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Condominium Problem - need advice

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by mikemyers, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

    216
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    May 19, 2010
    I have a condo problem, and need some assistance.

    My DTV setup was working perfectly, but the condo association decided to do concrete repairs and re-painting, so everything had to be removed from my balcony. I am in a ten-story condo, on the 9th floor, overlooking Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach, Florida. In the past, DTV mounted my dish, and despite several hurricanes, I never have had any problems.

    When I asked when I could re-attach my dish, I was first told that it wouldn’t be fair for me to have DTV, as people on the other side of the building facing the wrong way couldn’t do so. They told me to go with ATT Uverse. When I printed out the FCC rules, stating that a condo can’t prevent someone from having DTV installed, they held a meeting, and now insist that while I can have DTV, it has to be mounted on a “tail-gate tripod” attached to some kind of base. I will copy their email and their suggested mount; I think this would be much better if the date of their email was April 1, as the concept seems ridiculous to me:

    -------------------------------------------------------
    Important Notice
    Satellite Dish Installation Policy

    November 30th, 2012

    Dear Unit Owners:

    At a board meeting on November 29th, 2012, the LBTA Board of Directors voted in the majority for the below Satellite Dish Installation Policy.

    Satellite Dish Installation Policy

    All satellite dishes installed after November 30, 2012, must be mounted to a tripod and attached to a free standing concrete pad. The mounting screws must not enter the concrete deck of the balcony and the satellite dish cannot extend beyond the perimeter of the balcony railing. The ONLY hole that may be drilled into the building will be that for cable to enter your apartment. This hole must be sealed and capped and cannot be outside the perimeter of your balcony railing. All installations must be monitored and approved by the association. Please see a sample of what your dish should look like attached.


    Should you fail to comply with the above mentioned policy, you will be fined $100 per day for as long as the dish is improperly installed. In addition, you will be billed for any repairs required from an improper installation. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions and or concerns in regards to this matter.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    I will also copy a letter I wrote to the sales guys at sadoun.com – I fully expect them to write back that this is not acceptable. I did describe many of the reasons why I think the condo's suggestion is not reasonable, or realistic:

    Dear sirs,

    I have a large DirecTV antenna (the largest size) which weighs more than I can pick up without assistance. I want to hook up DirecTV on the balcony of a 10-story hi-rise condo on Miami Beach – I am on the 9th floor, facing the water.

    It was recommended that I consider your tripod dish mount. I have two concerns, as I very much doubt the capability of this dish to withstand a hurricane (which Miami experiences far more often than I wish). I just spent a large amount of money to install hurricane windows for that same reason.

    • First question – is your tripod certified to withstand a hurricane, with the large and heavy DirecTV dish mounted to it? That is essential – and is part of the reason why I used to have the DirecTV people install their satellite dishes. I should also ask if your tripod is designed to withstand years of outdoor weather, without corrosion or other problems that may weaken it?

    • Second question – I have reviewed the specifications for mounting a satellite dish many times. As ‘dbsinstall.com’ shows on their website, the mounting screws need to be 5/16” – there are four screws on the main mounting plate, and an additional set of screws on the side brace. There is a full page on the DirecTV website that shows this in more detail. Is your tripod equally as strong as all these 5/16” screws? Even a small 18” dish can exert a lot of force from strong winds, let alone a hurricane. The assembly must be secured to withstand years of wind loading. (And as a side-question, I’m sure you know the rigidity requirements for the newest DTV dishes – they can’t move at all. Is your device equally rigid? How does one mount the “side brace” that I was told is essential to keep the dish oriented perfectly?

    • Final question – DirecTV will only be responsible for the satellite mounting if they do the work themselves, using their standard ways of securing the dish. Do you offer a service to do the same thing, and once this is done, will you be responsible for the safety and durability of the dish, for as long as it is in place? I am *very* concerned about the mounting failing at some point, leaving the dish free to be blown off the balcony causing damage or worse. That is the reason why I have always gone with DTV, and their very substantial mounting system.

    It has always been my understanding that these tripod mounts are designed for temporary mounting of a dish in a non-permanent location such as campers, trailers, and truck tailgates. I have friends who own them, and they are great for use when you visit a place for a short time (camping, etc.) and want to have access to satellite reception. My impressions that this use is great, but that they were never designed for permanent installations.

    Thank you for your time.

