Trying to get a Direct TV signal

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Well-known member
Sep 30, 2009
For the last couple weeks and more I have been trying to get a Direct TV signal using an 18" round disc made by Winegard and a tripod.  I even leased a new receiver from Direct thinking that my old Tivo was bad.  I'm going to try again tomorrow, but don't have much hope.  The people at Direct TV were absolutely no help.  The last so called "tech"  told me to call Winegard and have them come out and set it up. I've set up several dishes in homes without problems and so I thought it would be easy to do it for my MH--not so.  I'm beginning to wonder if there is something wrong with the Winegard equipment?  I already know that there is something wrong with Direct TV support.  I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem, and did you ever get a signal or just go out and buy an overpriced automatic dish antenna?
I've used an 18" dish for several years.  If you have a single LNB, it's just a matter of pointing it at the satellite.  You do have to be sure you have a DC path from the receiver to the dish - the DC voltage is what powers the LNB on the dish.

If you have any kind of splitter or amplifier in line it will block the DC voltage, and often this makes the Cable TV input on the rig unusable for satellite.

Try connecting the dish directly to the receiver and see if this makes a difference.

Another thing that really helps is one of the in-line meters.  They respond much more quickly than the receiver when you're moving the dish around to find the satellite.  The meter won't tell you if you're on the correct satellite - you do need the receiver to verify that -but it makes finding the bird a lot faster.
When I recently had a Direct TV problem that was giving me fits, it turned out to be a bad, intermittent coax cable.  I had a long trouble shooting session with the Direct tech, and all we could confirm was that there was a problem.  The tech was nice enough though.  Still not satisfied I started switching out cables. Bingo, I found that one of the cables from the inside sat jack to the back of the Direct receiver was intermittent at sending signal.  It was making the receiver look like it was bad. 

After changing the cable the box is acting normally with no drop outs.
I assume you have a clear line of site to 101 bird?  I assume you have a good compass to point the dish, or some other mechanical device to tell you when you are pointed at the correct location?  I hope you have run a single cable directly from the antenna to the back of the receiver?  Now, what receiver do you have?  This is very important.  Also what are your antenna settings on the receiver setup menu?
I finally got someone from Direct TV who know something about getting a signal from Direct.  First of all he agreed that it is difficult to manually get a signal using an HD receiver.  He said that he will be sending me a standard receiver in exchange for the HD receiver.  It will be sent to the RV camp ground that I will be staying at in Salt Lake City next week.  I am anxious to try it out.  I will let you know what happens.
I have used both standard and HD Direct receivers and I have never noticed a difference in manually tuning in a sat. The receiver has to be reset to a round dish with or without SWM but the actual signal appears to be the same.
I have found three tools extremely helpful. A App from Directv that points to the birds, a meter that shows signal strength and is mandatory in my view for Dithering. The third is a small divice that tests the cable for faults. As said above cable, cable connectors all go bad and can prevent the 21 volts from getting to the LNB. I do think the voltage is AC for the SWM units. Also on the HD receivers their are two inputs, only use the first one.
Good luck.
Funny I saw this this morning, in prepping my winter housing I moved one of my receivers over and hooked up.  It is a DVR, so has 2 inputs.  The dish has dual LNB, but only one coax.  As specified I connected it to Sat 1.  The dish is properly aimed, I could recieve a signal nice and strong, but it wants to search for signal on 2.  I called and DTV was really very helpful, it seems I need to run both leads to a Multi Switch, which will combine onto the one coax. 

I have found that the customer service there has been great. 

Just be careful with your questions. 
If your system is setup as DirecTV SWM(single wire) then you ONLY need one connection to each DVR. If not using SWM, then both DVR connections will need to be hooked up.

SWM also uses a separate DC pwr supply somewhere in the coax. It uses advanced splitters, one of which has to be able to pass on the DC from the pwr supply. These splitters are designed to pass signals up to 2150MHz. I just saw an old splitter at ACE that was listed to ONLY pass 900MHz and WILL NOT work on a SWM system. When a receiver is switched to SWM, it does NOT put out the normal 12-18volts to control the Sat. LNB.

The SWM system stacks 8 signals on a coax, so that is the max tuners you can connect. The newest DVRs actually support 5 tuners, so they eat up 5 of the 8 available bands in the coax. SWM systems are totally designed different and ONLY used on DirecTV.

HD antennas are slightly harder to tune in, I think the tilt is more critical on these systems.

I setup my own SWM & whole home system and currently am a software Beta tester for DirecTV. No $$$ here, I just like DirecTV.

Witih DirecTV from assorted posts and personal experience I can tell you some of the folks with phones glued to their ears there actually know the difference between that which gets tissue paper and that which needs a shovel (Hint: You need a shovel to dig a hole in the ground) (Hint is a line from a movie) (Best line in the whole movie).

Folks look at the triple dishes and think "Oh this is going to be much harder to aim"

Well, is he harder: Yes,  Much harder, NO.. Here is the difference.

With the single dish you go to the receiver's antenna page and enter your ZIP code, or use a computer program or application on your phone to find the initial settings.

Pre-set the elevation, turn slowly through the azimuth and SIGNAL happens.

With the triple LNB dishes (HD dishes or DishNetwork's 2 LNB dish) you first make sure the mast is plumb (Yes this may take a bit of work)

Then you preset both elevation and either Tilt (DirecTV) or Skew (Dish) (Same thing).

Then you rotate slowly thorugh the azimuth setting till signal happens.

NOTE: This is actually easier on DirecTV as only one bird is in the Ku band and that's the one (101) you shoot for, If you have set the tilt properly, when you find the bird at 101, the two either side of it will be right where the dish is pointing.  Can't be anywhere else.. Major problem is if you set the tilt the wrong way.
be sure to use an RG6 or better cable - the regular coax that works from receiver to tv will not work from dish to receiver.
I was finally able to get a signal.  The people I talked to at Direct TV this time were very helpful; in fact, one of them told me that her parents have an rv with Direct TV and they call her while on the road when they have problems getting a signal.  She was very knowledgeable which after the experiences I've had from Direct was refreshing.  After watching how easy it was for a friend of mind to get a signal from Direct with a crank up dish, I decided to get one.  The dish I bought also has an omnidirectional over the air antenna attached to it for local channels.  Hopefully i will get a chance to install it this coming weekend.  I still plan to use my portable dish when the signal is obstructed like parking under some trees or other line of sight obstacles. 
joester said:
be sure to use an RG6 or better cable - the regular coax that works from receiver to tv will not work from dish to receiver.

Although the RG6 has lower loss than the RG59 used in many RVs it will work from the dish to the receiver.

I have temporarily  used a 100 foot run of RG59 and had a signal strength of 82 as indicated by the receiver. The signal went up to 86 when I replaced the RG59 with RG6.
The receiver response is probably non linear but still since anything over 60 is quite useable, the lower signal was not a big deal in that case.

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