Satellite TV Antenna question

Discussion in 'RV Operating and Camping' started by WD9GYF, Jul 5, 2015.

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  1. WD9GYF

    WD9GYF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have "The Tailgater" Satellite TV antenna. It searches for the satellite's automatically, The housing it is in, is about 12 inches wide, so I know the antenna is pretty small. I was wondering if I went to a regular manually aimed dish if I would see increased gain in the reception. I can't seem to find any info on both antenna's.
  2. WA9WVX

    WA9WVX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jim,

    I first had to find what Microwave Frequency Band that the Dish Network uses, 12.2 to 12.7 GHz "X" Band. Then I search for the best Antenna to use for the down link and I found Winegard Products. Winegard has a very good reputation for their receiving Antenna Products from the previous VHF & UHF Bands normally used on conventional Television receivers. By the looks of the RV series of antennas, and they have several including ground mounted point and aim Dishes, they also have a SensarPro TV Signal Strength (Digital) Meter (and probably a Pre-Amplifier) to over come any noise on the signal. Here's the webpage:

    Almost all of the RV Type Downlink Antennas appear to be about the same size:

    Except for the Ground Mounted Versions:

    But they don't provide the actual physical size of any of their Dish Type Antennas, therefore I would recommend to drop their Technical Support Personnel an e-mail and ask the answer about the SIZE of the Ground Mounted Antennas. From what I've read about these satellite downlink signals, the Dish Network uses Circular Polarization which cuts down on the Doppler Shift problem when trying to use either a Horizontal or Vertical Polarized Antenna. This technology goes way back into the 1950~1960s when Satellites were first being used. I just found that the Ground mounted Antennas are 30" across so they might have an edge on receiving gain but then again you must consider the standard RG-6/U (75 Ohm) Coaxial cable losses as RG-6/U is rated at 3 GHz maximum and the Dish Network uses 12.2 to 12.7 GHZ being four times as high in frequency.

    About the only method to see the difference in reception would be to have both "The Tailgater Antenna" and the 30" Round Dish Antenna almost side by side using a "A / B" coaxial switch and switching between both antennas. A few years ago I read a thread where a ham out in Colorado that was active on the AMSAT Satellites went from a 10' Dish to a 25' Dish Antenna to increase his signal by 3 dB. Increasing a transmitted signal +3 dB Gain using the antenna is quite a bit stronger and receive there's more antenna surface area to receive those weak signals.

    Here's an interesting article on Commscope's (formerly Andrew's) website referencing Antenna Gain and Directivity. Incidentally, Commscope (formerly Andrew's) manufactures a big percentage of Microwave Dishes used throughout all of the different industries.

    I hope this has answered some of your questions.

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  3. W4RLR

    W4RLR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dan, the losses on RG-6 that you cite are moot. The signal is downconverted to a lower frequency at the LNB. The downconverted frequency is well within the range of RG-6. Generally speaking, the larger the dish reflector size, the better the signal, but as you pointed out, unless you go REALLY big, much bigger than is practical for RV use, the additional gain would be minimal. I have a King Controls dome dish on my RV for DirecTV. The actual reflector under the dome is about 10x18 inches, and I get a good signal with it just about anywhere. No need for the backup dish (a standard DirecTV 18 inch oval) unless I am in the trees.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  4. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dish has a east and west arc. If you tell the provider that you move around, They can set your receiver to work on east and west satellites.

    You may want to try the opposite arc.

    A 18" dish wound work better on cloudy days.

    Good Luck.
  5. WD9GYF

    WD9GYF Ham Member QRZ Page

    thanks Dan

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