Putting up a Satellite Dish

We need to define a few dish components before beginning the installation process.

The satellite dish is supported by a mast, an arm attached to a stable base.
The dish’s large circular or oval section is used to re-radiate the satellite’s signal.
The LNB is supported by an arm that extends out from the reflector.
Low Noise Block (LNB) converter or Low Noise Block (LNBF) with built-in Feed Horn. This “eye” is what the dish’s arm fits into.
A switch or multi-switch expands the system’s capacity beyond what a single LNB can provide.
Conducting a site survey is the first stage of setting up a dish system.

Find a sturdy object to attach the dish to, and position it so that it faces south and has a clear line of sight. Mounting the mast into a corner or side wall stud, a sturdy, immovable post, or even the roof itself are all excellent options. You can attach the dish to a top, but remember that the lag bolts you use must be weatherproofed with silicone or roofing sealant.

If you want your installation to be NEC-compliant, consider where the receivers will be in the house and where you can ground your dish.

Ensure there are no obstructions in your line of sight to the southern sky from the elevation angle you intend to install your dish. Make sure the atmosphere is evident by looking up at an angle of 45 degrees if that is the setting for your zip code.

Use lag bolts to secure the mast to a sturdy support.

The mast should be attached using six lag bolts. You may lag into a wall stud using 2-inch lags in the corners and 3-inch lags in the middle. If you skip this procedure, the rain and wind will tug on the mast, wearing down the hold on the bolts until your dish is no longer properly aligned. Use a level to ensure the mast’s tip is upright from every angle. If you don’t, aiming the word to get a good signal will be more of a hassle. When the mast is level, carefully tighten all the bolts and nuts so as not to strip them.

Attach the dish to the top of the mast.

All the loose “play” in the dish’s movement should be eliminated by snugging up the bolts and nuts. The receiver’s azimuth, elevation, and skew must be set based on the coordinates obtained during setup. Get a “best guess” of the azimuth with a compass. Do not fully tighten the bolts just yet; you will want to make minor adjustments to the signal later.

Fourth, link your signal meter to the receiver’s LNB and outgoing cable.

You can get a signal meter from Radio Shack, an equivalent store, or the internet for around $20 if you don’t already have one. Selecting the “view signal strength” option during the receiver’s setup process will allow you to utilize your TV and receiver as a signal meter. If you want to use this method to fine-tune your dish, you’ll need some help. If you have DirecTV, utilize the 101° orbital location and transponder 1, and if you have Dish Network, press MENU, then options 6, 1, and 1 on your remote.

To get a general notion of where the satellites are located, set your meter’s db level so low that you can hardly hear the tone, then sweep the southern sky. During your sweep, you should pick up around five different spots. If you can only see one or two satellites, raise or lower your position to see more.

The 101° satellite position can be found by pointing the DirecTV antenna toward the East. It needs to be the second one heading eastward. If your elevation is set correctly, the faintest and least noticeable will be the 98° orbital location.

A Dish Network antenna should initially be pointed toward the 119° West position. It ought to be the second Western one. If your elevation is set correctly, the one at 129 degrees should be the faintest and least noticeable.

Turn down the volume to make minor adjustments to the signal. After finding the optimal movement by adjusting the azimuth, the bolts should be tightened just enough to prevent the dish from rotating. If required, reduce the dB reading on the meter and adjust the height till you have the strongest signal possible. There is no need to change the skew setting on your dish type. Check the receiver signal to ensure your dish is placed correctly before tightening all the bolts.

If your dish is angled at an angle, tighten all the bolts while keeping your meter on so you don’t lose your settings.

Step 5: Link your receiver to the LNB.

Your receiver line should be connected directly to the LNB without a meter. Depending on your dish type, you may need to communicate at least two lines from the multi-switch to the LNB. You should be able to finish the receiver’s setup and activation (if it’s a new receiver) once you’ve established a connection. For help configuring your receiver, please read the handbook.

You can get a handbook from DirecTV if you don’t have one, and you can do so right here:


Instruction guides for the Dish Network can be found at:


Check that all of your connections are secure and protected from the elements.

Ensure your f-connectors are secure and all wall penetrations are sealed with silicone to prevent water from getting into the fittings and rusting out the center conductor. Cables and connections should be kept off the ground, where corrosion from dirt and moisture, and animal damage might occur.

To get help setting up a satellite or fixing an existing one:

Satellite dish troubleshooting and installation instructions are available in full detail at [http://www.SatPro.us], where you may also get images, explanations of dish parts and components, receivers, and schematics for setting up your system. In it, you’ll find detailed instructions for installing a Dish network in your home. When something goes wrong with your design, they have a detailed Troubleshooting guide to help you fix it. If your dish is knocked out of alignment or you are starting from scratch with your installation, they also provide videos on realigning it. Additional satellite setup and maintenance articles are available in the site’s Articles area.

Professional Satellite Technician Andrew Cameron has worked installing and repairing systems for Dish Network and DirecTV for over six years.

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