Why Do Satellite Dishes Point South?

November 26, 2019
by
Tom

Why Do Sky/ Satellite Dishes Point South?

 

If you’re having a satellite dish installed and want to establish where the ideal location for your satellite dish will be, or if you already have a Sky dish or similar and wanted to know, why does the satellite dish need to point south? Read on for all the info that you require.

 

Satellites Orbit The Equator 

I apologise for those of you reading this blog is Australia, New Zealand or any of the other southern hemisphere nations as the title of this blog will be a misleading for you guys. The satellites that deliver telecoms, satellite TV & digital services are in geo-stationary orbit in space and orbit around the equator. They rotate at the same speed of the earth which is fortunate because if they didn't, you would either need to install some sort of satellite tracking system which would be very expensive in comparison to a standard satellite dish installation. For this reason when installing satellite dishes in the Northern Hemisphere the dish will always be directed south regardless of what satellite service you wish to receive and the azimuth and elevation adjusted depending on what service you wish to receive, the required satellite dish size may be different also. The same is true for English Sat, French Sat, Polish Sat etc.

 

Sat Dishes Point North In The Southern Hemisphere

As the satellites orbit the equator, naturally if you are south of the equator the dish will need to be aligned north instead of south. I just wanted to add this as I know small numbers read our blogs outside in the southern hemisphere. If you live in a nation near the equator the dish will pretty much point straight up the Sky. This means that the dish usually needs to go on top of buildings rather than mounted to the wall.

 

Satellite Dishes Are Best Installed On A South Facing Wall

As the thing needs to point south, it makes sense to mount the dish on the south facing wall itself so that the building you’re fitting it too doesn’t block the signal. This usually makes the installation a bit easier too, the only thing usually that could be problematic is the coax cable installation. For instance, if you dish has been mounted on the side south of the house and your lounge where you want to install your satellite receiver is on the north side, you will either need run a cable or two around the building, through the loft or through the house. If it is very problematic or if you have things like trees blocking the signal or you want to keep the satellite dish discreet, you may want to consider mounting the satellite dish elsewhere.

 

If the satellite dish direction that you wish to align your satellite dish to is East/ West facing also then the satellite dish can also be easily installed on either of locations. To surmise, in my area of the world 95% of the satellite dishes we install are East facing. The Astra 2 satellites which you can get Sky/ Freesat are aligned to 28.2E, German/ French TV is 19.2E, Italian/ North Africa are at 13E, Turksat aligns to 42E etc. This means the East side of a property can be as easy to mount as the south side and may help avoid any nearby obstructions that could block the signal and make the cable installations easier. On occasions for things like Fransat we sometimes align to some of the West facing satellites, in which case the west facing wall could be used.

 

Mounting Dishes on North Facing Walls

If you need to install a satellite dish on a north facing wall or the opposite azimuth direction (East/West etc) the satellite dish will need to be installed onto brackets/ pole that allows the dish to look over the building itself. I recommend T and K wall brackets with a 2” diameter pole for this task to minimise any wobble which could mean that your satellite dish doesn't work. The height of the pole that the dish will need to be installed on depends on a few things, the elevation setting of the satellite dish you want to receive from, for instance 13E will be higher in the Sky than 19.2E, 28.2E, 42E etc and the height of the object you need to clear. Shallow short roofs will require a shorter mast than a tall steep wall etc.

 

Satellite Dish Alignment Questions in the Blog Comments Section Please

 

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