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Recommendations for satellite antenna, coax cable, and antenna tower


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21 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Orley Fudd

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 10:51 AM

So... I have searching unsuccessfully for information on installing a satellite TV system.  Here's our situation:

 

We live in rural Idaho Falls. Within two blocks of our place are cowzzss - we live in the sticks. For a while there XM radio - we are long time subscribers - was carrying our beloved Boise State football team (with apologies to Oklahoma fans) - but not last year. So next season we have decided to subscribe to Direct TV so that we can see the Broncos - who will be broadcast on ESPN.

 

We are new to satellite TV having only used our air antenna these many years. That is, we no nothing about how to install the antenna, the receiver, etc. I want to do the installation myself, to the extent that it is possible to do so.

 

I do not want to place the satellite antenna on our roof (we will be replacing our roof with standing seam metal), or on the side or the house, on nearby on the ground. What I want to do is place the antenna on a 40 foot antenna tower, together with a) a lightening rod, B) a new air antenna, c) a new FM radio antenna. This tower - I am thinking about a two-piece crank-up that does not require guy wires. This antenna will be about 200 feet from the receiver. I will provide 120V AC at the tower to drive an antenna rotator and other devices as needed. The coax and the 120V AC will be buried underground.

 

What is the very best equipment that you would recommend for a) satellite antenna for receiving Direct TV, B) crank-up antenna tower, c) coax cable from the antennas to the receivers, d) air antenna, e) antenna rotator, and f) Direct TV receiver. How does one shield the coax from picking up any stray AC noise?

 

Many thanks in advance for your help.



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#2 OFFLINE   studechip

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 11:26 AM

Welcome to dbstalk!

 

Directv dishes require precise aiming. You are pointing at a satellite the size of a bus that is over 22000 miles away. I don't think they would work well with a crank up/down tower. I would suggest a pole mount separate from other antennas for the Directv dish. In fact, you should consider letting Directv do the install.


Edited by studechip, 18 April 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#3 OFFLINE   PCampbell

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:42 PM

Lower the better. 40ft up will catch a lot of wind and the dish cant move. It is best to have Directv do the install and use a pole mount.


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#4 OFFLINE   upsss

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 03:16 PM

Unfortunately you are right, you know nothing about satellite TV.  The Dish cannot be installed on a 40' unguided tower, it cannot be rotated with a OTA TV antenna rotator nor have to be installed on your roof.  2'-3' off the ground, assuming you have line of sight to the satellite is perfectly fine.  Let Directv install it for you, it is FREE!


Edited by upsss, 18 April 2013 - 03:41 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 04:13 PM

Key points

 

1. In order to qualify for free equipment, DirecTV MUST install it, otherwise you must go to an authorized dealer and you will pay FULL lease price.

 

2. DirecTV will not install the dish on a "crank up" tower

 

3. The dish must remain on the same place or it MUST be peak every time is moved or "cranked up"


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#6 OFFLINE   Volatility

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:54 PM

As far as cabling RG6 should do the trick, i'd stay away from Rg59 as its being phased out. You can find rg6 at Lowe's as well as coax cable tips. Actually Lowe's has a lot of stuff you can use to install satellite TV in the electrical section for subcontractors (except the actual dtv equipment of course). They will cut the wire to the length you want and charge per foot. I don't see why you would do it yourself though as directv does it free as well as the newer slimline dishes are harder to allign if you are going for hd or mas programming. Its gonna be like trying to find a needle in a haystack- installers go through vigorous training and OJT for a reason

Edited by Volatility, 18 April 2013 - 07:07 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 07:40 PM

As far as cabling RG6 should do the trick, i'd stay away from Rg59 as its being phased out. You can find rg6 at Lowe's as well as coax cable tips. Actually Lowe's has a lot of stuff you can use to install satellite TV in the electrical section for subcontractors (except the actual dtv equipment of course). 

Actually, at these distances RG11 would be much preferred.  Lowes  and Home Depot tend to sell CCS instead of SCC coax cable so I would stay away from these places when it comes down to get good quality coax.  www.monoprice.com we be the place to get cheap quality cables.


