In this post, all i shall be concerning myself with is a noob guide on how to manually install or let me call it track a satellite dish and connect it with a decoder. And for the purpose of this post, i will be using one of the most popular stand alone deoders which is Strong decoder and the frequency i shall be giving as example shall be MBC frequency on w3a. To start with you may be interested to know the meaning of a satellite dish

A satellite dish is a dish-shaped type of parabolic antenna designed to receive microwaves from communications satellites, which transmit data transmissions or broadcasts, such as satellite television.


Principle of operation

Schematics of reflection principles used in parabolic antennas.

The parabolic shape of a dish reflects the signal to the dish’s focal point. Mounted on brackets at the dish’s focal point is a device called a feedhorn. This feedhorn is essentially the front-end of a waveguide that gathers the signals at or near the focal point and ‘conducts’ them to a low-noise block downconverter or LNB. The LNB converts the signals from electromagnetic or radio waves to electrical signals and shifts the signals from the downlinked C-band and/or Ku-band to the L-band range. Direct broadcast satellite dishes use an LNBF, which integrates the feedhorn with the LNB. (A new form of omnidirectional satellite antenna, which does not use a directed parabolic dish and can be used on a mobile platform such as a vehicle was announced by the University of Waterloo in 2004.[1]

The theoretical gain (directive gain) of a dish increases as the frequency increases. The actual gain depends on many factors including surface finish, accuracy of shape, feedhorn matching. A typical value for a consumer type 60 cm satellite dish at 11.75 GHz is 37.50 dB.

With lower frequencies, C-band for example, dish designers have a wider choice of materials. The large size of dish required for lower frequencies led to the dishes being constructed from metal mesh on a metal framework. At higher frequencies, mesh type designs are rarer though some designs have used a solid dish with perforations.

A common misconception is that the LNBF (low-noise block/feedhorn), the device at the front of the dish, receives the signal directly from the atmosphere. For instance, one BBC News downlink shows a “red signal” being received by the LNBF directly instead of being beamed to the dish, which because of its parabolic shape will collect the signal into a smaller area and deliver it to the LNBF.[2]

Modern dishes intended for home television use are generally 43 cm (18 in) to 80 cm (31 in) in diameter, and are fixed in one position, for Ku-band reception from one orbital position. Prior to the existence of direct broadcast satellite services, home users would generally have a motorised C-band dish of up to 3 metres in diameter for reception of channels from different satellites. Overly small dishes can still cause problems, however, including rain fade and interference from adjacent satellites.


Motor-driven dish

A dish that is mounted on a pole and driven by a stepper motor or a servo can be controlled and rotated to face any satellite position in the sky. Motor-driven dishes are popular with enthusiasts. There are three competing standards: DiSEqC, USALS, and 36v positioners. Many receivers support all of these standards.


satellite dish tracking 1

Special dish for up to 16 satellite positions (Ku-band).

Some designs enable simultaneous reception from multiple different satellite positions without re-positioning the dish. The vertical axis operates as an off-axis concave parabolic concave hyperbolic Cassegrain reflector, while the horizontal axis operates as a concave convex Cassegrain. The spot from the main dish wanders across the secondary, which corrects astigmatism by its varying curvature. The elliptic aperture of the primary is designed to fit the deformed illumination by the horns. Due to double spill-over, this makes more sense for a large dish.


A common type of dish is the very small aperture terminal (VSAT). This provides two way satellite internet communications for both consumers and private networks for organizations. Today most VSATs operate in Ku band; C band is restricted to less populated regions of the world. There is a move which started in 2005 towards new Ka band satellites operating at higher frequencies, offering greater performance at lower cost. These antennas vary from 74 to 120 cm (29 to 47 in) in most applications though C-band VSATs may be as large as 4 m (13 ft).


tracking a dish 2

U.S. residential satellite TV receiver dishes

  • Individual dishes serving one dwelling: Direct to Home (DTH).
  • Collective dishes, shared by several dwellings: satellite master antenna television (SMATV) or communal antenna broadcast distribution (CABD).
  • Automatic Tracking Satellite Dish
  • Big ugly dish

Ad hoc

The dish is a reflector antenna and almost anything that reflects radio frequencies can be used as a reflector antenna. This has led to dustbin lids, woks and other items being used as “dishes”. Coupled with low noise LNBs and the higher transmission power of DTH satellites, it is easier to get a usable signal on some of these “dishes”.


Apart from the above satellite dishes which are somewhat expensive, we still have smaller dishes that are very popular in africa and this dishes ranges between 90cm – 60cm. you can track mbc with a 90cm dish.


How to Install Satellite TV System

A satellite TV system installation is a two-stage process:

1] Installation of the satellite dish;

2] Installation of the satellite decoder to receive the TV programming from your service provider.

