Signal Quality

“Please wait a moment.” Or "Acquiring satellite signal".

There are times when this is a good message. Watching TV is not one of them.

When your TV screen says this, it means the Shaw Direct receiver is not getting any information from the dish. It’s what we call signal loss.

Troubleshooting

Don’t lose patience

This doesn’t happen often or for long. Read on to learn about the causes of signal loss and what you can do to minimize it.

GreenHow can you tell you’ve lost the signal? First, look on the front of your Shaw Direct receiver. Do you see the satellite icon? If it’s green, that’s good. It means you’re getting a satellite signal from your dish.

RedIf it’s red, it means the receiver is not getting any information from the dish.

Checking signal strength

You can check the actual strength of the signal on your Options menu.

On the DSR 209, DSR 319, HDDSR 505 or HDPVR 530. Press OPTIONS, then Go to System Setup(6). Then click on System Settings (4). Installation Settings (3) and then Tune-in Satellite Signal (1).

On the Essential HD Receiver (600), Advanced HD Receiver (605) and Advanced HDPVR (630). Press OPTIONS, then Go to System Settings (4). Installation Settings (3) and then Tune-in Satellite Signal (1).

On legacy receivers. Press OPTIONS, then go to Change System Settings(6). Then click on Change Installation Settings (3) and then Tune-in Satellite Signal (1). You'll see a bar graph from 0 to 99 showing how strong the signal is.

In the box beside the graph is the number. You will notice it fluctuating four or five points either way. This is normal. It’s the result of atmospheric conditions.

What the numbers mean


More than 80 means you’re getting the strongest signal possible. It’s probably a clear, calm day.

Generally, signal strength will range between 70 and 90. This is normal. If you’re at the lower end of the range, moderate weather conditions like clouds, rain or snow may affect the signal. However, you should still see a clear picture.

Signal strength under 70? This means you are experiencing some signal interference. There may be a severe storm in the path to the satellite. While you may be able to continue watching TV, you could be prone to signal loss.

Very low numbers


May have come out of alignment.

A single-digit number often means there is a problem with the connection between the receiver and dish.

Even without any signal from the satellite, the dish will have a rating of about 20.

Storms brewing

Storms brewing

Satellite signals are not invincible. They can’t pass through solid objects. That’s why you can sometimes experience signal interference during inclement weather. Thick clouds, hail and snow can block the signals.

The storm doesn’t have to be outside your door to affect signals. Signals travel thousands of miles from satellites located high above the equator on a longitude equal to the middle of Saskatchewan.

A storm anywhere along the path can temporarily disrupt service.

Intermittent signals

Occasionally, you’ll lose signal when a storm is moving in, then get it back while it’s pouring on your house.

The reason? The path of the signal does not go straight up. It’s angled to the south. The signal path may miss the eye of the storm.

The good news is that weather interference is almost always short-lived.

Clear view of satellite

We set your dish to face south and slightly east or west, depending on which side of Saskatchewan you live on. It needs to have a clear view of the satellites for good signal reception.

So, if a high rise goes up just south of your house, you may lose your signal. Plant a tree? It can also do the same thing. We’ve even had people install their dish in winter and receive signals just fine. Then, in spring when the leaves come out, they lose the signal.

Either get out the axe or call our installers to have the dish re-positioned.

Snow on dish

The surface on your elliptical dish is designed to catch the signals and direct them to the goose neck-like part called the Low Noise Block or LNB. It amplifies them and sends them to the receiver.

If there is heavy snow or leaves or anything else on the dish, the signals won’t bounce up to be collected by the LNB. A light covering or very dry, flaky snow generally won’t cause a loss of signal. Wet, heavy or deep snow will.

The good thing is that your dish is installed so it shouldn’t collect a lot of snow. A good dump of wet snow could cause signal loss. If this happens, and the dish is easy and safe to access, simply take a broom and gently brush the snow away.

Sun interference

Twice a year, we experience temporary service outages because of the path of the sun. We call it sun transit. It’s when the sun passes directly behind our satellites and interferes with the signals.

These service outages are minor. The worst case is about 15 minutes a day for about 10 days. Often it only lasts three days. Sun transit can also interfere with transmission of various channels because other satellites, used to broadcast these signals, are also affected by sun transit.

The good news is that we know exactly when it will happen.

Learn More

Loss of position

The Shaw Direct dish is put on your home to stay. The specially-designed brackets are solid and are designed to keep the dish at the perfect angle to collect strong signals.

But the dish may be moved out of alignment. It could be caused by strong wind. Or even the settling of your home over time. Even three millimeters of movement can cause signal loss.

Often, before you lose the signal entirely, you’ll notice the signal coming and going. This is a good indication that the dish has lost its alignment.

Call us to have an installer re-align the dish.

Check the connections

If you don’t think it’s a weather or line-of-sight issue with the dish, it could be a problem with the connection between the dish and the receiver.

To test, unplug the receiver’s power cord from the wall, wait 30 seconds and plug the receiver back in. Anything happen? If not, try unplugging the co-ax cable that connects the receiver to the wall. Plug it in again. Are you getting a signal?

There could also be a problem at the dish. It’s possible the co-ax could have shorted out or become severed between the dish and the receiver. A Shaw Direct technician will have to find and repair this type of problem.