    -Mike Myers​



    Can any of you offer me any advice, or suggest how I should proceed? I am now in India, and return to the US in mid-February. There is no immediate urgency in having this resolved, but it burns me that a bunch of people who can’t or don’t have DTV are trying to restrict something that I have had for the past 15 years.

    Thank you for any assistance you can provide,
     
  2. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

    216
    0
    May 19, 2010
    This is an image of what my condo expects me to put on my balcony as a permanent DTV installation; it is from:
    http://www.sadoun.com/Sat/Order/Dishes/Tailgate-Satellite-Dish_kits.htm
    It's shown with the older small size dish, not the huge dish that DTV set me up with for HDTV.

    [​IMG]

    If you guys think this is acceptable, I'll go along. All my experience from the past tells me that this is a disaster waiting to happen - the first time the winds get too strong, even without a hurricane, it's going to start self destructing, and the dish is going to end up coming off, going over the edge of the balcony (probably taking the railing with it), and cause major problems down below. Even if it didn't go over the edge, it would probably ruin the railings and the dish. Forgetting all that, in a strong wind, I expect the dish to wobble considerably, meaning I wouldn't get satellite reception - but that's a small matter compared to my other concerns.

    Advice requested.

    (I have already submitted this to the legal department at DirecTV, and they are working on it from their end. I probably won't hear back for a while, giving their lawyers enough time to sort things out.

    (If I was going somewhere in a camper, or a trailer, or in a pickup truck, and wanted to set up temporary reception of DirecTV, this kind of kit would be an excellent idea. I'm not suggesting it isn't a good design - only that I don't think it was ever intended for a permanent DTV installation, let alone one 9 flights up in the air in South Florida, where hurricanes (and nasty storms) happen far too frequently. I think it would be highly irresponsible, and possibly criminal, to do this, knowing the risks.)
     
  3. WestDC

    WestDC DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

    2,443
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    Feb 9, 2008
    When you get home - Call D* for a Service vist and they will reinstall your Dish-The installer will have a mount

    You had the service before so you can have it again -FCC Rules over ride the Condo Management and the other folks that live on the wrong side of the building.
     
  4. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Jun 6, 2009
    I believe they're within their rights to specify a non-penetrating mount, especially after having done repairs to the building surface.

    Some that are intended for flat roofs are a rectangular frame that hold several concrete blocks that act as anchoring weight. Whether that will take up too much room on your balcony for your tastes is a different matter.

    For that matter, a tripod like that could be lashed to the railing in a non-penetrating manner that should hold it stable in anything less than Hurricane winds. If you go under a Hurricane Warning, it could be removed and brought inside.
     
  5. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    Jackson
    BTW mike, that is the current slimline dish. If yours is larger, then you have the older dish.
     
  6. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Jun 6, 2009
    The more I think about it, I can envison several ways to clamp or bracket the post to a typical railing without penetrating any surfaces.
     
  7. WestDC

    WestDC DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

    2,443
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    Feb 9, 2008
    Yes, Installers carry a Rail Mount for the slim line dish.
     
  8. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    College...
    It is also unfair to those on the other side of the building that you get to enjoy the sunrise and sunset, and that the potted plants on your balcony grow better. :rolleyes:

    One concern about a rail mount is that, depending on its design, the nature of your mast, and the exact orientation of your railing with respect to the targeted satellites, using it might still result in part of the dish extending beyond the perimeter of the balcony, which can be prohibited.
     
  9. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Salem, OR
    While the naming suggests that the Slimline is smaller, it is 3.8" wider than the AT-9 and only 1.9" shorter in rectangular dimensions.
     
  10. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

    973
    2
    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    Love how apartments and condos are becoming police states, fining people for everything.
    Everything now comes with the threat of a fine.
    (rant off)
     
  11. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

    973
    2
    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    I would look in to using a real, honest-to-goodness Non-Penetrating Roof (NPR) mount, which looks a lot like a sled, and has space for several concrete blocks or patio stones:

    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...s-(NPR5)&c=Mounting Supplies&sku=610370581599

    You could get a short chain or piece of "aircraft cable" and use it as a safety link between the dish and the railing, for storm protection.

    But, if your condo association is really all that concerned about the people on the other side of the building, you might suggest that they investigate the possibility of an SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna System), with OTA, DISH Network and DirecTV all on one system, with a single set of antennas and dishes on the roof.

    That would make it all nicer.
     
  12. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

    216
    0
    May 19, 2010
    Thanks for all the advice to everyone; I was out of network access for a while, just got back.

