Satellite Dish Mounting

Following a letter from my apartment complex management about the fact that I had my DishNetwork satellite dish mounted on my balcony railing (though not screwed to it so as not to damage it), I was forced to re-mount the dish.

The solution, after much web searching, was to create myself a base with a 1 5/8th inch metal pole sticking out of it. I also took the opportunity to buy some flat RG-6 cables in the hope that I could close the balcony door completely.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Obtain the parts. Here’s what I got:
    • 6 foot long, 1 5/8 inch diameter metal fence pole
    • 5 gallon plastic bucket
    • 80 lbs of concrete mix
  2. Cut the pole to the desired length (in my case I took off about 13 inches). Getting a shorter pole would be good if you can find one, but the shortest one at the Lowes store I went to was the 6′).
  3. Mount the pole vertically in the bucket (check that it is vertical using a level, and make sure the thing is in the location you’re finally going to place it – my balcony slopes slightly down).
  4. Mix the concrete and pour in. I cheated a little here and mixed it in the bucket as I went. Read the instructions on the concrete bag for information about the amount of water you should add – in particular notice the maximum amount).
  5. Once set (I left it for the full 48 hours recommended on the bag, which was probably not necessary given that it has been hot here all week), mount the dish on top and repeat the alignment process. You should then have working satellite TV again.

Here are some photos of the dish support:

  

Finally, a short note on the flat cables. These are about 8″ long cables with female connectors on both ends so they neatly fit between the two cables that make up each feed. Unfortunately, in my case the sliding balcony door has a built in draft excluding system that prevents it from passing over these cables so they are only marginally better than my previous solution of simply running the the standard round cables through the doorway. Moral, check for spaces around the doorway you’ll be using.

Here’s a photo of the cables so you can see what they look like:

13 thoughts on “Satellite Dish Mounting

  1. Hi there! I’m currently having a really hard time figuring out how to mount my satellite at my apt. building! I read about your issue and thought maybe you could help me. It was quite dramatic today when the DirectTV/Tivo kit left under the arm of a crazy installer guy because he refused to acknowledge any method other than drilling to install it. We can’t drill holes/damage the building where I’m from (you mentioned a way you evaded drilling too?) but I know there are “clamps” that hold the satellites secure on railings etc… I just need toknow their real name and how to get my hands on one!! Please help me out if you know what I’m talking about and where to get them- Thanks very much and good job on being so innovative to fix your problem! -Sincerely, a fellow pragmatist.

  2. Hello,

    I started off with an offcut of wood from the local Home Depot store that was about the same width as the railing and about 2 foot long & 2″ deep. I mounted the dish support on that using screws. Then I mounted this piece of wood on the railing and held it in place using three long steel hose clamps (the type that are a loop of steel and have the worm drive screw system to tighten them up).

    That worked well, but my apartment management still didn’t like it because the dish protruded from the balcony space. I think that they are mostly worried about it falling off. So that’s when I moved to the plastic barrel filled with concrete. The full info on this is in the weblog article, and I can tell you that the 80lbs of concrete has kept the dish in place despite some very strong winds we had a few weeks back here in the bay area (trees were blown down to give you some idea of how bad it was). I was a little concerned about how it would hold up, but it held up perfectly.

    The other possible solution I thought about was getting a solid table to place in the corner of the balcony space and screw the dish mounting system down to that. This might be a solution that would keep your installer happy too since it is basically the same as screwing it to the railing 😉 If you have concerns about the wind moving it, you could always use some concrete in a bucket under it to weigh it down.

    HTH,
    John…

  3. Thanks for the info here. I had to set up a pole on my balcony and went the bucket method. However I went with a large pot and put plants in it. I kept track of my progress and posted it on a website:
    http://elwar.com/directv

  4. How can I run the coax cable under a window, I know there are Flat coax cable out their but many people are not up to date on there use. Please help..

  5. Can you explain the importance of vertically leveling the pole? Does it somehow aid the mounting process?

  6. I’m not sure it is that critical, but remember that there are only 2 dimensions of adjustment on the dish mounting that will be attached to this pole. If you are too far off of vertical, you might not be able to adjust for it. In my case, because of the sloping balcony floor, the pole ends up being close to vertical, but not perfect. If you get it roughly right I’d say you’ll be OK.

  7. Hi . Just a quick question . I couln’d find any 1” 5/8 ” polls but only a 1” 7/8” post.

    Would that be OK ? Or I really need 1 5/8 ?

    Thanks.
    Cosmin

  8. You should aim to use the same diameter as the mounting pole that came with the dish since that is what you are replacing.

  9. Does anyone know what is the correct diameter pole needed for a 5 LNB DirecTV satellite dish?

    Thanks in advance,
    Greg

  10. the leveling is critical ………… because when you get the azmuth or the tilt or the elevation when your going through the guided setup and it ask you for your zip code it’ll give you correct cordences off one way or the other means you have to make adjustments elsewhere ……………………….a real pain in the neck its much easier to have a level pole

  11. your own design makes satellite instalation easier. but i will be happy if u describe how to mount a 2.4m dish that is control by a motorised jack?

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