Installing the base plate of your antenna
Once you have determined the best location to install your dish, you should mount the base plate that will support your dish.
This step is critical in the success or failure of your installation. If the base plate is installed properly, you will not have to worry about the dish moving under high winds and bad weather conditions.
If the base plate is not installed in a firm matter, you will not even find a signal. Today's digital receivers require a stable signal for at least 2 seconds before they indicate that you have found your satellite. This is something you can not achieve if the dish is not being supported properly.
Location of the dish
The best location to install your base plate is on the side of your house. Contrary to popular belief, the roof is not the best place to install your satellite dish:
- The side of your house will usually offer a solid structure onto which you can mount the dish. The roof on the other hand will not offer a solid structure, unless you drive anchor bolts right into the support beams.
- If the dish is on the side of your house, it will not be affected by winds and severe weather conditions as much as if it were on the roof.
- The roof will not provide better reception of the satellite than the side of your house, as long as you have a clear line of sight to the satellite (see previous section).
Only consider the roof if you can not get a clear line of sight to the satellite from the side of your house!
How to mount the base plate
Brick or concrete:
The best structure to support your base plate is brick or concrete.
- If you can install your base plate on brick or concrete, Tapcon screws are the best (better than using expansion anchors). We provide Tapcon screws with our "Home made" installation kit.
- Tapcon screws are made to be inserted in brick or concrete through a 3/16" hole. First, you should drill a 3/16" hole using a drill (a hammer drill if you can).
- Then, using magnetized sockets that go on your drill, drive the Tapcon screw into the brick or concrete.
- With 4 Tapcon screws holding your base place, you will have enough strength to support a 34" dish under the worst weather conditions in the world!
Wood panel or beam
The next "best structure" for your base plate is a wood beam, into which you can drive 2" or 2.5" anchor bolts.
- Use at least 1/4" x 2" anchor bolts.
- Pre-drill all your holes to avoid cracking the beam.
- Never over tighten, or you will strip the hole and loose all support.
Vinyl or Aluminum Siding
The last thing to consider, when installing your base plate, is a structure covered by vinyl or aluminum siding.
If you must install your dish on such a surface (because you have nothing else):
- You should mount base plate on a beam supporting the wall (there are usually 2" x 4" beams behind vinyl and aluminum siding walls).
- Use the center holes of the base plate to drive the anchor bolts into the narrow (2") beam.
- The 4 holes on the extremities of the base plate should also be used, even though they may not penetrate a beam, in order to stabilize the dish.
- To find a beam on an outside wall, drill small holes at 1.5" intervals on a 24" stretch. You should hit a beam within that stretch.
- If you can install your dish directly over a window, there will be 2" x 4" beams directly over the 2 extremities of the window (the same goes for a door).
- If you can install your dish on the very corner of a wall, there will usually be support beams within 4" to 6" from the corner. Use these beams to support one side of the base plate. The other side of the base plate will not be as strong, but the entire structure will hold as much as a 30" dish.
If you must install your dish on a roof (because you can not get a proper line of sight from the side of your house), you should try to find one of the support beams of the roof, in order to drive anchor bolts that will hold your base plate and support the entire dish without moving.
When you drill holes in a roof, you may have leaks later on, if you do not properly seal the holes once you have finished working. For that reason, make sure you have plenty of tar and silicone if you plan to do your installation on a roof!
Pipe (2" to 4")
Another good way to mount your satellite dish, is to mount the base plate on a pipe (2" or more in diameter). If the pipe is stable, your dish will work perfectly.
In order to hold your dish onto the pipe, you should use 2" tp 4" clamps. Such clamps are also used on cars, to support the exhaust pipe, so you should be able to find them at any good garage.