2 Replies Latest reply: Sep 3, 2006 12:52 PM by litzdog911 RSS

Use the Sun to Site New Satellite Dish

litzdog911
Twice each year, in March and October, the sun is your friend when it comes to finding the ideal location for a new or upgraded satellite dish.  In earch March and October, the sun sweeps across the sky in the same line as the earth's geosynchronous satellites, including DirecTV's satellites.  This means that at various times during the day the sun will appear to shine from the exact locations of DirecTV's satellites.  Once you know the correct times, you can walk around your house taking photos and looking for spots where there are NO shadows.  The "shadow-free" areas mean that a dish mounted there has a clear line-of-site to that particular satellite.  By taking photos at each of the exact times-of-day for each satellite location, you can compare the photos to find those shadow-free spots on your house at all of relevant times, indicating spots where your dish can "see" all of the desired satellites.

1.  Surf to http://perso.numericable.fr/~gjullien/satellite.htm  (you'll need Java enabled on your PC for this page to work)

2.  Find your latitude and longitude (Google makes it easy).  Enter your latitude/longitude on the web page where indicated.  For example, for my location in Seattle I enter Longitude = 122W, Latitude = 48N

3.  Enter the desired satellite.  For DirecTV's newest 5-LNB dish (Ka/Ku AT9), you'll need to perform this step five times, once for each satellite location.  Those satellite locations are:
* 99.2W (new Ka-band satellite beaming HD Locals to certain cities)
* 101.0W (SatA: main DirecTV satellite)
* 102.8W (new Ka-band satellite beaming HD Locals to certain cities)
* 109.8W (SatC: some MPEG2 HDTV channels)
* 119.0W (SatB: international channels, local channels for some cities, some HDTV channels)

In addition, for some cities you might also need or want additional dishes to receive your local channels or other
international channels:
* 72.5W (local channels for certain cities)
* 95.0W (international channels)

If you're not sure which satellites beam channels you require, check out this web site
http://www.lyngsat.com/packages/america.html
Just realize that DirecTV often moves channels between satellites (especially HiDef channels), so ideally you'll want a clear view of ALL FIVE of the main satellites.

4. Press "Calculate first date".  The table below will update with dates and times when the sun (or moon) will appear at that location in the sky.  It will also provide the azimuth and elevation for the exact satellite location.  For example, for my location in Seattle when I enter "109.2 W" and press "Calculate first date", I see the following ....

   Satellite position is: 163.77AZ, 33.65EL
   Tue, Oct 10, 12:01.48 PDT 2006    163.79AZ, 33.65EL
   Wed, Oct 11, 12:01:18 PDT 2006    163.79AZ, 33.98EL

These mean that on either of October 10 or 11 at 12:01 local time (just after noon), the sun will be at almost the exact location where DirecTV's SatC 110-deg W satellite "beams" its signal from the sky.  Any spots on my house NOT covered by
shadows can "see" that satellite.

5. Repeat step 4 for each of the desired satellites.

6. On the specified dates and times, go outside with your camera.  Hopefully the sun is shining!  Simply take pictures at the correct times.  Study them to find spots on your house without shadows.  Those will make good dish mounting locations.

By the way, these times and dates actually don't change much for a few days before and after the "exact" times/dates.  So you have a bit of leeway if the weather doesn't cooperate on the exact days, or you can't be home from work.

You'll also see that there are dates/times each month when the moon can be used for this.  It's a bit trickier since the moon doesn't cast much shadow, so just walk around your house at night at the correct time/date and you can eyeball where the satellites would be located if you could see them.