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Vol.1 - No.


Last month I received an interesting question from a customer.  I did my best to answer, but I admit my knowledge on this issue is very limited.  The customer has a vacation home in Mexico about 1,000 miles from the U.S. border.  He wants to bring his satellite receiver and dish from his home to receive U.S. TV in Mexico.

I told him I thought that as long as he could get a clear shot at the satellite he should be able to get U.S. TV signals, but I wasn't absolutely sure.  I also told him that he would have to figure out how to aim the dish, since he wouldn't have a Zip Code to plug into the program in his receiver.   I recommended he do some more research on the internet before going that route.

His question did spark my interest though, since I would imagine that some RVers travel below the border (and above the border into Canada) and would like to be able to get their U.S. TV in those places.   So, I did a little on-line research of my own and found out some things that surprised me a bit.

It seems that up until a few years ago, my answer would have been correct - - If you can get a clear shot at the satellite you can get the signal.  Then, a few years ago the satellite providers realized that there is a large market outside the borders of the U.S. where they can sell programming and market directly to those people.  They tightened up the coverage areas provided by satellite, making it more difficult (but not impossible) to get a signal once you cross the border.

Now, once you cross the U.S. border, into either Canada or Mexico, you are in the "fringe" area of the satellite signal.  The deeper into the fringe area you travel, the weaker the signal strength will be.  To some extent, this can be overcome by using a larger size dish.  You won't be able to find a larger size dish that will receive the multiple satellite signals you usually receive, but you can get one satellite signal at a time and move the dish as needed.

These larger size dishes are often used for FTA (Free To Air) TV and there are several companies who supply them in various sizes.   They are very common in Europe.

Once you get into Canada or Mexico you still have no Zip Codes to plug in to receive the coordinates to point the dish.   There are several programs out there that will help.  I found this one which I downloaded onto my laptop.  It's easy to use and you don't have to be connected to the internet (after you download of course) to use it.  You will need a GPS to get your longitude and latitude position, but many RVers already have that equipment.

I hope this information proves helpful to my readers and would like to hear from anyone who has had experience in setting up a dish outside the U.S.  Email