Vol. 6 - No. 7


In our last issue we discussed satellites and how the satellite signals reach your dish.  This month we will cover the different ways the satellite providers send the signals to Earth.

The FCC places some transmitting limitations on the satellite providers which require them to limit the signal areas, depending upon what they are transmitting.  Unlike AM, FM and over-the-air TV signals that are beamed out in a 360 degree circle, satellite transmissions are highly focused on a specific target area.

U.S. satellite providers are required to keep their major targeted areas within the U.S. borders.  While satellite signals do tend to overlap into parts of Canada and Mexico, the further you get from the border the weaker the signal will be.  (Signal strength can be increased by using a larger size dish to gather more of the weaker signals.)

In the case of the local stations that are transmitted by satellite, most are "spot beamed" to a small geographic area to prevent overlap with other local areas.  This is why you often loose your local stations when you travel more that a few hundred miles from home.  Most U.S. carriers will allow you to change your locals to a new area, however some have restrictions on how often you can do this.

Because Dish Network uses satellites 119, 110 and 129 (Western Arc) for their HD television signals, viewers in some sections of the East had trouble receiving a signal as satellite 129 was too far West which put the elevation very low and was easily blocked by trees and rooftops.  To resolve this problem, Dish Network also uses satellites 77, 72.7 and 61.5 which they call their Eastern Arc.  The LNB's for both Western and Eastern arcs are spaced differently.  Those with a Western arc LNB traveling East might have trouble getting a signal.  The same holds true for those from the East, who travel West.  The easiest solution is to carry both Western and Eastern Arc LNB's when you travel.


Both Dish Network and DirecTV recommend using High Frequency, 3ghz connectors for better picture quality with high definition TV.  CLICK HERE to order and use the OPTIONS menu to select these connectors.