Deadline to realign AFN satellite dishes approaches

by George A. Smith
AFN Europe Public Affairs

Forty-thousand people have viewed AFN Europe’s online manuals, videos and hints to realign their satellite dish and reconfigure their decoder. Another 1,500 have called AFN’s help desk. But if you get AFN TV via a direct-to-home household satellite dish and decoder and still haven’t switched, you need to now. 

“We know this change will inconvenience folks,” said AFN Europe Commander Bill Bigelow, “but people need to lock in the new satellite now to July 31 to continue getting AFN TV.”

The biggest reported blip has been for viewers in Germany and Italy who want to get both AFN and host nation TV shows. The AFN help desk has been advising viewers in Germany who want to get both AFN and German TV to use a 100-120 centimeter dish with a special adapter with two individual Low-Noise-Blocks (LNBs), with one LNB pointed at the Eurobird 9a (EB9a) satellite and the second pointed at the Astra satellite. An LNB is the amplifier in front of the reflecting part of the dish, which is usually held in place by one-three metal bars or braces. A second recommended solution is to have two separate dishes with one pointed at Eurobird and the second at Astra. The bigger the dish, the less often you will lose signal during heavy rain or snow.

For people in Italy who want to continue to get AFN TV and SKY, a possible solution is to use one of the different types of commercially available clip-on satellite devices that do not require you to physically move your dish. You still need to access the dish and clip a device on it, then reconfigure your decoder.

Some other viewers around Europe have reported problems locking in a signal from the new satellite with their older model LNB, which in some cases needs to be replaced with a newer model readily available at many exchanges and host nation electronic stores.

Direct-to-home viewers in Europe must reconfigure their home decoder and lock in a signal from Eurobird 9A (EB9A) at 9 degrees east, instead of from the current AFN satellite, Hotbird 6/9 at 13 degrees east. 

Since setting up a dish and adjusting a decoder varies according to decoder model and other variables, use the manuals and how-to videos in English, German and Italian at or contact the AFN help desk if you still have unresolved issues. 

The AFN help desk is manned from 1 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (Central European Time). Viewers from Germany, Italy, Belgium, the U.K. and most other European countries can call in via a toll-free number, 00800-2362683662 (00800-afnantenna).