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How to Fix 'Searching for Satellite Signal - 771'

As a trained DirecTV technical support representative, I am offering this free help to those suffering from DirecTV errors.

searching-for-satellite-signal-771

Code 771

Error code '771 - Searching for Satellite Signal' is the most frequent problem that DirecTV customers encounter. This error does not have to be as frustrating as many people make it out to be. With a little bit of insider information from an experienced DirecTV tech and minimal elbow grease, I want to show you how quickly you, by yourself, can fix this dreaded error that all customers experience at some point during their service commitment.

What causes this error?

Error code 771 is so common because there are many different variables that can cause it. Unlike error code 721 or 722, which have only one solution, error code 771 can be caused by many different factors. The most common factor is usually due to stormy weather. If your receiver is searching for a satellite signal during a thunderstorm, don't bother trying to fix it and don't call customer service. They will not help you during a storm. Trust me. They have an interactive weather map they consult before troubleshooting.

Other rarer reasons for this error are due to accidental change to cables or electric supply, the aftermath of a storm, and equipment error, just to name a few. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to retrace your steps before you lost satellite signal. It is a sad fact that most of the time we are our own worst enemy, unwittingly sabotaging ourselves when all we want to do is relax and watch a little television. Before you attempt to troubleshoot in any way, sit down for a minute and try to remember things you may have done that could have affected your signal in any way. Were you cleaning your gutters, where your satellite cables are close? Maybe you were moving furniture or just purchased a new surge protector. Could anything have come unplugged? These are just a couple of questions you should be asking yourself.

Now that you know a little about what causes the loss of satellite signal and how to critically think about what may be the cause of the problem, you are ready to troubleshoot and fix your error.

9 Steps to Fix Searching for Satellite Signal

The steps below are my revised method of fixing this error as quickly as possible so you can get back to watching tv.

  1. Make sure you are seeing the error code 771 on the television screen. If the screen displays some other message such as 'no signal' or 'retrieving signal' your television is likely on the incorrect input or channel. Believe it or not, over half of the calls I took for 'searching for satellite signal' was due to incorrect input channels or the receiver being turned off or unplugged. If you are certain this is a DirecTV error message continue on to step 2.
  2. Locate your Access Card behind a small front panel on your DirecTV receiver/box. Remove then re-insert your access card and wait 30 seconds. If this fixes the problem, you most likely still have an issue either with this satellite dish or the cables that run from the dish to your receiver. This can be a quick temporary fix if you aren't particularly in the mood for lengthy troubleshooting. If this did not fix the error, continue on to step 3.
  3. Check your satellite dish. If you have more than one receiver that displays the error, it is recommended that you look to see if anything could be interfering with your satellite dish's line of sight. This can be affected by ice, fallen trees or branches, animals, and even vehicles. Make sure nothing is obstructing the dish that isn't usually there.
  4. Check your cables. Checking cables is the hardest part of troubleshooting this error because there can be several different possibilities that are causing this error depending on the number of receivers you have and types of receivers they are. All receivers have a 'Sat In' port, which is how your receiver receives the signal from your dish. A customer service rep will usually ask you to make sure the cables are secure, but this is not an effective method to fix this kind of problem. What you want to do is locate the cables that screw into the 'Sat In' port and completely disconnect them. I recommend waiting for a few seconds before screwing them back in. Once you have everything back where it needs to be, look at your television screen to see if there is any change. If there is no change, continue on to step 5.
  5. Press your 'channel' button up twice then down twice. I know this seems strange, but this action actually sends a response signal to the dish and can sometimes work. Either way, it is just a quick shot in the dark. If this doesn't work, continue on to step 6.
  6. Check your power inserter (SWiM). Some DirecTV installations have what is called a SWiM. If you have HD-DVR, you most likely have this device connected to your set-up. This power supply device is usually located inside, close to your main receiver. Your main receiver is most often in the living area. If you don't know what you are looking for, I have provided an example of the most common SWiM used in DirecTV installations below. All you want to do is reset this device by unplugging it. After 15-30 seconds, plug the SWiM back in and check your tv display to see if there has been any change. By now, if your issue is caused by something other than interference with your satellite dish, you should get signal back. If not, continue on to step 7.
  7. Check your cables again. Technical support reps are instructed to issue a repair service at this point, but that can sometimes take several days and you want your tv back now. I have done a second cable check on many occasions and have been reprimanded by my superiors for deviating from the recommended process supplied to us, only to have the second check resolve the error. When doing the second cable check, you need to disconnect the 'Sat-In' cables from the back of your receiver once more and leave them unplugged. Next, you want to unplug you SWiM box again. Once it has been unplugged for 30 seconds, disconnect the cables that are screwed into it as well. Make sure to keep track of which cables go where in order to not complicate your troubles. Using a twist tie or piece of tape is good for keeping track of which cables go back to which ports. If you are able, I recommend disconnecting the cables from your satellite dish itself. For many of you, this may not be possible since the dish is most often located on top of the roof or other high structure. I don't recommend putting yourself in any physical danger. If you aren't able to do this with ease, don't do it. Those are the 3 main cable connections you have in your installation. Once you have them all disconnected, start screwing them back in, starting at the dish. If you weren't able to disconnect the cables from the dish, start reconnecting the cables to the SWiM box then move on to the back of the receiver and reconnect those. Once all of your cables are reconnected, plug your SWiM box back into the electrical outlet. Check your tv display for any changes. Hopefully, you have regained satellite signal. If not, continue on to step 8.
  8. Press the 'Channel' button up twice then down twice. Just checking. Like I said, sometimes it works. Still not working? Continue to step 9.
  9. Reset the receiver. Resetting the receiver can take a long time, especially if you're not getting a satellite signal, which is why I recommend saving it for last. Although it can resolve the issue from the start, it could be a total waste of 30 minutes to an hour and cause lots of frustration over wasted time and anticipation. The easiest way to reset the receiver is to press the tiny red button located next to the access card that you removed in step 2. This tiny button can be hard to press, so I recommend getting a small object such as a paperclip or pencil head to press it. Once pressed, the receiver will begin to restart. The tv screen will go black or blue, but eventually, you will see the DirecTV logo pop up. Soon, the receiver will attempt to regain a satellite signal. A percentage bar will usually appear at the middle or bottom of the screen, depending on the type of receiver you have. If this percentage reaches %15, you should regain signal back within a few minutes.
SWiM Power Inserter for DirecTV

