19/06/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Caravan Satellite Dish Guide

f352f867-be06-4a59-aa62-a04bbfccd247

The best way to get great TV reception whether you tour in the UK or abroad - use our Caravan Satellite Dish Guide!

Getting a good TV signal in your tourer can sometimes be a frustrating business. Weak signals, poor aerials or misdirected dishes are a pain in the wotsit, creating unwanted interference and unwatchable telly.

With this in mind, we contacted satellite-dish-meisters, Maxview, who told us that getting a perfect picture any time, anywhere, is a doddle… so long as you've got the right kit and a bit of knowledge.

Having fumbled (unsuccessfully) with a dish in the dim and distant past, we weren't convinced. So, we invited them to Ancaster to prove their point.


What you'll need

  • A satellite system (choose the size dependent on where you want to use it – see our panel)
  • A satellite decoder (Most new 12-volt tellies have these built in)
  • A compatible TV
  • The relevant cables

You'll also need a guide to show you at what elevation angle to point your dish.

Types of satellite dish

There are three main designs of satellite dish. Typically, from the cheapest to the dearest, these are:

  1. Freestanding(or suction-cup) manual dish
  2. Tripod-mounted, manual dish
  3. Fully automatic roo-f-mounted dish

How does it work?

The earth is surrounded by orbiting satellites, some of which bounce TV channels back down to Earth.

In Britain, we mainly use the Astra 2 satellite, which is in a geostationary orbit (it moves with the Earth's rotation) in the southern sky.

A satellite dish focuses the radio waves coming from the satellite onto its LNB (Low-Noise Block) downconverter which turns the waves into a signal and sends it down a cable to a receiver unit. This, in turn, decodes the signal for your TV.

Once you have connected your dish, decoder and TV, manual-dish users have to locate the Astra 2 satellite in the sky, while automatic-dish users can sit back and let the system do the work!

Start by ensuring that the base of your dish is level, using a spirit level (sometimes built in). Next, use the integral 'elevation indicator' to align your dish to the correct elevation angle for your location, using the elevation map.

Once you have set the dish at this angle, point it at the southern sky. Now, turn on your TV and slowly rotate the dish on its horizontal axis from left to right. When it's pointed at the correct angle, you'll see/hear your TV come to life with a perfect picture and sound. Lock the dish in that position.

How do I set it up for first use, before the TV has memorised the stations?

All new Avtex TVs have a preloaded channel list so once you have the signal your TV works. If you are using a TV or receiver with no preloaded channels, simply locate the satellite first and then scan for new channels. If you are using a manual system you may need a satfinder device to help locate the satellite first.

Can I use my Sky box?

Sky Q box

Before Sky Q, the answer was yes. All previous Sky boxes are compatible with Maxview systems; simply plug them in as you would a free-to-air receiver. However, Sky Q receivers work differently, therefore the standard range of automatic systems is not compatible.

Consequently, Maxview has just launched a Sky Q-compatible Precision (tripod-mounted manual system) and a Sky Q compatible Target (roof-mounted, automatic system). This means they now have a Sky Q offering for all price brackets. Alternatively, if you have a manual or portable system you can just upgrade the LNB.

 

 

 

 

Elevation Map

This diagram shows the elevation you should set to find the Astra 2 satellite in various regions of Europe.

satellite elevation map

Satellite dish sizes

caravan satellite dish size map

Generally, the bigger the dish, the further afield you can receive satellite TV broadcasts.

  • UK and northern France 35-40cm
  • Central France 65-75cm
  • Southern France and northern Spain (excluding some parts of Spain) 85cm

Tripod-mounted Manual Dish

Assemble dish and tripod unit, then position it on flat ground, ensuring it is pointing roughly to the southern sky, where the Astra 2 satellite is located. Then…

compass to point satellite dish satellite dish LNB arm

1. Use the compass to make sure
the 'south leg' on the tripod is pointing
south

2. Pull the LNB arm down into position

Connect the cable to the dish

3. Connect the flexible cable

Connect the cable to the TV to the satellite box

4. Connect the other end of the cable to the TV (with the built-in decoder) or to the satellite box 
    Note: Some caravans have a built-in, external entry point for the aerial. Maxview also offers its own separately.

increase tv volume

5. Turn the TV on and turn up the volume. This is so you'll hear it outside, when you turn the dish to the correct angle

caravan satellite dish elevation

6. Set the elevation angle to suit your current location, using the elevation map on the back of the dish

caravan satellite dish - rotate

7. Rotate the dish slowly on its horizontal axis from left to right. Stop when you see/hear the TV find a channel

satellite finder adjustment knob

8. Alternatively, if you can't see/hear your TV, or if your TV is not pre-programmed, you can use the integrated sat finder to locate the satellite. This will light up and 'beep' when a satellite is located

turn on the tv in the caravan

9. Game on! And just in time for Jeremy Kyle. Note: If you're leaving the system outside, you may want to secure it to prevent theft

Free-standing (or suction-cup) manual dish

We used the Maxview Remora 40 dish which, with its two suction cups, is ideal for attaching to the flat sides of a caravan (dimpled sides may be problematic). If you're leaving it outside, you may need to secure it to prevent theft.

