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Free To Air Satellite Installation Guide


The satellites are "parked" approximately 22,300 miles above the equator. In reality, the satellites travel from west to east, but to us on Earth they appear stationary because they match the exact speed of the Earth's rotation. (This is a geostationary orbit.) If you stand up now, turn towards the southern hemisphere, and tilt your head up to the heavens, you'll be looking in the general direction of our satellite

Now that you have your azimuth and elevation coordinates, what do you do with them?

First, survey the site to ensure an unobstructed view in the direction of the satellite. To receive broadcast signals, your satellite dish needs to be positioned correctly. Mount your satellite dish so that the base fits flush with the mounting surface (level if mounted on a flat beam or roof, or on an angle to match the pitch of your roof line). When you have securely mounted your satellite dish, adjust your dish so that the dish mast is plumb, that is, exactly perpendicular to level - this is best achieved using a carpenter's level. With your dish now mounted and properly set, you are now ready to aim your dish toward the satellites.

To set the dish to point up to the satellites, you'll first need to set the elevation. Then you'll point the dish in the proper left-to-right position, to set the azimuth. You'll need to refer to the installation manual for your system for detailed instructions, but here's the short course.

Setting the Elevation (UP), (DOWN):

You can set the proper elevation after the dish is securely mounted. First, loosen the nuts securing the two elevation bolts so that the dish easily moves up and down. Line up the elevation indicator with the tick mark corresponding to your elevation number. Then tighten the bolts. You may need to readjust the elevation up or down slightly to get the best signal. See figure on top.

Setting the Azimuth (LEFT), (RIGHT):

Loosen the azimuth nuts on the LNB arm enough that the dish can be turned smoothly with little pressure. Set the azimuth by moving the dish left and right. Point the dish in the general direction of the satellite, in the southern hemisphere. By using a compass you can better pinpoint the direction with your azimuth number to correspond with the degrees on your compass. See figure on top.

Setting the LNBF Polarization Tilt (Skew):

The LNBF and/or its bracket (s) are marked in degrees to indicate the polarization tilt or the (SKEW). The proper skew varies with location but within plus or minus 30 degrees in the USA except for Hawaii where the skew is minus 65 degrees.

The 30 degrees equals 5 Minutes on the minutes scale of a regular clock. The 30 degrees also equals One Hour on the hours scale of a regular clock. The feed cable at the bottom of the LNBF is usually used to indicate the 6 O'clock mark when it is vertical.

Generally the skew is zero if you are in Houston, Texas. At the West States like California the skew could be as minus 30 degrees (Clockwise rotation which equals to 7 O'clock of the feed cable when looking toward the Dish). In Maine, the skew could be up to plus 30 degrees ( Counter Clockwise rotation or 5 O'clock if looking to the Dish). Looking at the Satellite (reversing the looking direction) the skew for California will be 5 O'clock and for Maine it will be 7 O'clock

During the final tune up phase, the LNBF should be rotated in both directions to optimize the signals and/or the quality levels.

   Acquiring the Signal:

Depending on your kind of digital receiver you will be able to see either the received signal level only or to see both the signal strength and the quality meter also. Please go to this link for details :

Now your dish will be in position to lock in on the satellite signal. You�ll need to 1) have your digital receiver connected to your television, with both turned on, and 2) have your antenna LNB to receiver cables connected, and 3) be viewing your Setup Antenna/Signal Strength display from your digital receiver's on-screen menu to measure the signal strength accurately.  To view the signal strength and quality (Satcruiser receivers Telstar 5 for example) press Menu, Installation, TP Configuration, select Telstar 5 and frequency 12152 or frequency 11898. For the Starcrusier Receivers Please go to this link for details:

Ask a helper to watch the Signal Strength screen for indications you are receiving the signal, the upper meter is the signal strength, the lower meter is the signal quality. Please note that you will receive the signal ONLY when there is a signal on the lower meter (signal quality). Stand behind the dish, and holding its outer edges, slowly turn it a little to the right to adjust the azimuth. Pause a few seconds, giving the receiver enough time to lock in on the satellite signal. Continue turning the dish in this way until you have acquired the signal or until you have rotated the dish approximately 15 degrees from the starting point.

If you haven't detected a signal yet, return to the starting point and move the dish to the left again. If you don't acquire the signal after rotating the dish approximately 15 degrees to either side of the calculated azimuth angle, loosen the elevation bolts and tilt the dish upward so the elevation indicator moves halfway from the current tick mark to the next mark. Then tighten the elevation bolts.

If necessary, continue changing the elevation in half-tick-mark increments until you receive the signal. After tilting the dish upwards three tick marks beyond the original tick mark, return it to the original tick mark and then tilt it down a half tick mark. Keep repeating this until you receive the signal.

Polarity can play an important role in whether you are able to receive the digital signal at all. Digital signals are not as forgiving as analog signals, it is either you receive it or you do not.
For the SatCruiser Receiver only , If the signal meter shows a high signal (over 85% ), and you are still unable to receive the digital signal, then adjusting the SKEW will almost always help. For the Starcruiser Receiver adjusting the SKEW will maximize the signal level.

If the Signal still eludes you, check:

Check to make sure that the mount is 100% level. The portion that the dish mounts on must be straight up to the sky level. Otherwise you will not be able to find the signal

That nothing--a tree, for example--obstructs the signal that the cables are connected properly to the receiver.

That you have the correct azimuth and elevation coordinates

Fine Tuning:

Now that you have received the satellite signal, it is important to fine tune the dish pointing to make sure you have the maximum possible signal strength. Maximizing the signal is important, in that, it reduces "rain fade" during inclement weather. Loosen the elevation bolts, then gently continue turning the dish a little in the same direction you were turning it when you began to receive the satellite signal. Pause for a few seconds each time after moving the dish. Turn the dish in this way until the  signal quality strength reaches its highest reading and then begins to fall. Then slowly turn the dish the opposite way until you again receive the highest reading on the Signal Strength screen. Important: The Signal Strength reading does not need to be "100." Lock in on the highest possible signal. Tighten the azimuth bolts.

Loosen the elevation bolts. Slowly tilt the dish up and down to improve the Signal Strength reading. When you are satisfied that you have the strongest signal, tighten the elevation bolts.


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