SWiM Power Inserter for DirecTV

Hopefully, these steps have helped to resolve your issue. If you are still encountering a 771 error code, you most likely will have to wait for a repairman to examine your installation for any extraordinary errors or malfunctions. If you are having any other DirecTV errors, feel free to leave a comment and I will address them to the best of my ability.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Kat on August 17, 2020:

Code 771. After several hours of pure frustration, I remembered reading one of your suggestions about moving the station change button up and down. IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!

Hugh on July 23, 2020:

I do not have complete signal loss. I have lost approximately 20 stations. A couple of those channels will work correctly sometimes. Have called directv for assistance and was told to unplug my receiver and wait 30 minutes before plugging it back in. Also have been told to remove access card put back and hit reset button. None have worked. The other channels come in fine with good picture quality.

Crystal collie on July 19, 2020:

is there a charge to move the satellite dish from the spot is at because i have a lot of trees now and i believe it is interference in my signal

Andy on July 18, 2020:

Did everything you suggested and still 771

scott on April 01, 2020:

code 775?

Elizabeth A Snyder on March 31, 2020:

My roof just got replaced and the satellite dish needs to be adjusted. I need a service person.

Doctor Ziggy on March 27, 2020:

This is happening on a new HD receiver (receiver only, not DVR) that we just received. Getting some channels, but not all. Getting the 771 error on screen. Last time it happened on another new receiver that was delivered but not set up by a technician. So, the tech guy had to come and ADD an additional part to the box that fixed the problem. He said that it happens a lot. Looks like we will be calling again. What is this EXTRA part that seems to fix the issue?

Shane on March 15, 2020:

Getting error code 771 in sat 2, sometimes. Sometimes it says 771 in sat 1. What do these mean?

Dont have the SWiM device.

Ellen on February 06, 2020:

Thank you for your advice!! I used your methods and it worked. Didn't have to deal with Direct TV.

sherry on January 21, 2020:

Thank you! After a most annoying direct tv phone call with a "technician " who insisted I must buy the $99 tech support to fix this unfixable problem your logical steps worked. I only needed to to do steps 1 & and it came right back on.

SomeDutchGuy on December 12, 2019:

Before AT&T bought DirecTV I never had a problem for 15 years. But ever since AT&T's takeover, there have been annoying little issues and especially the 771 notifications resulting in customers having to call to complain. These calls are then used for sales pitches to sell the monthly maintenance plan. It's insidious! It's time to drop AT&T's DirecTV and go with an internet based service, saving lots of dollars at the same time.

