Satellite Signal Meter

Satellite television is great because it increases the number of channels you can watch, by allowing access to channels that are not available on cable or free television. But to get all these channels, the television needs a special receiver and a satellite dish. Installing a satellite dish is easier than it sounds and does not always require a service call. With the help of a satellite signal meter, a satellite dish can be adjusted so that it points to the right place in the sky. There are several different types available, ranging from the basic needle meter right up to the advanced digital meter that professional installers use.

Anyone who has used an indoor television aerial will instantly understand how a satellite signal meter works. To get the best possible picture, the aerial needs to be adjusted until a position is found that delivers good signal strength. A satellite flies around in the vacuum of space but it is essentially no different to a television tower here on Earth.  Just like an aerial, a satellite dish also needs to be adjusted until it puts out a signal strong enough for the receiver to use. Using a satellite signal meter reduces the time it takes to install a satellite dish and fine tune its position.

Choosing the right type of satellite signal meter is fairly straight forward. Only professional installers need to buy an expensive digital meter that has extra functions for troubleshooting. Everyone else can make do with a cheap analog meter that shows the signal strength and not much else. There are also basic digital meters that cost slightly more than the analog meters but provide more information, such as the voltage and current sent through the cable by the receiver. This helps to avoid a common problem with analog meters where they report a strong signal but nothing shows up on the television screen.

The simplest and cheapest type of satellite signal meter is the analog meter. It harks back to the early days of radio, long before the digital revolution. The front panel of this tiny device has a needle gauge that shows the signal strength, and it also has a small knob for adjusting the gain. Two “F” connectors allow it to be installed inline between the satellite dish and the receiver. Most models emit a tone that changes with the signal strength, which is handy for positioning a dish without looking at the gauge. Power is usually supplied through the coaxial cable, but some models have a rechargeable battery that allows them to work without a receiver.

The next type is the digital meter, considered by many installers to be easier to use than an analog meter. It is a bit more expensive but the extra cost is worth paying if it will be used often, such as during long camping trips. The digital meter has an electronic display instead of a needle gauge. The display may be just a row of LED lights or it may be a small LCD display, like the type used in calculators. Generally, electronic displays are easier to read but some people still prefer a needle gauge. Another benefit of using a digital meter is that it automatically adjusts the gain.

A basic satellite signal meter can be bought for less than fifty dollars, but an advanced digital model can easily cost hundreds of dollars. The advanced models have a large LCD screen and a small number pad for entering values. The screen is large enough to show signal graphs and other technical data that a professional installer would find useful, like the signal to noise ratio and the bit error rate. Models that have dual inputs can compare the signals from a dish with two low noise blocks. Advanced models are more accurate than basic models and often have a database that can identify a satellite from its signal or position in the sky. They are great for finding a particular satellite when there are several close together.

This Satellite Signal Meter Review is Written/Updated on Dec 23rd, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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