What is a “BAU?”

DIRECTV’s technology has changed a lot in the last 25 years. Their ownership has changed, and even their staff has changed. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is their love for obscure acronyms. Get into the world of satellite TV, and you’ll find tons of them. Luckily for you, this blog gives you all the information you’ll need to find the answers.


This little bit of kit is what’s known in the industry as a “BAU”, or “Back Assembly Unit.” You’ll also hear it referred to as a “back adjustment unit,” which is probably not the right term but it’s been used so often that it might as well be. It goes between the mast (the pole that the dish sits on) and the reflector (the dishy part of the dish.) It lets you make adjustments to the overall position of the dish, so that it can be properly aimed.

Aiming a DIRECTV dish

There are three different adjustments for a DIRECTV dish, and the BAU handles all of them.

Azimuth is the first adjustment. That’s a fancy word for “spinning the thing around on the pole.” You set the azimuth so that you’re properly pointed at DIRECTV’s 101 satellite location. Rough aiming instructions can come from any DIRECTV receiver, or you can use a site like dishpointer.net to get even more precise ones. Your AIM meter can also give you the same information.

Elevation comes next. This is pointing the dish up and down so it looks at a different bit of the sky. This is important because your ability to see the DIRECTV satellite fleet changes depending on how far north or south you are. The further north you get, the more you’ll have to point the dish toward the horizon.

Those two measurements alone should let you tune into the 101 degree satellite location. However, you’ll need the final adjustment to get the two other satellite locations you’ll need.

Tilt moves the sides of the dish up and down so that you can line up the three satellite locations you’ll need.

Fine adjustments

One of the things you’ll see about those photos is the fine adjustment control. You can use a wrench to loosen the main bolts, but that won’t help you make the final adjustments you need. A dish that is off by as little as 1/32″ can be looking at a point 20 miles from where the satellite actually is. That’s why you see fine adjustment knobs like the ones you see at the lower part of the photo.

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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.