Frequently Asked Questions by Satgear Customers
Below you'll find answers to the questions Satgear Support is commonly asked regarding the setup and alignment of Portable Satellite Dish systems for travel and also for fixing to a wall at home.
Why should I choose Satgear?
Satgear will go the extra mile to ensure that customers are fully satisfied. This applies not only to the production of the kits (both Premium and Value portable satellite kits and kits for home use) but also to the customer support and availability to customers after the sale. Customer satisfaction is the biggest driver.
Affordability is an essential consideration which is why Satgear kits are designed for those whose spending limits won't stretch to fully installed automatic systems but still want a quality product that is simple to use backed up with fantastic support.
How do I know which portable kit is right for me?
Essentially, the choice depends on whether you want a quick and easy portable satellite dish setup or one that is easier on your pocket. We have created a simple guide to help you to choose here.
What does ‘Zone 1’ and ‘Zone 2’ mean?
If you wish to receive Freesat channels or to watch Sky in the UK then you need to be sure that you are choosing a dish that is large enough to get the full service available. A Zone 1 size dish (45cm Sky dish or 40 cm Satgear dish) will be perfect for picking up all Freesat & Sky channels throughout England and Wales. If you are planning to receive Freesat or Sky channels in Scotland or Ireland then your signal strength will be slightly weaker than the rest of the country; these areas are known as ‘Zone 2’ and a larger dish is needed to receive the same service here. A 60cm Sky or Satgear dish or equivalent is suggested for Zone 2 areas.
If you are on the boundary between Zone 1 and 2 then it is best to be cautious and get a Zone 2 dish to ensure a full service, however if you are comfortably within the Zone 1 area then a Zone 2 dish will not provide you with any better reception.
Do I need a Satfinder?
If you have an Easyfind satellite system, then a satfinder is not required. Otherwise you will need one to assist your dish alignment.
A Satellite Finder or ‘satfinder’, though not essential, can be a great benefit in setting up your satellite kit. This small and inexpensive device will allow you to verify that all your hardware is correctly connected and responsive, and then to help find a satellite beam by showing the satellite signal strength as you adjust your dish alignment. As a simple diagnostic tool the Satfinder is invaluable and can be recommended for this purpose alone. (see the satfinder guide enclosed with each device).
It’s primary function however is to be placed in-line between receiver and LNB, typically at the dish end, and display any increase or decrease in signal strength as the dish alignment is adjusted, and so help to ensure you receive the optimal signal strength possible. Note that a simple satellite finder only shows that you have a satellite signal – it could be pointing at any satellite – our satfinder guide will help you to identify the Astra 2 satellite for UK channels.
What is Easyfind
Easyfind is a system built into all Satgear and Vuesat Premium kits. The system comprises the pairing of the receiver to the dish whereby the receiver software drives the flashing light on the dish. The lights (from flashing red to solid green) indicate the location of the required satellite which is determined by the channel selected. So if you have chosen a channel from the UK channel list in the receiver – the light on the dish will only indicate the location of the UK satellite (Astra 2). With Easyfind, there is no confusion commonly caused by having to follow charts and trial and error with satfinders.
I have received twin cable but only have one input connection on my satellite box or TV, what do I do and what is a 'twin' kit used for?
If you have received twin-cable in your kit then this will give you the flexibility to upgrade your system to use twin channels in the future. You will have received twin cable if you ordered a kit which includes a 'twin' LNB. The most common reason to order a 'twin' kit is because you either a skybox (with 2 LNB input connections) or because you want to route the cabling from the satellite dish to two different rooms. We recommend that you lay in both sides of the cable as it will save time if you ever want to upgrade. Alternatively you can pull the cable in half, down the middle, and only lay in the half you need, leaving a spare half to be used later for another receiver or room.
In either case, if you have any unused cable ends outside by your dish we advise that you connect this to the LNB anyway as this will prevent water damage to a cable that may be needed in the future.
Can I split a twin satellite (shotgun) cable and run it into two or more rooms in my house?
Because of the technology involved in satellite systems, the cable that runs from the receiver box to the LNB is actually forming a loop which allows these two distant elements to work together to pick up the satellite signal. As the LNB and receiver have to change what they do in unison, as you select between channels, you cannot have two receivers sharing one LNB output in a normal domestic setup.