Patsy Grange on November 29, 2019:

My direct tv went off about 2 am I have checked all suggested ways of correction it is still off What do I do next

Susan J Chellew on October 31, 2019:

Cannot get any local channels all the other ones work

John Nicholson on October 11, 2019:

Some stations show 771 on some days, mostly higher channels 244 and up. Just some of the channels some of the time and they're not the same channels every day. Weather is beautiful, no rain, wind or obstructions. I've checked every connection more than once, reset the receiver more than once, which is a pain.

Jane Kimball on September 16, 2019:

I have a package that provides a lot of channels-3 days ago we started having static during the program on 18 channels — but commercials were perfect. ALL the other channels were fine(except for the constant “freezing” of the picture for several seconds at a time). I called in & lady w/heavy foreign accent starts how it’s MY equipment. Then wants ME to do all the troubleshooting. Been thru this before, had already unplugged/re-plunged from electricity, removed/inserted the access card, verified no obstructions of the satellite. Now I could go out and start looking at alllll the cables since was installed 8 weeks ago, I’m sure they are worn. OR—maybe Directv get off their duff & find the problem. Seriously only 18 channels out of the 100’s available and only during program is there interruption——-& its MY equipment. I’m only leasing THEIR equipment

Dwan Jackson on September 15, 2019:

I've been dealing with this the last 5 months. I had a tech come out and relocate the dish to my roof because a tree was blocking the line of sight and that still hasn't made a difference.

When I had the standard receivers years back I never saw 771 signal loss errors unless it was raining. The service has really gotten bad since AT&T purchased Directv. If It was for quality promotions I swear I would drop the service.

Brian on September 01, 2019:

I get 771 on one Transponder 119-32 3 Local channels It does come in with a 45-50 between 5am and 7am??? All other channels are [perfect with over 94 on all sats????

Donna coyle on August 24, 2019:

Why is my boy 1tv not playing all my stations??

Amber Phegley on August 13, 2019:

I am tired of losing the signal on the Hallmark channel every time the weather changes. I think we should get a discount for all the service that we don’t have which is 75% of the time.

Sherry Dubble on June 24, 2019:

Our tv has had a 771 code for two days now and we have tried everything. When I look at the direct map on my computer it shows over 50% of directv customers have some sort of an outage. This is on your end not ours and I hope you are not charging us for the days we have no tv. We are really getting tired of the tv shutting down and saying searching for satellite. Everything on our end is fine so lets get on the ball and get it fixed. Customers are tired of this crap and tired of paying for it

Roy on June 07, 2019:

Everythng works but no channels

Chris cagle on June 07, 2019:

Have problems with my directv code 771

Kenneth D. Hein/Iva J. Hein on May 31, 2019:

771-Directv Signal loss

Local Channels

OM on May 29, 2019:

771 error, during a thunder storm, storm gone and have tried reset button, changing channels turned off power,

Called customer service waited for hour, no one would answer. Need help now.

Kathy Taylor on May 24, 2019:

My satellite was moved, how can i fix it. It set on tbe ground.

Keith Kelley on May 23, 2019:

I was a DirecTV customer 15+ years ago. Back then, there was a process to detect Satellite Signal strength. Does that exist today? We are getting 771 error with EVERY rain event - not just heavy downpours and thunderstorms. I have been waiting for a DTV technician since Saturday.

BG on May 13, 2019:

Had direct tv cut my signal two Monday’s in a row. After calling both reps tried to get me to sign up for service plan. I refused both times and within 5 minutes all tv service came back on. I believe direct is purposely doing this to sell service program. Just multiply a million people or more times 8.99$ a month and that’s your answer. My service was interrupted at the same time two Monday’s in a row. Coincidence, I think not !

John on April 28, 2019:

Hd channels only a few sports channels have signal loss. All other channels are okay. Why? Wait for satellites to align?

Help

Sandra on April 20, 2019:

Thank you so much for your suggestions. We had already tried several of the steps with no luck. We had done the reset button, power off button, even the up & down channel button. Finally we decided to just unplug the receiver instead of resetting and it worked.

Debbie Black on April 13, 2019:

I am receiving a 771 error for over a week. 2 technicians later & still showing 711 error. Goes out between 7PM - 10:30 AM with no solution in site ?? Technician says he gave me my own card outside in gray box. Still no solution ??? What could this be so frustrating ‼️

Karen on March 13, 2019:

Ever since monday evening my direct tv says 771 loss of signal in 1. It was working fine that morning and nothing now. I have called direct tv and they can not help. It is now Wed and still a 771. I call again and still nothing. They want to charge me $99 to send a tech out. I have followed all of your steps and still nothing. I am at a loss. Please help

Betty Conway on February 21, 2019:

Is there a way to determine if the signal loss is at the transmitter ie: the station sending the signal, rather at my hone receiver? We lose our signal every time there is a storm and it usually comes back on after the storm. But this time it has been out for almost 24 hours and the storm has been over for many hours.

