How difficult did you find the SAT

Install and set up a satellite dish - that's how it works!

Television is still one of the most important information media and is of course also used for entertainment. There are various options for using a TV set in a household. Reception via a satellite dish is one of these variants.

In large cities and modern development areas, it has long been the norm for high-performance telephone, internet, TV and radio cables to be laid there. Furthermore, the tenants and owners then have the opportunity to look for suitable providers for these media. But there are still many regional exceptions to these requirements and even with existing cable TV there are various differences in terms of quality and range of services. In addition, this service is not available at all in many locations - for example in old apartments, rural areas or in the garden shed. Here, satellite dishes are a good alternative for untroubled television and radio enjoyment.

In the following text we would like to give you some tips and tricks on how you can independently install a satellite system and make it functional.

Essentially, we will deal with the wall mounting of an Astra 1 satellite dish for TV / radio reception on a single TV. However, as is so often the case with a new DIY project, a few points should be carefully planned or clarified before the start of the practical activities.

Content

The reception of satellites

The best known satellite in the German and European area is the "Astra 1". You can receive more than 1000 German and many European TV channels and almost 200 radio programs from this source. The satellite position Astra 1 = 19.2 ° East.

Those who particularly value foreign channels can alternatively or additionally opt for the “Hotbird” satellite from Eutelsat. Around 1,600 TV and almost 300 radio programs await you here. The satellite position Hotbird = 13.0 ° East.

In principle, because of the different positions for each of these satellites, a separate satellite antenna will be necessary and useful! Under optimal conditions, a special solution - a satellite antenna with a "cross-eyed" LNB - can target both satellite positions at the same time. A dish with 2 LNBs (Astra + Hotbird) is also feasible as a compromise solution.

The number of TVs

Due to the required power supply of the LNB, only one television set or one receiver can be operated! For example, if you want to watch a SAT program and record another at the same time, you need one Twin LNB for your satellite dish, which has outputs for 2 coaxial cables. The same applies to two TV sets operated in parallel. Commercially available LNBs with 1 connection and 2, 4, 6 or 8 outputs.

Note: If you connect, for example, two receivers and two TV sets to an LNB output using a distributor, you can use these alternatively and easily. However, if you turn these devices on at the same time, you will see digital interference on both screens!

Explanation of terms LNB:

An LNB is a low-noise signal converter. In English, this electronic component is called the Low Noise Block, from which the abbreviation LNB arose. This converter sits on the support arm and in the focal point of the SAT antenna.

The coaxial cable from the LNB output

Normally the antenna cable from the LNB will end in a digital receiver in a SAT system that you have installed yourself. Here again there are different constellations, depending on which TV model you have:

  1. A good digital receiver that is connected to the TV set via a Scart cable is sufficient for an old tube TV.
  2. If you have a flat screen TV with full HD technology but without an integrated satellite tuner, an HD receiver with a modern HDMI connection is worthwhile.
  3. With a high-quality flat-screen TV with full HD and an integrated satellite receiver, you can connect the coaxial cable from the LNB output directly to the TV.

The right place for the satellite dish

Basically, the following applies to the installation location of an Astra 1-SAT antenna:

  • In principle, a satellite dish can be mounted on a wall or on a mast on a roof or floor area.
  • A sheltered and accessible wall position (house wall, balcony, terrace) is a good recommendation for easy assembly, alignment and subsequent maintenance.
  • To ensure good reception quality, the field of view from the selected antenna position to the Astra 1 satellite should be as free as possible - i.e. without large buildings, trees or mountains in between. Specifically, this vantage point can be on a south facade, plus around 20 ° in an easterly direction, lie. From the planned installation site, there is also an unobstructed view upwards at an angle of approx. 28° (Northern Germany) up to 35 ° (Southern Germany), important.
  • Furthermore, it must be possible to lay cables sensibly from this intended position to the location of the television.
  • If necessary, the installation should be discussed beforehand with the landlord or the neighbors concerned.

The size of the SAT antenna

Under good conditions, a dish diameter of 60 cm is sufficient for the Astra 1 satellite. If there is no completely clear view of the satellite or if the installation location is at the edge of the footprint of the Astra 1 satellite (e.g. Canary Islands), a larger diameter (80 or 100 cm) is advisable. You can get a 60 cm aluminum antenna with a simple LNB for around 30 euros.

The optimal wall bracket

If you have found a suitable wall area on the south side of your house, you now need a wall bracket for the satellite dish. This device should be a stable and robust construction - the wind can generate very large forces via the SAT antenna, but the correctly set up position should be maintained permanently and exactly! Furthermore, make sure that the bracket is absolutely rust-free, i.e. well galvanized or made of stainless steel.