1. Assemble the dish. It's simple and takes just a minute or so

free-standing satellite dish - assemble

2. Position it with a clear line of sight to the southern sky. Ensure the suction cups are firmly attached

free-standing satellite dish - suction-cup positioning

3. Connect the flexible cable to the LNB

free-standing satellite dish - connect the LNB

4. Connect the cable to the TV (with built-in decoder) or to the satellite box Note: Some caravans have a built-in, external entry point for the aerial. Maxview also offers its own separately.

free-standing satellite dish - connect the cable to the TV

5. Turn the TV on and turn up the volume. This is so you'll hear it outside, when you turn the dish to the correct angle

free-standing satellite dish - turn the TV on

6. Set the elevation angle to suit your current location, using the Elevation Map

free-standing satellite dish - check the elevation

7. Rotate the dish slowly on its horizontal axis from left to right. Stop when you see/hear the TV find a channel

free-standing satellite dish - rotate 1 free-standing satellite dish - rotate 2 free-standing satellite dish - rotate 3

8. Lock the dish at that correct angle

free-standing satellite dish - lock the dish

9. Done! Oh Gosh, Time Team, my favourite!

free-standing satellite dish - completed

Note: If you're leaving the system outside, you may want to secure it to prevent theft. Maxview have included a neat padlock

Fully Automatic Roof-mounted Dish

After having your roof-mounted dish professionally fitted, finding a brilliantly clear channel really is an absolute doddle. We tested the brand new 'all-singing-all-dancing', app-controlled system from Maxview, it's called the Connect.

You simply turn the unit on…

turn on the satellite dish control box 1

then activate the dish using the button on the control box

satellite dish control box 2

…or via a smartphone app

satellite dish springs into action

The dish will rise to the correct angle... and automatically swivel until it finds the perfect angle for great TV reception on your desired satellite. It literally takes less than a minute.

 

Which Telly for your Caravan?

Avtex 21 inch Pro tv

You have a wide choice of TVs for touring, and, if you're using hook-up, even your domestic TV will work while you're in the caravan.

However, if you're after a 12-volt model, we recommend that you check out Avtex, a leading manufacturer of all-singing, all-dancing touring tellies.

Young Tourer, Dan Arnold, chose its brilliant new Avtex 21-inch 9 Series Pro TV for the test, along with Avtex's SB185BT soundbar to boost the bass from the super-slim TV.

The 9 Series Pro boasts a full HD 21-inch screen delivering vibrant colours and razor sharpness, a built-in satellite tuner, timer record, a DVD/CD player, live pause/playback and the ability to record one show, while watching another. It'll most likely make your telly at home feel a bit inadequate!

Back to "Practical Advice" Category

19/06/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Our Paws on Tour series continues with a look at the health benefits of owning a pet can have for you. ...


Best Caravan for Seasonal Siting: Adria Astella

Just look at it! This is literally a holiday home on wheels and perfect for those who have found a site they ...


Best Twin-axle Caravan for Families: Compass Casita 868

Families need extra space for living, sleeping and eating in a caravan. The Compass Casita 868 provides a ...


Best Twin-axle Caravan for Couples: Swift Coastline Design Edition Q4 EB Super

The Swift Coastline Design Edition Q4 EB Super, the Highbridge Caravans dealer special, is a delight for ...


Other Articles

The Caravelair Antares 496 is exceptional value for money for a family caravan. With two bunk beds at the back next to the washroom, the Antares 496 ...


Best Lightweight Caravan for Couples: Knaus Sport&Fun Black Selection

Sporty leisure vehicles are becoming increasingly popular because they are small enough to tow easily and are ...


Best Eight-feet-wide caravan: Elddis Avanté 868

The eight-feet-wide Elddis Avanté 868 is a great choice if you need space for family caravanning holidays. ...


Best Value For Money Caravan: Swift Sprite Alpine 4

This four berth caravan is so reasonably priced, it should be on any new caravanners ‘must-view’ list. But ...