Hands-On: Align-A-Site Dish Alignment System
October 1, 2010
Filed under Gear Reviews
Satellite TV offers enormous viewing options for the motorhome traveler, but unless you only travel in areas void of trees, mountains, buildings and other similar obstructions, aiming the requisite dish can be challenging. About 40 percent of the time, I park my motorhome only to find that the biggest tree in the RV park blocks the satellite signal. The Align-A-Site Dish Alignment System allows you to find a clear pathway to the southern sky before you park your RV and deploy the rooftop dish. For those who use a portable system, the Align-A-Site tool takes all the guesswork out of finding a suitable location to set up the hardware.
Simplicity is the theme for this tool. Once you obtain the dish-pointing coordinates from the receiver or online — elevation and azimuth for a single LNB unit, plus skew/tilt for dual LNB dishes — you’re ready to set the aiming device. The elevation gradients are clearly marked on the articulating arm that houses the compass for determining azimuth and two bubble levels.
At this point you set the skew/tilt at 90 degrees, which will be adjusted later, if you have a dual LNB dish. Once the coordinates are set, you simply look through the viewfinder and confirm that the line-of-sight is clear of obstructions. From here, the motorhome or the freestanding dish can be positioned accordingly.
If you have rooftop equipment that automatically seeks the satellite, all you need is the Align-A-Site tool, which sells for $119.95. Portable dish users can opt for a special bracket, which allows the sighting tool to be mounted to the dish for aiming. Once the dish mount (bracket) is attached to the edge of the dish, the sighting tool slides into it and is locked in place so the user can look through the viewfinder to confirm a clear path to the sky. Using the bubble levels and compass allows precise aiming. Skew/tilt can then be set for those who need this adjustment. The Align-A-Site sighting unit with the dish mount can be purchased as a package for $169.95.
In order to lock in the signal to the receiver, you’ll need a span of clearance of 3 degrees for one satellite, which is easily accommodated by the sighting device’s 5-degree field of view. To find a clear path for two or three LNB dishes, you simply use the compass to look 4.5 or 9 degrees left and right, respectively, to make sure the span of clearance is OK.
The Align-A-Site is well-built, accurate and easy to use. It puts the kibosh on Murphy’s Law when being assigned to sites that are too often shrouded by obstructions.
For more information, call 877-504-3473 or go to www.alignasite.com.