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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Portable Satellite Dish Set Up

We love to keep in touch with the goings on in the world.  Even when camping, we thirst for the latest  news, weather and favorite TV shows.  We have an in-motion satellite TV dome, which is great for when we travel with the grandkids.  It works great when we're stopped, too.  Except when there are trees that block the signal.  We bought a portable satellite dish to get around the trees.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with setting up a dish, but for others that are not, or are considering a purchase, I'd like to show the steps we do to get our TV set up.  We use Direct TV.

I unhook the Direct TV box from the installed in-motion dish and hook an external cable to it and run it outside to a clear position.

I get the coordinates for pointing the dish from the menu setup, where I enter the zip code of my location.  Sorry for the bad picture, but you can see the angle and compass heading in the right top corner.

Outside I set up the tripod.  It is critical that it is set level.

In the center pipe of my tripod is a level bubble so I can easily get everything level.

Then I install the dish and the LNB arm.

I set the dish to the correct angle by a little scale on the side, in this case it's 38 degrees.

I use an Align-a-Site to get the right compass setting (Azimuth) and I can see through it to see exactly what the dish sees.  I adjust the dish to ensure I have the dish pointed in the right direction and then check to see that I have a clear sight through any trees.

After a quick hook up of the cable to the dish, I have Marti go to check the signal strength on the TV.

It gives both a visual and audible reading to tune the dish for the strongest signal.  I tweak the dish with tiny movements until we lock on to the strongest signal.

Then I lock all the adjustment settings into the portable dish with my trusty wrench.

Lastly, I hang a weight, here I use a gallon of windshield washer fluid, so the dish won't blow over in the wind.

Then, it's kick back and enjoy our favorite shows.

All in all, setup takes about 15 minutes.  It can be done without an Align-a-Site, but it sure helps.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. The only difference with us, we do not use the "Align A Site" gizmo, we use Jerry the awesome satellite finder. Since we move so often and rehook it up at times nightly, he has gotten so good that within moments we have well over 90%.

    We also store it intact on the back of the RV. No need to put it together, just a slide and the tripod opens and tighten a few nuts and it's ready to set up is around 5 to 10 minutes.

    So simple...

  2. Hello Paul and Marti Dahl,

    Great article I'm really love what you done here :

    "Lastly, I hang a weight, here I use a gallon of windshield washer fluid, so the dish won't blow over in the wind."

    Very smarty way. Yeah sometimes wind can make some kind of issues with the TV signal.

    My 2 cents:

    You can use this kind of mount:

    In my opinion it'll protect your dish more stronger.

    Or you can check my blog, it article called "Portable Satellite Dish Stand" in the Portable Satellite Dish category. Here is a very smarty tripod I think.

    Hope this help to you or somebody esle.

    Best Regards,

  3. This is quite an impressive set up for your satellite dish. I have an RV myself, and now I am seriously considering purchasing a dish.