One of the most common error messages that customers get from using DIRECTV receivers is the searching for satellite signal 771 messages that may come up on the screen.  While many users may easily panic because of this error, this message is usually an easy fix and can be done in a few short steps.  One thing that we recommend for anyone that is having trouble with finding a satellite signal is to first invest in a low cost Satellite Finder Meter For DIRECTV.  For a very low price, one can save tons of time and money worrying about if their satellite strength is the problem before they go into further troubleshooting.  For those who operate larger facilities or professional installers we suggest one of the higher end models such as a Professional Digital Satellite Finder Meter that offers many more advanced diagnostics than the cheaper models.

First let’s look at some of the main causes of this problem and then some solutions to these problems.

searching for satellite signal

Main causes

Cabling problem:  One of the most common problems is a cabling problem that is preventing the signal to go from your dish to your receiver.  While many customers fear that their receiver or satellite may be the problem it could be as simple as a faulty or loose coaxial cable to the system.  This problem can be easily fixed by keeping a few extra cables around or by checking to make sure all connectors are firmly in place.

Dish is not receiving a signal:  This is a very common problem during times of bad weather or other obstruction to an older dish that does not have a heating system.  How a satellite dish works is that the dish receives a signal from a satellite located above the Southwest region of the United States.  Any obstruction or blocking of this signal may cause a problem with the ability to view your television.  Heavy snowfall or any other type of obstruction can limit the signal to your dish.  One way to eliminate this problem is by installing a dish heater to your dish, this will make it nearly impossible for any snow or ice to accumulate on your slimline dish as the temperature will instantly melt the snow.

Receiver is not processing the signal correctly:  One other problem that may happen is that your DIRECTV receiver may be receiving a signal, but not processing this correctly.  Like any computer, a DIRECTV receiver can have a number of software problems that occur to stop programming.  In most cases these problems can be fixed with a simple reboot of the receiver.

Large storm:  While snowfall or obstructions may hurt users in a specific area, a large storm may affect all DIRECTV users if it blocks the sightline the main satellite.  Large thunderstorms, hurricanes and other natural storms can cause a block of signals for almost any user.

Dish alignment:  There are a number of variables that could affect the alignment of your dish pointing to the DIRECTV satellite.  If you have had professional DIRECTV installation done, this would rarely be an issue, but shifting may occur over time.


Locating the problem is the first thing you should do when trying to figure out the satellite signal 771 message.  Before calling customer service many of these problems can be fixed on your own.  Here are a few things that you should check before moving forward.

  1. Reset your receiver:  A huge majority of your problems can easily be fixed by unplugging your receiver for a minute or so and then plugging it back in.  Much like your home PC, a DIRECTV receiver will often fix itself after being rebooted.
  2. Check your cables:  Many times cables will be the problem with your receiver.  First check to make sure that all cables are tightened and plugged in to the proper spot, if this doesn’t work there could always be a problem with one of the wires for a variety of reasons.  Having a few extra coaxial cables around can be a big help and swapping a new cable for an old one might do the trick. If this doesn’t work it is time to look outside at your dish.
  3. Check your dish:  The last thing that one can do is check their dish.  In snowy or icy conditions are prevalent this may be your first step, but other times of the year it should be after you check your receiver and cabling first.   Besides snow on a satellite dish, there are a number of other variables that could affect your signal.  Any type of movement of your dish or obstruction can cause your dish to not receive a signal.  If you see any movement of your dish, this is probably the problem.
  4. Call customer service:  If your TV is still getting this error message after checking the first three steps it is now time to contact customer service for help.  If you are a current SeniorTV customer you can call our customer service line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-890-7770 to speak with a trained technician.  If you are just a DIRECTV customer you can call their service line at 1-800-DIRECTV.

Over the past 20 years, DIRECTV has worked on various technologies to help solve the searching for satellite 771 message.  Creating aerodynamic slimline dishes, installing dish heaters and better training for their technicians are just some of the way that DIRECTV has dramatically reduced the number of searching for satellite calls.