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Condominium Problem - need advice


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#1 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:29 AM

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,

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#2 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:42 AM

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.co...e-Dish_kits.htm
It's shown with the older small size dish, not the huge dish that DTV set me up with for HDTV.

Posted Image


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 OFFLINE   WestDC

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:44 AM

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.
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#4 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:09 AM

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.
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#5 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:46 AM

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

#6 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 07:59 AM

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.
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#7 OFFLINE   WestDC

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:31 AM

Yes, Installers carry a Rail Mount for the slim line dish.
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#8 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 04:26 PM

...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. ..,

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.

Edited by AntAltMike, 20 December 2012 - 07:51 PM.


#9 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 05:26 PM

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

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.
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#10 OFFLINE   kenglish

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:51 AM

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 OFFLINE   kenglish

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:01 AM

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.solidsign...ku=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 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:09 AM

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.


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 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:13 AM

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.



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 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:20 AM

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,


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.
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#15 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:30 AM

...One concern about a rail mount is that... using it might still result in part of the dish extending beyond the perimeter of the balcony, which can be prohibited.


...there is nothing in the condo rules about the dish extending beyond my balcony...


From the opening post:

...the satellite dish cannot extend beyond the perimeter of the balcony railing.



#16 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

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.



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 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:07 PM

From: http://www.fcc.gov/g...on-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 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

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 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:22 PM

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.

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#20 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:24 PM

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.


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......)

#21 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:50 PM

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

Same link.

Q: If I live in a condominium or an apartment building, does this rule apply to me?

A: The rule applies to antenna users who live in a multiple dwelling unit building, such as a condominium or apartment building, if the antenna user has an exclusive use area in which to install the antenna. "Exclusive use" means an area of the property that only you, and persons you permit, may enter and use to the exclusion of other residents. For example, your condominium or apartment may include a balcony, terrace, deck or patio that only you can use, and the rule applies to these areas. The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof, the hallways, the walkways or the exterior walls of a condominium or apartment building. Restrictions on antennas installed in these common areas are not covered by the Commission's rule. For example, the rule would not apply to restrictions that prevent drilling through the exterior wall of a condominium or rental unit and thus restrictions may prohibit installation that requires such drilling.

(I added the bolding).

I haven't read anything in the OTARD about 'grandfathering'. For clarification you certainly can file a petition with the FCC. But I personally wouldn't drill any holes until after it was resolved.

#22 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:21 PM

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 -


You're getting WAAAAAYYYYY ahead of yourself. You say you aren't even there yet. Wait until you are. Look things over. Get with the local techs and the building management. They may have already worked this kind of thing out with other tenants in the mean time.
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#23 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:45 PM

......I haven't read anything in the OTARD about 'grandfathering'. For clarification you certainly can file a petition with the FCC. But I personally wouldn't drill any holes until after it was resolved.



Good advice - in that case, I will have it temporarily clamped to the balcony railing, "just in case". Here's the letter from the FCC:


=========================================

You are receiving this email in response to your inquiry to the FCC.

Mike,
Thank you for contacting the FCC with this important matter. I hope you find this information useful.


1. How do I file a petition for declaratory ruling and where?
There is no special form for a petition. You may simply describe the facts, including the specific restriction(s) that you wish to challenge. If possible, include contact information such as telephone numbers for all parties involved, if available, and attach a copy of the restriction(s) and any relevant correspondence. If this is not possible, be sure to include the exact language of the restriction in question with the petition. Parties may petition the Commission for a declaratory ruling under Section 1.2 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.2, or a court of competent jurisdiction, to determine whether a particular restriction is permissible or prohibited under this rule.

If someone wishes to file either a Petition for Declaratory Ruling or a Petition for Waiver pursuant to the Commission's Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (47 CFR 1.4000), they must file an original and two copies of the Petition at the following address:

Office of the Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Attn: Media Bureau


2. What are the requirements for filing a petition for a waiver or declaratory ruling?
Petitions for declaratory rulings and waivers must be served on all interested parties. If you are a viewer, you must serve a copy of the Petition on the entity seeking to enforce the restriction (i.e., the local government, community association or landlord). If you are a local government, community association or landlord, you must serve a copy of the Petition on the residents in the community who currently have or wish to install antennas that will be affected by the restriction your Petition seeks to maintain.

