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How a Satellite Dish Works
by Gary Davis

A satellite dish is an antenna designed to focus on a specific broadcast source. The standard dish consists of a parabolic (bowl-shaped) surface and a central feed horn. A controller sends it through the horn, and the dish focuses the signal into a relatively narrow beam.

A narrow beam is generated as the dish reflects energy from the feed horn.

The dish on the receiving end can only receive information; it cannot transmit information. The receiving dish works in the exact opposite way of the transmitter. When a beam hits the curved dish, the parabola shape reflects the radio signal inward onto a particular point, just like a concave mirror focuses light onto a particular point.

The curved dish focuses incoming radio waves onto the feed horn.

The feed horn then passes the signal onto the receiving equipment. Ideally, there will be no obstructions, such as trees to interfere with the signal from the satellite to the satellite dish. With no obstructions you receive a much clearer signal.

Some systems are set up to receive signals from more than one satellite. A new dish design uses two or more horns to pick up different satellite signals. As the beams from different satellites hit the curved dish, they reflect at different angles so that one beam hits one of the horns and another beam hits a different horn.

The central element in the feed horn is the LNB (low noise blockdown converter) The LNB amplifies the radio signal bouncing off the dish and filters out the noise (radio signals not carrying programming). The LNB passes the amplified, filtered signal to the satellite receiver inside the viewer's house.

A cable is run from the satellite dish into the house and then connects to the satellite TV receiver (black box) thus completing the connection.

By Gary Davis

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About The Author
Gary Davis is the owner of Dish Network Satellite TV, has several years experience in the Satellite TV Industry and has written numerous articles about satellite TV.