The correct or necessary dimensions, especially the distance between the receiving tube and the wall, are very important when buying. On the one hand it should be as low as possible in favor of the lever arm forces, on the other hand it must be large enough that the round bowl can be optimally adjusted in both axes without it being in front of the house wall! Therefore should in front(!) When purchasing the bracket at the planned installation site, the following tests must be carried out:

  • For a planned 60 cm antenna, prepare a wooden strip 60 cm long and mark the center with a pen.
  • A level and a large set square or protractor will come in handy.
  • Now use a compass to check the exact alignment of your south wall. For example, if it runs exactly from east to west, the mounted bowl must still be able to be rotated approx. 20 ° to the east. If the course of the wall is oriented towards the south-west, the installed antenna must be rotatable by more than 20 ° accordingly.
  • As a precaution, use the largest possible value for the upward tilt angle, so around 35 ° should be adjustable.
  • Now try to improvise the end position of your satellite antenna with the above information and aids and to determine the optimal mounting distance to the wall.
  • You will get an even more reliable result if you have already bought your SAT dish and it is pre-assembled with the fastening material. Bring the antenna into the approximate target position with respect to both axes and ensure that the outer diameter is at least approx. 15 cm away from the wall. In this position you can then use the mounting brackets on the bowl to determine the required mounting distance to the wall for your wall bracket.

Note: Most SAT antennas have an angle scale for the upward tilt angle, which can be used for rough alignment.

The best cables

Coaxial cables are usually used to connect a television set to an antenna. These two-pole cables have an inner conductor that is sheathed with solid insulation and is usually made of copper. The outer conductor surrounds the insulation of the inner conductor in the form of a wire mesh and serves to shield the inner conductor.

Since the inner conductor of the coaxial cable is usually part of the plug connections in satellite technology, only coaxial cables with a solid copper wire should be used as the inner conductor - so do not use an inner conductor in the form of a stranded wire!

The most common outside diameters of these cables are approx. 5 and approx. 7 mm. Recommended, especially for outdoor use, are 7 mm thick cables that are offered as "SAT coaxial cables" and have low attenuation. The lower the specified attenuation values, the lower the signal losses with longer cable lengths.

Rule of thumb: Small cable diameters result in greater attenuation and larger cable diameters result in less attenuation.

In addition, larger cable diameters offer better protection against moisture and corrosion, as both can contribute to further signal loss.

In industry, coaxial cables are usually produced with diameters of 2 to 15 mm, although thicker cables are of course also more expensive and more difficult to lay.

So finally, for “normal satellite household use”, the purchase recommendation is once again: SAT coaxial cable, diameter 7 mm, price approx. 1 euro per meter.

The assembly of the F connector on the cable must be done very carefully so that there is no short circuit between the inner conductor and the shield, which in turn can lead to signal loss or even interference. You can find our detailed instructions for assembling the F-connector here: Strip the insulation from the coaxial cable and mount the F connector

Correct laying of the coaxial cables

  • You will find a wide range of accessories in every hardware store for safe and visually appealing routing and fastening of the antenna cables:
  • Cable ties are a good choice for laying on the satellite dish.
  • Rigid and flexible plastic pipes with clamp brackets are suitable for dowelling on the outer wall.
  • Cable ducts and cable clamps can be used in the covered area and within the rooms.
  • For the last part to the receiver or TV set, flexible spiral tubes offer a tidy picture.

The assembly of the SAT system

1. The wall bracket

Mount the suitable wall bracket in the intended position at a reasonable height - take into account interfering edges, headroom, accessibility, etc. Use all available mounting holes for a maximum and permanent fit. Use stainless hex bolts with a larger washer. This head shape can be optimally tightened and, if necessary, removed again without any problems. The washer transfers the pre-tensioning forces of the screw well to the mounting plate.

2. The satellite dish

Pre-assemble the SAT antenna with all its components: arm, mounts and the adjustment mechanism. Then place the bowl on the wall bracket, align it roughly according to the required angles, but tighten all the screws just enough to keep this position stable. Finally, you can already mount the LNB in ​​order to have the exact connection position for the cable.

