DIY Friday: Install Your Own Dish

I gotta admit, there are times when I’m just not feeling the DIY vibe. One of them is when I have a satellite dish that needs installing. The last couple of times I’ve moved, I’ve had someone some an install the dish for me, but apparently there are some folks out there who just want to do it themselves. And I salute them. After all, better them than me.

They may just be better at it than I am. Or more creative. I’m just a "bolt-it-to-the-side-of-the-house-and-call-it-a-day" kind of guy. Who knew there’s a better way to do it? Well, some people do.

For example, can you spot the dish in this picture?

Spot Dish

The author goes into some detail on just how an apartment dweller can achieve an aesthetically pleasing satellite installation.

Spot Dish 2

So as we all know, to use satellite TV, I needed to install a dish. I elected for the Dish500 dish, which is slightly larger than your normal 18-inch DBS dish, but it can also lock on to 2 satellites at once, giving me a wider channel range. The real difficulty was going to be where to install the dish, and would the apartment complex let me. The second problem was solved by the FCC last year. They issued a resolution that says that no one, not an HOA, locality, or my landlord, can prevent me from installing a dish of less than 36 inches in diameter somewhere that I have exclusive access to (like my balcony). However, in the interest of keeping up good relations, I told my landlord before I started the install. They wanted me to sign a lease addendum, which I did because it didn’t have any significant language in it. Having done that, I proceeded to the question of how to install the dish securely on the balcony.

I elected to go with the concrete bucket install described by a couple people on some of the DBS message boards. Basically, I mounted a piece of metal conduit in a bucket full of concrete, mounted the dish on top of the conduit, and bungeed the whole assembly to the rails of my balcony. It provides a very stable installation. I haven’t had any problems with the dish so far, and we’ve gotten some really high winds for the area since I got it set up.

It actually looks like quite an effective setup, and easier than drilling holes in an external wall.

There’s some pretty good advice for householders too, such as painting it the same color(s) as your house, in order to camouflage it.

Spot Dish 3

There are also some other suggestions, like hiding it under an artificial rock or in the attic, in front a conveniently-placed window (which would be great in the winter, because you don’t have to go out and brush the snow off the dish to get your picture back.)

Me? I’ll stick to calling the guys with the tools, to come bolt it to the wall. Unless someone else has another idea.