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Free To Air Satellite Installation Guide

- Ku Satellite Installation -

Installing your own free to air satellite system can be accomplished by most people that have the patience to follow instructions and a moderate electronic knowledge.  If this is not for you, it will be far easier for you to contact a local satellite installer in your area to assist you. This tutorial assumes you wish to receive multiple satellites using a dish mover or rotor. If you only wish to receive a single satellite, your task is much easier as you have but one satellite to locate and your dish will be fixed on the single location. For most broadcasts in the United States and Southern Canada, a dish size of 90cm - 1.2 Meters (35" - 48") is sufficient. Larger dish sizes may be required for more northern or out of footprint locations.

Definitions to Know

Elevation This is the angle between the satellite above the horizon and your physical location on Earth. This is the up/down adjustment on the satellite dish. All commercial satellites in geo-stationary orbit are located 22 300 miles above the Earth. The curvature of the Earth means that the farther you advance East or West from the satellite orbital location, the more you will need to adjust your elevation. For example, if the satellite orbital location is located directly over the state of Texas, your elevation in New York will be lower than that of someone living in Texas.

Azimuth This is the compass direction to your satellites location. This is the left/right adjustment on the satellite dish. For example, to find a satellite located at 101 degrees longitude , your azimuth in Los Angeles, California will be 137 degrees.  Also, as there is a difference between true and magnetic North, to find a satellite, you may also need to compensate or correct your values for magnetic deviation. (See below image) For Los Angeles, the 137 degree azimuth must be corrected by subtracting 14 degrees, so the true compass direction is 123 degrees.  This corrected value is known as your declination angle.

Locations West of 0 need to subtract the value shown.

Locations East of 0 need to add the value shown.

Polarization This is the correction that compensates for curvature of the Earth relative to the satellite signal for linearly polarized satellites.  This is also known as tilt or skew. Linearly polarized satellites use both vertical and horizontal polarization. To correctly receive signals on satellite transponders, your dish must be adjusted so as to receive the signals head on. Your polarization adjustment compensates for the curvature of the Earth by rotating the LNBF left or right. Note that some fixed dish configurations adjust the polarization by tilting the entire dish rather than the lnbf. A negative polarization is in a clockwise direction from vertical. A positive polarization is in a counterclockwise direction from vertical.

Step 1: Site Survey

The first step is critical as it will determine your eligibility to receive satellite signals. Not all homes are cable of receiving signals as natural barriers such as trees, mountains and also man-made barriers such as buildings and other structures can block signals. Many areas will be able to receive some satellites, but possibly not others because of these barriers. If your site survey reveals that you are not able to receive the entire satellite belt, you will need to determine the best location for your dish to be able to receive the satellites of most importance to you. Bear in mind that if a particular location in your yard is not suitable, moving the location 100 feet or more can make a tremendous difference.

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