Tailgating - Newbie Needs Help


Active SatelliteGuys Member
Original poster
Oct 17, 2006
Atlanta, GA

In the market for my first satellite setup, intend to use only for tailgating as a trial run. Hoping to sign-up for a basic package w/ ESPN and locals to watch games. Any suggestions on provider, hardware, costs, setup, etc.? Where and with whom should I sign-up, bearing in mind I don't really need home installation?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Ah, that is interesting. First you'll need to tell us the city where you're planning on getting the service. Because that will determine what satellits you need for locals and other channels.

One option would be to actually just sign up like a normal run of the mill customer. When the installer comes out, just tell him where you want it set up: THE BACK OF YOUR PICKUP TRUCK (or other vehicle)! :D Get things ready for him:

A long power cord with a power strip at the end ran out to your truck. A small TV out by your truck. Also, the installer will NOT have any temporariy D500 mounts most likely. Here's a link with a few nonpenetrating mounting options: http://www.solidsignal.com/cat_display.asp?main_cat=05&CAT=Mounting Supplies

The just ask him to teach you how to peak it in, and how the cables need to be connected. He should be more than happy to do so seeing as you are saving him tons of work (no running cable, no drilling, to mounting, no ladders...).
Appreciate the response!

Live in Atlanta, GA, but will be tailgating in Athens. Planning on using a tripod mount (suggestions?), or something similar. Will be next to my SUV, open to any ideas.

If I signup via a website, as a regular customer, when I discontinue the service in December I'm presuming I'll need to return the hardware?

Curious what power options folks are using, too. Cheaper the better ;)
We use a dish on a tripod to take with us in our RV along with two of our receivers from home. I have tried with a Dish 300 and a 500 and the 300 it alot easier to aim. You can pick up one of the single lnb RCA dishs pretty cheap, works good for portable. If you buy the stuff outright, no commitment from dish and no disconnect penalties. A 400 watt power inverter works with a 311 and a 18 LCD TV. If you can get what stations you need off one bird, 119, then go with a 300, it's much easier to set up. You can pick up a nice little tripod at camping world for about $38.00

Dish 300, 311 receiver and tripod for under $200 bucks, then you won't have a sign a commitment with dish and can cancel anytime without penalty.
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This sounds like the way we want to go -

Stupid question... aside from buying on eBay, do retailers carry the Dish 300 and 311 receiver? Already have my tripod, would love to have everything for this weekend.

Any suggestions how to pull that off?
Sears use to carry all types of receivers and the 311, Radio shack carries the 311 for $99

When I need a dish, I just go to a local dealer, you can ask for a single lnb rca dish, some times the will have a used one laying around. Make sure you have a compass. Also I have found that the elevations always is higher than what you get on the zip code checker. Be sure to do a check switch with the receiver once hooked up and again after the signal. Did you check what stations you wanted to get for what Sat or Sats you will need to hit ? I can get a dual lnb dish 500 for $70 so if it's more than that, better try ebay, but shipping will be qat least $20 to get it to ya.
With regard to the stations, just want ESPN and the local networks for national games. How do I check the sats against the stations I want?

What's the real difference b/w a single LNB RCA dish and a dual LNB?

Been a big time help, thanks!!
Also, don't forget a level. It is important to have the mast as level as you can get it. I agree with the poster above. Set the elevation about 2 degrees higher than you get from the point dish screen. I was at the UT/UGA game 2 weeks ago and had a great set-up. with a Dish 500 and a 322 running 2 TVs off my truck with an inverter.
Looks like you will need a dish 500 then. Here is the easiest way for me to line it up. Start off by setting the elavation, what the zip code aligner says, add a couple of degrees, then leave the dish at normal skew, 90 degrees I think, take tin foil and cover up the 110 LNB, it's marked on the dish, also mark your coax for which one goes to what lnb. Take the 119 feed to the reicever and do a check switch then start the alignment process. Level means alot. Once you get the 119 signal, then turn/adjust the skew to the proper setting and you should get 110, or be real close to just peak. Do this from home once and mark the dish elevation and skew with a marker and as long as you are close to the area, it will not be real bad on setup. The dish pro's have a lag time, so move the dish slightly, wait 3 seconds and move a little more. about a degree at a time.

I actually have 2 hdtv's in the RV, I know, camping is rough, but I hit 119 and 129 for the HD stuff instead of 110. The kids love Monsters HD and Kungfu. So it was great for bed time and rain. With all the trees at campsites it was a pain so I went back to the Dish 300 and just hit 119.

The camping world tripods have a bubble level and compass, but any level will work, just make sure the mast is level as posted above, that is very important.
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I have never had the convenience of the receiver and TV right by the dish, but I still would suggest you get one of the $20 satellite meters.
Goes between the LNB and the receiver.
Makes aiming in real time a cinch.
You guys have been a huge help! Great forum.

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Looking to buy my receiver today, definitely going with the Dish 500 for a single TV. What receivers are compatible with the setup (other than the 311) and where else can I shop, aside from Radio Shack and possibly sears?
Almost any receiver will work for this situation, but I'd stick with the 311. It will work perfectly for you (assuming that you are only going to run 1 TV - if you want to run two you would need two 311s or 1 322). When you have more questions let us know. And good luck!
The Dish/Echostar web site has PDF copies of manuals, with install and alignment instructions.
A quick look suggests similar documents can be found on the SolidSignal site as well.

I've done a few self-installs, and helped friends who live out in the country.
After several test-runs, most anyone can install and align a Dish-500 quite accurately, especially with a cheap meter.

But just to be clear, you start out with a perfectly plumb pole.
Then, dial in the proper skew , and leave it alone during the install.
I then set the elevation and snug up the mounting hardware.
Set the proper azimuth with a compass, and allow for local magnetic variations.
By swinging the dish slowly left and right a few degrees, you should be able to locate your bird.
Once you do, try adjusting the elevation a bit to increase signal.

Practice three or four times at home 'till you're good at it, and you'll never doubt yourself when in the field.

You can use any one of the various web sites which give calculations .
Or, there is a Java application around that does a great job (Satellite Finder by P. Lutus)

As for receiver, the venerable 301 is equal to the 311, if you see one on close-out somewhere.
Difference is the 301 has a removable smart card, and the 311 has it mounted internal.
Both are fairly small, thin, and decently rugged, as well as cheap.

I can personally recommend DishStore and Sadoun (vendor links at top of this page).
Bought from both, and been very well pleased with both.
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Perfect!! That will work just fine for you. The *only* thing I would be hesitant about is if there is (well guess it's *was* since that auction is over) if there's any balance due on the receiver or if it's a leased unit.
Dish-500 antenna

That is the right stuff.
However, shipping will bite you in the butt.
If that one slips past, here's a good deal from one of our advertizers.

If you've got a bit of time to shop locally, I've given neighbors (and strangers) $20 for theirs.
(actually, they were free, but I gave 'em $10 or $20 in cash or presents)
Lots of houses will have an old unit still up after discontinuing service.

There is also The Recycler, a free local weekly magazing , in some places.
I suppose you could look in there for sellers in your area, or advertize that you'd like one and would be willing to take it down.

Lots of choices, if you aren't in a big hurry.

edit: woops, didn't notice the auction included a 301. That was a good deal.
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