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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