Can you align a satellite dish without a meter?

It’s almost tailgating season and that means a lot of folks setting up satellite dishes to watch the game. Solid Signal makes it easy with kits designed to provide you with everything you’ll need. You just need to bring a receiver from home, or get one specifically for tailgating.

By the way, it’s perfectly ok to bring a receiver from home as long as no one is at home to use the other receivers. You can only use the service at one location, and it should be a location close to your home. Usually a stadium fits that description.

So you have the dish, you have the tripod, and you have the receiver. About now you’re wondering if it’s really worth it to get one of those expensive satellite meters. You’ll see in our listing for satellite meters that you can get a satellite signal finder that won’t break the bank, but those will only work for standard definition dishes and receivers. Most current DIRECTV and DISH equipment requires a more expensive meter.

Unless… could there be another way?

You can actually use a satellite receiver as a signal meter. Both DIRECTV and DISH receivers have built-in signal meters that will help you align a dish, but remember you get what you pay for. The built-in meters are slower to respond than a professional satellite meter, and unless you have the receiver and TV close to the dish, you’ll spend a lot of time with a second person calling out numbers. That’s precious time you’ll need when you’re getting set up. After all the game won’t wait for you.

That’s why I recommend that every tailgater get a proper satellite meter and use it for setup. It’s going to make everything a lot easier for you. It will save a lot of time and you’ll seem like a hero to your friends. Or, you can try it for yourself this season… the meters will be here next year when you’re ready.

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.