Prior to moving on with the installation process, you have to purchase a satellite TV kit. This consists of the satellite dish and related mounting kit, high-grade RF coaxial cable, and the satellite TV receiver, or satellite decoder.

Now installing the satellite decoder is relatively easier. let me take strong decoder as my example .For example if you want to track MBC on Eutelsat W3A this is what you will have to do.

>Connect your decoder to the mains, connect your lnb cable that comes from your dish>> now on your decoder’s remote controll, press MENU>>INSTALLATION>>MANUAL SEARCH>>the change the following values.

SATELLITE: eutelsat w3a




What is left is for you to manipulate your dish until your signal quality is green and in at least 52 percent and above. will explain this better.


LNB’s sit in front of the actual parabola of the satellite dish, at the end of the arm projecting from the dish itself. Their purpose is to receive, amplify and down convert the required ‘blocks’ of microwave frequencies to lower 950MHz to 1.45GHz L-band frequency signals; these are then sent to the satellite TV receiver or IRD (integrated receiver decoder), via RG-6 coax cable (more information on RF coaxial cables is available on our site here.)

The number of LNBs determines the number of satellites a satellite dish can ‘see’ since a separate LNB is required to receive signals from satellites in different orbital positions. Satellite TV service providers use multiple satellites to deliver their content, hence the need for multiple LNBs to receive the full range of satellite TV programming.

LNB’s use an antenna probe inside the feedhorn to pick up the signal focused by the satellite dish. The probe has to be aligned mechanically in a vertical or horizontal direction (or left and right hand circular polarization for DBS satellites), in line with the polarization of the signal transmitted by the satellite transponders. This dual polarization is used by satellites to avoid interference between adjacent channels, and is achieved by assigning even and odd transponders on the satellite different polarization.

LNBF’s employ a dual antenna probe setup inside the throat of the feedhorn with one aligned vertically and the other horizontally (or left and right). Switching to the correct polarized probe is carried out electronically via a voltage sent up the coaxial cable by the receiver.


Satellite Dish Installation Process

The relatively small size of present day digital satellite dish systems means that these may be practically fixed just about anywhere. In particular, these compact satellite dishes are especially suitable for city dwellers.

While many opt to have their new satellite dish installed by a professional, the actual installation process is not difficult; all you need are basic DIY skills.

The only real difficulty that may arise in the process is when aiming the dish to get the best signal from the satellites. This is a crucial step and it is this step which may warrant professional assistance. Remember that the satellite dish is your main link to those satellites floating around in space, so it has to be aimed properly to pick up the signals; a self-installation kit may be of assistance here.

Selecting the best location for your Satellite Dish

First, you have to decide on the exact location where best to install your satellite dish. There are a few issues that you need to take into account here. These shall include:

1] Remember that DSS satellites are in a geo-stationary orbit above the equator. Therefore, a satellite dish must point South when you are located north of the equator and North if you are located south of the equator.

2] Choose a location that is easily accessible in case you need to clean snow or debris out of your satellite dish, or to re-adjust the dish in case it has lost its alignment. A suitable location is to attach the dish to a post which has been sunken in the ground.

3] The chosen location should be unobstructed by trees, branches, buildings, etc. In addition, make sure that the growth of new foliage does not impede your system.

4] Ideally, the selected location should allow you to take a route that is as straight and as close to your television set as possible. At the same time, ensure that the selected location is away from power lines and other service utilities.

6] Finally, refer to the included instructions for any specific details.

Choose a method of installation that allows your system to withstand the elements year-round and still remain perfectly aligned and rigidly mounted. Remember that system movement can reduce signal reception to the point of complete loss.

Always do a trial run on the ground for coax cable installation from the satellite dish to the place where it will enter your house. Make sure it is long enough to reach both points. Attach the cable to the satellite dish and then run it across your yard and into the house through a drilled hole.

Attach the cable to your television set. Seal all outdoor electrical connections with weatherproof sealant, and bury the incoming receiving line below the frost line level.

Coax Grounding BlockFinally, ground the unit and the incoming receiving line by following local electrical code standards; this is both a safety consideration as well as a potential code requirement. Place an inexpensive coax grounding block such as the one shown at the point where the antenna cable enters the house; then run a wire from the grounding block to your home’s ground rod.

To determine the best location for your satellite dish, follow these few simple steps:

1] Determine which satellite carries your most frequently viewed programs and figure out its location on the solar arc.

2] Locate the area outside your home that is nearest to your television set.

3] Turn and face south – or north if you are located south of the equator.

4] Look from east to west, following an arc that mimics the sun’s path across the sky.

