What is Motorised Satellite Dish? | Aerialforce
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What is Motorised Satellite Dish?

Satellite TV
Jun-2020 / 5 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Satellite dishes and aerials have been the backbone of free entertainment for years since its introduction to the TV industry in the 70s. It has adapted to the needs of the market. In the beginning, satellite dishes had poor reception and shoddy picture quality. The dishes were sensitive and filled with technical issues that needed to be consistently troubleshot. The demand for better quality and more shows made the mobile version increasingly popular over the years. 

What Is A Motorised Satellite Dish?

A motorised satellite dish builds on top of the existing model. The components are a dish/ reflector, feed horn, LNB, and a receiver. The only difference between the two? Mobility. The added motor helps change the direction of the satellite dish. It provides more range, and, by extension, more satellites and content. 

Mobility solves the problem of poor reception and limited access to broadcasted channels. It also takes care of the everyday struggles of manually adjusting the satellite dish. While it made the use of satellite dishes easier, the important aspects haven’t changed. 

The initial installation continues to play an important part. The motorised element allows for more freedom. You can continually hunt for new channels, and never reach the end of it. You might be surprised at what you could find. 


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How Does A Motorised Satellite Dish Work?

A motorised satellite dish works in the same way that a regular one does. The signal from the satellite would hit the reflector/dish. Then it would bounce off the dish and head towards the feed horn. From there, the LNB converts the signal and sends it to the receiver inside the building. From the receiver, it goes to your TV set where it displays moving images for your watching pleasure. 

For the motorised aspect, you could use the sat finder to control the direction of the satellite dish. You could watch a couple of shows and reset your system when you are finished. You won’t have to choose between two different satellites and could switch between the two when you want. 

You do not need a separate power supply for your motor. That additional feature was only applicable to really old models in the early 2000s. The power from the coaxial cord is enough to support the engine. 

How Do You Set Up A Motorised Satellite Dish in the UK?

There are plenty of challenges when setting up your motorised satellite dish at home. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? The materials and instructions might not be the same, but you could use the following as a reference. Consulting the manufacturer’s manual should be helpful. 

Materials You Need

You could go about the materials in two ways: a complete kit or individual parts. If you have decided to get it by parts, there are three components you should have: a motorised mount, satellite dish, and a receiver. If you chose the kit, it should have everything included. 

Assemble The Parts

The first thing you should assemble is your satellite dish. The dish attaches to the mount and screws into place. The next piece is the LNB. After you have created the satellite dish, install your motor to your post. Level your post before you install the motor. Once the engine is in place, you can connect it to the satellite dish mount. 

Azimuth Angle

Your motorised satellite dish should be pointed at the azimuth angle. The azimuth is the angle between a celestial body, or in this case, your satellite, and the North ( 0 degrees), measured clockwise along the plane (from left to right). There is no fixed azimuth angle. It depends on your location. 

You can search for azimuth angle calculators online or manually do it with a compass. If this is too difficult, you can try a sat finder and adjust to the coordinated given or hire a professional. Satellite dishes are sensitive, and they need to be as accurate as they can be or else the quality of your Freesat channels will suffer.  

Elevation Angle

After you find your azimuth angle, you need to find your elevation angle. It is similar to the azimuth, but instead of your longitude being zero, it is your latitude, and the angle is from our plane moving up towards the celestial body, or satellite. 

After you finish these steps, you can scan for channels and finetune your connection. You can also test out your motor and see what other satellites are near you. Count yourself lucky if you can enjoy more than two with good quality!

How Does Dish TV Work?

Dish TV channels follow this chain: from programming source to the broadcast centre, from the broadcast centre to the satellite, and then to your satellite dish and TV. Now channels are packaged together in a bundle to compete with other types of TV like aerial, cable, and internet subscriptions. Every country with satellite TV has its own units. When countries are close together, you can catch these signals. It is unavoidable for them, and an unexpected perk that people have been enjoying for years. 

Can I Pick Up Foreign Channels?

Motorized satellite dishes can pick up more than the static ones. It is possible to pick up foreign channels, or at the very least, channels that aren’t for your immediate area. If you live in the South of the UK, you can pick up signals from France and Germany. The Astra 1 at 19 degrees east, Eutelsat Hot Bird at 13 degrees east, and Atlantic Bird 3 at 5 degrees west, these are some of the satellites you might be able to pick up. They cover French, German, Italian, and Pan-Asian shows, though this may vary. 

If you live in the North of the UK, it is a bit trickier. You need to have a bigger satellite to pick up these signals. If people in the South can get by with a zone one satellite, the North needs a zone 2 version, nothing less than 63 cm can do the trick. 

What Satellite Dish Does Dish Network Use?

Dish Network uses Echostar XIV and XV, Anik F3, and Ciel-2 satellites as of now. These satellites are subject to change over time. Many Brits who have spent time abroad wonder if they can use Dish Network in the UK. Dish Network, also known as DISH, is an American satellite TV company. Sadly, there is no way you can connect to these satellites. Their units are below the UK horizon, and it is impossible to get a usable signal. 

Dish Network considered expanding to the UK, but as of now, nothing has come of negotiations. It does not seem like it would change any time soon. You may have to settle for online streaming subscriptions for US-specific content. 

How To Troubleshoot Your Motorised Satellite Dish?

In the event, your motorised satellite dish doesn’t work as well as it should, try to diagnose the problem. Are there any changes in the local environment? A taller tree, a new building, or massive signboards are things that can obstruct your signal. If this is the case, use your motorised satellite and find a new position that is clear. 

When the environment has no issues, consider the weather. Was there a storm that could have damaged parts of your set up? Inspect the model and try to repair it the best you can. 

Now environmental issues are not the only cause. When nothing out of the ordinary happened, consider replacing your LNB. There could be damage with how it filters out signals. 

When you find yourself at wit’s end, hire professionals like Aerialforce to install or diagnose your motorised satellite dish. Unlike furniture, satellites are not that simple to fix. The stress from finding the right angle and position can easily overwhelm and dishearten. 

Your motorised satellite dish is out to improve your entertainment at home, not to cause you long term stress. It is an investment that you could splurge on and get advice from experienced engineers in the business. When you have your motorised satellite up and working have fun with the system. Explore what the satellites have to offer and take note of your favourite ones. When done right, your Freesat channels can be quite enjoyable. 

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