Satellite TV dish installation guide
[Home] [Up] [Cylinder head gasket replacement] [Lawnmower repair] [Satellite TV dish installation guide] [The power of satellite TV]
 


  1. Hardware terminology

  2. Channel tuning data definition

  3. How to select a system
                    Receiver
                    Dish
                    Rotor

  4. How to install satellite dish
                    Survey
                    Site selection
                    Tools required
                    Installation
                    Alignment

  5. Behavior of digital TV

  6. Conclusion

Hardware terminology:

bullet

FTA: Free to air is a term for signal broadcast without encryption.

bullet

STB: Set top box is another term for receiver.

bullet

DVB: Digital Video Broadcast is a data compression technology for digital video.

bullet

MPEG2: is a data compression technology for digital video.

bullet

C band: 3-4 GHz of microwave.

bullet

Ku band 10-12 GHz of microwave.

bullet

LNB: Low noise block converter is a sensor device installed on the focus of the satellite dish to amplifier the received microwave signal and down converts it into intermediate signal feed into the receiver.

bullet

Dual LNB: A configuration of using two or even more LNB, such that it can supply signal to multiple receivers. In some cases, using different installation angle to achieve the same affect as multiple dishes.

bullet

DiSEqC: is a technology allowing single receiver to receive signals from multiple dishes or motorized dish pointing to different satellites.

bullet

DiSEqC 1 is a switching system to connect to different fixed position dish.

bullet

DiSEqC 1.2 is a manual pre-align satellite position control program for motorized dish.

bullet

DiSEqC 1.3 or USALS: Universal satellites automatic location system is a program, which can calculate the azimuth and elevation angle for the dish. This program will automate the process of aiming multiple satellites with single motorized dish.

bullet

22 KHz: A signal to control the switching of LNBs on different or on same dish.

bullet

Geostationary satellite: Satellites on the obit of 35,800 Km above the equator. These satellites orbit at the same speed of earth, therefore, it appears it is hanging on the sky. Most TV signal uses this orbit.

bullet

Leo: Low earth orbit is an orbit less than 2000Km above earth. Most mobile communication uses these orbits.

bullet

Transponder: Antenna.

bullet

Magnetic south: The polarity according to compass.

bullet

True south: The south polarity that agrees with the axis of the earth.

Channel tuning data definition:

bullet

Transponder Number: The antenna number of that particular satellite.

bullet

Frequency: The number of times of vibration per second of electro magnetic waves. Ku band satellite TV uses frequency of 10-12 GHz

bullet

Polarization: The way electro magnetic waves travel. It can be H=horizontal, V=vertical, R=right hand circular, L=left hand circular.

bullet

Coverage: The region of which the broadcast signal cover.

bullet

Symbol rate: The speed of which the data is transmitted, equivalent to baud rate in computer.

bullet

FEC: Forward error correction, equivalent to parity check on data transmission. Expressed in ratio. 7/8 means every 8 bytes received, one byte is used for error correction. The bigger the ratio, the better is the quality of the picture. Best quality is ˝; its ratio is 1:1.

bullet

VPID: Video program identification number, equivalent to the video signal channel.

bullet

APID: Audio program identification number, equivalent to the audio channel. By using same VPID on different APID, same channel can have different sound track.

bullet

PCR: Program clock reference, is used by receiver to synchronize the video and audio elements. Sometimes is using same number on VPID.

How to select a system

Receiver:

With nowadays technology, the price of satellite receiver is down the earth price. Many makes of low-end receivers has surpassed the value you are paying.

The digital receiver, in fact, is a specialized computer with built in

bullet

Power supply for motorized dish,

bullet

Microwave frequency receiver,

bullet

Software to decompress signal and dish control

bullet

Video and sound cards.

The high-end receiver called PVR, personal video recorder has built in hard drive can allow you record and playback later.

Our experience found that different makes of receivers has different quality. Below are some tips to select your receiver.

bullet

Sensitivity, the ability to isolate data from signal. Some receivers do require higher signal strength to have equivalent signal quality.

bullet

Sound quality, some poor quality receiver will give a jerk sound ounce in a while when ever the signal strength is low. This occasion can happen frequently. Wind blowing on the dish can cause misalignment temporary. So you could keep on hearing the jerk. A good receiver is able to detect and suppress disturbance.

bullet

Picture quality, some poor quality receiver can give color offset, as in poor quality printing. There is a color fringe besides the image.

bullet

Low quality modulator can lost picture definition. The modulator is used to convert video into radio frequency that feeds into TV sets which does not have monitor feature. Most North American sets use Channel 3 or 4 for this purpose.

