Treat yourself to a really good satellite meter.

OK, it’s time to get real. If you put up your own satellite equipment, whether it was once or every weekend for tailgating, it’s time to get a real, good satellite meter. This doesn’t mean you can’t still use the built-in meters on the receiver, but how much time have you spent going back and forth, waiting for the receiver to respond?

So yes, a satellite meter is expensive. (These signal finders don’t work for anything but old-school round dishes.) Unless you’re an installation professional, it’s going to sit on the shelf most of the time. It seems like a lot of money to pay for something that’s just going to sit on the shelf. If you’re thinking about it for home use, even a service call from your satellite professional (usually about $99) is a cheaper way to go. But you did your own installation for a reason, right? It wasn’t just to save money since both DIRECTV and DISH will do the installation for free. It was because you wanted it your way. Since you wanted it your way, you’re responsible for taking care of it, and let’s be honest, it’s time you stepped up to quality tools.

The DIRECTV AIM Meter is your go-to choice for DIRECTV installs. It’s the one the professionals use, and for good reason — it guides you through every step of the process and makes it easy. It’s upgradeable so that when DIRECTV comes out with a new dish you’ll be covered.

DISH users should consider this Birdog satellite meter. Yeah it’s going to set you back a few dollars. It’s the right tool for the job. It will also align some DIRECTV dishes as well as several other kinds of dishes. It’s fast, it works right the first time, and it lasts a long time on batteries. This is the meter you want if you’re aiming your dish every week. It will pay for itself in time saved.

There is an alternative that will save you a few dollars if you qualify. Our SATLOOKLITE meter will align SL5 and SL5-SWM dishes, plus non-SWM SL3 dishes. It will also align non-hybrid DISH Western arc dishes. Unfortunately it’s not upgradeable for the newer DIRECTV DSWM dishes or 4K dishes, and it doesn’t work with DISH Eastern Arc or any hybrid dish. But if you can use it for your install, you’ll find it an excellent, economical choice and it may be a good compromise between using the receiver’s built-in meters and diving in head first to get the latest and greatest meter out there.

No matter which of these meters you choose, there’s no question that they’re going to be much better than using the built-in ones on the meter, which are really not intended for serious users. You’ll be amazed how much more quickly you can get everything aimed when you have the right equipment.

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.