How To Install A Satellite Dish
While you may think installing a satellite dish is a difficult and time-consuming task, it can be easier than you think.
Follow our handy step by step guide to safely install and connect a dish yourself.
Choose your reciever
If you’re installing a standard, single set-top box, you will only need a single cable, which runs from the satellite dish to the receiver. If you’re installing a recorder, you will need two cables, as most have twin tuners. This allows you to record one channel whilst watching another.
We’d recommend you buy a multi-output LNB so you can easily add another recorder or tuner at a later date, without having to adjust the satellite dish. The LNB sits on the end of the dish arm and is the device which receives the satellite signal. The dish simply focuses the signal to the LNB.
A universal LNB enables you to set the system up to receive other satellite signals.
Ensure you have your dish, LNB and cables before you begin the installation.
Preparing the cable
You will need to run a cable from your chosen receiver to your dish. Ensure you choose satellite grade cable for optimum picture quality. You will also need a pair of F connectors, which are the plugs on each end of the cable.
To prepare the cable:
- Strip the outer insulation back by around 1.5cm
- Trim around 1cm off the inner insulation
- Fold the copper braid back over the outer insulation
- Fix the F connector in place by pushing it over the end of the cable and screwing it on
- For the time being, only put a connector on the end of the cable nearest the receiver, as you’ll need to run the other end of the cable outside before you can add the plug.
Assemble your satellite dish
Follow the instructions provided to assemble your satellite dish. This primarily involves fitting the LNB to the arm, with the connectors facing downwards.
The size of the dish you choose will depend on your location. For example, if you live in the south of England, a 60cm dish will be sufficient to receive the Astra 2 satellite, whereas if you’re in the north, you may need to choose a bigger dish.
Choose your mount
The mount you choose will depend on where you wish to place your dish:
- Choose a mount that keeps the dish close to the wall if you don’t need to rotate it
- Choose a mount that allows you to place the dish further out if you need to rotate it
- If you prefer, choose a garden or patio stand rather than a mount
Note: a satellite dish doesn’t have to be high up on the wall; it just needs to be able to see the right part of the sky.
Mount your satellite dish
Mounting your satellite dish to your chosen wall is straightforward:
- Choose a wall which allows you to fix the dish and also move it from side to side
- Ensure the bracket is aligned vertically, or it will be difficult to find the satellite
- Using a hinge, mount the dish to the bracket
- Adjust the pole to ensure it is vertical. Once you are happy it is, ensure all bolts and screws are secured tightly, preventing the dish from moving in strong winds
Note: check if there are any restrictions as to where you can mount a dish, particularly if you are renting, or live in a conservation area.
Determine your position
Once you have mounted your satellite dish, you need to determine what latitude and longitude you are at:
- Enter your postcode into Street Map to determine the exact coordinates of your location
- Using these coordinates, visit Satellite Signals, then use the calculator to determine where to point your dish
- The essential information is ‘Dish azimuth relative to magnetic north’, which tells you how far to rotate the dish left and right, plus ‘Dish elevation’, which tells you how far into the air to angle the dish
Elevate your dish
Once you have determined the correct position for your dish, you need to elevate it:
- Mount the dish on the pole, ensuring the bolts are tight enough that you can move the dish from side to side with a little pressure, but not so loose the dish moves on its own
- Once you have done this, set the elevation. Satellite dishes are designed so you can read the value from a scale when the dish is mounted vertically
- Use a compass, rotate the dial so the azimuth value you determined earlier is marked by the black dial
- Ensuring you are not close to any metal objects, rotate the compass so the arrow pointing north is between the luminous dots
- This will determine the direction in which you should point your satellite dish
Connect your dish
Now you have aligned and elevated your satellite dish, you can connect it to the receiver:
- Drill through the wall or window frame nearest your bracket, to make a hole for the cable. Do this at an angle to prevent water from running into the hole
- Feed the cable through the hole from the inside
- Cut off a short piece, then fit the F connector to the end that leads to the receiver
Find the satellite
The easiest way to do this is to use a satellite finder, which makes a whistling sound when it receives a signal from the LNB.
- Connect the receiver to the labelled socket and use the short cable you made to link from the LNB to the other one
- Switch on the receiver, then adjust the dial on the finder until it reaches 5
- Move the dish until you find the strongest signal
- Proceed to the set-up screens on the receiver
Why can't I tune in?
If you’re not picking up any channels, the dish is not aligned correctly. We’d recommend you go back and check the positioning, as this is crucial.