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View Full Version : Snow and Rain on a Satellite Dish



BarbadosSlim93
01-07-2009, 21:36
I am getting Dish Network at my house on Saturday as I absolutely detest Charter cable (my cable freezes and cuts out, and their prices are always jumping). With all the snow we have gotten up here in Michigan I am concerned about the snow accumulating on my dish and interfering with the signal. I have heard some people say that it isn't a big deal anymore because the dishes have gotten better, and some people say they spray PAM cooking spray on the dish to keep snow and water off.

Has anyone here had problems with snow on their dish? Anyone tried spraying anything on it to keep the snow from sticking? I know having a concern like this is bad after the fact and I am probably over blowing it, but I am paranoid about my tech stuff.

Skred
01-07-2009, 22:35
I can't relate to the snow amount you see because I live in KS but I've been a dishnetwork customer for many years and I have never had snow accumulation cause an outage.

The bigger issue for me has been outages caused by heavy cloud cover or rainstorms. Those outages more severely effect the HD signal and I can usually work around them by switching to a standard definition channel until the storm passes.

As far as snow accumulation goes, it won't necessarily cause problems. The best thing to do is have the dish mounted where you can reach it. That way, you can use a broom to remove the snow.:smiley20:

chicken
01-08-2009, 06:16
I have been on the fence about getting a dish for a few years. I absolutely hate Comcast more than Slim93 detests charter. I keep hearing stories about service going out in heavy rain and thunderstorms. I kind of like watching the tornado come towards my town before ducking into the basement.

Is it true? Before I sign a one year contract I want to find out if these rumors about snow, rain, clouds, and outages are true.

mocepts
01-08-2009, 06:49
I've never had a problem with snow, and I've seen the dish completely covered, but I will have problems in really bad thunderstorms.

JCAT
01-08-2009, 07:08
Most sat receivers will experience 'rain fade' from time to time, depending on how heavy the rain/cloud cover is. Rain must be pretty heavy to lose signal. I've been a customer of Direct TV for around 10 years and at one time used their internet service as well. I switched to DSL some time ago because of sat lag time.

Like many, I dislike the major cable companies and refuse to ever switch back.

On the civilian side, I can't speak about snow because I live in a mostly non-snow area. Note ( a heavy frost usually results in school closing)

A heavy frost does not affect my receiving downstream video/audio as long as the horn is clear.

hope this helps

Skred
01-08-2009, 09:09
I have been on the fence about getting a dish for a few years. I absolutely hate Comcast more than Slim93 detests charter. I keep hearing stories about service going out in heavy rain and thunderstorms. I kind of like watching the tornado come towards my town before ducking into the basement.

Is it true? Before I sign a one year contract I want to find out if these rumors about snow, rain, clouds, and outages are true.

It is a fact that satellite dishes are subject to weather related issues but it has never been a major source of concern. I experience maybe 1 or 2 outages a year and, as JCAT stated, only in extreme weather conditions.

IMO, satellite is far superior to cable, especially the HD quality. I think you will be pleased if you make the jump from cable to sat.

georoc01
01-08-2009, 09:10
I find rain and wind effect the dish more than snow. Never had a problem with snow accumulating in the dish.

CFDAlden
01-08-2009, 23:31
I've had issues, in the past. 10 or so years ago, we had Primestar, and if the dish had any ice on the face of it, the signal would fade.

We've had Dish Network for the past 5 years, and never had an issue with snow or ice. Electrical storms are another issue entirely.

Desert_Diver
01-09-2009, 00:16
I have DirecTV and I do live in an area with regular snow events.

I have lost my signal once in the 3 or 4 years I have been on the satellite signal. My dish points roughly south and most of our snow storms come out of the north. We had sort of a freak storm that came from the south. It was a wet heavy snow and did accumulate on the dish. I lost the signal.

The dish is close the edge of the roof. I put a ladder up, and took a hair dryier up the ladder with me. An extension cord is required. Run the hair dryer for a few minutes and the dish is snow free. In a major storm, you might have to do this more than once.

Art

chicken
01-09-2009, 05:47
My concern is not so much snow, as the Atlanta area gets very little. We do however get some good rolling thunder storms and the occasional tornado. I just want to be able to watch the weather hottie telling me how much longer I have to stare at her before my house is demolished by the funnel cloud.