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#8 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 08:48 AM

As others have noted, the tower is absolutely a no-go. Pole mount the dish much closer to the house.  200 feet of coax is also pushing the limit, and as peds48 notes you would probably need to use RG11 rather than RG6 for that distance. Also, whatever coax you use needs to have solid copper center conductor, so don't just go to Lowe's or Home Depot - most of their coax is not solid copper.

 

You can do a quick check for line of sight to the satellites. Go to www.dishpointer.com and check for DirecTV. You want to scroll down the list of satellites to the "multi LNB" series, then select the one for DirecTV that points to 99,101 and 103. Put the location exactly where you want the dish to be located, and use the hybrid display mode and you can easily see if you have line of sight.

 

Once you are pretty certain you have line of sight from where you want the dish (pole mounted, just a few feet off the ground), call DirecTV and arrange an installation. There is a lot more involved than what you anticipate (based on your original post), and you will need someone who knows the equipment and process to get the dish properly installed and aligned.



#9 OFFLINE   Orley Fudd

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:40 AM

So...could the satellite antenna be mounted near the base of the tower - say 3 to 5 feet off the ground? Once set and elevated, the tower would not be moved. We need the tower to get the air antenna high enough to obtain some decent recepion. The tower would be the very heavy duty type, designed to withstand high winds. It woud be set in concrete four feet deep. I won't be putting any antennas on or near my house.

 

What about the satellite antenna? Can anyone make a recommedation for a brand and supplier? And also a supplier for high grade coax?

 

I would like to do the job myself for several reasons. Those of you out there who are DIY's can understand why without elaborating. According to representatives of Direct TV who I spoke with, I can supply my own satellite antenna and my own receiver. When I discussed pricing, there was no mention of paying a lease on equipment that I owned. Maybe that was an oversight on their part.

 

Many thanks for the suggestions that were helpful and not rude.



#10 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:32 AM

I imagine this tower is going to cost a few thousand dollars, and buying all your DirecTV equipment outright, hundreds more. Is the content you'll be getting and the satisfaction of DIY really worth it? You realize you'll most likely get your locals via satellite right? The only channels you'll be missing will be a few sub-channels which are usually worthless.

 

If you insist on going ahead with this plan, solid signal is one of the better suppliers. I'd try to pick up the dish used since those are usually either very cheap or free on Craigslist.

 

I'm a DIY kind of guy too, but what you're considering is not smart. If you insist on DIY, just let DirecTV come in and do their thing, so you at least get all the equipment for free. Then rip everything out and re-install the way you like if you are so inclined (but don't call DirecTV back if it doesn't work). Finding a good solid mount on your tower that's adjustable for proper aiming, even at a low elevation, is going to be a challenge. And a tower that tall is still going to move, even near the bottom, too much to maintain a good signal.


Edited by mdavej, 19 April 2013 - 10:32 AM.


#11 OFFLINE   Orley Fudd

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 11:22 AM

mdavej:

 

Thanks for your reply. Not to be argumentative, but I see satellite antennas mounted on the tops of roofs, high on the sides of buildings, etc. There must be some movement with these installations when the wind is blowing, is that not true? No building is perfectly solid. Where do you have your antenna mounted and do you ever experience signal degradation with high winds?

 

What equipment is "free" from DirectTV? 



#12 OFFLINE   bigglebowski

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 11:43 AM

Certainly a dish mounted to a solid tower will not be a problem you may have to come up with your own bracket to attach it.



#13 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 01:35 PM

mdavej:

 

Thanks for your reply. Not to be argumentative, but I see satellite antennas mounted on the tops of roofs, high on the sides of buildings, etc. There must be some movement with these installations when the wind is blowing, is that not true? No building is perfectly solid. Where do you have your antenna mounted and do you ever experience signal degradation with high winds?

 

What equipment is "free" from DirectTV? 

I'm no structural engineer, but the moment (rotational force) on a 40' tower is going to be a lot different than it is on a building the same height. I don't really care where you mount your dish, just sharing my opinion, like everyone else, that this is a bad idea. I don't know anything about your tower other than the height. It may very well work out fine, but it's not ideal, and it won't be easy.