5] Observe any obstacles, such as trees or buildings that may obscure the line of sight along the arc. This is the most critical step prior to installation

Some terms:

Elevation refers to the ‘look’ or up-down angle between the dish pointing direction (directly towards the satellite), and the local horizontal plane.

Azimuth refers to the rotation of the whole satellite dish assembly around a vertical axis, or supporting pole. By definition, North is 0 deg or 360 deg, East is 90 deg, South is 180 deg, and West is 270 deg.

Skew refers to the polarization angle of the electric field. The term ‘Dish Skew’ refers to the dish tilt necessary to get the satellite dish position such that the LNB will be in exact alignment with the electric field of the incoming satellite signals. Setting the dish skew is necessary only when pointing to more than a single satellite.

To set the dish skew, stand behind the dish and rotate it clockwise until the scale on the dish reads the same angle as the required dish skew for your setup. If your dish has a reversed scale, the scale reading should be 180 minus the skew angle.

How to tune or Finetune your satellite Dish for maximum channels reception:

1] Adjust the antenna reflector azimuth angle to match that necessary for the particular satellite. This adjustment is the east-west movement of the reflector on the vertical mount and is given in azimuth degrees.

2] Adjust the elevation angle; this adjustment is from the horizon to the sky and is given as elevation in degrees above the horizontal plane.

3] If you are tracking more than one satellite, you also need to set the dish skew as further detailed in the skew definition above.

4] Ensure that the antenna signal line is connected to the receiver and the receiver is turned on and positioned on a beacon channel; the beacon channel is transmitted from the satellite to peak your antenna to it.

5] Begin tuning by slowly moving the reflector first to the east in one-degree increments for a total of three degrees, then in the opposite direction (west) while monitoring the receiver’s signal meter. Peak the signal to the highest scale at this point. Ideally, this should be done using an inexpensive satellite finder or signal ‘strength’ meter as the Triplett 3275; these allow for a more precise adjustment thanks to their greater signal sensitivity.

6] Lock the antenna azimuth adjustment on the mount once the signal level is maximized.

7] Perform the same procedure as in steps 4 through 6, using the elevation adjustment, first up and then down for peaking. Lock the satellite dish elevation at the point of maximum signal reception.

8] Ground the antenna and the signal line entrance into the residence to electrical code standards as detailed earlier on in this guide.


The next step is to plug your receiver into a household outlet; turn your television set on and make any necessary adjustments to the satellite system settings. Once ready, you can relax and enjoy your new satellite TV system!




Why am using mbc as my practical example is that mbc nowadays is the rescurer of africa because it serves as server for all our STB products, free to air boxes an d^ngles. so lets us get it started:


1. Locate a dstv dish near your area as that will give the idea of where your EAST is . NOTE that dstv is on Eutelsat w4/7. Start by tracking DSTV Multichoice africa on Eutelsat w4/7 with the following settings 11940 H 27500, put your lnb at 9 0’clock.
2. When u have tracked w4/7, hold your dish in place and input Sirius 4 frequency 12605 V 29950 . Standing in front of your dish, Lift your dish up to face the sky and down while you move slowly to the left of dstv dish. When you get Sirius 4 hold your dish there and input this 12728 V 30000, for w3a and bring your dish down slightly and bring it back to your right a little . Just work around Sirius 4 for w3a. The sat will turn green , then blind scan or use lyngsat to add other channels
you may try the above process in the reversed order depending on your locations.


Before i round off this lenghty post, i will like to help my african brothers (especially Nigerians on the list of receivable satellites and their frequencies)

Eutelsat w4(Dstv, Hitv), Sirius 4, Nss7, Intelsat(Mytv), Astra(Multi tv n Infinity) can work on 60cm(Size of hitv dish while Mbc needs in 90cm and above in Nigeria then for Nilesat you need 1.8 and above depending on your location.



Eutelsat W3A, 7 deg East: tps: 11192(V)3210, 10976(V) 3333, 12728(V)30000. (a.k.a MBC / malagasy / Rodriguez)
Astra 2b, 28.2 deg East T.p:12599(V) 3250, 12572(V)2854, 12617(V)9999 (otherwise known as MultiTv)
NSS7, 22 deg W  tps: 10986(V)30000 (a.k.a canalsat)
Eutelsat 4/7, 36 deg East: tps: 12437(H)23437 (a.k.a dstv multichoice)
Intelsat 7/10 68.5 deg East: tps: 12722(H)26657, 12722(V)26657, 12682(H)26657, (a.k.a mytv africa)
Sirius 4, 4.8 deg East:  T.P: 12605(V) 29950


No matter how lenghty an article is, there will always be an area that has not been covered and this is the reason why the comment box is available for your use. in case you have any question, just make use of the comment box ASAP.


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