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Can I Use My Home Dish Receiver in my RV?

Getting entertainment on the road with your RV isn’t difficult, but it does depend on the company and equipment you subscribe to. RV owners who wish to hit the road with their home dish received might have to do some work to consistently get a good experience with their dish receiver.

We’ll walk you through some steps you’ll need to take to use your home dish receiver away from “Home”. You can decide whether or not it’s worth using the home dish while out and about.

Using your home dish receiver in your RV is a matter of how frequently you travel. Companies like DirectTV often require a specific address to deliver the right content to your TV, or to make it work at all. You’ll probably need to call them when you change location.

How do I use my home dish receiver on the road in my RV?

The answer depends in part on your service provider and how long you’ll be out and about. While not all RV owners want to receive local channels, you could be limited in the number of local channels, news, and sports you receive if you are over 200 miles from the address you provided the dish company.

Satellite dish companies assign your home receiver to an area, where it receives specific local channels within that home area. If you travel from Dallas, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana, you won’t be able to get news from Dallas anymore with the same dish setup.

Why is that? It’s actually not the satellite company, believe it or not. The government’s Federal Communications Commission decides how far a local channel can broadcast, as well as how many stations can be in an area. Part of this is to remove clutter from the airways. You wouldn’t want a station in Jacksonville, Florida. 

While your home dish can receive local channels, some use antennas and don’t pay for a TV service. These rules prevent people from tuning into non-local channels for free.

How do I make my RV dish work on the road?

There are a few ways to make your RV TV receiver work on the road.

Traveling infrequently? Call the dish company

Let’s assume you aren’t traveling all that frequently – maybe a couple of times per year. You only have one receiver and it won’t be useful in your main home while you are away. 

Bring that receiver with and hook it up to your RV instead, along with a satellite dish. Call the dish company and provide them with the address you’ll be staying near or at and they can change the location stations you’ll receive. 

This can be a bit time consuming, but worth it if you don’t want to get an extra receiver and want local channels. 

Traveling frequently and want to leave your home dish receiver at “Home”?

To make things easier and work well with FCC rules, dish companies to tend to offer an additional receiver (for a fee) that can be brought with on the road. The receiver doesn’t get local channels, but you can watch more than 180 channels – which doesn’t always include seasonal sports or pay per view channels, if you want that.

This way, you can leave your home dish receiver at home and not have to contact the company when you are out and about.

Traveling frequently and need to bring your receiver with?

Let’s say you want to save a few dollars and don’t need to leave your home dish receiver at home for anyone. You can bring the receiver with, but you will have to call the dish company to change. If you travel alot, this could result in learning how to get through the dish companies menu quickly.

Do I need an antenna?

Yes. You’ll need a separate antenna for your RV, just like you do your home. 

The antenna is a one time setup process. When you do go to your RV and you intend to bring your receiver, you’ll just have to plug that into your antenna and TV.

Consider getting an RV specific antenna with a bit more power. They cost more, but it’s worth it to have a better chance of getting a signal wherever you are. Also, get what are often free capps from your smartphone’s app store that indicate which way to rotate a directional antenna to get the best signal for a particular channel.

An omnidirecitonal antenna can be a better fit as it generally doesn’t need much if any rotation to get the best signal possible.

Distant Network Services

It’s possible to get local channels from a distance, if you want. Distant Network Services enable you to watch the local channels for bigger network areas like New York or Los Angeles, which might still provide some of the local and national news you want.

Distant Network Services does have a fee and also general requires you submit your registration and location with your dish company for filing with the FCC.

DNS might still not get local channels if you live in a smaller market, but if you prefer the flavor of local news, it’s still a good option.


There are a few ways to get dish TV service in your RV. The process depends largely on what you want and whether or not you want an extra receiver in the RV. You might have to go so far as to call the dish company when you travel outside of your home area, or you could get a receiver that excludes most local channels.

In many ways, the dish companies do try to make it easy to switch between home mode and on the road mode. FCC regulations try to consider which markets are local to customers, and that can prevent frequent travelers from seeing familiar faces and channels on their TV. 

Setup is usually one time unless you plan to move the receiver back and forth. Experience will teach you how!

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