The cable stays online for the most part throughout the storm, but I have heard during severe weather the dish may fade or go out all together. Maybe it is just the propaganda from Comcast or is there some truth to it?

Lone Frogman
01-09-2009, 06:05
Hard rain will knock out my signal(Direct TV). But I have a antenna for the local channels. What I like about satellite is I can carry it with me on RV trips.

JCAT
01-09-2009, 07:09
My concern is not so much snow, as the Atlanta area gets very little. We do however get some good rolling thunder storms and the occasional tornado. I just want to be able to watch the weather hottie telling me how much longer I have to stare at her before my house is demolished by the funnel cloud.

The cable stays online for the most part throughout the storm, but I have heard during severe weather the dish may fade or go out all together. Maybe it is just the propaganda from Comcast or is there some truth to it?

Sure, as I said, if the rain is heavy enough you'll lose signal. But, given the nature of thunderstorms in our area (I live right up I85) it never lasts more than 15-20 min, maybe twice a year. Unlike cable companies, who you call if there is a problem, once the storm moves away, your signal by sat is re-acquired automatically.

Consumer offerings from Dish and Direct have improved greatly since the early 1990s. Primestar, who I think Hughs eventually bought out, was using medium power and hence the need for large footprint dishes.

Both cable and Sats have their good points and bad.

fire diver
01-09-2009, 07:18
I have had DISH for a couple years now and LOVE it.

One thing to keep in mind, you local "cable" provider get's thier signal from the sats too. So the electrical storms and heavy rains affect them just as much!

gNats
01-09-2009, 07:27
Official Hijak:

Hey Fire Diver!

How were your holidays? Are you still state side?

Be well,
gNats

deepstop
01-09-2009, 09:22
I have had DISH for a couple years now and LOVE it.

One thing to keep in mind, you local "cable" provider get's thier signal from the sats too. So the electrical storms and heavy rains affect them just as much!

I think cable providers use lower frequencies (thus the large dishes) which are less susceptible to attenuation due to water in the signal path. I have a normal sized dish here in the snow belt north of Toronto and have never had the signal go out due to snow in the 7 years I've had my dish. I have had brief outages due to thunderstorms.

Vercingetorix
01-09-2009, 09:26
I had DISH for a few years. No snow here in Dallas. Thunderstorms and heavy cloud cover...yeah, that kills signal.

Have gone to Verizon FIOS for internet and television. Swe-e-e-e-e-et

thor
01-09-2009, 12:32
I used to have DirectTV and loved it. Don't remember any weather related problems, and it snowed quite a bit. Now I live in an area where I can't get a clear line of site to the satellite, and I am really bummed. I called three different people out, and they all agreed that I couldn't get satellite. I highly recommend it. Dont' be concerned about weather issues. The cable had more problems due to weather.

MSilvia
01-09-2009, 14:04
I've got several inches of snow on my DirectTV dish right now, and it isn't causing any trouble.

Jiblets
01-10-2009, 03:16
Up here in Canada, the wet sticky snow will occasionally accumulate on the dish and/or lnb and this can lower the signal quality considerably. This only happens to me a couple of times a season.

Just get them to mount the dish within a broom's reach of a window (make sure you the open window doesn't get in your way) If that's not possible, the snow will usually slide off on it's own, either when enough snow has accumulated, or when the sun comes out. You can also get a satellite dish cover, but I've never seen one in use so I can comment of how well they work.

As far as rain fade goes, I've never had it last more than a minute. And that's usually when it's intense rain/thunderstorm so you wouldn't want your electronics on anyways. :)

Good luck

northfrisian
01-12-2009, 15:23
The secret to a good dish experience is a good install. I've been around Satellite Dishes since Primestar and I can tell you most Dish problems are due to bad installs. Old wire, bad connections and bad mounting of the dish will cause more outages than weather ever will. The satellite industry is full of fly-by-nighters. Unfortunatley the DISH Network installers in my area are worthless too. Like with everything in this world, you get what you pay for and the free install is in most cases worthless. I would recommend to find a local installer that knows what he's doing.

JCAT
01-12-2009, 15:38
Self Installation is the way to go for Ku band sat receivers. Some basic compass skills, (which divers have or should anyway!), basic mechanical skills for attaching and running cable, and the receiver.

The set-up software tools on the receiver will indicate when your hitting the bird by visual or tone. If your doing by yourself, call your land line from your cell and place by receiver while your on the roof. (saves time climbing up and down, as you hear tone from your cell) After you've experimented getting the best signal possible for conditions, lock it down and your done.

