Troubleshooting Dish Network Satellite Problems

Though their ranking has slipped in the past few years, most customers are happy with their Dish Network service according to survey results posted by The American Customer Satisfaction Index. Nonetheless, problems sometimes occur. There are common sense steps you can take to quickly resolve many problems on your own, thus avoiding a call to the Dish Network customer support line.

Read the Message

If there is a message on your television screen, read it carefully and make note of any reference numbers or error codes. You'll need that information should you end up contacting Dish Network support, and it may give you a clue as to where to start your evaluation.

If you have the printed User Guide for your receiver, go to the "Reference" section and look for any noted error code or message number. There you will find information and suggested action to take related to each specific code. You can also go online to view the appropriate "Receiver User Guide."

Basic Troubleshooting

Often problems can be traced to the inadvertent push of a button on the remote, sometimes cat related. Be sure that the remote is set to control the receiver (SAT) and that the TV is on the correct channel. That will be channel 3 or 4 when using remote #1, channel 60 or 73 when using remote #2. While working with the remote take a moment to confirm that the batteries are good and properly inserted.

Next try resetting the receiver. This is best done by holding down the "Power" button on the front of the receiver for at least 10 seconds. Alternately, remove and reinsert the "Smart Card", usually located inside a small door on the front of the receiver. This action is sort of like rebooting your PC when it starts to misbehave for some unknown reason.

Confirm that the phone line that connects to your Dish receiver is firmly in place and is functional. To test for functionality, temporarily disconnect the line from the receiver and connect it to a phone. You should hear a clear dial tone when you lift the phone's handset. Be sure to reconnect the phone line to the Dish receiver if all is well. Otherwise figure out why there is no dial tone on that line.

Finally, step outside and confirm that nothing has happened to the satellite dish itself. This is not common, but falling debris or kids climbing on the roof have been known to reposition a satellite dish, thus dropping the signal. Be aware of branches above and in front of the dish that may have drooped due to snow or the like.

Stormy Weather

Sometimes, your dish will lose the satellite signal if the weather outside is particularly stormy, or there are lots of thick clouds. Often, you'll get an error message to the effect of "Searching for Satellite Signal." If this is the case, there's really nothing you can do except to wait for the clouds to pass.

Call for Help

If your best efforts fail, call (800) 333-3474. The support personnel at Dish Network have proven to be courteous and knowledgeable. Have as much information as possible at hand, including your account number, the receiver serial number and smart card number.