How to Install a Satellite Dish

How to Install a Satellite Dish

If you're planning on getting satellite service for your home, you don't need to call a professional installer. Even if you don't have much construction experience, you can set up a satellite dish. Once you find a clear spot for your dish, mount it in place. Receive a satellite signal by pointing the dish up to the sky. With proper wiring, you can then transfer the signal to a receiver and your TV.

Setting up the Wall Mount

1- Select a flat spot on or around your home. Find a level place that is accessible in case you need to clean off or adjust the satellite dish later. If you have space, the safest place for a satellite dish is on the ground. It will have plenty of room to point north or south, depending on where you live. Also, keep the dish away from falling snow or ice, such as from your roof or nearby trees.[1]

  • Remember where the TVs are in your home. Try to find a spot close to them to make the wiring process easier.
  • If you mount the dish on the ground, you will need to dig a trench to safely run its cables to your home.

2- Check for any obstructions blocking the dish's view of the sky. Stand where you plan on installing the dish. Look up to the sky. If you see buildings, trees, or even clotheslines in the way, then find another spot. These obstacles stop the dish from receiving a clear signal, affecting your picture quality.[2]
  • One of the best ways to set up a dish is by anchoring a metal pole in the ground with concrete, then mounting the dish on top of it. The pole gives the dish more height without it needing to be on the roof.
  • Satellite dish installers almost automatically go for the roof to guarantee the satellite isn't obstructed. You may need to do this too if you can't find a clear spot elsewhere.
  • If you're in the northern hemisphere, the dish needs to point south to receive a signal. If you're in the southern hemisphere, it needs to point north, so keep that in mind when looking for obstacles.

3- Hold the dish's mount to your home and mark the screw positions. The dish's mount is an L-shaped rod with a base plate that fastens to your home. Position the base plate flat against the wall or roof in the location you chose. Look for a series of holes on the plate for bolts. Then, use a permanent marker to note the position of these holes on the roof.[3]
  • If you're attaching the satellite to the side of your home, make sure the holes align with a wall stud or another sturdy structure. Don't try to anchor it to siding, since it won't hold.

4- Calculate the size of the pilot holes needed to secure the mount. The exact size and depth of the holes depends on the dish you're installing, so reference the components that came with the satellite. Generally, you will need to make a series of 4 holes about 12 in (1.3 cm) in diameter. Estimate the holes needed to be about {convert|2+1/2|in|cm|abbr=on}} deep, although this will also vary a little from installation to installation.[4]
  • Check the metal fixings that came with your satellite for a number engraved on them. That number will tell you how wide the holes need to be.
  • To find the depth the holes need to be on your particular installation, add about 210 in (0.51 cm) to the length of the metal fixings meant to plug into the holes.

5- Create the pilot holes using a drill bit the same size as the mounting bolts. Use a masonry drill bit to break through stone and other tough surfaces without damaging your drill. The bit needs to create holes that are the perfect size for the bolts. Drill into the spots you marked earlier once you are ready. Make sure the holes you create are straight so the mounting bolts fit properly.[5]
  • If the holes are too big, the bolts will fall out. If they are too small, the bolts won't fit.
  • Erring on the side of caution is better when drilling. You can always widen a small hole.

6- Place the mount's metal plugs into the holes you drilled. Your dish will come with a set of metal plugs that serve as wall anchors. One end of each plug will have a bolt hole in it. Flip the plugs so the openings face toward you rather than the wall. You need those openings to secure the mount.[6]
  • The opposite ends of each plug will look like a split tail. When you bolt the wall mount in place, the tails open up, making the plugs harder to remove.

7- Secure the plugs into the wall with a hammer and chisel. Place the tip of a chisel against one of the bolts. Give the chisel's handle a couple of good whacks to push the bolt into the wall. Keep hammering until the bolt is flush with the wall. Then, repeat this with the remaining bolts.
  • Make sure the bolts are level with the wall, or else the dish's mount won't anchor properly.

8- Place the metal plugs and hammer them into the wall. Your dish will come with a set of plugs that serve as wall anchors. Position them so their open end faces out from the wall. That opening is for bolting the wall mount in place. After pushing the plugs into the holes, tap them in with a hammer and chisel.[7]
  • Make sure the plugins are firmly positioned inside the wall. They are what anchors the mount to the wall or ceiling. If they are loose, your dish could end up crashing to the ground!

9- Bolt the mount onto the plugs in the wall. Position the mount back on the wall, lining up the holes in the plate with the pilot holes you drilled. Find the bolts that came with your dish, usually 12 in (1.3 cm) lag bolts. Fasten the bolts by using a cordless screwdriver. Make sure the mount feels secure in the wall before you move on.[8]
  • If the mount wobbles when you touch it, try tightening the bolts a little more. If you're sure they are in properly, take them out and check the plugs again.

10- Cap each bolt with a metal washer and locking nut. These components prevent the bolts from coming back out of the wall. Slide the washers on first, which are flat metal disks that help the nuts work properly. Then, add the nuts and turn them clockwise with a wrench until they feel tight and no longer move.
  • Be careful not to overtighten the nuts. Stop twisting them when they become hard to move. As long as they are not loose, the mount will also stay in place.

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