Byte Me
01-12-2009, 16:11
Like the OP we live in a Charter monopoly area. It's rural enough that they are our ONLY choice for broadband so I have to deal with them but we've been Dish customers since we moved into the house almost 10 years ago. Dish ROCKS. Our first install I did myself and it was very successful. Occasional rain fade but not too bad. Have never in 10 years had an issue w/ snow accumulation causing a problem other than getting so much we were house bound and VERY THANKFUL we had the Dish!!

We've since upgraded to the triple LNB dish that was professionally installed on the roof pointing SW and then we've got another mounted in the yard on a pole - originally for VOOM network channels and now I think they use that Sat for locals in HD. I could be wrong.

As I said, Dish is awesome, their hardware, customer service and channel line up simply cannot be beat. We pay quite a bit for monthly service but get ALL of their channels which aren't foreign or adult. The list of HD channels they offer now is unmatched. My only, very minor, gripe is the HD version of channels isn't laid out as well in their guide as the SD channels.

A couple of friends have left dish recently to go to FIOS and a couple of those regret it.

The happiest day I'll have had in YEARS is when I get to call charter and tell them to stuff their broadband and sh!tty customer service! Who knows how long that will be though...

lund0485
01-13-2009, 10:32
canceled my cable too

cummings66
01-14-2009, 07:13
I have had DISH for a couple years now and LOVE it.

One thing to keep in mind, you local "cable" provider get's thier signal from the sats too. So the electrical storms and heavy rains affect them just as much!


Sort of. They get their signal using "large" dishes where Dish and Direct use a smaller dish. It's not uncommon to find them using 12 foot dishes for their signals, and several of them because they point to different sats. That's why you see cable lose one channel but not another, weather isn't 360 as far as sats are concerned. It can be heavier in one direction which is why it affects things differently.

As to rain, snow, ice and wind. Well, wind is a non issue if the dish is mounted correctly and there are no tree's around. If it can't move the dish it won't affect the signal, the reason is the signal is RF and not affected by wind. Moisture affects it, so rain, snow, and ice will cause problems. It takes a good rain to knock it out, and IME it takes a fair amount of snow to do the same thing. Ice, well, it's water and since it freezes to things it can easily knock out the reception if it freezes on the lnb. I've thawed it out by placing my hand on it to restore signal.

Now another kicker, Dish uses Eastern Arc now instead of the Western arc depending on your location. The Eastern Arc tends to be slightly lower in signal strength and the Western Arc so I'd expect those dishes to fade first, but the high def sat is slightly stronger so I'd expect it to last longer than in the past.

Yes, one of my jobs at work is installing these infernal contraptions. I repair electronics and install dishes, and have since the early C band days. I've seen good and bad. For the most part, I'd trade a better picture most of the time for poor quality spotty cable which goes off more than satellite does on a day to day basis. Satellite seems to be mostly weather related, cable just quits from time to time, even on good days. IMO it's a good trade.

cummings66
01-14-2009, 07:19
One other note, I saw somebody mention C band being a lower frequency, yes it is and in part it is one reason it's more immune to moisture. It's still affected but to knock it out takes a lot. Snow on the other hand will put sparkles in the picture in the blink of an eye. That's why you sometimes see little white or black specs in a cable picture, it's a uniform picture full of them, sometimes they obscure the picture and sometimes it's just a light smattering of them. Snow does that as well as poor alignment, sometimes the snow changes the shape of the dish that it no longer points in the proper direction.

fire diver
01-14-2009, 07:26
Well, my cable provider must have had some pretty crappy equipment becuase they suffered signal degridation / loss every time it rained hard or snowed. I have had far few outages or bad signal from my dish.

iowdivnut
01-27-2009, 20:23
I've been a directv customer for about 5 years. I generally only lose signal when rain is directly into the dish. During the last tropical storm we had I never lost signal. rain was coming from the back of the dish.

tc_rain
01-27-2009, 20:52
I have had Dish Network for several years now and have lost the signal due to snow once, maybe twice. I have lost it numerous times to heavy rain storms but then I just switch over and watch something that has been DVR'ed. Now the installer who installed a new antenna for HD about a year ago mentioned you could spray the dish with a non stick cooking spray to prevent the snow accumulation on the dish. I don't know if he was pulling my leg or not but it does sound feasible.