Can you use multiple receivers with a portable satellite dish?

Are you looking for an economical way to watch satellite TV while traveling? One great option is Winegard’s Carryout line.  This little gumdrop just needs to be placed on a level surface and connected, and it does all the work for you.

Yeah, but does it work?

It actually works pretty well if you know the limitations. It’s designed to let you connect one receiver and it does that part pretty well. Will it work for multiple receivers? Yes absolutely.

There are a few things you need to know, however.

Genie and Hopper not invited to the party

The latest generation of receivers won’t work with a portable dish. That’s OK, though, because the DISH 211 and DIRECTV H24 will do just fine. You won’t find these receivers at the local store, though. You’ll want to shop for one at Solid Signal.

One at a time

Most portable dishes only work with one satellite at a time. That means that there may be some channels that don’t come in on the secondary receiver if you’re watching the primary receiver. This is normal.

If one of the receivers is a DVR, it should be set as the primary receiver and must be set to single tuner mode. You will only be able to watch or record one item at a time.

Multiswitches are your friend

It is possible to connect both lines to a SWM multiswitch so you can use H25 receivers, but Genie DVRs and clients aren’t supported at all. A maximum of two receivers can be connected to a SWM on a portable dish. Using non-SWM multiswitches can cause errors, as the system just isn’t designed for it.

I wouldn’t use a portable dish like this as the backbone of a permanent installation, but you’d be surprised how well it can do.

Single Satellite considerations

These portable dishes can only see one satellite at a time. In DIRECTV installations, this means they can only see the 101 satellite. This limits you to standard definition programming for the most part. The high-definition signals used by DIRECTV use a different technology so these dishes just can’t work with it.

For DISH, you can point at any one satellite and get a subset of standard definition and high definition channels. However if you try to tune multiple receivers to different satellites, something’s gotta give.

If there is a conflict that causes one receiver or the other to stop working (and this will happen from time to time) the primary receiver will keep working and secondary receivers will be unusable. Generally, the primary receiver is the first one connected, but if you power up the dish with more than one receiver, it can be hard to know which one will work in case of a conflict

Amplifiers and (non-SWM) splitters are a no-no

You should never use line amplifiers or splitters with a portable dish. As I said this isn’t a substitute for a complete home or business system. There should be no reason to be extending the line more than 50 feet.

Call Solid Signal for everything you need!

If you keep in mind these simple things, you should have a great time with your satellite television system! When you are ready to upgrade to a portable satellite system, call the experts at Solid Signal at 888-233-7563. We can help you get set up and activated! If it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.


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.