- On the ground, assemble the dish (excepting its LNB assembly) and make preliminary angle adjustments according to the approximate satellites’ direction that you determined above.
- Install your satellite dish on its mast.
- Install a grounding block that grounds the mast and cable according to local electrical codes and NEC (National Electrical Code) Sections 250 and 810, and Article 820-40.
- Install the LNB assembly onto the dish, run its cable to the grounding block, and then run a cable from the grounding block to your satellite-TV receiver.
- Have one person make fine-tuning angle adjustments on the dish, while another monitors the angles on your satellite-TV receiver.
WARNING: To guard against serious injury or death, obey all safety warnings in all documents associated with your satellite-TV system.