If a local government seeks a declaratory ruling or a waiver from the Commission, the local government must take steps to afford reasonable constructive notice to residents in its jurisdiction (e.g., by placing a notice in a local newspaper of general circulation)

If a viewer files a petition or lawsuit challenging a local government's ordinance, an association's restriction, or a landlord's lease, the viewer must serve the local government, association or landlord, as appropriate.


3. What are my rights until a decision is made on the declaratory ruling regarding a currently installed dish?
A restriction cannot be enforced while the petition is pending. Unless the restriction being challenged or for which a waiver is sought is necessary for reasons of safety or historic preservation.
There is no specified time frame for a decision on a petition for a declaratory ruling.

4. Who enforces a declaratory ruling?
If the Commission determines that the restriction is valid, you will have a minimum of 21 days to comply with this ruling. If you remove your antenna during this period, in most cases you cannot be fined. However, this 21-day grace period does not apply if the FCC rule does not apply to your installation (for example, if the antenna is installed on a condominium general common element or hanging outside beyond an apartment balcony. If the FCC rule does not apply at all in your case, the 21-day grace period does not apply.

5. What is the process for an OTARD dispute after the consumer sends a petition to the FCC for a ruling?
Once the Petition for a Declaratory Ruling is received at the FCC it is forwarded to the Media Bureau where it is entered onto a tracking chart. Then the petition is reviewed and the Petitioner is contacted. The HOA/landlord will also be contacted by the FCC.
After, reviewed a preliminary determination is made whether or not the OTARD Rule applies to the situation. At that time a rejection or acceptance letter will be sent. This can then lead to an informal negotiation, a formal PN and/or and FCC Order. This complete process can take 1 to 2 years to complete.

#24 OFFLINE   trh

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:19 PM

The OTARD link you provided has all this (and a little bit more).

The one thing I think your association is doing 'wrong' is mandating a specific mount. There are several types of non-pen mounts (like the one kenglish linked to) that work fine without doing any damage to the deck/building.

Good luck.

#25 OFFLINE   mikemyers

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:51 AM

.......There are several types of non-pen mounts ...... that work fine .......



Having seen the damage that the previous hurricanes caused in Miami, and having lived through them with the building shaking, and seeing the concrete wall surrounding the swimming pool having a whole section blown over, "worked fine" is not really applicable
to my situation, unless I was physically there to remove the dish for every potential storm.... and even if I was there, I would then lose access to the TV news that I have always had on during the storm so I'd know what was going on. Much of the time I'm away, traveling, with no way to do anything about the dish. .....and three feet away from where the dish will be, is my new hurricane glass balcony door and window, which would likely be damaged (if not destroyed) were the dish to move around.

Maybe I should post the photos here of the damage done by the last major storm that hit just south of Miami - much of the entire house was blown away. I saw which buildings survived, and which did not. My condo "should" survive something like this, and based on what I know about engineering and the forces involved, a temporary mount in this application is an invitation to disaster.


This photo is similar to the photos I took 20 minutes away from my condo:
http://www.tampabay....0109_58055c.jpg

My apartment survived all these storms with no problems.
My DTV dish survived all these storms with no problem.
The trees near my building were blown over.
The concrete block wall surrounding the building was blown away.

When DTV installs a dish properly, unless the structure itself fails, the dish remains in place.
To me, there is no substitute for having the dish firmly bolted in place.

(....and since the board hasn't said anything about the other fixtures bolted to the concrete, shutters, doors, outside lighting fixtures, cover plates for when/if the lighting fixtures are removed, I don't see why they should single out only a DTV dish..... Will post here in 6 weeks or so how it all works out.)

Edited by mikemyers, 27 December 2012 - 02:03 AM.





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