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TV Dish Aiming Tools

Last Changed 6/9/2009

All you have to do to setup up your satellite TV dish is to aim it at a satellite located 22,400 miles above the Earth, something you Can not possibly see.

So how do you do it?

Tools make the task a lot easier.  An investment in good tools will pay themselves back in hours every  time you set up the dish. 


TV Aiming Tools When setting up the tripod, it is critical to have the mast vertical.  A bubble level works well in this situation as the bubble shoes the effects in adjustment is all directions in one place/

TV Aiming Tools If you use a standard level, you have to move the level from front/back to side/side and back to check if the mast it level.


For Dish the goal is to aim the  119 LNBF towards satellite 119.  Assuming the Skew is set properly, then the 110 and 129 LNBFs should be pointing towards their related satellites.

The Dish has a built in Switch.  The Switch accepts signals from the three LNBFs and connects them to the outputs as needed.  This is great for hooking up receivers to the LNBFs but is can be a real problem when aiming the dish.  The reason is that you could be led astray by either the 110 or 129 LNBF being aimed at satellite 119.  You would have an indication of being on 119 but the other satellites are not being pointed to.

To alleviate this problem we tried disconnecting the 129 LNBF from the Switch and putting aluminum foil over the 110 LNBF.  This would allow only the 119 LNBF to receive signals and when we get a lock on, we would know that the 119 LNBF is pointing at the 119 satellite.  However, with the switch, there was no surety that the cable we had the meter connected to was electronically connected to the 119 LNBF.

To solve the 119 LNBF selection problem, we bought a meter that can select the 119 LNBF by putting a 22KHz signal on the wire.
TV Aiming Tools We have Acutrac 22 Pro meter that we put in line with the cable from the Switch to the receiver.  This gives us a visual indication of the signal strength.  The Acutrac 22 Pro actually has two inputs so that is could be looking at the 119 LNBF and the 110 LNBF at the same time.  We have just been using the primary input.
TV Aiming Tools We often found that we were setting up on the wrong satellite, usually 10° off.  Compensating for that was difficult by eye.

We already had an Align-a-Site for setting up our Satellite Internet Dish.  We purchased an additional base plate and attached it to our DPP 1000.2.  We put the desired Azimuth, Elevation, and Skew settings into the Align-a-Site and then put it on the DPP 1000.2.

We found that after a couple of setups, the metal in the dish was causing a 40° compass error.  We now take the target azimuth setting and add 40°.  We line up the azimuth arrow in the Align-a-Site and we are almost dead on now.  The Align-a-Site took a whole lot of the frustration out of setting up the dish.


TV Aiming Tools The next step is to preset the Elevation.  This is the angle of the Dish to the vertical mast.  This is part of aiming at the target satellite.

We had added the Satellite Dish Conversion Kit from to make Elevations adjustments easier with a screw adjustment.
TV Aiming Tools
click on images to enlarge

Now we position the dish onto the tripod aiming it using the back leg of the tripod as the reference of the Azimuth.

Now to find that satellite out there 22,400 miles up.

If our tripod mast was vertical, the Azimuth, the Elevation and the Skew were all set properly, we should be in the ball park.  The reason for only being in the ball park is that a Zip Code can cover a large area of real estate.  Therefore a little tweaking will be necessary.

We have found that we only need to connect one wire to the dish since we can select the 119 LNBF by turning on the 22KHz signal.

The Acutrac 22 Pro solved another problem.  The Dish receiver needs to runs a Switch Check when the environment changes.  We also has a roof mounted dish that is a different "switch" than our DPP 1000.2.  To complete the Switch Test, the satellite receiver has to pick up a valid satellite.  If the Switch Test is not completed, you cannot use the receiver to try and select the 119 LNBF.  This is like a Catch-22, you need the Switch Test to find the satellite, you need the satellite to run the Switch Test.  By using the Acutrac 22 Pro meter, we can use it to select the 119 LNBF and get the dish aligned on the satellites before running the Switch Test and having a completed test.

Using the Acutrac 22 Pro meter reading, we tweak the azimuth and elevation setting for a maximum reading.

We could also set the Acutrac 22 Pro to put out a tone that increases as the signal strength grows from the satellite.  But we don't use that because we have one more tool to aid the aiming process.  We have wireless earphones that we can use with the Sound System/TV when we don't want to disturb the other person if they are sleeping or working.  We wear these wireless earphones when we are aiming the dish.  The receiver is also putting out a tone that increases as the satellite signal strength increases.  We found this one to be a better indicator because the receiver only gives you a tone if it is locked onto a Dish satellite.  The Acutrac 22 Pro meter could give a reading on a non-Dish satellite.

We usually remove the Acutrac 22 Pro meter from the cabling.  Listening to our earphones, we swing the dish from side to side looking for the maximum tone.  Once we center on the best signal, then we tweak the Elevation a bit up and down, again looking for the highest tone.

To date, we have not bothered to tweak the Skew.  When we have locked onto 119 using the system above, we have found the other satellites to be okay.

Our tools have advanced because of needs and are covered in TV Dish Setup.

Disclaimer: The information in this site is a collection of data we derived from the vendors and from our personal experiences.  This information is meant as a learning guide for you to  make your own decisions  Best practices and code should always be followed.  The recommendations we make are from our personal experiences and we do not receive any compensation for those recommendations.
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