Table of contents:
- How should you align the satellite dish?
- Align the satellite dish with Satfinder
- How does a sat finder work?
- Align satellite dish without satellite finder
- Align the satellite dish without tools
- The main satellite positions
- Align satellite dish: sure
Video: Align the satellite dish
Satellite television (DVB-S) is popular because it is cheaper than cable television without running costs. And terrestrial transmission cannot keep up with the variety of programs on the satellites. The only disadvantage of satellite TV: you have to align the satellite dish. With a steady hand and the necessary knowledge, this is not a problem - even without tools. Find out how to do it.
How should you align the satellite dish?
A satellite dish receives the TV signal directly from space from geostationary satellites. Geostationary means that the satellites are always in the same place relative to Earth.
The usual Astra and Eutelsat television satellites stand vertically just above the equator. When viewed from Central Europe, they are always to be aimed at in the southern sky when you align the satellite dish.
How steep the satellite dish must look into the sky depends on which satellite is to deliver the program (Astra or Eutelsat Hot Bird) and how far north or south on the globe you are. This vertical angle of the bowl is called the elevation angle. In Germany it is between approx. 27 ° and 34 ° depending on where you live.
The second important setting is the azimuth angle. This horizontal angle indicates by how many degrees the satellite dish must be turned east or west (left or right) from the south orientation.
Finally, the angle of rotation of the signal converter or LNB (Low Noise Block) has to be adjusted, professionals speak of the LNB Skew or LNB Tilt. If all three angles have been set optimally, signal strength and signal quality are ideal.
Aligning the satellite dish is not quite perfect for everyday use. However, in bad weather or contamination by leaves or birds, dropouts can occur. You should take the time to align, because this is the only way you can enjoy consistently perfect TV reception.
Align the satellite dish with Satfinder
Most satellite dishes come with tables that provide at least rough approximations for the different regions for the orientation towards Astra and Eutelsat Hotbird. In the rarest of cases, however, can a really exact result be achieved. So there are so-called satellite finders in the trade that help you find the desired satellite.
How does a sat finder work?
The Satfinder is connected between the LNB and the receiver. It then shows the strength of the satellite signal. Important: Many satellite finders only provide information on the strength of the signal, but no indication of which satellite it comes from. There is therefore a risk that they will point the satellite dish towards the wrong satellite. You can avoid this by investing in a satellite finder with satellite recognition. For both device variants, follow these steps:
- Connect LNB and Satfinder, as well as Satfinder and Receiver with cables (the necessary accessories are usually included with the Satfinder)
- Set the angle of inclination and loosely tighten the screws.
- Set the horizontal angle. Keep an eye on the Satfinder to find the ideal angle.
- With ideal setting, tighten all screws.
However, you no longer have to buy a Satfinder as a device today. There are also numerous apps (some of which are chargeable) that help align the satellite dish. But it is also completely free.
Align satellite dish without satellite finder
If you know your own geographic coordinates and satellite position, you could also calculate the orientation angle yourself. However, the use of free offers on the Internet, which specify the necessary values of the angles, is easier than all the options mentioned so far.
The principle of such pages is always the same: you enter the installation location of the satellite antenna and select the desired satellite. The page then lists all relevant values.
Tip: The dishpointer.com website is particularly successful. It not only shows the angles as numerical values, but also integrates the map material from Google Maps. Operation is easy: Place the marker in the form of a small satellite dish on the map at the installation location and select the desired satellite from the extensive list. Now a small table appears with all angles. In addition, a green line on the map shows the direction in which you should point the satellite dish.
Because buildings and distinctive points in the area are clearly visible on Google Maps, antenna alignment is child's play. Simply note a landmark near you that touches the line and let the satellite dish look exactly in this direction.
No matter how you align your satellite dish - whether without tools or with a satellite finder - it can be a fiddly task. Do not become impatient and do not put yourself in danger!
Photo: fotolia / Andreas Zachhuber
Align the satellite dish without tools
If the antenna is to be aligned without any technical aids, it is best to work in pairs. The following procedure has proven itself step by step:
- Point the antenna south and adjust the elevation
- Roughly aim for azimuth, find satellites
- Fine adjustment of the azimuth angle
- Readjust the elevation, adjust the LNB skew
First, point the antenna south. This is followed by a relatively precise adjustment of the elevation. For this purpose, a scale with degrees is usually attached to the holder of the satellite dishes, which you can use to follow. Tilt or tilt the parabolic mirror to the desired value and only tighten the screw so that the bowl no longer adjusts itself.
At the latest now, connect the LNB and satellite receiver, connect the latter to the television and switch everything on. Now it's time to search for satellites: To do this, use the satellite dish to scan the sky on a horizontal path in a swivel motion.
Without knowing the correct azimuth, you may find several satellites with such a pan. For this reason, it is best to use the neighbors' satellite dishes, if they have installed them, as a rough guide. For the German-speaking region, Astra 19.2 ° East is the most important satellite, which most other antennas usually point to.
The second person on the TV now tells the person on the satellite dish how the swiveling movement affects by calling or by telephone. It is only important that a signal from the right satellite arrives at all. Most receivers have a setup menu that shows both signal strength and quality and the name of the satellite.
Once you've found the right satellite, it's time to fine-tune it. Now patience is required: move the bowl millimeter by millimeter and wait to see if and how the signal display changes. With digital transmission technology, it takes a moment for the receiver to show a change.
Swing the bowl millimeter by millimeter until the signal gets worse again. Then take a step back - that's the perfect azimuth angle.
Sometimes you have to repeat the procedure several times, because weather influences and display inaccuracies of the receivers do not always give ideal results straight away.
Now you can try to get a few percentage points out of a slightly different elevation. In the end, twisting the LNB can also result in a slight improvement in satellite reception. When the optimum is reached, tighten all screws - done.
The main satellite positions
After the theory is clear, the question remains as to which position is best to align your satellite dish. Depending on the program, languages and any additional services, Astra or Eutelsat Hotbird can be considered. From time to time satellites are added, drop out or move, new channels are activated or stop the service. The following important positions are constantly served:
13 ° East
13B, 13C, 13E
more than 1000 programs in 41 languages, more than 200 HD channels, relatively few German-language channels
19.2 ° East
Astra 1KR, 1L, 1M, 1N
most important position for German-language SD and HD channels, recommended by Astra for reception in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Align satellite dish: sure
No matter how you align the satellite dish - whether without tools or with a satellite finder - it can be a fiddly task. Do not become impatient and do not put yourself in danger!
Professionals only move on the roof with fall protection. Do not lean too far over the balcony railing and keep calm. A slow and considered approach is important because a few millimeters of difference in the horizontal and vertical alignment have a significant impact on the signal strength and quality. Take the necessary time and always play it safe.