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In order to receive good signal quality from the Satellites aligning the Dish Antenna in the right direction is very important.
But not many know that we could actually calculate the direction at which the Dish has to be mounted using a trigonometric formula. These values are called as the Azimuth angle and the Elevation angle. Now lets see what these angle mean.

Azimuth Angle:
Azimuth refers to the rotation of the whole antenna around a vertical axis. It is the side to side angle. Azimuth is the turning of your satellite dish East and West or Left & Right.  This is the same as your compass reading.  Make sure when you look on your compass for the proper degree, that your compass is away from your satellite dish, because metal can affect the reading on your compass. Typically you loosen the main mount bracket and swing the whole dish all the way around in a 360° degree circle.

Elevation Angle:
Elevation refers to the angle between the dish pointing direction, directly towards the satellite, and the local horizontal plane. It is the up-down angle. Elevation is how high up the signal is coming from. You can usually measure your elevation based on the degree markings on the back bracket of your satellite dish antenna. Make sure you don't tighten the bolts too much to leave room for play in case you need to fine tune your antenna with your signal meter. Once you fine tune to the highest possible signal, you can tighten the elevation bolts.  When your dish is pointed at low elevation angles, below 5 deg at C band and 10 deg at Ku band, the path through the atmosphere is longer and the signals are degraded by rain attenuation and rain thermal noise. Scintillation also occurs, particularly in hot humid weather. This causes increases and decreases in the signal level frequently.

Now the formula:
Elevation = ATAN((COS(ACOS(L * COS(S-N))) - 0.1512) / SIN(ACOS(COS(L) * COS(S-N))))
Azimuth = ACOS(-TAN(L)/(TAN(ACOS(COS(L)*COS(S-N)))))
where,
L is the Latitude of your city in North
N is the Longitude of your city in  East
S is the Satellite's Longitude in East

For those who are not familiar with Trigonometry, go to the Tools Page to find a java script calculator to calculate the angles easily. 
7/17/2012 21:54:00

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Reply
4/1/2013 05:12:38

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Christopher Volpe
10/24/2013 16:09:26

I think there may be an error in the equations posted on this page. I cut-n-pasted them into matlab (changing the function names to lower case, and making sure inputs are in radians), but they do not produce the same results that are given by the interactive calculator on the tools page, and neither matches the online calculator at dishpointer.com. (The tools page calculator appears to ignore the minus sign used when specifying a location in the southern hemisphere.) I found other equations that are similar, but different, at http://technologyinterface.nmsu.edu/3_2/3_2e.html. Those don't produce correct results either, but they come close and I was able to get correct results by changing the azimuth calc from pi + atan() to pi - atan().

Reply
Ray
12/25/2013 02:03:12

For the azimuth calculations, depending on whether the site location or satellite locationa is further East you need to use either 180 minus atan or 180 plus atan.

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Shaibu Muhammed Asuvuri
5/3/2014 02:35:57

http://techupdates4u.weebly.com/6/post/2012/03/azimuth-angle-and-elevation-angle-calculation-for-satellites.html

Reply
Pouyan
5/31/2016 10:32:42

L chang to ACOS(L) in first line
Elevation = ATAN((COS(ACOS(ACOS(L) * COS(S-N))) - 0.1512) / SIN(ACOS(COS(L) * COS(S-N))))
Azimuth = ACOS(-TAN(L)/(TAN(ACOS(COS(L)*COS(S-N)))))

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