Thank you

handysenior on February 08, 2019:

I lost my HD stations on an older receiver,("A")...To determine if it was a transponder or cable issue I swapped it with another receiver ("B") from another room. All was good for months with receiver B in its new location but problematic receiver A, that was relocated, lost the guide info and several stations within a short period of time. So it was concluded that receiver A was faulty and a new receiver was issued by Direct TV. The new receiver was installed in the original location for "A"...receiver "B" was returned to it's proper location. No problem was found for the first 24 hours but then the new receiver lost the signal (code 771). Weather was clear but windy at that time. I went through the reactivation and refresh steps outlined above but there is no picture and error code 771 remains. I unplugged the power cord from both ends, and also the SAT-in cable. After re-activating it, everything was back to normal. After one day the original problem returned. I then swapped the problematic receivers location with another one in a different room to determine if there was a transponder signal issue or defect in cable. At that point all worked well for about 1 week when receiver A , in its new location, lost the guide info and several stations. On several occasions the guide info would automatically reappear and the receiver would automatically reset itself as I watched TV. At that point customer service was contacted and a new receiver was sent...it was hooked up in its proper location, activated and refreshed. All was good for about 18 hours when error code 771 appeared. Weather was clear but windy. I went through all the reactivation and refresh steps outlined above, disconnected the Sat in cable and power chord from both ends. The problem was not resolved. All my other receivers are still working fine and when I swap locations for the new receiver with receiver B, I do not have a problem. Please help me determine the cause of this problem.

Casey on January 21, 2019:

I am having issues with getting the 771 error during the same time of day. It goes away after a certain period of time. I am not sure why this would be the case. I have tried most of the advice given here.

Denise Hinton on January 15, 2019:

Thank you so much. Pressing the up and down channel button on my remote worked!

Kelly on January 05, 2019:

What's the problem when i do everything on list get the reception back for 1/2 day and here we go again ?

Chris on January 02, 2019:

I just installed a new slimline (3) dish. ALL tranponders on all satellites are reading between 95 and 100. Yet i get a message that satellite signal could not be detected. I am confused

robin on October 08, 2018:

can a bad dish or eye going out cause a 711 signal, Can I change out the eye my self

Margaret on October 07, 2018:

Very useful informations on how to troubleshoot, love it, and now i can watched my favourite channel again. Thank you.

rachel on September 28, 2018:

i can not find any access door to remove a card. i am about ready to trade all this equipment in because more often then not i cant watch anything. we have yet to be able to watch any shows on Tueday night that we like because of the issue, sometimes it is a storm but sometimes there isnt a cloud in the sky

Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on September 25, 2018:

Hi Tom. Usually when only two channels are not coming in it means one of two things. 1) Your dish is out of alignment and you will begin to lose more channels as the reception becomes worse. 2) Something is wrong on DirecTV's side. I would suggest running a signal strength test to see if you have low signal strength. If it is on DirecTV's side, there isn't much you can do but call and see what they will offer you for the inconvenience. Without going into too much boring detail, let me explain why it could be on DirecTV's side. Certain channels are broadcast from different transponders. For example; some Spanish channels are broadcast from just one satellite transponder. This is because the broadcasters of the Spanish shows deliver their signal to a particular transponder that they can reach. It would be more helpful if I knew which channels you were giving you problems. If it is a basic channel like TBS or USA, most likely the problem is on your end and needs troubleshooting to correct. While I can and will help you if you want, your best option would be to call technical support because they will run you through the same steps I would, plus they could set you up with a service call if it is necessary. Before doing either, try to think about anything that occurred before you noticed the loss of signal with these channels. Were you away for any length of time. Were there unusually high winds or storms recently. These will be helpful notes in case you need to troubleshoot with a representative and help the tech determine proper steps to take to fix the problem with your service. If you want to try a quick fix, you can press channel up twice then channel down twice. If may actually fix this problem. It's what we used to call a hole in one when I used to work for DirecTV. I know it sounds too easy and odd, but channeling up twice then down twice was some kind of signal reboot that engineers programmed into receivers. Either way, it takes five seconds to do and is a stab in the dark. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Tom on September 24, 2018:

2 channels will not come in, all others fine. ?

Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on September 10, 2018:

If at least one receiver is getting signal. then your dish alignment is probably fine. The fact that you have two receivers that aren't getting signals leads me to believe that the issue is because of cable connection. The only other problem would be the tuners in the back of the receivers. I know it seems coincidental, but I have had customers have two or more receivers tuners go out at or around the same time before. It gets hard to troubleshoot when you have multiple receivers because you have multiple cables. The average homeowner has no idea which cable goes to which receiver from the splitter because they have never even looked at it and didn't install it. I can help you with this. It may take a couple replies, but I feel like I can help you fix it if this problem isn't being caused by bad tuners. I know about all the troubleshooting and half of it is unnecessary. You don't need to reset each receiver or go check the dish. The only thing that could cause this, as I said, is bad tuners or loose cable connections. That being said, the only thing you can do on your side would be to disconnect the cables that run to those receivers. Depending on your installation, you will have either a multiswitch connecting splitter or a regular 6 to 8 prong splitter. If you have the multiswitch splitter, always unplug it before disconnecting cables. You can get electrocuted by those if you don't. Since I am sure that this isn't a problem with the dish alignment, the simplest thing to do is to find the splitter and disconnect then reconnect each cable that is connected to that splitter. Before you do that though, disconnect the cables from the back of the two non-working receivers. What we want to do is make sure the cables to those two receivers are disconnected from each end completely in order to reset the signal flow. After you have both non-working receiver's cables disconnected go to the main splitter and start disconnecting and reconnecting cables. Don't disconnect all of them at once. Disconnect one, then screw it back in. Repeat until you have disconnected and reconnected each one. I know that probably sounds like a lot, but it should only take 5-10 minutes if the splitter is easily accessible. We are knocking out 90% of the troubleshooting that Directv tech support requires. In the event that you don't have a splitter and all of your cables are coming directly from the dish, you probably want to get a technician out there to check those connections. Usually, technicians will run a splitter from the dish, so it is unlikely that the cables are running straight from your dish. This is about as much information as I can give you without knowing specifics of the way your installation looks. If this doesn't work, please message me back with details of where cables from the two non-working receivers are running to. Finally, to check if your receiver has a bad tuner, all you need to do is take one of the non-working receivers to one of the rooms you are getting signal and connect it to those cables and see if you get signal on that receiver. You may actually want to do that first if it is easy enough to move your entire receiver. Let me know if I can help more. I would be happy to assist in any way I can.

adam james on September 10, 2018:

We have an issue where we are getting a 771 message on the two upstairs TVs. The two downstairs TVs work just fine though. It seemed as if the two upstairs issues started happening more-or-less at the same time, although I can't say for sure. In other words, the problem with the two upstairs ones may or may not be be related to the same issue but it seems pretty coincidental that they went out at pretty much the same time. Any thoughts? I feel like the dish itself must be OK or we wouldn't be getting any programming on the downstairs TVs. Oh and we have spend several hours on the phone with DTV trying to troubleshoot!

Phil koby on August 26, 2018:

Direct tv losing accounts by the minute, Better play the cannabis stocks I told you too, because there is a robot waiting to replace you, 10 years of constant no signal, face it you are the ipitome of incompetence, adios

Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on August 18, 2018:

While realigning your dish is somewhat complicated, it can be done by an amateur. The most difficult aspect of re-aligning your dish will be getting your hands on an azimuth compass/level. You can figure out the degrees of alignment by using the menus in your Directv receiver.

Amelia on August 15, 2018:

Are there tips to realign the dish without having a technician come out?

Charlie on August 08, 2018:

how do I run a signal strength test

Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on July 16, 2018:

You're welcome, Rochelle. I'm happy to hear that this information helped you. You may want to run a signal strength test whenever you get a few minutes of free time just to see if you have a weak signal on any transponder. If you are able to identify a weak signal on a transponder, you can potentially avoid the possibility of losing service and having to wait for a service call. If a transponder has a low signal strength (below 55%), DirecTV should be able to send a technician out to re-align your dish. Let me know if you need help figuring out how to run a signal strength test. Thanks for reading.

Rochelle on July 15, 2018:

I looked this up after trying to reset the receiver and run through the reset, searching process...did the channel change thing, voila! Thanks!

Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on January 18, 2018:

Thank you, sir, for your positive review. Thank you for your service as well. My step-father was a SeaBee, himself.

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona USA on January 18, 2018:

I enjoyed this how-to very much. It was helpful in analyzing signal loss. I will bookmark this for the time I get a 771 code. Thank you.

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