If you wish to have more than one receiver or TV in your house viewing satellite television independently then you should use a multiple output LNB (such as a TWIN or QUAD) and run a separate cable from the LNB to each receiver or TV in your home. Having said that there are certain applications where you can split the signal and share it with another TV. A Satgear splitter can be used in certain cases where it's convenient to have a second TV in another location.
The LNB I have received with my kit has more output connections than I need. Have I got the correct LNB for my needs, and which connections should I use?
In some kits we will supply a TWIN or QUAD LNB as standard. This is because some users may need multiple outputs for the system they wish to setup, and also allow more receivers or TVs to be added onto the same dish kit at a later date. Where there are several connectors available, ANY can be used in ANY order to wire up the LNB to your receiver/s as they all provide an identical output signal.
Do I need any special tools or prior knowledge to fit a kit myself?
None of the satellite kits that we supply assume any prior knowledge on your part. Although a little research may help you feel more confident and familiar with the equipment you will receive, we provide full setup guides with all kits, including step-by-step instructions on putting the kit together and aligning the dish to receive a perfect signal. We do recommend the use of the Satgear satellite finder meter if possible.
Only general tools are required and specific spanners are supplied in all Premium kits.
I’ve connected everything up and switched on the TV and receiver. Why is there nothing displayed on the screen?
Ensure that you have selected the correct input source. On your TV remote control, look for a button labelled ‘source’ and select HDMI (assuming that you have connected the receiver to the TV with an HDMI cable).
I am only able to view foreign channels on my TV using the Micro Electronics M310 plus receiver. How do I view English channels?
Normally when you press the OK button on the receiver remote control, you see a list of UK channels displayed for you to choose from. Our receivers are always preset ready for UK channel viewing. If you see a list of foreign channels after pressing the OK button, immediately press the GOTO button and select the Astra 28.2 satellite option by scrolling to it with the down arrow key and pressing OK then press OK on BBC1. From this point the channel list is always available by pressing the OK button or the guide button.
When I press the Guide or EPG button on the receiver remote control, why am I only receiving the details for the current and next programs on the screen?
A full EPG (electronic program guide), is only available on Freesat specific receivers. Satgear supplies the Humax Freesat receivers.
The Comag and Micro Electronics receivers are commonly referred to as Free To Air receivers. This means that they are able to receive ALL the freesat channels as well as other channels from other satellites as well. Freesat specific receivers are only able to receive channels that have subscribed to the Freesat EPG service. So there are pros and cons with each receiver type whether Freesat or Free To Air.
Freesat Receiver Benefits:
They have a weekly program guide.
FTA Receiver Benefits:
They have the Easyfind System.
Many more channels available than just the Freesat channels.
Are Satgear receivers able to be used with 12v caravan|motorhome electrical systems?
Yes absolutely. All Satgear Premium Kits for travel with receivers come with both 12v and 240v power supply units. Receivers in the Satgear Value kits are supplied with 240v adapters and 12v adapters are available separately for a small charge.
If I point my dish in the same direction as the dish on my neighbour’s house will this be sufficient for alignment?
It is a fair assumption to make that most satellite dishes installed in the UK will be fitted to receive either Sky or Freesat, for this purpose these dishes will all be pointing in the same direction as both services are carried by the same satellite group (Astra 28.2). So, if you are sure that a neighbour’s dish is being used to receive either Sky or Freesat then using their dish as a rough guide for your own is a perfectly acceptable starting point. However, as dish alignment needs to be pin point accurate, you will then need to fine tune your setup using a satfinder meter.
So don’t worry if you have copied a dish from next door and don’t have a great signal yet, you simply need to refine your dish alignment further.
Some dishes do not provide exact elevation markings on the dish bracket, how can I properly set the elevation angle of my dish if this is the case?
