How to Set Up a Motorized FTA Satellite

Updated April 17, 2017

Using a Free To Air (FTA) satellite will allow you to get stations that your DSS dish will not get, including local and foreign programming. Installing an FTA dish is a lot like installing a DSS dish, but the orientation of the dish will be different. You can set up a motorised dish to track multiple satellites and get more channels. You can find the coordinates you will need on the Internet. Find a good location to mount the dish that will give you a clear line of sight to the sky.

Mount the dish mast to the location you have selected. Mount the mast so it is level and straight, pointing in the direction you will be aiming the dish.

Place the motor assembly onto the mast by sliding the bracket over the mast until it stops. Point the arm on the motor in the direction of the satellites and secure the motor to the mast by tightening the bolts on the sleeve.

Slide the dish onto the motor assembly arm. On the back of the dish there is a sleeve that will fit onto the motor's arm. Place the dish onto the arm and tighten down the bolts on the back of the dish until it is secure.

Set the elevation and the azimuth on the dish using the coordiantes you have retrieved for your location. On the back of the dish are adjustments for both elevation and azimuth. To set these coordinates, just loosen the bolts on each and move your dish until you have lined up the dish with the numbers on the bracket. Tighten the bolts after setting.

Set the latitude on the motor to the number you retrieved for your location by loosening the bolt and moving the arm of the motor up and down until the number is lined up with the mark on the motor. Tighten the bolt.

Hook up your signal finder and locate the satellite you have selected to pinpoint. If you want to locate multiple satellites, start with the satellite that is in the middle of the group and aim at that one. By moving the dish right or left, adjust it for the best signal.

Connect the coaxial cable running from your building to the input on the motor assembly. Connect a shorter cable from the motor's output to the dish's LNB.

Check the signal strength on your receiver and adjust if needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Coaxial cable
  • Signal finder
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Directional compass
  • Bubble level
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About the Author

Allen Coleman has been writing since 2002. He got his start with "Oregon Insider Sports" covering college athletics. Since then Coleman has had work published in "Tailgater Magazine," "PDX Magazine" and on several websites including He is currently on the radio in Portland, Oregon and writing his own scripts. Coleman studied communications at Concordia University and Southern Oregon State.