Can you use a larger dish with a DIRECTV LNB?

Every so often, we get a legitimate request from someone in the continental US who wants to use a larger dish. For many years, we sold dishes that were 39 inches (1 meter) from edge to edge and that’s more than twice the size of a regular 18″ dish. We don’t sell them anymore because of low demand.

How it worked

When used with a single-satellite LNB like this one, this dish would give you the ability to pull in those satellite signals a little more easily. Unfortunately, this large dish isn’t designed to be used with multi-satellite LNBs like the Slimline series. It’s not just a matter of the LNB not fitting, but the dish itself isn’t designed to focus all those different satellite locations at the same time.

Why no one does this any more

First of all, practically every DIRECTV or DISH installation — at least the ones in homes and commercial buildings —is a multi-satellite dish. And that means you would need special reflectors, not garden-variety round ones.

In general, we don’t recommend using larger dishes within the continental US. Those dishes are best used for Alaska, Hawaii, and other places where it’s legal to use DIRECTV or DISH service. In the rest of the US satellite service area, you’ll get the best results by using the dish just as it comes to you. Proper installation is really the key there. A properly installed regular-sized dish will beat a poorly installed large dish anytime.

If you need more signal, we recommend the following steps:

  • Put the dish up higher to avoid obstructions.
  • Use an amplifier and polarity locker to make sure the signals going through the cable are as strong as possible.
  • Aim the dish precisely. Even a misalignment of 1/32″ can mean that the dish is pointing at a location thousands of miles off course.
  • Check the condition of all cables to make sure that there is no corrosion on the connectors.
  • Make sure the dish is properly grounded. An excess of static electricity can actually affect the dish’s reception.

These five steps are usually all that’s required to get clear reception in almost every part of the country, in all but the worst weather conditions.

Get what you need from Solid Signal

In order to properly install and align a satellite dish, you’ll need the right tools. You can find the same tools that installers use when you shop the great selection at SolidSignal.com. That’s the promise: you can have your satellite installation, your way. We’ll give you everything to do it right, and we’ll let you know when there’s no point in spending money. That’s sort of the point of this article. You see, it does make a lot of sense to use a larger dish, but the benefits just aren’t there as long as you’re in the US service area. The satellite signal is strong enough there to allow you to use the regular sized dish. Plain, and simple.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.