Vol. 3 - No. 6

Understanding Dish Network's Eastern Arc
and how it impacts RVers.

Last month we asked for your input on subjects you would like to see discussed in our Newsletter.  We received a suggestion from Joe C. with regard to Dish Network's Eastern Arc.  Now, being from the West coast, I must admit I didn't know much about this topic, so I approached it as a learning experience.  I did try to get some information on this topic from Dish Network, but that was somewhat like having a root canal, so most of this article is based on information I have gleaned from the internet.  To best understand the Eastern Arc, a little background information might be helpful.

Prior to 1996 many apartment and condo renters were not allowed to have a satellite dish and were unable to receive satellite TV signals.  The main reason was to keep their buildings from looking like the building to the right.  In October 1996 the FCC enacted  rule (47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000) which prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming.  Effective January 22, 1999, the Commission amended the rule so that it also applies to rental property where the renter has an exclusive use area, such as a balcony or patio.  On October 25, 2000, the Commission further amended the rule so that it applies to customer-end antennas that receive and transmit fixed wireless signals. This amendment became effective on May 25, 2001.

This ruling opened a huge, untapped market of customers for Dish and DirecTV.  In supplying these new customers with satellite equipment, it became evident to Dish Network that they were losing potential customers since they were required to install the dishes in certain areas of the property that the renter was authorized to use.  If they didn't have a LOS (line of sight) to the satellites, they couldn't supply those customers.

Since the greatest concentration of these potential customers was in the larger cities of the Eastern states, Dish decided to launch a series of new satellites at the Eastern end of the satellite arc, so that those customers who previously couldn't get a LOS signal could now get Dish Network Satellite TV.

In launching these new satellites, Dish Network decided to use the latest MPEG4 compression to maximize the picture quality and number of channels that could be provided.  (MPEG is a method of compressing the data into smaller packets for faster transmission.)  However, this new system would require slightly different LNB's and receivers to decode the signals.  Dish Network launched their new Eastern Arc system and began testing on August 18, 2008.  The new satellites are 61.5, 72.7, and 77.  This bulletin was issued to installers and contains some helpful information such as Elevation, Azimuth and Skew settings for the entire country, by Zip Code.  However, the Eastern Arc coverage area is primarily on the East coast, which can create a problem for RVers.  Here is a map of the Eastern Arc coverage area.

All is not lost for RVers however.   If you have Eastern Arc equipment (a Dish 1000.4 satellite dish with Eastern Arc LNB and Receiver 622 or 722) you can receive signals {both SD or HD} from the Western Arc by changing the LNB to a Western Arc LNB.  Bear in mind you will now need to hit satellites 119, 110 and 129 (for HD) instead of the ones you previously hit.   There should be no need to inform Dish Network of the change unless you want to receive local programming in your new area.

I hope this information has proved helpful to our Eastern Arc users who might be heading West.