Low signal level:
Before we start you need to know what low signal level is. Low signal level is having transponder signal levels around 30, 40, 50 and low 60's. If you have at least a 70 signal on the weakest transponder, you have enough signal to expect proper operation. The signal strength will vary from one transponder to the next. When determining your signal level you should always find the transponder with the lowest signal and use that as your benchmark. You will find as much as a 50 point swing on some systems between one transponder and another. If all your transponders show at least 70 you are OK. Even a couple in the mid 60's would not concern me.
Low signal level can be contributed to a wide variety of things. Before you read this you should preview the section on Signal Loss. You may find the solution to your problem there.
The remaining contributing factors to a low signal level are a weak satellite signal, mis-aligned dish antenna, poor cable connection, low quality cable, cable length, splitters or other components in the cable run.
Weak satellite signal:
The only time a weak satellite signal would be an issue, is if some obstruction was blocking the signal or if you trying to receiving signal that was weak by it's own nature. A natural weak signal is a signal that will never give you a strong signal level reading on your satellite receiver. If you are the edge of the satellite footprint or on the edge of a spot beam footprint you may never get more then what you have. The best solution is to contact a local technician who is familiar with the signal levels in your geographical area. Use our national database to find a local technician who can help you.
Mis-aligned dish antenna:
A mis-aligned satellite dish antenna is probably the most common reason for a weak signal. The trick here is every satellite service technician has performed a service call for someone who tried to adjust there dish, themselves. Now, I are not going to say you can't adjust your dish, but I will say don't be upset if you try to make it better and end up with a lower signal level or worse, NO signal. It happens everyday to a lot of people.
If you do attempt to adjust your dish, make sure you can do it safely. If you can't be safe, don't do it. Before you make any adjustments you should drill a small 1/8 hole though the mount right above the elevation securing bolt. The hole will allow you to return the elevation and the azimuth adjustments back to the starting point. Make small adjustments in one direction at a time.
If you feel that this maybe a task you don't wish to attempt, use our national database to find a local technician who can help you.
Poor cable connection:
Before removing coax cable connections, unplug your satellite receiver from the wall electrical receptacle.
Any cable fitting that has any water intrusion problems will fail. Before they fail your signal strength may drop off a little each day unit it goes out. Check all your fittings. They should look clean and free of rust and corrosion. BEWARE: Some technicians use a silicon type sealant or a white coax fitting paste. These sealant's are very good but when you remove the fitting you should replace the sealant when replacing the fitting to assure a good reseal of the fittings. DO NOT USE regular silicon. A special dielectric (nonconductive) sealant is required. If you remove a fitting, it looks OK, but you think it was sealed with a die-electric sealant, contact your local satellite TV service technician for replacement sealant. If the fitting looked bad you can replace it with easily obtain RG-6 and RG-59 fittings from your local hardware or electronic store. This will only be a temporary fix however. You should have a satellite service technician make a permanent repair. Poor or improperly installed fittings will fail and(or) result in several other operational issues. The fittings are critical to the proper operation of your satellite system.
Low quality cable:
The signal traveling through the cable from the satellite dish to the receiver is very deferent then a standard TV signal used by the cable companies or what you would receive with a roof top antenna. Every manufacture calls for RG-6 cable to be used during the installation. RG-59 is said to simply not work. That is not true.
While no install technician stocks or would install new RG-59 coax cable, it is not a sin to use existing RG-59 during a installation. Not all RG-59 can be used for a satellite dish installation, but there is good RG-59 that can be used just fine and really low quality RG-59 cable that should not be used. Your satellite technician knows what can and cannot be used.
You will not be able to use as long of a cable run as you could using all RG-6, but if the cable has no kinks, twist or other deformity it should work just fine. The use of RG-59 is not going to be possible with the next generation of satellite systems from DISH Network, if they continue with their current plans. The next generation of DISH systems will use a full 1 GHz of bandwidth and will require special satellite grade coax, fittings, wall plates and ground blocks.
DirecTV systems are more flexible and have a higher tolerance to lower quality cable.
Cable length, splitters or other components:
Finally, any devices in the coax that are not part of the installation need to be removed. Splitters left in-line when using existing coax to install a satellite TV dish are the largest culprit in this category.
Product names, logos, brands and other trademarks referred to within DBSinstall.com are the property of their respective trademark holders. These trademark holders are not affiliated with DBSinstall.com or our website. They do not sponsor or endorse our materials.