Some Installation Q & A

Echostar Knowledge Base
The Dish Network User's Resource

I just ordered the Dish500 upgrade with SW64 and one extra dual LNBF for the 61.5 satellite. Do all the dual LNBF ports actually need to be wired for this to work ? I only have a single receiver and would like to avoid running a second cable on the 61.5 dish (it is mounted away from the house), if possible.(Martin Kosina)

Because of the way the SW64 sets up the LNBs*, if you did this, you would only be able to receive even or odd transponders from the 61.5W satellite. See: While that might be OK with you, your receivers might think that you have a switch or cable problem (which you do), and refuse to operate properly. Part of the setup procedure is a check switch routine, which will perform 18 to 34 tests, to determine what you have hooked up, and how it's connected. As I recall, the check switch routine on some Dish receivers only checks even (odd?) transponders at 61.5W. Depending on which way you have the SW64 connected, the receiver might think all was well, and the other way it might think that your 61.5W signal was not present at all.
*If you'd like to know more about why this is, see: What are switches, and why do I need them?.

I had a dual LNB single dish system that ran through a multiswitch that allowed me to operate up to four receivers (I have three), each with a single RG6 run. The multiswitch had the input from each side of the dual LNB as well as an input for my local antenna. Output was a single RG6 line to each receiver with a diplexer at the receiver end of these runs to separate the local antenna signal and the satellite signal.

I have now upgraded to DISH 500. The kit came with the two switches (SW21s). I have installed them as instructed, and everything works fine. However, I thought that I could come from the outputs of those two SW21s to that previously used multiswitch, going to its LNB inputs, and I would achieve what I had previously, allowing me to run the satellite and local antenna through a single cable to each receiver (separating with a diplexer).

That does not seem to work. What do you do to make this work? I've searched the web sites for a diagram or instructions that would allow such an installation, but I found none.

You probably can't make this work. Dish's switches cannot be cascaded (except under rare circumstances) with other multiswitches. I've heard of a few special circumstances where this has worked, but at this time I have no data on the setup. You really need an SW44, SW64, or replace the LNBs with a Quad. See What are switches, and why do I need them?

Questions like this come up frequently in the newsgroups and forums, and you might find someone there who can tell you what you'd need. See: Other EchoStar Information Sources. Chances are, it would cost more than the $50 Dish charges for an SW64 when ordered at the same time as the Dish 500 upgrade. See What is the Dish 500 Upgrade Offer?. Dish usually notices when you have three or more receivers, and recommends it. Perhaps you could talk them into a trade up for your SW21s.

I have a run of 200' to my dish-player dish. Signal strength is @65-70%, is there a signal amplifier that's available for this situation?

Yes, Check with for all kinds of goodies like this, good folks, good prices, fast shipping. But if weather is bad where you are, this could account for some signal loss, and problems won't occur til you drop below about 40 points. So an amplifier may not be necessary if you get higher signals on a clear day.

I have a friend who wants to hook up Dish to 6 TV sets, and be able to tune different channels on each. I know he will have to buy 6 of the $99 receivers, but what about Dishes? I guess the SW64 will service 4 receivers (with Dish 500) and then will I need another Dish 500 with dual SW21s (or SW44) to service the last two receivers? Is there anyway to service 6 receivers with 1 Dish500?

Yes and no. Several folks use multiswitches from other manufacturers to deal with this, and if you ask this question at the alt.dbs.echostar newsgroup (See Other EchoStar Information Sources), you might get an answer from one of them. Installations of this type can be notoriously troublesome, so personally, I would go with two (or three) dishes.

04/06/00 Dish Network has come up with a new solution for this type of installation. It uses special splitters and load isolators that allow you to hook up two SW64 switches to feed a total of eight receivers (as far as I know there is still a six receiver limit on Dish Network's billing system).

I am wondering since the SW64 switch has a power inserter whether or not that allows for longer cable runs than for a SW21 or SW42? One of my receivers has a 100' run from LNB to the SW42 switch and then another 100' run from switch to receiver. I was unable to acquire any kind of signal on that one. Hence my question as to whether or not the SW64 would support such a setup with the power inserter technology involved.

The answer is yes, being a powered switch, the SW64 gives the installer more freedom to use longer cables both to and from the SW64. For best results install the power inserter as close as possible to the SW64, and be sure to use high quality RG-6 everywhere, but especially on the line between the power inserter and the SW64.

I am planning on burying RG-6 Quad cable from my Dish 500 to the SW64 over 100' and I'm dealing with hard, rocky soil. Is there an optimal method to bury the cable, perhaps using specialized rental equipment, or am I left only with the sweaty shovel? How deep should the cable be buried?

You can rent a trencher (or Ditch Witch) at many equipment rental places. There's no guidelines for how deep the trench should be. I've seen posts from folks that bury them 12 inches deep, but I have mine at about 4 inches (no trencher). Some folks have even buried PVC pipe to run the cables through to simplify replacement. Also, be careful that you don't dig through a sprinkler, cable, electric-power, water or gas pipe when you do this! Whatever method you use to bury the cable, make sure it has what's usually called a “non-contaminating jacket”, which allows for direct burial. See for some tips.