Aligning your satellite dish at a satellite 22 000 miles away can be a frustrating task. DishPointer with Google MAPS made it a lot easier by providing visual clues.

Now with Google Earth, it’s even a lot of fun. Switch on the Terrain and 3D Buildings layers and see in 3D how the signal comes down all the way from the satellite to your house. Are there any buildings in the way? Where is the best location for the dish for a clear line of sight? Can you receive the satellite at all? You’ll get the answers to all these questions.

Using the 3D DishPointer DishPointer map
Underneath the map, click on the Google Earth Icon once you’ve positioned the marker and selected the right satellite. If you have Google Earth installed on your machine (if not, download it from here), the DishPointer line will open up in Google Earth. Make sure that the Terrain and 3D Buildings layer are switched on.

DishPointer map in GE - blocked view
The red line shows the satellite signal. Your initial location (say, you are a news broadcaster and that’s where you stopped with your satellite uplink truck) is no good, the building is in the way. There is no clear line of sight to the satellite. But you can move to another location with the following steps:

right click
drag line
Right-click on the description “Alignment line to 91W”, select properties and then drag the end node to your new position. Finally, click ok.

Clear alignment line
That’s better. At your new location the line is clear, you’re ready to go.

What else can you do?

DishPointer map in GE - Clarke belt
Load up as many satellites as you like and see how the satellites are nicely aligned on the horizon along the clarke belt.

DishPointer map in GE - Negative Elevation
See which satellites are on the other side of the earth. The signal would have to go through the earth to reach you – which is impossible. That’s why you can’t get these satellites.

Hope you’ll have a bit of fun with this and maybe gain some new insights into satellite reception.

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Freesat UK launched today offering free channels, including BBC HD and the exclusive ITV HD. Here is a quick guide on a self-installation to get Freesat using DishPointer:

Assuming you’ve got all the equipment together, go to the main page and enter you house number, street address and postcode (note that the second part of the postcode will be omitted).

A satellite image of your house should pop up. Now choose 28.2E Astra from the satellite drop down box. This the satellite Freesat is broadcast from.

Now move the marker to the location where your satellite dish is.

Find a landmark along the alignment line.

Now go to your dish and point it right at that landmark. Then slowly adjust the elevation. Bear in mind that the quoted elevation is the elevation of the signal but due to the reflective nature of the offset dish, the elevation of the dish is about 25° less (e.g. if the elevation is 25° the dish face would be horizontal, if the elevation is even less, the dish would be pointing downwards).

If you selected the right channel from your Freesat receiver, you should be able to to see a picture now.

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Just updated the site to a new layout and logo but had to remove the channels and satellites tabs due to a small glitch. I haven’t fixed that yet but will do so shortly. Update: The satellites list is back on.

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Fortec Star FTA Receiver Here is another chance for you to win a great satellite product. Our sponsor Sadoun is giving away one Fortec Star Classic NA FTA Satellite Receiver worth $99.00. 1st place winner: Grand prize winner will receive the Fortec Star Liftetime Classic NA Digital Free to Air Blind Search Satellite Receiver. So how do you enter to win? Easy! Simply post a comment at the bottom of this message and say “I want to win!”, followed by whatever random banter you wish to include. Be creative, be silly, be serious, tell a fun story.. whatever. Just post something – the more positive and entertaining the better! At the end of March 16, 2008, the winner will be selected “randomly” and notified by email. Rules:
  • Limited to residents of Continental United States and Canada
  • Must be at least 21 years of age to enter
  • One entry per family/residence for each item
  • Multiple submissions automatically disqualified
  • Officers and employees, including their relatives, of Sadoun Satellite Sales are not eligible for entry.
  • Deadline: March 16, 2008 – 20:00 UTC.
  • Entrants agree by act of registration to permit their name to be posted on this site if they are chosen as the winner.
  • Winning entry selected at random. Odds of winning varies dependant upon number of entries. This is a free drawing. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.
  • Winner notified via email. Make sure your email is correct. If a selected winner is ineligible, fails to claim a prize within 7 days no alternate winner will be selected.
  • Incomplete entries or entries with errors will not be processed. Entries submitted after deadline will be disqualified.
Good Luck! Alan **The competition is closed now** The winner is #95 Chris. Congratulations! You will receive an email shortly asking for you postal address.

Comments 124 Comments »

So far, the widget would default to the geographic location of the IP address (well, at least kind of – depending on how accurate the mapping was). Due to several requests this has been taken off now and replaced with the default address which is specified during the widget setup. If you’re a webmaster and you didn’t specify a custom address then please do so now on the widget page. Note that this does not effect the DishPointer main page – here the default address is still based on the geographic location of the IP address.

