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Vol. 5 - No. 5

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One of the great perks of running this business is when a customer asks a challenging question.   Recently, while inquiring about our new Satellite Dish Aiming Scope, a customer asked "What size space through the trees is required to get a signal?"

To understand this question, it helps to understand the difference between  AM and FM radio waves and satellite TV waves. AM and FM waves are a continuous signal, varying in either amplitude modulation (AM) or frequency modulation (FM).  Both are transmitted with much more power than satellite TV signals and the radio waves can bounce or skip between the Earth and Ionosphere and travel long distances under the right atmospheric conditions.  This is why you can occasionally hear radio stations from other countries.  This is also why these radio waves can travel through walls to reach your radio receiver.

This is not so with TV satellite signals.  The signals are very weak and only have enough power to bounce off the face of the collector dish into the LNB head.  Any signals that miss the dish simply hit the Earth and are absorbed.  They can't penetrate into a structure, which is why you must place the satellite dish outside, with a clear, unobstructed view of the satellite.

A typical satellite has up to 32 transponders for Ku-band and up to 24 for a C-band only satellite, or more for hybrid satellites. Typical transponders each have a bandwidth between 27 MHz and 50 MHz.  The signals are transmitted to Earth in either a wide beam to cover the whole reception area, or a "spot beam" to cover a selected area.  The beams travel in a straight line until they hit something.  When they hit something other than a satellite dish, such as a tree, they are defused and broken up to become useless for reception.

Now, to get back to the question "What size space through the trees is required to get a signal?".  Let's use a DirecTV Slimline dish as an example.  That dish can receive signals from 3 to 5 satellites at one time.  The face of the dish is about 33" wide, which allows between 6.5" and 11" reflective space for each satellite signal.  So, theoretically, you only need a 6.5" hole in the trees to get enough signal for satellite TV providing EVERYTHING is in perfect position and there is no wind to move the trees.  Realistically, a 3' hole (for each satellite) should be a workable size window to get and maintain a signal.

We hope this information proves helpful the next time you are fighting for that signal.

Last month we held a raffle for a new
SATELLITE DISH AIMING SCOPE..  We had 35 entries, each adding a product review to our website.  We are pleased to announce that Bruce Storey of Alexandria, VA is the winner and his prize on the way!


Our thanks to all who entered and left product reviews.