Point satellite dish

Diagram showing optical

Aiming a HughesNet satellite dish can be a challenge, even for trained professionals. Here is a trick that will make the job much easier.

Step 1

Download the PC-OPI application This program works like the hand-held OPI meters, but works on a laptop. Assuming you have your HughesNet terminal correctly installed and all cables hooked-up properly, you'll want to connect a LAN cable from the terminal to your laptop. Use the network address that came with your system to log in to the terminal using the HughesNet Setup page. Follow the prompts, entering your ZIP code and forward to the page indicating the direction in degrees of the satellite you should connect to. Note the polarity number and inclination. You will need to adjust these three things.

Step 2

With the satellite dish mounted on a level surface, use a compass and point the dish in the direction indicated on the Setup page. Next, loosen the screws that hold the back of the dish to the mounting bracket and rotate the whole dish on its axis to change the polarity to match the number on the Setup page. A polarity gauge is stamped on the back of the dish. Tighten the screws.

Step 3

Adjust the inclination of the dish to match the inclination indicated on the Setup page. Go back to your terminal, and exit the HughesNet Setup page. Open the PC-OPI program. Turn up the sound on your computer. If you network cable is long enough, take the laptop to where the dish is located. If it isn't, you can use two walkie-talkies to transmit the audio from the PC-OPI. The program will speak the signal strength number out loud. Place both walkie-talkies on the same channel, depress and keep the "Talk" button in the "On" position with a rubber band so that it is transmitting the audio from the PC-OPI program to the other walkie-talkie. Go outside and begin moving the dish side to side, in increasing swaths until you hear the signal number go up. After locating the satellite in this manner, begin adjusting the inclination up or down until you get a stronger signal. If the signal won't go over 29, you're tracking the wrong satellite. Attempt to get a signal of 75 or better. After you have locked in the satellite, tighten down all bolts and return to the terminal. Do a cross-pol check. If it passes, exit the program and proceed to the HughesNet Setup. If you don't pass the cross-pol check, return to the dish and adjust the polarity by rotating the dish on its axis, a few degrees either way and repeat the cross-pol test.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ensure that no obstructions block the satellite's view of the sky.
  • These instructions aren't for first-time users but for those wishing to move their HughesNet dish. If you haven't installed a HughesNet Dish or aren't qualified, do not attempt to do so.

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