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Gotta have TV

Small hole in the canopy for us to see the satellite

Small hole in the canopy for us to see the satellite

Mac We’re going to be in this area of Florida for quite a while, so when I picked the site we’re in I considered several factors. The lot is close to the pool but not too close, it’s relatively level, has shade overhead for when the weather turns warmer this spring, it’s on a corner, easy to back into, and close to a wi-fi access point.  On the other hand, the trees blocked the satellite from our Winegard Traveler which is installed up front.

I asked around the RV park office to see if anyone had one to sell.  One was available, but it was an older style and wouldn’t work for us with HD.  I looked on Craigslist but every time one that would work came up (a 3 or 5 LNB unit) it was taken quickly or I could never make connection with the seller.  Finally after a week of this I decided to buy a new one on Amazon.

Amazon has quite a few sellers, and there are different configurations as you can see at this link:  DirecTV tripod & dish  If you have Dish Network you’ll need this link instead.  Before making a purchase be very sure that it will work with your receiver and accomplish what you want to do.  There are too many variables for me to list here, but do some research before you spend your money.

Your dish will probably come with instructions for setting it up and aiming, but here are some that I found online for DirecTV.

Below are a few tips from my experience.

First, visualize where the satellite is in the sky so you’ll know where to set up the dish to hit it.  www.dishpointer.com and a compass help a lot in this, and Dishpointer will also give you the settings for elevation, azimuth and skew.

Now get your tripod set up solidly and level with the mounting pole as close to straight vertical as practical.  I used a torpedo level with a magnet and went all around the pole adjusting until it was right.  This helps the aiming process to go smoothly.  Before you anchor it down make sure it’s not in the way of anything.  I put ours a little too close to one of the basement doors and I can barely open it.

From the book "101 Uses for an Old SCUBA Tank"

From the book “101 Uses for an Old SCUBA Tank”

Be sure to tie the tripod down securely.  A strong wind can exert a lot of force on that dish.  I started off by weighing mine down with an old SCUBA tank but then decided to add another anchor.  I used one of those that screws into the ground about a foot.  Between the two it seems pretty secure.

The instructions that came with my dish said to use the satellite finder meter inline, but I skipped it and just used the signal meters on the TV built into the receiver.  Started off with the dish positioned bout 20 degrees west of estimated target.  Chris stood outside at the dish and adjusted it slowly in very small movements.  I watched the signal strength on the TV and talked to her on the headset.  First try was the charm, hit the satellite and got readings 96 to 100.  Yes, some luck was involved, but if you prepare the setup carefully you’ll be surprised how lucky you are!  ;-)  Happy travels.



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