Ways to Align a Dish Antenna

The first and foremost thing that you have to remember about the dish antenna is that, its working is totally dependent on its alignment. If you are not able to adjust it at proper angles, then the entire system will falter.

The location of antenna requires a good view of satellites, hence it may require that the person performing the task of installation and alignment to climb on dangerous places. You also have to be prepared for tackling the electrical anomalies that come your way. Let us see the process in detail.

Tools Required

  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Screw Driver
  • Electric Drill
  • Mast Hardware
  • Coaxial Cables
  • Nut Driver
  • Steps Involved in Alignment

Step 1: Co-ordinate Calculation
There are basically three types of co-ordinates that need to be calculated ― azimuth, elevation, and tilt. A receiver box is provided with the dish antenna kit. Once you connect the receiver box with the TV screen, the instructions to calculate these co-ordinates will prompt on the screen. They will vary according to the zip code of the place. You will be asked to enter this code. The three co-ordinates will be displayed on the screen menu on merely entering the zip code.

Step 2: Determining the Site
Elevation angle clearance of antenna must be at least 19º. This provides an unobstructed view of all three satellites. Mind you, these satellites are placed in southern skies, hence your antenna should be pointing in that direction. Northern border states should have an elevation angle clearance of 30º and for southern border states, it should be 60º. So, an antenna site must be selected so that, it takes care of the above conditions and you can have it pointing in the required direction. Keep in mind that, dish antenna gain increases as the frequency increases.

Step 3: Installation of the Mast
This step is important because there might be some cases, where the antenna is compatible with receiving signals of multiple satellites. Mount the base firmly such that, it does not shift its position. Causes such as wind or antenna’s own weight should not force it to tilt. Also, there is a bubble level given with the mast. It is absolutely imperative that you keep the bubble centered. If you are not able to center it, loosen the screws of the base, and adjust the position of the mast again, so that it is always centered.

Step 4: Attaching the Mast
On top of the mast, slide the antenna assembly till it meets the pivot. Azimuth clamp bolts should be tightened, so that the antenna has a side-to-side pivot movement.

Step 5: Cable Routing
Properly inspect the wiring for any kind of deformities. You will be provided with receiver grounding block in the kit. Mount this receiver grounding block close to the receiver. While inserting the cable into the block, make sure that you keep a loop of wire aside. This is to let the rainwater drip away. You will need another cable to connect the block from inside.

Step 6: Grounding
It is highly recommended that you ground, both the antenna and grounding block. The grounding point can be the entry of a cold water pipe into your house. The wire which comes from dish antenna must go through the grounding block first, and then to the grounding point. A wire for grounding should also be dedicated to the block.

Step 7: Attaching LNB
LNB stands for Low Noise Blocks. It is attached to the rod of an antenna. An interesting thing about LNB is that, it comes with the compatibility of four different outputs. So, it makes sense to run down four wires to grounding block. You can use different wires for different output.

Step 8: Fine Tuning
First you’ll have to adjust azimuth, elevation, and then, tilt. Plug in the cable. Here you will receive instructions on TV screen to fine-tune to a satellite. There are three satellites and you need to fine-tune with each of them. Once you fine-tune with one satellite, your receiver will automatically fine-tune itself with the other two. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions that are displayed on TV screen.

Without properly alignment and installation, your satellite-TV experience will surely be hampered. Understanding dish antenna design before implementing the above steps is crucial.