RV Satellite Dish TV Systems:
Technology has changed a lot, even in the last few years. Things that have improved is RV Internet, as well as RV Satellite TV. Flat Screens also have their advantage, as our large flat screen sets at the back of our kitchen table, as the little cubby holes most RV’s have do not accommodate the larger TVs that have come down in price.
For our number one best choice for RV Satellite TV… is “Dish Network”. Alright, we said it. Their service and set up of the dish is quite easy, once you get the hang of it. It takes a bit of time the first two times, then you get the hang of it pretty easily. Digital TVs have the signal strength meter built in to the TV, so the TV is where you can spend the money, not the antenna that can be obsoleted pretty easy. The one we have is only months old, and is already another digital dish antenna upgrade from the Dish 500. We have been next to RVers that try to set up their Direct TV, and comments on how the 20 satellites do not work, and the signal is strong, then drops, then strong again. Just a week ago he gave up, and skipped TV that visit. That has never happened to us, yet. I am sure it can.
For the RV Satellite TV Antenna, we purchased the Dish Network three gun dish that just came out in early 2009. It is called the Turbo HD / DP Plus.
It has three eyes or guns, and from what we have been taught is; one eye is for Satellite number 110, one eye is for 119, and the third one for the newer HD 129 satellite. HD High Definition is awesome, love palladia for music concerts, so opted for the best dish. The price, a mere $80 dollars carry out price and it included brackets! We also added the tripod at 40 dollars, a simple roof top type made up of sturdy tripod of poles, and basic feet with nail holes in them. We anchor it with 8 inch bolts that have threads, for a bit of grip to the ground, as the direction is very sensitive. I With Cable, we have about 150 in the entire system, much less than any other RV Satellite System available.
With all the wind we have been exposed to in this Arkansas River Valley of Colorado near 14000 foot mountains, the wind here has not been a problem and this Satellite RV Antenna setup has held steadfast. We will talk about leveling and set up below. We also got 2oo feet of RG6. RG 6 is the coax cable that is used for Satellite, and nothing else is really required. We put two connectors in the middle, with a coupling, so that we can put it up by 100 feet per location. In other words, if we don’t need the second 200 feet, we do not put it on. The only restriction to satellite location now is the driveways and walkways. In most cases, you can move your dish around fairly close to your RV Site, and find a decent signal.
RV Rooftop TV antennas, even automatic RV Rooftop Antennas are not a choice for us. For the fully automatic rooftop rv antenna, you can spend over $1000, (This will change. This is 2009). The problem is that you must park in a place that is unobstructed by trees, and therefore half the rv sites you might want to choose must have unobstructed view of the satellite. We had a dish on top of our Travel Trailer when we bought it, and it did not work at our first location. The problem, there was not a second site we wanted, so the rooftop RV Satellite Dish TV Antenna was immediately obsoleted in our opinion. This also shows up in necessity when we do hook up our system described above. We sometimes have to move it several times to get enough signal strength so that digital “checkers” and freezes in the TV Signal do not appear, and we can have the best RV satellite TV signal.
How to set up your RV Dish Network TV Antenna. It is pretty easy. We have the best. Our box came out of our front room, VIP 722 dual channel HD Box with DVD/R-Recorder. The recorder is nice. The dual channel allows one tv in the bedroom with it’s own controller, which we have a second smaller TV on a wall hanger. Wall hangers are very nice, especially for the space! Flat screen TVs rock for the RV, and are getting cheaper by the year.
With a digital Dish Network box, set it up to talk to your TV by knowing input, then go to “Menu” on your controller. This will give you the main dish network menu. Most are familiar, as this has all the options. Then go to Number 6, system set up. Then at the top of our menu, “Installation” is number one. I go down one with the controller, as it starts it at the bottom at cancel, your exit spot. Once you click on “Installation”, then go to “Point Dish. At the top, it gives you the information and with your controller and left/right arrows, fill in all the information, zip code, dish system, we set it on 500. It gives all three numbers for you, then set it on the satellite number it tells you to, 110 and 119 for us.
