DON’T DO THIS: Franken-dish

So the other day… 

This guy tells me that he bought a new LNB for his dish and he’s getting a lot of signal loss. I ask him about his signal strength numbers and they’re all 30s and 40s, real low stuff. I figure it’s all about dish aiming. But he says he didn’t even bump the dish and it shouldn’t need re-aiming.

You know, the DIRECTV dishes are actually really resistant to problems with aiming if you get right down to it. If you’ve tightened the bolts down, it takes a lot to move them. So I was oddly inclined to believe him. He even told me that he had the old LNB and would be willing to put it back to see if it works. Sure, I said, and he comes back and tells me that it works just fine, although it’s a little loose.

“Loose?” I said, not sure why it would be loose.

So, he explains, he had to sort of wrench out the LNB arm to make the new LNB fit right. He also told me that he drilled new holes in the arm to make the new LNB fit but claims he did it slowly so the dish wouldn’t move.

I’m beginning to get a little suspicious. I want to know more.

It turns out he had one of those old Phase III dishes and bought a Slimline LNB so he could get the HD channels. “AHA!” I said. “Don’t Do That!”

Folks, if you have a Phase III dish and you want new HD channels, I hate to be the one to break it to you but a new dish is your only solution. There’s no way that you’ll be able to successfully replace the LNB. The new LNB won’t fit on the arm and even if you force it, the distance to the reflector is wrong and it won’t focus. Just… don’t do it.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.