Every TV satellite receiver has a "Smart Card" or "Access Card". This is a small plastic card about the size of a credit card that slips into a slot in the receiver's front panel. The cards contain an integrated circuit and often a small microchip that contains data specific to the programming you pay to receive. If you subscribe to HBO, ShowTime, etc. it is this card that lets you receive these channels. Without it, you won't receive any programming.
We were recently staying at Sisters / Bend KOA in Bend, Oregon for a week. For those of you who might find yourself in the area, we can highly recommend this RV park. Large sites and modern hookups. The nearby views of the mountains are spectacular!
The RV park did have cable hookup, but like many other parks, the channel selection was very limited - 5 channels. So, I set up my dish in the usual manner and went inside to check the reception. After the receiver did its "Acquiring the signal" thing it displayed a message - "Your Smart Card is not authorized to receive this program".
I thought this to be a bit odd since I had recently been using the receiver and dish at my home when we had houseguests staying in our RV. I figured that somehow Dish Network had deactivated my second receiver for some reason. Since I didn't have cell phone reception at my RV site, I decided to use the phone at the office to contact Dish Network and reactivate my receiver. In preparing for the call, I started to gather as much information as possible about my system. I knew I would need the receiver serial number, model number and probably the Smart Card number. I got the receiver model and serial numbers for the System Information page of the menu but didn't realize the Smart Card number was also there. I pulled the Smart Card out of the slot to get the number and when I reinserted it into the slot a picture appeared on the screen for a brief second and then it went into the "Acquiring the signal" mode. When it finally got the signal, I had all my channels.
I can only assume that in traveling the receiver is subject to a little bouncing around in the RV and perhaps the card wasn't making good contact. This was corrected when I reinserted it in the slot. At any rate, it was an easy fix and one worth remembering for the future.