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How to Use Satellite TV

For camping and RV aficionados, portable Satellite TV viewing is a convenient option. A subscriber who is already connected with a Satellite TV system for the home can extend their service to include remote devices to mount onto the RV, bringing the wireless cable connection on the road.

The receiver box (much like a cable box) is controlled via satellite signal input from source. A chip card which functions like a key comes with the receiver , without it, the box won't work. The user is not able to take the card out of one receiver and place it another receiver, it is solely functional with the cardís interconnected receiver.

After you have service, usually home Satellite TV service, fully wired up, and the system activated, the user is 90% of the way to successfully using it in the RV or on the road. At this point, the customer needs to acquire a secondary Dish antenna, some RG6 coax cable and mounting materials such as a tripod system. Another solution, if money is no object, is either buying an additional roof top dish that is mounted and aimed from inside the coach or trailer or an automatic dish which has the capability to function when the coach is in motion.

Direct TV requires direct line feed between the dish and the receiver, with a few notable exceptions. The receiver feeds power down the coax line to the dish, this power is used to make the LNB's function that of an amplified antenna. The voltage is minimal, about 18-20 volts at most.This voltage will not mix well with the 12volts in your systemís amplified antenna system. These two voltages are going to cause problems once they meet on the same wire. It is recommended that the user either disconnects the amplified signal for the batwing antenna, or runs a separate coax connection from the outside to the inside of the trailer. Many of the units today are already aware of this need, and have the separate lines built into their systems.

The next thing for consideration, is how many units the user is planning on using. If the user takes just one receiver and using it on just one TV, then this is a pretty simple operation. If the user plans on taking 2 or more TVs, then the connection is more complex. Standard cable splitters on a satellite system will not work. Additionally, if the viewer has one input on the outside of the coach or trailer, but has two or more outlets on the inside, then the splitter is, most likely, in the system somewhere, probably inside the wall. That must also to be removed or bypassed.

Each receiver must have it's own signal coax coming in from the dish, so if the user has 2 TVs, run 2 separate coax cables in from the dish. There are such devices called a multi-switch, which will allow the user to split 2 input cables from the dish to four output cables, but won't split a single input into two outputs. Run 2 separate lines in from the dish to the multi-switch. So if the desired setup is a two TV operation, the multi-switch is not necessary. However, if 3 receivers are desired, then the multi-switch could come in handy. Each receiver must have it's own input coax from the dish.

The 18" round dish typically have a single arm with what looks like a single LNB on the end of it. This LNG can actually be a dual LNB, the difference is how many coax output connectors there are on the back of the LNB. The singles are very rare, most of them will have dual coax outputs, which will indicate a dual LNB. If the user has a single, and need a dual, this can be purchased separately. The round dish is used to pick up a single satellite, usually for primary programming.

The 24" oval dish has a triple LNB on it, complete with 4 outputs. When mounted properly, the oval dish is designed to pick up 3 different satellites simultaneously. One is the regular satellite for regular programming, the second is for digital programming, and the third is for picking up local channels. Local channels are "spot beamed" to earth meaning the signal will only be available in specific areas. If the user travels outside this area (typically about 250 sq mile area) the local channels will not be transmitted which will not affect the rest of the system. However, most dishes used as a secondary dish for travel are of the round variety, and won't pick up the local channels anyway.

Once the setup is complete, the best way to aim the dish is to turn the system and the TV on, and go into the menu section. The user must configure the system to select the correct hardware and system. If the user is using an oval triple LNB dish at home, and a round dual LNB dish at the campsite, the selected options must be changed to indicate that dish. Next go to the aiming portion of the menu, and enter the zip code of the userís location. The receiver already has this information programmed into it, and will provide on the screen the proper Azimuth and Elevation for aiming the dish.

At this point, the user must go to the signal strength portion of the signal menu, and turn up the TV so it can be heard outside. Arrive at the dish and, using the compass, look at the Azimuth provided and aim the satellite in the direction provided from the information provided in the menu. Adjust the Elevation and listen for high-frequency sounds coming out of the television. It is possible to receive a strong signal and be on the wrong satellite, but the receiver is only configured for the proper satellite. It is best to have direct line-of-sight so look for a mounting location with no trees or tall obstructions that could get in the way of the satellite signal.

Written by David Johnson.