Can you use SWM with a Winegard RV satellite dish?

Now that all the latest DIRECTV equipment requires SWM technology,, it’s raise a question for those folks who have older Winegard dishes on their roofs: Can these be adapted, or will they need to be replaced with something like this current Winegard Trav’ler with SWM built-in?

DIRECTV SWM is the default technology for all receivers now, and has been for about five years. It allows for easy wiring through the use of splitters, rather than requiring a single line to the dish for every tuner in use. It also allows for receivers to share information with each other. Most people don’t have a need to watch two different recorded shows at the same time in an RV, but hey, we won’t judge.

The good news is that yes, any Winegard RV dish with two or more outputs, and that doesn’t require a special DIRECTV receiver will work. This means any dome dish or RV dish made in the last ten years. If the only logo on your receiver is the DIRECTV logo, you should be fine.

Winegard does publish a guide to connecting their domes and dishes to SWM along with a code for their own branded kit, but we’re going to make it easier for you, and quite a bit cheaper.

Start with this SWM-8 kit. If you have two lines coming from the dish, wire into the leftmost two inputs on the SWM. If you have four lines, wire into all four inputs. Here are some diagrams that illustrate the basic wiring:

Two Lines into a SWM-8
Four Lines into a SWM-8

There are a few more things you need to know:
• The SWM itself is weatherproof, but it’s not designed to take constant wind loads like you would get if you mount it outside. If you do need to mount it on the outside of the RV, I’d recommend putting it on the back or behind something that will shelter it from the wind.

• The SWM power supply is not waterproof so you do need to mount it inside.

• Winegard says you can’t use whole-home service with this method but personally I don’t know why you can’t. I can’t see a technical reason; maybe if you’re activating an RV account they won’t let you add whole-home.

• This method only works with stationary dishes and doesn’t work with in-motion dishes like those from KVH and Intellian. Those must be upgraded using the manufacturer’s kits.

If you’d like more information, check out our exclusive guide to upgrading to DIRECTV SWM technology! If you haven’t chosen a dish for your RV, we have a guide to help you choose as well.

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 5,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.