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Getting better satellite reception

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I have 2 adjoining gites each with a satellite dish getting free UK channels. Although both dishes are identical 80 cm models and they are both on the same mast, it is extremely difficult (impossible) to get the same quality of signal on both. Also, both suffer from loss of quality in wind or rain. I suspect this is because of poplar trees in line with the signal path.

I know you can use one dish and split the signal to two decoders, but does anyone know if it is possible to use the same components to combine the signals from two dishes and then split them to the two receivers? Would this effectively increase the dish area and/or make a better average signal quality available to both receivers?

By the way I have started to use the receivers you can buy in the shops here (Mr.Bricolage, Leroy Merlin) and they are cheaper, come with dish and LNB (always useful as spares) and easy to set up. The loss of programme information that you get on Sky is the only drawback.

Hope someone can advise
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In theory, yes. That is what the big recieving stations do. By having lots of dishes covering a mile square, you can get the same effect as having a mile wide dish. However, you can not just join the two dishes together, the signals need to be mixed together with a mixer (odd that). Now whether it is pssible to buy an Raio frequency mixer or not is where by knowledge ends.

John (99 usually, but 73 sometimes and always in my dreams)
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It sounds very much like you need to find a more suitable location for your dishes. There is no value in combining and then splitting signals as there are 'losses' at every stage which then require amplification to compensate. An 80cm dish should cover any part of France to feed at least 1 receiver.

As a suggestion:
1. Find the rough elevation of your dish for the area you live in from one of the suggested sources in the LF archives - plenty info there.
2. Cut a bit of card to the correct angle (say 30 degrees) and stick it on the end of a small spirit level.
3. Keep the spirit level 'Level' and use it as a sightfinder by looking up the slope of the card for clear sky. Try this from your present dish locations and others if necessary.

This is simple and effective way to prove once and for all if it is indeed the trees that are in the way and are causing the problem. P.S. from a practical point of view, this is not quite so easy when you are up a ladder.

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Doing this is in principle possible, but you wouldn't want your gites looking like this! http://www.vla.nrao.edu/

However one problem with TV satellite dishes is that they a signal is sent up *from* the decoder box to the LNB which then modifies the signal with the output of the satellite. Different channels require different signals to be sent depending on frequency and polarization. As far as I am aware, this means that you cannot combine the signals easily as the different signals can interfere.

IMHO the best bet is to go for a single slightly larger dish and a dual-headed LNB (two separate outputs from one LNB). An 85 cm dish gives 12% more output than an 80cm, a 90cm 27% more.
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