 

Over the years I've had my dishes mounted to posts supporting my porch, fence posts and aluminum poles, all roughly 4' off the ground. I've had at least 4 pro installs and another 4 that I did myself over a period of many years with difference services in different homes and locations. I don't recall ever losing a signal due to high winds alone. I did lose it quite often in heavy rain, snow and even heavy cloud cover.

 

What equipment is free? Everything that I know of for a new install is free except additional DVRs: Dish, pole, LNB, cables, connectors, splitters, terminators, SWM, DECA, Genie (Primary DVR), remotes. Labor is free too. If you bought all of this (without leasing the DVR), you're probably looking at nearly $1000. I don't know about you, but I'd have a lot better things to spend that money on than TV.

 

Also realize that these installers do this for a living. Many have done it hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. You've done it zero times. They can do it quickly, efficiently and correctly. Do you have the tools an installer would have, like a meter to peak the dish? Are you willing to spend a few hundred bucks on a meter you'll likely never use again? Or are you going to bring a TV and receiver out to the tower and peak the dish that way? Little details like this make self installs a pain.


Edited by mdavej, 19 April 2013 - 01:37 PM.

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#14 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 02:08 PM

I'm no structural engineer, but the moment (rotational force) on a 40' tower is going to be a lot different than it is on a building the same height. I don't really care where you mount your dish, just sharing my opinion, like everyone else, that this is a bad idea. I don't know anything about your tower other than the height. It may very well work out fine, but it's not ideal, and it won't be easy.
 
Over the years I've had my dishes mounted to posts supporting my porch, fence posts and aluminum poles, all roughly 4' off the ground. I've had at least 4 pro installs and another 4 that I did myself over a period of many years with difference services in different homes and locations. I don't recall ever losing a signal due to high winds alone. I did lose it quite often in heavy rain, snow and even heavy cloud cover.
 
What equipment is free? Everything that I know of for a new install is free except additional DVRs: Dish, pole, LNB, cables, connectors, splitters, terminators, SWM, DECA, Genie (Primary DVR), remotes. Labor is free too. If you bought all of this (without leasing the DVR), you're probably looking at nearly $1000. I don't know about you, but I'd have a lot better things to spend that money on than TV.
 
Also realize that these installers do this for a living. Many have done it hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. You've done it zero times. They can do it quickly, efficiently and correctly. Do you have the tools an installer would have, like a meter to peak the dish? Are you willing to spend a few hundred bucks on a meter you'll likely never use again? Or are you going to bring a TV and receiver out to the tower and peak the dish that way? Little details like this make self installs a pain.


Well said...
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They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.


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#15 OFFLINE   PCampbell

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:15 PM

There is nothing gained by mounting a dish 40ft high, the sattlite is 23000 miles up. Keep it low, if you get snow its a lot easier to clean off.


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#16 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 05:07 PM

I think you could easily get a sufficiently stable dish installation anywhere on the first 10 feet or so of your tower (the first section). However, you are still dealing with the 200 foot run of coax (ditto for the off-air antenna). The longer your coax runs, the more signal loss. And with regard to the LNB assembly on the dish, you are also concerned with the amount of DC power drop between the receiver or power inserter and the dish.  For your ota antenna, if you are getting good signal at the base of the tower, you can amplify that and feed it to the house, offsetting the signal loss in the coax.  But if you put the signal amplifier at the other end (the tv end) of that run, then all you are amplifying is the noise. You can't increase a signal that isn't there to start with.

 

I have also seen it posted here (multiple times) that a new account requires an installation. You can't buy everything, install it, and get it activated on a new account.

 

As to "buying" equipment, no matter where you acquire it (such as Solid Signal or another retailer), it is still leased.  There are a few owned receivers out there that you might be able to buy, but you still can't set up a new account with one - you must have an installer out.

