Originally Posted by LongIslandCamper
We got an HD DirecTV dish on a tripod for my parents camper last month. None of us have DirecTV so I'm not familiar with the setup. My sister has DirecTV so I had her order the HD box and I ordered the dish and supplies.
Here is the tripod and dish I got.
This is the box she got from DirecTV.
I'm clueless about DirecTV but I'm good with figuring things out. I attempted to get everything working 10 days ago but had no luck. I just tried today and I think I almost got it working. Here's my story.......
I had a 6' length of coax running from the dish to the satellite finder and then from the satellite finder I had a 25' length of coax running to the little convertor box thing which runs right into the receiver box. HDMI running right to the TV. I bypassed all of the camper wiring and then powered up the receiver. After a few minutes I received an error message saying the box couldn't communicate with the dish. That's where I always ended up last week.
At this point I hit the menu button on the remote and it gave me the option to repeat SAT setup or something along those lines. This is the screen that the manual for the dish always told me to be on but I could never got it last week but now I can.
The manual then states that I need to change my dish type and switch type and I do so to the settings provided in the manual. The manual then has me enter my zip code to get the 3 dish pointing angles and I write them down.
Next up the manual tells me to select signal strength and then select signal meters buttons on the TV screen and then head out to transfer the azimuth, tilt and elevation settings to my dish after making sure the dish is level. So far, so good. Before I went outside the signal strength was about 54% and I know the dish wasn't in the correct position yet.
Then the manual says to turn the satellite finder knob until it holds steady at 5 and then slowly spin the dish until I get a reading of 10. I never got a reading of 10 but I did get a reading of about 9.25 I had the satellite finder right by the dish so that I had an instant reading as I turned the dish. 9.25 on the meter was the best I could obtain so I went inside and the signal strength on the TV screen now said 74%. Once I saw that I went back and removed the satelitte finder and used a basic coax connector in it's place. I went back inside and still had 74%
I then hit done or continue on the signal strength pages and then the TV screen said verifying configuration. After about 20 seconds I got some error message. I forget exactly what the error message was but it had two rows and 3 columns and went something like this.
X X X
X check X
The X's seemed to be bad and the check seemed to be good. At this point I called it quits again because I packed up and left a campground this morning in the pouring rain and it's still raining now so I was sick of being wet.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm hoping the fact that I got this far is a good sign. Is it possible that all I need to do is tweak the dish positioning a bit to get more than the 74% signal strength and then everything will be fine?
One thing to keep in mind is that DirecTV uses 3 sat's for their service. It sounds like you got at least a minimal signal on sat 101, which was good but didn't have a good enough alignment in regards to tilt on the dish for the other two. That is where the check mark and x's come in and you are correct that the check mark is good and the x is bad. Sat 101 is the primary satellite for DirecTV and is where the channel guide is downloaded from as well as the middle sat of the 3 they use so it's the starting point for aligning your dish.
Another thing is that a signal strength in the low 70's is minimal but like Grumpy stated, a green check mark on 101 and at least 70 signal strength should have given you at least a picture on channel 100 and probably a few others. You can tune to other stations manually but also like Grumpy stated, you will only have a very minimal channel guide at that point until the receiver downloads the rest, usually 12-24 hours.
So when you try it again, try this. FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT, get the tripod as level as humanly possible by using a level on the vertical post that the dish attaches to. If your not level, everything gets exponentially more difficult, if not impossible going forward. Once the tripod is level, anchor it down some way. I use a dog stake and ratchet tie down under the tripod. You do NOT want it to move while aligning the dish. Also, please take your time at first. Once you have done this a time or two, it gets MUCH easier!
Once level, I will assume (by your previous post) you are already familiar with the location of the gauges and lock nuts on the dish mount so you can adjust the dish accordingly. If they aren't already, make sure the long threaded bolts with the black dials on the (0-9) are threaded about half way. When setting up the dish for short term stays, you probably won't use these, but you might as well as center them now.
Ok, lets start with the alignment starting with dish elevation. Using the numbers for your location, and remembering that the numbers on the receiver or other sources are "best estimates" and might not be exact, adjust your elevation settings on the dish and snug down the lock bolt. As far as tilt, don't concern yourself with that just yet and your just adding complication to the process at this point. We want 101 dialed in as best as we can before anything else and since 101 is in the center of the sat array that DirecTV uses, we will get that dialed in first. When doing mine, the oval of the dish is side to side with no tilt at all.
Once you have the elevation of the dish set using the settings from the receiver (website, phone app, etc.), try aligning the dish side to side with your meter to the highest possible setting, you can use the little dial on the meter to adjust the sensitivity of it and as the signal gets stronger, turn down the sensitivity of the meter so it doesn't peak. That way, you can tell that you have the strongest point. Remember, these numbers are "general" and can vary slightly from your location so "tweaking" is most always going to be necessary.
Once you think you have it as strong as you can, tighten down the nuts while making sure you don't move the dish in the process, remove the meter, put in your connector, go to the receiver and set the signal strength screen on your receiver to show 101. Ideally, and on a sunny day with no tree obstruction, etc. you are looking for high 80's or above. 70 is minimal and although you may get a picture at that point, any heavy clouds or rain will cause you to quickly lose a picture. If you don't have a signal level at least in the 80's for all transponders on 101, check the level of the tripod, and if necessary, tweak the dish side to side, ore even tweak the elevation (up/down) on the dish to see what changes. USE VERY SMALL ADJUSTMENTS and keep track of which direction your "average" signal strength numbers go, then adjust accordingly. Once you think you have it as good as you can, tighten down the nuts, again making sure the dish doesn't move when doing so.
Once you get 101 as good as you can, you hopefully have signal strengths for most of the transponders in the 80's or higher and you can now concentrate on tilt. Using the marks on the dish, set your tilt to the setting for your location and snug the bolt down. Now go back to the receiver and set the screen for sat 99(ca) or 99(cb). FORGET/SKIP any screens that have an (s) after them as those are for spot beams/local channels and most will always be zeros. Continue to tweak your tilt on your dish until you get as high of signal levels as possible. If you get 99/103 and 101 good, 103 should also be good, but check anyway. If you don't have a level tripod, this is where you will know it because if your not level, there is no way you will get all 3 sats with decent signal levels.
At this point, if you think you have good signal levels on all three sats (99,101,103) continue thru the setup and let the receiver validate the sat's (check mark screen). You should have green check marks on all of them at this point. If you have at least a few green check marks, you WILL have a picture at least on some channels at this point, but until they are all green, some channels will be missing.
Hopefully, this info will get you over the hump and give you a good idea on how the whole process works.