Do you REALLY need a satellite meter (Spoiler alert: YES)

It saves you time. It makes it easy. It’s worth the money. Even if you don’t click through to the rest of the article, there’s something for you right there.

One of our more common questions is why people would need a satellite meter. Obviously not everyone does. If you don’t do any of your own satellite repairs, even in your own home, you probably don’t. If you never go RV’ing or camping with your dish, you probably don’t. But if you do any of your own maintenance or travel even once a year with your dish, it’s worth the money for a full-featured meter like the SATLOOK-LITE.

You might be tempted to use the built-in signal meters on your receiver, or even pick up an inexpensive satellite finder at your local “shack” but those methods will only take you so far.

Using the aiming instructions on the receiver means setting up the TV and receiver out by the dish, or having a second person read you the numbers. This can be confusing and waste a lot of time. A signal meter that sits right there, powers the dish for up to 30 minutes and gives clear audio feedback can get you going much more easily.

Another thing you need to know is that there can be a several second delay between moving the dish and getting the feedback on screen. Several seconds can really add up.

And then… there are satellite finders. A satellite finder is really just a very simple radio that pulls in the frequencies used by satellite dishes. It won’t tell you if you have the right satellite and it might not even listen to some of the frequencies that are used for the newer satellites. Here’s an example: You could think you’re pointing at the satellite in the 101 position when you’re really only two degrees off at the 99 position. Both satellites may show some signs of signal at the 100 degree position… which one do you point at? A real satellite meter will tell you. It can tell the difference between all the signals in the sky quickly and tell you for certain that you’re pointing in the right direction.

Why ruin your happy vacation with a frustrating install that takes longer than the time you plan to watch TV? Get a meter — they cost less than you think — and relax!

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.