- Menu on the controller
- System Set Up
- Point Dish
When you get those three numbers (on the “point dish” selection of “set up in your menu, see above), then:
Once you pick the satellite example 119, and once you get your zip code programmed in, you will get three numbers off this screen, azimuth, elevation, and skew.
Azimuth is direction. A good compass is always good to have for other reasons too! For this reason, it will get your dish pointed towards the direction the screen tells you, Azimuth. Meters are available, and make it easy to point to the highest setting.
With a compass that has a site glass, (available at any department store), you can find the degrees, point the site towards the direction, and pick a landmark. Make sure there is no metal effecting the compass heading. It can throw you off, so be in the open to get a sense of direction and heading first, to give you that sense of correct compass headings, and you don’t have pliers in your hand or are standing too close to the dish itself. Then twist direction to get the meter and tone to respond on the television screen you are looking at. The meter is on the television. No, you cant see that 100 or even 200 feet away from the television. That is the tough part without a meter. With help from someone, they can holler, once you set the direction close as you can, and get the highest reading on your television screen meter that you can. If you set it on 119, the other three satellites will come in. The order I do it is:
- Set the Skew or twist, to the degrees on the Dish bracket.
- Set the height with the degree marks on the Dish bracket.
- Set the tripod so that the pole is level measured with a pole level, (metal pole fencing uses a level that clamps to the pole, available at any local hardware store)
- Point the compass towards the heading, getting a landmark picked from the dish location
- Aiming a level pole dish towards the heading that the television screen menu tells me to. I turn up the sound real high if the dish is close, as you can hear the tone for larger changes. Someone can further holler out the window and give you reading changes.
- Check your TV signal, does it checker or lock up. Check local channels, 110, check dish channels, 119, and check hd channels, 129. All should work.
- What if part of my channels don’t work after setting up my dish? If any of these do not work, do not read adjust the dish. Re-boot your dish box by holding down the off button for 10 seconds, then wait 5 minutes or so for it to turn itself back on. It sometimes appears nothing is happening, but just wait, it will come back on. You you might find you are set! The box has to locate all satellites, and with initial set up, sometimes you have to reboot to get either local, regular channels, or hd channels. I think they typically do not work in segments, as I was told that was the three satellites as above described.
- You might have to move the dish if you can’t get over 50 percent, and your screen locks. That is typically a poor location, or not a clear view to the Satellite.
This hollering out the window is a common activity among couples that are setting up a manual dish. Have no fear, it is not aggressive. Two way radios are also excellent for this. One reads the meter on the TV, one adjusts first direction, then tunes in height, to get the highest achievable number. The meter is the best, and a connection out at the dish for easy set up. I have used one, and would like to have one.
Two of the required settings are right on your dish brackets, the direction is the compass heading. I got a compass that has a little site glass, aimed and pick a landmark, then stand behind the dish and point it at the landmark. If there are trees in the way, move it. Simple as that. Now for the other two to work you need one more thing, a pole level. They have them for setting fence rows, so I clamp mine on the pole, then level up the tripod best I can before I aim, and that brings the height and skew right in.
Then the direction and above process is all that is left. If your signal does not go very high, and you do get a poor signal, then move the dish. You can see different locations will get a higher reading. Anything over 60 percent signal strength works pretty good, and don’t think we ever got over 70 percent with this HD system. It even states it will be less with the HD system. The RV Television Signal is great however. That works for us!
Good Luck, try and try again, and you will find it. Once you do it a couple of times, you will get good at it. Big Screen HDTV with surround sound in the RV Rocks!
RV Satellite Dish Set Up Tip! - Remember, if everything seems to now work but some of your channels work, use the reset on your box! Some local, satellite channels, or HDTV on your satellite channels will work when you first set up your satellite dish, and some channels will not work. If this happens, hold the reset on your box for 10 seconds to reboot, and see if it will find it, before you mess up your dish again. Try for anything above 60 percent on the signal strength, and should be fine. Resetting the box once the satellite is installed allows it to lock on to all three satellites, 110, 119, and 129.
We welcome any comments or feature offers on the Direct TV system, or any questions are welcome…