How to (temporarily) Align a Satellite Antenna

Drawing of space satellite

Why

I was browsing the local DIY store and came across a kit containing a satellite dish, decoder box and signal meter box for 30 quid (GBP) so I was curious and bought it. Here's a very unscientific but strangely rewarding approach to getting some TV from it.

Recipe

Before you play, get an idea which satellite you want to receive from. Here in the UK most satellite dishes are pointed at the Astra 2 satellite at 28E. I wanted some Polish TV on Hotbird 6 at 13E.

They say that aligning a satellite antenna to the transmitter is like pointing at a mini in space! So it's surely supposed to be harder than this...

  1. Take satellite dish out of box, assemble it and add LNB so it's in the zero position.
  2. Connect signal meter to LNB using the short lead and connect a long lead from the meter to the decoder box. Connect decoder to TV and switch on.
  3. Look at neighbours satellite dish for a reference. Play around with the dish in your hand making slow movements and watching the S-meter until you get something. This took about 5 to 10 minutes for me. Remember roughly where it was and lower it to the ground. Now find the signal again but this time with it on the ground. You'll have to tilt it in all axis and the best signal might not be with it perfectly "straight..." (Mainly because LNB is in zero position)
  4. Tighten up all the screws and prop it against something. I used a flower pot.
  5. Go to the decoder and find which satellite you've got! I got the one I wanted 2nd time.

Result

Success! To be honest I was surprised this gung-ho approach worked. There's plenty of real tutorials out there for doing this, some involving special alignment helping gagetry. There's even an "app" for it... but getting a result doing it this way put a big grin on my face so I'm sharing that with you!

Photos

Satellite dish from front.

Satellite dish from back.

And the result! TVP Polonia on Hotbird 13E


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