bullet

Dish control program, such as USALS or DiSEq 1.3 is essential if you intend to receive multiple satellites with motorized dish. It is very time consuming to calibrate the dish position if you do not have this feature.

bullet

Most digital receivers are DVB, and MPEG-2 compliant. You cannot view analogue signal and encrypted digital signal with a FTA.

bullet

The receiver should feature with satellite and channel search program. It should also be manually entered.

bullet

Signal field strength meter, which can identify the satellite and tell how strong the signal. It is very handy to have it on doing dish alignment.

bullet

USB or serial port can allow you to do firmware upgrade, and data download and upload.

bullet

Channel editor program is downloadable from manufacturer’s site. It can be used to edit channel data with a computer.  

Dish:

The larger the dish, the stronger is the signal you could receive, that is, the less intermittent is the picture. However, the risk of wind disturbance, cost, and space is proportionally higher. There are two bands of microwave signal normally used for TV. C band is the older generation; it requires a huge dish. Ku band is the modern generation, requires a smaller dish. Many pay TV provide you strong signal by aiming at a smaller coverage area, such that a smaller fixed position dish is good enough. For FTA signal, because of broadcaster is aiming at larger coverage area, so you must use a bigger dish than those pay TV. You might found that not all stations on the same satellite are equal. Different transponder on same satellite can give different signal quality. It is very depending on how much power that transponder is transmitting and which coverage area it is pointing to. Satellite is using solar energy. Power is precious in space.

Depending on how far you are away from the equator. We recommend 39” or 100cm dishes. This is the biggest dish size, which can be driven by a standard sized rotor. For northern or southern territory, you might need even bigger dish.

The actual size of the dish is very often exaggerated. Many dishes are oval shaped. The dimension given is based on the longest measurement. A round dish with same size rating of oval shape dish has more area. Some manufacturers use the curvature as measurement. The size claim could be boasted by three inches. We found that every 3 inches increment gives significant improvement on performance. Same size dishes made by different manufacturer can give observable differences on reception because of the real size is different. Do not trust the dimension claimed by manufacturer. You must compare it with your own measurement.

The atmosphere can attenuate signal. The shortest route of air traveled is directly under the equator. When you are away from the equator, the signal has to travel a thicker air. When the satellite is located at the same longitude with you, it has the shortest air path to your site. When you point your dish to another satellite, which is further away from your longitude, your air path is longer. The signal attenuation is proportional to the air path. Cloud, rain, and snow can weaken your signal. Wind can cause temporary off alignment of dish. The dish is never too big. You could receive the signal well on new installation. Your dish could be off aligning after some severe weather. This is especially troublesome on small dish because it is touchy on alignment. Our experience shows that weather is not a major factor of poor reception. Dish size plays a more important role.  

Rotor:

Besides the dish, you need a good rotor if you want to receive multiple satellites, unless you want to install several dishes. Some rotor has a weak motor. You might have to push it to get moving. USALS compliance is a good feature to select. Theoretically is supposed to use two motors to control the dish. One motor rotate horizontally, and the other vertically. Since the vertical rotation always follows a fixed geometrical pattern. By using a tilted shaft rotor, we can eliminate the vertical motor.  

How to install satellite dish

Survey:

All geostationary satellites were installed at a high altitude of 35,800Km above the equator. On northern hemisphere, we must point the dish toward south ±70°. On southern hemisphere, it is just the opposite way. At equator, you have to point the dish upward. At northern or southern hemisphere, depending how far you are away from the equator, you have to point the dish at an elevation angle.

Before installation, you have to find out the longitude and latitude of the installation site. Below website could help you to locate your co-ordinates. http://www.multimap.com/map/home.cgi?client=public&overviewmap=ap. You could also use a GPS.

On the chart http://www.lyngsat.com, find a satellite, which is closest to your longitude as reference to true south. For example, if you are at 79.6 °W longitude. The closest satellite is AMC-5 at 79°W. From the calculator below http://www.ses-americom.com/tools/lookangle/index.html, enter the data and calculate your azimuth and elevation. In this case, the azimuth calculated is 179.1°W, and elevation is 39.7°. If the satellite has the same longitude of your site, then, your azimuth should be 180°W, that is the true south.

Site selection:

Select a rigid sport which has a clear vision to south ±70°, with the height as high as possible. No trees or objects in front. Most rooftop is using very thin wood; your dish could off align or even blow away if not properly reinforced. You can use concrete patio slab as support.

Blowing wind on