How to point your Satellite Dish
In order to enjoy maximum results from your satellite dish, you need to be sure it’s receiving the best possible signal. Where you point your satellite then, becomes an all-important step in getting great reception. But how does one point a satellite dish?
In truth, pointing your satellite dish isn’t as hard as you might think, but you will need to know a few things:
Azimuth which refers to the horizontal measurement of a direction from North to East. In terms of your satellite dish, it tells you how far left or right your satellite should go.
Your altitude or elevation, gives your satellite dish its heading, telling it how far above the horizon it needs to go.
And finally, the polarization. Also known as the “skew”, Polarization refers to the adjustment needed for the curvature of the Earth. This rotational adjustment compensates for the Earth’s curvature between the dish and the beam of the satellite.
The good news is that you can usually find this information with the help of your satellite provider. DISH Network for example features a Point Dish/Signal option in their on-screen menu to assist you in the adjustment of your dish. Using your zip code, you can determine the azimuth, elevation and skew. Pointing your dish is normally part of the installation process so plan to do your install when you have time to follow through.
Your skew should be set before you mount your dish. Using the adjustment number from your service provider, rotate the dish horn to match the recommended coordinates.
With your azimuth and elevation numbers in hand, grab your compass and go outside. Standing close to your dish but at least one foot away, rotate your compass until the needle points North, or zero degrees. Starting from this point, locate the azimuth number on the compass and turn to face that point without moving the compass itself. East is 90 degrees, South is 180 degrees and West is 270 degrees. If your azimuth number is 240 for example, you would face a direction that fell between South and West on your compass.
Now that you’ve found your direction, estimate the angle of elevation. With the ground representing zero, calculate the distance going upwards using the elevation number provided by your provider. Straight up would be 90 degrees so if your elevation number was 45, your elevation would be halfway between the ground and looking straight up into the sky. Got it? Good... There’s your satellite!