Note:
If you look at the many bowls in the neighborhood, you will notice that most of the LNBs have been installed with the cable outlets in a vertical position. However, if you read the trade press or ask a TV technician, you will find out something about the "LNB tilt". This describes a small, defined twist of the LNB in ​​its holder in order to further optimize the reception quality. How big this angle is and in which direction it points, however, again depends on the individual location. In addition, the possible potential is very low, even with an accurately calculated and set “LNB tilt”. So the ambitious do-it-yourselfer can neglect this point or should hire a specialist to do this.

3. The wiring

To do this, take some time in advance and plan the most sensible route from the antenna to the TV place. With good quality cables, signal losses will not play a major role up to 30 meters of cable. For the passage into the house, for example, there are special elements for easy installation between window seals. Are the auxiliary constructions, e.g. B. Cable ducts, installed and the coaxial cable pulled in, start with the final installation at the antenna.

Note: Always attach cables with F connectors to the connection sockets by hand and without a wrench!

After connecting the cable to the LNB, you can pull out the rain cover that is often present. Lay the cable along the LNB arm using cable ties up to the prepared cable ducts on the wall. Create an excess length on the LNB and on the bracket as a reserve for further adjustments of the bowl and possible dismantling of the cable. The end of the cable on the receiver or television set should also be excessively long.

4. The final alignment

Now that the satellite system has been installed ready for operation, the optimal, three-dimensional adjustment of the satellite dish must now be made.

To anticipate, this optimum can only be achieved by a television technician with an expensive measuring device! With the above-mentioned preparation, however, he will be able to do this in a very short time. If you choose this variant and you have bought a new flat screen television for the satellite system, a qualified television technician can use this opportunity to make a suitable basic setting on the device and, if necessary, install an update.

However, if all reception requirements are met, you will be able to enjoy a satisfactory television experience even with your own adjustment of the satellite antenna. For one of these possible procedures you will need at least one assistant - one person is at the TV set and gives the second person at the satellite dish clear instructions on how to change positions. In the case of greater distances, this can also be done by mobile phone.

Now select the satellite “Astra 1” and the item “Universal LNB” via your receiver or the satellite menu on the television and then the menu with the two bars for the signal strength and the signal quality.

If the signal strength is still below 70%, change the antenna settings very slowly and gradually. Start with the horizontal south-east orientation.

If the signal strength is then or already above 70%, start the station search and then select "Das Erste" as the reference program.

Once you have found the Astra 1 satellite in principle, the fine adjustment is carried out with the aid of the display of the signal quality and the control of the television picture:

  1. Turn the bowl horizontally very slowly to the leftuntil the signal quality deteriorates. Mark this position with a pen or tape.
  2. Then turn the bowl horizontally very slowly To the rightuntil the signal quality deteriorates. Mark this position with a pen or tape.
  3. Now turn the antenna exactly in the middle of the two markings and tighten the corresponding screws.
  4. Tilt the bowl vertically very slowly upuntil the signal quality deteriorates. Mark this position with a pen or tape.
  5. Then slowly tilt the bowl vertically downwarduntil the signal quality deteriorates. Mark this position with a pen or tape.
  6. Now tilt the antenna exactly in the middle of the two markings and tighten the corresponding screws.

The Signal strength should now be at least 75%. Finally, also check the programs with weaker reception, such as RTL and SAT 1. If the reception quality there is also satisfactory, you have successfully installed your antenna.

More tips and information

Tip 1 - The fine adjustment described above can also be carried out alone, with a separate "satellite finder" for around 15 euros, directly on the satellite dish.

Tip 2 - Finally, mark the horizontal and vertical settings of the satellite antenna with a permanent felt-tip pen. In future, you will be able to check at a glance whether something has changed in this optimal position - for example due to a storm or vandalism.

Tip 3 - Wrap the plastic holder for the LNB with black insulating tape. This also protects against UV rays. If this screw holder becomes brittle at some point and the LNB is no longer fixed, reception can deteriorate or even break off. As a rule, this fastening element is also not a common replacement part.

Tip 4 - Note that in heavy rain, snow and thunderstorms, the reception quality can drop significantly and the signal can temporarily fail completely. A protected wall position under a small canopy offers a little more security.

Tips for fast readers:

  • look for a suitable mounting position
  • clarify the cable routing
  • Do you need permission from the landlord (neighbors)?
  • Specify the number of TV sets used
  • Define the dimensions of the wall bracket
  • buy appropriate material
  • mount the wall bracket first
  • Pre-assemble the SAT antenna
  • Mount the bowl on the wall bracket
  • Roughly align the antenna horizontally and vertically
  • Mount the LNB and cable
  • Receiver or television then
  • Signal strength greater than 70% required
  • Install Astra 1 programs
  • Fine adjustment of the signal quality