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Vol. 7 - No. 2


Anyone who has set up a DirecTV SWM dish knows there are some differences when compared to other satellite dishes.   For one - it has a separate 21 volt power supply for the LNB.  In addition, when checking the signal strength on the TV screen, there is a 4 to 5 second delay from the time you find the signal and the time it is indicated on the screen.  This tends to be frustrating to some users but can easily be avoided.

When using a satellite finder at the dish there is no delay in reading the signal.  When you hit the satellite it indicates instantly on the meter.  SWM compatible meters can be a bit pricey, starting at about $250.00 but you can use a simple, analog meter by adding a few, inexpensive additions.

DirecTV used to sell an inexpensive splitter called ASL-1.  It provided a by-pass for the 21 volt power as well as a 16-18 volt output to power the satellite finder.  That item is no longer available from DirecTV but a few are available online priced at about $90.00.

We developed a less expensive work around using a standard SWM splitter and a battery power pack to power the satellite finder.  Those items are available here.

There has been some confusion with regard to connecting these components.  We hope the diagram below makes setup a little clearer.  The caps of the splitter have a resister in them so it is important to leave them in place when not using that terminal or the signal won't pass through to the TV.

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After aiming the dish on the tripod and BEFORE connecting the RG-6 cable from the splitter to the left side of the meter, plug in the 18 volt Power cable to the right side of the meter. Use the dB gain knob to set the needle on "5". Now plug in the cable from the splitter to the right side of the meter. If the needle pegs to the right it means you are sitting on the satellite(s). Lower the dB gain to bring the needle to mid-scale and continue adjusting the dish for maximum signal strength.

If the needle doesn't move after connecting the cable, you are not on the satellite(s) and will need to adjust the dish for maximum signal strength.