On Friday, I talked about the troubles I had with DirecTV when I asked about moving fees. That experience led me to do some research into avoiding having DirecTV installers come to your house when you move. It turns out that it isn’t that difficult.
If you have DirecTV and move to a new home, they will charge you $99-$199 to remove your satellite dish from your old home and install it at your new one. With a little DIY, you can do it yourself. All you actually need is a ladder, Phillips screwdriver, a 7/16 socket, a level, and possibly a compass and protractor.
Note: you will still have to utilize their services if you are moving to a different media market, unless you are okay with getting your area’s local channels instead of your new areas. If you change timezones, you would still receive programming from the old timezone’s times as well. I know someone who lives in California but is still receiving New York channels because his converter box still thinks it is in NJ. I don’t know if that is actually legal or not, so caveat emptor.
If your new home already has a satellite dish
Before you get started, check out your new home. If it has a dish installed already, you may not have to worry about moving the antenna from your old home. It depends on the dish type.
DISH Network Dish
If there the new place has a DISH antenna, you may still be able to use it. If it is the 18″ round dish with a single LNB (low-noise blocker, that knob at the end of the pole that points at the dish), you can use it to receive SD channels from DirecTV. All it requires is pointing the antenna at the DirecTV satellite at 101° longitude. (More on this below)
New place already have a DirecTV dish? Awesome! Maybe. If you have the older, 18″ round dish, you will only be able to receive SD channels. You will need the new slim-line dishes to receive HD channels. If the dish was installed after 2005, it is a slimline dish. You can also identify a slimline dish by it having the word “slimline” on it or having two LNB sections. Both antennas will be an oval shape on closer inspection. Images of the slimline dishes can be seen on this support page.
If your new home does not have a satellite dish, or an incompatible dish
At the old location
First, you will have to remove your dish from your roof or wherever it is mounted. Always employ proper safety techniques when working off the ground. Be very careful when removing it and installing it as it weighs about 35lbs and is 3 feet wide. If you damage it, it may not work correctly. Be sure to save all of the hardware to use later. You will also need to collect the coax cable (the wire that you plug into the tv/receiver) if you are not simply replacing an incompatible dish at the new location.
Before you remove it, take note of its positioning. It will be pointed in three dimensions. The elevation measures the vertical tilt. Azimuth is the compass direction in which the dish points. And “tilt” is the measure of its horizontal tilt. The proper elevation and azimuth can be determined later using the Dish Pointer tool or following on-screen prompts from the receiver. Tilt can only be found in the satellite settings information on the receiver. If you are careful of your removal, moving, and installation, these angles won’t be upset. But it is better to have the information just in case.
At the new location
- First identify a spot to mount the dish. It needs a clear view of the southern sky in the general direction of Texas (99-119 degrees longitude to be exact). It also needs to be able to support at least 200 pounds. Sure the dish and assembly only weighs 35lbs, but the thing is basically a small sail and you need to account for the force of the wind blowing against it.
- Mount the dish facing the general direction of the satellites. Use the mounting hardware you removed from your old house. Make sure the mast is plumb (straight up and down). There will be two 7/16 adjustment bolts. Loosen the bolts and use your level to adjust. Then tighten the bolts back up when done.
- Loosen the pivot bolt and azimuth bolt on the dish and aim it according to the numbers found on the dish pointer website.
- Connect run the coax cable from the dish to where it feeds into the house. Connect your receiver to the coax in whatever room you are setting it up.
- Press the menu button on your remote. Go to Settings & Help -> Settings -> Satellite -> View Signal Strength. If you are properly aligned, the strength should be at least 90 for all transponders on all satellites. If your numbers are below 70, wiggle the satellite back and forth by about 15 degrees until you find the optimal position. Tighten all of your bolts.
Be sure to update your billing address to the new address so you can continue to receive your bills.
Have you ever moved with satellite TV service? What was it like?