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I’m pleased to announce that DishPointer has won two satellite awards, namely the Tele-Satellite Innovation Award and the DrDish Tested & Recommended Award. Tele-Satellite is the world’s largest satellite magazine, printed in 16 languages and distributed in well over 40 countries. The award was given to DishPointer for “creating a software solution that, with the help of Google Maps and its satellite images as well as SatcoDX and its up-to-date channel data, provides highly accurate satellite reception information”. DrDish Television is a digital TV station providing the latest news and trends of the media world. The founder and chief editor of DrDish Television is Christian Mass, an internationally recognised satcom expert, also known as Doctor Dish, and comments on DishPointer as being something special within the satellite industry and exceptionally useful for the consumer.

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On the occasion of becoming a sponsor of DishPointer, Sadoun is giving away one Sadoun Powertech DG280 Satellite Motor worth $89.95. There are also giveaways for the second and third winner. ****This competition is closed now, see below for winners***** 1st place winner:: Grand prize winner will receive the Powertech DG280 Satellite Motor. 2nd place winner: One SF95LK Satellite Signal Strength Meter Kit. 3rd place winner: One SF95LK Satellite Signal Strength Meter Kit. So how do you enter to win? Easy! Simply post a comment at the bottom of this message and say “I want to win!”, followed by whatever random banter you wish to include. Be creative, be silly, be serious, tell a fun story.. whatever. Just post something – the more positive and entertaining the better! At the end of February 3, 2008, the winners will be selected “randomly” and notified by email. Rules:
  • Limited to residents of Continental United States and Canada
  • Must be at least 21 years of age to enter
  • One entry per family/residence for each item
  • Multiple submissions automatically disqualified
  • Officers and employees, including their relatives, of Sadoun Satellite Sales are not eligible for entry.
  • Deadline: February 3, 2008 – 20:00 UTC.
  • Entrants agree by act of registration to permit their name to be posted on this site if they are chosen as the winner.
  • Winning entry selected at random. Odds of winning varies dependant upon number of entries. This is a free drawing. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.
  • Winner notified via email. Make sure your email is correct. If a selected winner is ineligible, fails to claim a prize no alternate winner will be selected.
  • Incomplete entries or entries with errors will not be processed. Entries submitted after deadline will be disqualified.
Good Luck! ************************* Update: 04 Feb 08 The competition is closed now. The winners, chosen randomly, are: 1st Prize Motor: Cy Edwards (#33) 2nd Prize Sat-Meter: Donielia Ward (#9) 3rd Prize Sat-Meter: Mark Scabar (#36) Congratulations to all three of you – you will be contacted shortly by email. And for all those who haven’t won, there will be another competition soon, so keep checking this place for updates. Alan

Comments 72 Comments »

We broke the 1 Million barrier last month. In total, 325,000 users made 1,094,016 dish pointing requests (on this site and the widgets combined) in December breaking all the previous records. This is fantastic but also came as a surprise to me. In order to keep up with the demand, I’m upgrading to a brand new server which should handle this sort of load quite easily. So over the next two days the migration should happen, hopefully without any or minimal disruption to the service. So, a big thank you and welcome to every visitor.

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I have just added a new section for technical satellite help and general usage of the DishPointer site. I hope this will help fixing satellite problems or satellite reception issues. Over the time, the section shoud hopefully expand a bit more.

Comments 42 Comments »

I’ve just added support for motorized dishes. In the dropdown box with all the satellites, you’ll find at the bottom an item called True South / True North and then various makes of satellite motors (Moteck SG2100, Satcontrol SM3D12 / SM3D22, PanSat PM900S, PowerTech DG240 and Stab HH90, Stab HH100, Stab HH120). You’ll need the True South (if you live North of the equator) or True North (if you live South of the equator) marking in order to setup your motor. When you choose the satellite motor, you’ll get the declination angle and also the dish elevation. If you want me to add different makes of satellite motors, just let me know. When installing a motorized dish, the key is that the pole is absolutely vertical. If it’s not then the motor can’t track the satellites along the clarke belt – you wouldn’t receive the outer satellites. If your motor and receiver supports USALS then the installation becomes a bit easier as you can plug in your latitude and longitude into the receiver and the motor is rotated to the correct satellite automatically. All you would need to do is then fine-tune the installation. Without USALS, you need to point the motorized dish directly at True South/True North (the line on the map) and then take it from there. I hope to post a full installation guide here soon.

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