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Satellite TV on the Road

There are a few amenities that I simply cannot live without when I am on some jobsite 20 miles from nowhere. A cold beer at the end of a long dusty day, an internet connection and my television. I have one of those Wineguard amplified crank up antennas on top of the bus and it works great as long as you are close to a city. Scratch that option for me.

DISH Network for your RV.

DISH Network for your RV.

I already had DISH network at the stick house and out at the shop so I just took the shop receiver and installed it in the Fish Bus.

The tripod and cable came off of eBay. The Dish came from Craigslist. Over the last two years I have learned a few things from setting the dish up and pointing it countless times. One is that pointing it using the TV signal strength meter is tough. I use the onscreen meter to fine tune it once I get the dish pretty much tuned in. So do like I did and get one of those cheapy signal strength meters off of eBay that attach inline right at the dish. It will make your life so much easier. The next thing I found out is all those internet commandos that say having your tripod level is not real important are just full of it! I bet they may have to set up their dish at most a few times a year and it is OK if it takes all afternoon. I go to great pains to level my dish tripod before I set anything else. My tripod has a little bubble level built in and I use it! I guarantee you that you can set up 10X faster if you start out level. My tripod was designed to be anchored by one of those screw in anchors and a bungee cord. I threw out that mess the first day and drilled some holes through the legs. I use Coleman tent pegs through the holes. If you want to keep the dish vertical and not horizontal during a good ol’ Texas windstorm, go with the tent pegs.

A couple of observations learned through hard experience. The most troubles I have had always involved overhanging branches. Trees or obstructions blocking your line of sight to the south are easy to figure out. If you get a hit on the signal strength meter, your line of sight is good. Overhanging branches are another matter. It may look like your dish is pointing clear well below the canopy of the branches but I found out something interesting. The signal is actually at a higher elevation than the way your horn is pointing — by several degrees. Now that doesn’t mean you have to increase the elevation on the dish. It means that you have to have more clearance above the elevation of your dish by several degrees. Learned that one the hard way and I always make sure I am clear of overhanging branches and then some now. The other thing is that evidently the recommended elevation that DISH network gives you is more suited to an installation on the roof of a house or side of a building. We are setting up at ground level and it makes a difference. I always add 2 degrees to the elevation as a starting point. If DISH says 48 degrees, I set it a 50 degrees.

The other problem me and everyone else seems to have with DISH is tuning in the 119 and 110 satellites at the same time. I always tune for 119 first then I do this trick. I move the dish as far as I can to my left (standing behind the dish) while maintaining decent signal strength on 119. Then I elevate the angel of the dish and get the strongest signal I can at the highest elevation possible. Go inside and run Check Switch and 9 times out of 10 you will get both 119 and 110.

Almost forgot to add, I have a good military type compass and whenever we are scouting a new home base or I am setting up the dish, I use this compass.

I came across this link
when I first bought my RV and though a little dated (2002) it still covers everything you need to know from A to Z on a recreational vehicle satellite system. It is worth the read.

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