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Ghost-Busting Your Satellite TV System

by Gabby Hyman
Repair Home Columnist

The picture from that satellite TV system just isn't as clear as it was when you had it installed six months ago. There are deep shadow patterns on the screen and the picture flutters with multiple images. In most cases, it's not problem with the dish or the satellite TV system. Have you checked your trees lately?

Growing trees and other obstructions like a new nearby building can block the original "look angle" that was set by your satellite contractor. Trees are typically the number one offender. Part of the problem may have been the lack of adequate planning when you first installed your dish. Satellite TV installers typically measure the signal strength when they mount the dish. The measured signal strength of 70 or more is optimal.

Satellite TV Dishes and Trees

Cable splice errors are the main technical issue with a satellite TV system, but you would have noticed poor reception before. If your installer measured the signal correctly and adjusted for line-of-sight tree interference when you had the dish put in, then something may have changed in the yard.

It seems obvious to account for deciduous trees when you're installing a satellite system in the winter, but you'd be surprised how many contractors overlook bare branches. Now it's spring, your trees are green with glory, and your signal is terrible. Another possible and more likely occurrence is that the young trees that lay beneath your original line of sight have grown directly into the dish's path.

The Easy Fix and Other Options

If you're brave, you can try and remedy the dish height on your own. The mount that comes with most satellite TV dishes has the outside diameter as 1 5/8" pipe. The trouble with doing this yourself is you can easily knock the dish out of alignment with the optimal signal.

If you can determine which branches have now blocked the "look angle," get out the ladder and tree saw. It can be a tricky proposition in correctly identifying the culprit branches, and if the tree will only grow anew, it may be better in the long-haul to call in a satellite TV or landscape contractor with appropriate experience to assess the root cause of your woes.

If you're searching for a professional to help with satellite TV or tree problems, use the directory here at to find a professional contractor in your area.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.