Whilst all Satgear dishes have elevation markings on their bracketry, others do not, such as the Sky mesh dishes. However, for those dishes the LNB is offset against the dish by 24 degrees and 26 degrees for the rounder dishes. This means a dish pointing straight outwards at the horizon, neither elevated nor inclined from the horizontal, will always reflect a beam coming in at 24 or 26 degrees respectively (Z1 and Z2) and directly into the LNB. Therefore, once you know the elevation angle for your location by consulting an alignment guide or by visiting http://www.dishpointer.com, you will simply need to make the appropriate adjustment to incline the dish accordingly.
For example; if your local angle of elevation is 25 degrees and you are using a Sky zone 1 dish, then you will need to elevate your dish by 2 degrees (25 – 23 = +2) above the horizon, if you elevation angle is 20 then you will need to incline your dish towards the ground by 3 degrees (20 – 23 = -3). As a rule of thumb, if you are trying to get Sky or Freesat in the UK south of Scotland, set the dish to the horizon. If further north, then point the dish a few degrees towards the ground.
Note that none of the above data is that necessary to understand. The general process for satellite dish alignment is to set the elevation first, then slowly sweep the dish from the South towards the East and if you don’t find the satellite then increase the elevation by a degree and sweep the dish again etc following that procedure until your satfinder indicates the Astra 2 satellite which subsequently delivers the picture to the screen.
There is a tree or partial obstruction between the dish and satellite; will I still be able to get good reception?
All satellite systems work on the basic principle that the dish must have a clear and un-obstructed ‘line-of-sight’ to the satellite in the sky. Because of this, any shadowing or shrouding of the dish by barriers such as walls or trees will prevent the system from receiving the signal. If there is a tree in the way which has thin foliage then it may still work, especially if the dish is bigger than normally required.
My Satfinder/signal meter readings are enough to suggest that the dish is aligned to the satellite but I have no channels on my screen, or the channels that appear are not those I want, what should I do?
Firstly ensure that you have not set the dial on the satfinder as high as it will go. The purpose of the dial is to turn down the ‘indicator’ so it doesn’t reach ‘10’ when you are close to the satellite but not locked on. If the needle is at 10 then you won’t be able to detect the ‘peak’ signal. As Satfinders show signals from any satellite which the dish is pointed at, it is easy to unintentionally point your dish at the wrong satellite and still receive a reading on your Satfinder.
If you feel that you have succeeded in locating a satellite but your receiver is not responding as it should or not showing you programs you would like to see, it is most likely that you have locked on to another satellite. In this the case, continue rotating the dish until another signal is detected.
Using the signal strength meters in my satellite receiver software, the signal strength is high (over 50%) but the signal quality is low (14% or below) and I can’t get a picture. What does this mean?
This means that you are pointing the dish at the wrong satellite as described above. Your equipment is working perfectly, you just need to fine tune your dish alignment.
My kit does not seem to be working, have I done something wrong?
Satgear equipment is very reliable and very rarely faulty. Please remember to follow the basic instructions carefully.
The most common problem that customers encounter is not changing the input source (see question 10.) Thereafter it is usually an issue with the satellite alignment. If you are using Easyfind, the flashing light first needs to be activated following the Easyfind guide that came with the kit. Alternatively if using a satfinder, you can follow this simple guide.
Finally if you have any questions concerning your kit, we are here to help with either live support on this website or via contact details found here.
If your kit does not appear to be working and you suspect that there may be a fault , there are a few simple tests that you can perform, with the help of a Satfinder, to eliminate any possible faults and identify any one part that isn’t working as it should.
Firstly, connect the Satfinder directly to your satellite receiver using the short cable provided. Turn on the receiver and check whether the light comes on in the Satfinder. If it does, then the receiver is most likely to be fine.
Repeat the process using the long cable leading to your dish, if this powers up the Satfinder then the cable is also working. Now connect the short cable to the other side of the Satfinder and connect your LNB to the other end of the short cable. The Satfinder should now be powered up (light on) and you can test for a signal from the LNB. Adjust the signal strength knob on the Satfinder so the needle or indicator is approximately in the middle of the dial. Now move the LNB about in all directions, if there is no fluctuation in the reading on the Satfinder then your LNB may be faulty, however if the needle or lights move across the dial, then the LNB is active and all you equipment is working well.
If you find that all your hardware passes these tests then your problem will be a dish alignment issue.