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Q: Tool to calculate azimuth and elevation for satellite dish installation. ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Tool to calculate azimuth and elevation for satellite dish installation.
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: generationx-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 14 Aug 2005 08:31 PDT
Expires: 13 Sep 2005 08:31 PDT
Question ID: 555616
I am looking to buy an apartment with a balcony (in NYC - so line of
sight is often obstructed).  We must have Directv in this apartment
and therefore will be buying a dish to install on our balcony (already
know it's ok to install a dish on a balcony with FCC rules...).  I
went to Directv's web site and figured out the azimuth (231.8) and
elevation (35.4) needed to get the proper angle for the signal to be

Here's the question: we haven't bought the apartment yet and of
course, until we are physically living there we won't have a dish or
tv in the place.  So - before we put a bid in on the apartment, we
want to go back to the apartment, go out on the balcony, and double
check with 100% certainty that we will be able to point a dish at that
angle from the balcony.  Using a hand tool would give a good ballpark,
but I think we really need something with a line of site (that you can
look through) with those exact coordinates to know if it will work.

I hope this makes sense, I can certainly clarify... but does anyone
know of a tool that we can get (at a store or online) that the pros
use to be sure of this?
Subject: Re: Tool to calculate azimuth and elevation for satellite dish installation.
Answered By: landog-ga on 14 Aug 2005 10:46 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Take a look at the following products. Some of them can meet all your
requirments. All have their upsides and downsides.

The Align-A-Site:
"Finally, a revolutionary device that completely simplifies the
process of finding a strong satellite signal even in areas you
normally wouldn't even attempt to set up because of obstructions,
uneven ground, crazy angles etc.
The Align-A-Site is not a signal detector; it is a satellite finder.
Signal meters only work if you have a signal to measure. The
Align-A-Site's Viewfinder  let's you see what your satellite dish
sees. You simply set the the angles on the easy to read dials in the
comfort of your motor home and then look through the unit into the sky
until you have an unobstructed view."

Price: Align-A-Site Complete System Includes Dish Mount $169.95

Various sattelite finding handheld tools:
Pico Peaker $89.99 
SAT FINDER $39.99 
DIGISAT II+ $139.00 
SQUAWKER II $209.95 
Signal Level Meter $599.00
Spaun SAT FINDER $1299.00 
Channel Master Pro $139.99
Pico Macom $399.99
Digisat Pro $139.00
Channel Vision Signal Meter $279.99

Gourmet... ENTERTAINING 'Sat Sites":
"Our first tool, and the one you are likely to need first in your
normal sequence of activities, is the Sat Site. It is a highly
accurate guide for site selection. It helps you to choose Dish sites
with unobstructed Satellite reception. At some sites, there are
inescapable obstructions. Your Sat Site can help you find a site where
the obstruction blocks only the Anks or some other birds which, with
program guide in hand, the client agrees he can live without. Your Sat
Site takes the surprise out of such compromised reception. If a
Satellite unexpectedly cannot be picked up on a new system, you know
that's suddenly the most important bird in the sky.  It is inteded
that Sat Sites be hand held. It may seem a bit tricky at first, but
like riding a bicycle, you get the hang of it, and then it seems both
easy and natural. On most sites you hold it up and quickly see if
there is a potential obstruction. If there is, then you get serious,
hold your breath and use both hands to see for sure if you will clear
it. Sat Sites are highly accurate. The sight circles are less than one
degree in radius; and the compass capsule is the highest marine grade
we can find, with each one individually callibrated before mounting"
Price: $109 - $143

A good article from Satellite911:
"Getting Started: The Site Survey.
The Site Survey is the first step in a good installation. The purpose
of the site survey is to assure that several conditions are met that
will insure the proper operation of the C-Band TV system. The
conditions you are examining are:

- Is there an unobstructed view to all of the satellite positions?
- Is the area that the dish is to be anchored in solid?
- Is the area aesthetically acceptable to the purchaser?
- Are there sources of terrestrial interference that need to be considered?"


Request for Answer Clarification by generationx-ga on 14 Aug 2005 12:18 PDT
Hi Landog - While your answer was thorough (and quick!), I was very
specific in my question to state that we won't have a dish or tv in
place.  So - all of the products youi listed work with dishes, and we
won't have a dish.  I will try to clarify my question again so I can
get a proper answer since you didn't answer what I was asking.

We won't have a dish.  We won't have a receiver.  Before we buy this
apartment, we want to walk out on the balcony, knowing what the angles
are that we need (supplied from Directv), and have some kind of way to
know that we can get the angle in the sky.  For example, I can take a
basic compass and get the angles, but have no way to aim to the sky
and keep a line of site going infinitely to know if I have that angle
clearing several blocks away (say if there's a building far off).

I feel like I was very clear in my question saying we had no dish, and
each of the items you pointed me to measure signal with a dish. 
Please re-answer my question with what I had asked for.  Thank you so

Request for Answer Clarification by generationx-ga on 14 Aug 2005 14:26 PDT
Sorry - I realized you said "some of them can meet your requirements"
and some didn't, but you're correct, some do!  Please ignore my
clarification, and thank you!!!

Clarification of Answer by landog-ga on 14 Aug 2005 22:31 PDT
The 'Align-A-Site' - seems to answer exactly all your requirments. 
I could have just posted the The 'Align-A-Site' as an answer. But I
felt you should have also an overview of other products & prices out
As you noticed later - I did make that clear in my answer.

generationx-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Great answer - very quick, but actually listed some products that
weren't useful to us (though listed some that were).  Thanks!

Subject: Re: Tool to calculate azimuth and elevation for satellite dish installation.
From: myoarin-ga on 14 Aug 2005 17:28 PDT
I wonder if you can rent those tools, or whether antenna sellers offer
a free service of testing for you.

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