 

So consider all of your options, and make sure you can accomplish what you think you want to accomplish, before spending serious money on 200+ feet of RG11 coax with solid copper center conductor, and the proper fittings for them. The only dish you can use is the Slimline 3LNB or 5LNB. Those are available in two technologies, SWM and non-SWM.  SWM might be preferable for you, as it only requires one coax run instead of four (1/4 the cost for coax), but the dish technology has to match the receiver technology. Some are SWM only, some are legacy (non-SWM) only, and some are able to work with either technology.


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#17 OFFLINE   Orley Fudd

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 06:39 PM

Carl6:

 

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure I understand what you wrote about a signal amplifier. The ideal location for my satellite antenna is about 200 feet or so from my house - where the receiver will be. You see, we have many tall spruce trees ( 60 to 80 foot tall windbreak trees, actually) surrounding our house that would block the signal path. So I need to place the antenna where the signal will not be blocked.

 

Does the satellite antenna require an amplifier prior to that 200 foot run of coax to the house? What is the maximum coax run allowed from the satellite antenna to the receiver? If an amplifier is required, I would bring 120V AC to the antenna to drive the amplifier.

 

What does SWM mean? Sorry, but I don't know the acronyms.

 

So, do you think that if I installed the satellite antenna, had the DirectTV installer come out and "bless" my installation, that he would activate the system? I am thinking about having DirectTV supply the receiver, as they have a new receiver that they claim is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I haven't decided that. The main thing is that I want the best receiver possible that I can obtain.

 

And the short answer is yes - I would spend whatever money necessary to achieve a top grade installation. To even have the "opportunity" to buy a ticket to a Boise State game, I would to make at least a $1,000 "donation" to the athletic department. And then buy each ticket at $300 a pop. And then sit in the cold after a five hour drive to Boise. After all, someone has to pay Chris Peterson's 1.5 million annual salary.  Oh yeah, I will be buying a new TV to augment my new satellite installation. Far better, I think, to watch the games from my easy chair, enjoying the warmth of my fireplace insert.

 

Again, thanks for your comments and suggestions.



#18 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 08:39 PM

I was not suggesting an amp for the DirecTV signal, but rather for your over-the-air antenna.

 

The newest DirecTV receiver/DVR system is the Genie (either an HR34 or an HR44), which is a 5 tuner DVR. You can get the Genie along with 3 client devices typically for free as a new customer. That system requires SWM, which would be included with the install.

 

The tree issue does clarify why you are wanting to go so far from the house, but you could have challenges at that distance with a "normal" installation. Perhaps one of the installers who frequent these forums can chime in on that (is there a limit to what you are allowed to install?).  It will work at 200 feet, however that is beyond the normal maximum recommended distance. To enhance your margins (before signal loss or other problems), you would want to acquire and install RG11 coax (with solid copper center conductor) between your house and the tower, with connectors on both ends that the installer could simply connect to. I have no suggestions on where to buy that coax, do some online searching.

 

SWM stands for Single Wire Multiswitch - a newer satellite dish/LNB technology that DirecTV is using. You only need one coax from the dish to feed multiple receivers/tuners. The older technology required four coax runs.

 

Let the installer supply the dish and install it. If you absolutely must have it on the tower, mount a thick wooden board to the side of the tower you want the dish on, and make it low enough that you can reach and work on it from the ground (installers don't climb towers). Then they can install the dish on your board just as if they were installing to the side of your house.  You'll nned that board to be large enough to mount the foot plate as well as two monopole arms. Perhaps someone can chime in here and tell you the minimum measurements for that (mine isn't accessible to go measure). And make that board rock solid, bolted to your tower legs in at least 4 places.

 

I've got relatives in Boise, they are of course, Huge fans!



#19 OFFLINE   netraa

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:33 PM

Just a bit of friendly advice.

 

If you decide to go this route with your own custom install, your going to be what's referred to as an out of market install, or a custom install.... that means, that if anything ever breaks, good luck getting a directv tech to even touch your system.  Your going to be on the hook for any and all repairs to the system, including any broken receivers.

 

~N



#20 OFFLINE   augisdad

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:38 AM

I'm still curious as to why you would even need the tower?  If you get DirecTV, they provide your locals for you without the need of an over-the-air antenna. 


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