For decades — ever since we began delivering programming via satellite – we have been dealing with loss of signal due to sun outages. These outages occur within a few days of the both the spring and fall equinox, when the sun lines up almost perfectly behind the desired satellite as viewed from the earth station.
Think of it this way; your antenna is looking at a relatively small satellite in orbit at 22,000 miles in space. Meanwhile, the sun and all its hulky mass is overshadowing the satellite — just long enough to cause problems in the form of signal loss.
How Long Can I Expect Signal Loss to Affect My Transmission?
If you are using a large well-aimed dish that is in good condition, your actual LOS (Loss Of Signal) may only be a minute or two at the worst, and only for a couple of days.
On the other hand, if you have low EB’s and AG’s due to a marginally sized dish, or a dish that is not properly aligned or is damaged, you may lose several minutes per day for several days. Different networks will have somewhat different outage times due to their relative downlink power levels.
The most likely scenario for your transmission…during the outage period, you will have a couple days of increasing blips and stutters for a few minutes, followed by a couple of days of total outage for a few minutes, followed by a couple more days of decreasing blips and stutters for a few minutes.
However, please note: if your signal is down for over 15 minutes or outside the times published as sun fade moments, you need to go into troubleshooting mode; you are having issues not related to the sun.
What Can LinkUp’s Satellite Users Expect?
The Spring 2021 sun outage “season” begins around March 1st . Northern states will start experiencing outages almost immediately, while the lower US latitudes (southern states) will begin to see effects to their signal around March 5th.
Expected duration? Between 3 to 5 days.
Calculating Your Sun Outages
There are a number of configurable sun outage calculators on the web where you can more accurately predict dates and times, including:
Cromack’s Sat-Sun calculator and Satellite Calculations, which also includes a cool sun outage visualization generator that will produce a graphic time lapse visualization of the path and extent of the minute-by- minute outage path.