Anyone interested in acquiring a home earth station should first become familiar with the technical requirements, limitations and legal restrictions.

One quick way to find out a lot is to visit the Satellite Private Terminal Seminar, a convention and show scheduled for April 17, 18 and 19 at the Shoreham Hotel. Call the Society for Private and Commercial Earth Stations at 202/8878-0608.

The first step to understanding the mechanical, electrical and engineering systems is to read the Home-Satellite TV Reception Handbook. Written for the beginner, it lists satellite users who sell their programs to TVRO owners. The handbook, which costs $7.50, is published by Satellite TV Technology, Box 2476, Napa, Calif. 94558.

Coverage of regulatory actions, feature and spot news stories on equipment and technical advances, and advertisements for manufacturers, installers and special equipment make Satellite Digest the best single source of information. An annual subscription is $50 from Satellite Digest, Box G, Arcadia, Okla. 73007

Spokesman for Radio Shack and the Heathkit Company, both of which sell do-it-yourself kits for hi-fi, television and radio assemblies, said those firms are considering marketing a TVRO kit.

A publication similar to the television guides carried in most newspapers is Satguide, a listing of television programming shipped to cable TV companies via satellites. The 100-page monthly lists programming on 24 of the 168 television channels carried via 12 communications satellites over North America. For an annual subscription, send $28 to Satguide, Box 1569, Hailey, Idaho 83333.

In Washington, four commercial suppliers of TVROs sell and install systems for individuals and businesses. They are: Jerry Peake, Peakecom, 2328 Montgomery St., Lower Level, Silver Spring, Md. 20910, 301/587-2515; Sam Conwell, Satellite Earth Stations Inc., Box 174, Chantilly, Va. 22021, 703/631-9109; Collins Bros. Electronics, 4946 Marlboro Pike, Washington, D.C. 20027, 301/420-4406; Audio Technical Services Ltd., 239 Mill St., Vienna, Va. 22180, 703/928-5115.

Because trees and buildings can interfere with signal reception, these firms recommend a survey before a consumer spends any money. And, before buying anything, visit someone who has already purchased a unit.

Outside of Washington are scores of other manufacturers and installers of TVROs -- Satellite Digest is the best source of information.

The Society for Private and Commercial Earth Stations provides information on legislative and regulatory action affecting ownership of TVROs. For more information, write SPACE, 1521 O St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.

For federal policy on TVROs, write the Consumer Assistance and Information Office, Room 258, Federal Communications Commission, 1919 M St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20554.