    The problem is I *am* in a hurricane area, and I travel a lot, and chances are nobody will be there to remove the dish before a storm, not to mention that if the dish comes loose, it will likely damage my storm windows on the balcony, the railing, and anything else out there. The proper DTV mounting prevents all of this.

    Concrete blocks sound fine, but if the wind is strong enough, and things start to move around, this is a disaster waiting to happen.


    Since I've had DTV for 15 years, attached to the concrete, if I simply go ahead and re-install the dish properly, do they have the legal rights to actually fine me? Can I fight the whole thing as being unreasonable, and against the stated intention of the FCC? I don't want a temporary setup, I want something permanent.
     
  13. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

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    May 19, 2010

    The link above for a rail mount didn't work for me.... but there is nothing in the condo rules about the dish extending beyond my balcony. The problem I see with attaching the dish to the building railings, is that in a hurricane the dish and railings will probably all be destroyed. Since anything other than a permanent mount with screws into the building solves this problem, it's all likely to become a complete mess when/if a storm hits anyway. Attaching to the railing might be a reasonable solution (except that I still see any of this as an invitation to disaster...... like attaching a wheel to a car using tie-strips....).
     
  14. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    You're out in left field now.

    A couple of screws into wood or stucco or even concrete are not going to be any stronger than a proper clamp/bracket mount to a railing that may be part of the building structure. Railings on high-rise buildings are likely welded to something substantial. If yours are not, MOVE.
     
  15. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    From the opening post:

     
  16. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

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    May 19, 2010

    Thanks; you're making me feel better about this. As to the building, the concrete balconies were re-done, and there is all new aluminum railing in place. Yes, they are welded, and supposedly they're built to all applicable standards. So maybe attaching the dish mount to them is not such a bad idea after all?

    I have lived through several hurricanes, and the DTV antenna has survived perfectly, bolted in place according to DTV specs (they did the installation). So, if what you are suggesting is correct, and the railings are as strong as the wall, this should all work out fine. (I'm still out of town, and haven't even seen the new railings.)
     
  17. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

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    May 19, 2010
    From: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule

    The rule (47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000) has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas. The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal.​

    The idea of a free standing tripod, along with a huge concrete slab as described, certainly unreasonably will increase the cost of installation, not to mention delaying the installation. It will certainly increase the cost of use, as every time the dish needs to be re-aligned, DTV will charge $100 or more for a service call. Additionally, since it is not fixed in place, it will preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal every time that it gets bumped, or moved around by high winds. According to the FCC, as I read the above paragraph, this is not allowed. Perhaps I should just call DTV and have them re-install my dish normally, and if the board wants to fight it, I think I will have DTV and the FCC on my side.
     
  18. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    Nov 2, 2007
    NE FL
    You should read the OTARD in it's entirety. The association can prevent you from drilling into their deck and can prevent you from installing the dish so it extends past the limits of your balcony.
     
  19. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Dec 2, 2010
    Winters,...
    I'd argue that I'm grandfathered in, that my installation is not after the date stated in their new policy. And I have no idea whether this would lead to a final solution, or whether I'd end up paying thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees to have those overturned, if indeed I could get them overturned.

    I feel for you, and wish you best of luck.
     
  20. mikemyers

    mikemyers Legend

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    May 19, 2010
    Can you please tell me where you read this? I've read the link to OTARD, but maybe there's a different link.



    I just got off the phone with the FCC. They are sending me the information on how to file a petition for a declamatory ruling - according to the FCC, no restrictions can be enforced once the petition is filed, and if the ruling goes against me, I have 21 days to remove the device before any fines can take effect. So as long as I file the petition, I can legally install my satellite dish. (...will wait until the ruling is final before drilling any holes....)

    She also told me that since I've had DTV for 15 years, installed to my building wall (and for that matter, past board members also had DTV installed to their building wall), I should be "grandfathered in". Since I have exclusive use of my balcony, and the board's ruling certainly goes against the stated purpose of the FCC's wording, challenging the restrictions is the appropriate thing to do.

    (Sorry if I didn't get all the wording copied here perfectly, but I can copy the email here that she is sending me, as it may help others in the same predicament.)


    Since the satellite dish will be fully within my balcony, not extending beyond it, that is not an issue.

    As I read things, it certainly means that I can clamp the dish mount to the new railing, even if the ruling goes against me regarding attaching it to the condo wall.

    (It's 1am where I am, and I'm getting way too sleepy - sorry if I'm not as clear as I could be about the above......)
     

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