I remember seeing information years ago (during the analog time era) that the dish needed to be aligned periodically as wind and ground settling could cause the aim to "drift". However with the move to digital, I don't think it's practical for us to aim our own dish as the signal strength indicator isn't reliable for use in aiming. I guess it has to be done professionally.
Several years ago, when I was a stake satellite equipment operator, a tech. support person from Church headquarters said aiming should be done by signal quality or signal, signal to noise ratio, Eb/No rather than signal strength. He said there is an nearby satellite with a much stronger signal, and if we aim our dishes by signal strength we will be pointing closer to that satellite and will get inferior signal quality. The situation may have changed, but the advice is likely still valid.
RussellHltn wrote:Encryption does put a little more stress on marginal setups.
In my experience, sun outages can last 10 minutes or so but then they are done. If your dish is the type that has the feedhorn right in the middle of the dish, then look at where the shadow of the feedhorn is on the dish. If it's right in the center, you've got a sun problem.
Keep in mind that most satellite channels are not in use 24/7. The are brought up "as needed" for a game, a news cast or whatever may be going on. Your one and only clue is that they are most likely to start/end right around the top or bottom of the hour.
Thanks for those great tips, especially using the geometry of the center-fed dish as a sun-dial to detect sun crossings.