The program "Satellite Antenna Alignment" is used to calculate the
angles necessary for installing satellite dishes. The main difference
from similar software is the possibility to calculate the position for
all satellites at once. Thus, you get a clear picture about what
satellites can be physically visible from the location where the dish
will be installed. It should be kept in mind that the program makes a
purely theoretical calculation according to formulas and in real
circumstances a lot of additional factors should be taken into account
when a satellite dish is installed. These factors include various
obstacles (buildings, trees), the landscape, the altitude, transponder
orientation, polarization, etc. Nevertheless, this program will allow
you to evaluate the position quite precisely. The calculation can be
saved to a text file, copied to the Windows clipboard or printed out
at once. It is possible to save the list of locations for which the
calculation is done. Later on, you will not have to enter the
coordinates of these locations again. Just select them from the table.
The high latitude is specified with the "N" char, the low latitude
is specified with the the "S" char. Similarly, the eastern longitude
is with the "E" char, while the western longitude is with the "W"
char. After all the coordinates are entered, you will see the
calculation for all satellites at once in the table to the left. Their
azimuth and elevation are calculated. Azimuth is the direction to the
satellite in degrees from the clockwise direction to the north.
Elevation is an angle (measured in degrees) between the direction of
the signal from the satellite and a tangential plane to the Earth
surface in the location. If the elevation is negative, the satellite
is below the horizon and it is impossible to receive signals from it
in principle. Thus, the satellites whose elevation is a positive value
are theoretically visible from your location. If you know the azimuth,
you can quickly find the direction to the satellite and see what
obstacles (neighboring houses, trees) there are in the way of the
signal from the satellite to your dish.
As it was mentioned above, the program uses absolute values and
calculates everything according to formulas. Thus, the calculated
azimuth is an angle from the true north and not from what your compass
may show because a compass is a really unstable thing, especially in a
city. It is better to orient it by the sun )
Additionally, the program has a mechanism for calculating the
azimuth of the sun and you can do everything without a compass now!
The azimuth is calculated for the location the coordinates of which
you specified for calculating the azimuths of satellites. You can
specify the date (the current date is taken by default) and calculate
how the sun moves with a one minute discontinuity. The calculation
results are displayed in the table to the left. Both the azimuth and
the elevation are calculated for the sun for the current moment of
time. Thus, you can install the satellite dish without a compass at
all. First, find the azimuth of the satellite you need. Then calculate
the azimuth of the sun for the day on which you are going to install
the dish. Find the azimuth of the sun that is most close to the
azimuth to the satellite and you will see the time (and date) when the
sun will be in the same direction where the satellite is. Turn the
dish to the sun at the specified moment of time, the azimuth of the
sun coincides with the azimuth of the satellite at this moment. Or
just note this direction and install the dish later. Remember to
specify your time zone for calculation (Moscow: +3 GMT). The program
also calculates the azimuths of the sunrise and sunset, as well as the
time and elevation when the sun is exactly in the south.
The program draws a simple diagram representing the four directions.
The yellow sector is daytime, its eastern part is sunrise and its
western part is sunset. The same diagram can be used to schematically
represent the direction to the satellite you need. Select the
satellite from the drop-down list and the red line will show the
direction to it (azimuth). If the elevation is negative, no red line
is drawn (the satellite is not visible).
Offset satellite dishes are widely spread now. When such a dish is
completely vertical, it already has some elevation (~20-25 degrees).
You can enter the size of your offset dish (height and width) and the
program will calculate the exact elevation for this dish. The
calculation is done only for dishes whose height is greater than
width. Enter the size of the dish in millimeters. Here you will see
the elevation to the selected satellite and the angle you should
actually install you dish at (in degrees from the Earth surface).