Does Satellite Signal Suffer With Weather?

Written by joy v. smith
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Does Satellite Signal Suffer With Weather?
A satellite dish operates best in optimum conditions. (Satellite TV image by Bryan Crowe from

Satellite signal can be affected by storms, heavy wind and rain, snow and ice; accumulated precipitation also causes poor reception. In cold climates, the satellite dish may need a heater in case of accumulated ice.


Heavy rain affects TV reception, depending on how heavy it's coming down, resulting in "rain fade," but it should clear up after the rain subsides. However, in a region such as the southeast in the U.S. where rain is more frequent, it can depend on the annual rainfall, especially, for instance, in the rainy season in Florida, there will be more frequent signal interference. Heavy snow also affects the signal, but not so much as rain because of the way rain drops affect the electromagnetic waves surrounding them. A larger dish may help in those areas.

Does Satellite Signal Suffer With Weather?
Rain fade will subside when the rain does. (Awaiting The Storm image by Morph from

Satellite Placement

Television satellites are positioned high and provide good coverage, though they're highest for U.S. southern states and a bit lower for other states, resulting in the southern states being less affected by bad weather. Continental U.S. states that are further east or west and receive their signals from special programming satellites rather than main--or core--satellites are more likely to experience rain fade. Again, a larger dish may help.

Does Satellite Signal Suffer With Weather?
Accumulated frozen precipitation is bad for satellites. (freezing rain image by Colin Buckland from

Satellite Signal Variations

The length of the radio waves sent from the satellite also determines how affected the signal is by rain fade. Longer wavelengths are less affected than the shorter bands.

Does Satellite Signal Suffer With Weather?
Rain isn't the only thing that can affect TV reception. (rain drops on the window image by Olga Shelego from

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