There no doubting that whacking a great big satellite dish on the front of a property doesn’t look great. If you own or live in a period property or listed building it either one doesn’t look right at all, two you are strictly forbidden to install on the exterior of the building. As unlike aerials satellite dishes do not work within lofts – which is a shame as this would solve so many dilemmas. They have to go outside. Which is why I have created this blog to share some tips/ advice on things I have done in the past to keep dishes hidden and more discreet.
Tips on keeping your satellite dish discreet
1 – Move it to the chimney
Probably one of the easier ways to hide your satellite dish. If you are fortunate enough to have a chimney and roof angle combination where the dish itself can be hidden or the reserve side of the chimney and a signal can still be obtained then this is probably the easiest route to go. You will of course have to route the cables down to the TV sets but these could go into the loft and then back out again to the rooms. Cable-tying behind drain pipes is a great way to keep the cables hidden.
When fixing satellite dishes to chimney stacks you may be fortunate enough to have an aerial installation in the right place so that they dish can be clamped onto the pole. Otherwise you will need to install a chimney lashing bracket which can be difficult if you have never done this before. I strongly advise never using drill expansion bolt fixings when securing your satellite dish this is particularly important for large and heavy satellite dishes. Although a satellite dish will not have the wind loading force or a TV aerial you still run the risk of ripping the bricks clean from the chimney – something I have seen happen on several occasions for incorrectly installed antennas.
2- Non penetrating roof mount
If you have a flat roof at your property which can’t be seen from ground level then this can be the perfect place to mount the satellite dish. You need to make sure that when you install your satellite dish that this is in a location where the chimney or roof line itself is not blocking the signal.
When on the flat roof you can install a Non penetrating roof mount which is a base with a pole that is weighted down with 2-4 slabs. It is important that on the underside of the Non penetrating roof mount that is install a protective mat to protect your flat roof, there are custom made mats for this job which can usually be purchased at the same place you buy your Non penetrating roof mont.
3 – Go low
Did you know that satellite dishes can actually work at ground level? Providing they have a clear line of sight of the satellites, just bare in mind that the lower you go the more likely things such as trees, fences, building etc are going to block the TV signal. In the south of England the Astra 2 satellites come down from the satellites in space at an angle of 26.1 degrees. This should help you visualise whether it will clear any nearby obstructions. The further off due south you go, 42E for Turksat for example the lower the satellite will appear on the horizon.
It is also worth noting that with a dish at low level you are more likely to block the signal by standing in front of the satellite dish. So may not be ideal for areas with small kids and pets who we all know can cause destruction.
Once you have the dish in place, ornaments or plants can be placed around but not directly in front of to hide the dish from view.
4- Install your satellite dish onto a Patio Mount
As well as going high you can go low, Patio mounts can provide a base and a vertical pole for the satellite dish to be mounted onto. This can be screwed directly into decking or drilled into something more solid. If you didn’t want to drill into your patio and if you do not have decking this could be fixed directly onto a slab and mounted onto a flat surface. You need to make that this isn’t going to move in wind so should be cunningly positioned in a pace to protect from the wind.
You may have to install the patio slab itself onto a dry sand and cement mix to provide a solid or even base. Or alternatively when mounting onto grass. Using a spade or similar a tight square not any larger than that of the slab could be cut out so that the slab can be recessed into the ground and the grass/ turf itself holds the slab in position.
For both of these techniques I do not recommend using a large satellite dish such as a dish required for foreign and European TV or heavy satellite dishes such is used for communication satellite dishes that are used for satellite broadband and so on as the slab itself is unlikely to be sufficient enough to not tip over in high winds – In which case I recommend concreting a pole into the ground.
5 – Concrete onto a pole in the ground
Much like mounting the dish low or onto a patio mount you have to first make sure you will get a signal where you intend to mount the dish. Use a compass and inclinometer to identify the angle then check, double check and triple check because if you get this wrong it’s a whole lot of work down the drain.
I recommend using a scaffold pole for this task. With a spade you will need to dig a hole for the pole to be inserted. Then around the pole in the hole -couldn’t think of a better way to word that. Fill with concrete. You will need to fix the pole so it is level and will not move whilst the concrete sets.
Once the concrete has set you have a solid pole to secure your satellite dish. We regularly do this for satellite broadband installations as the dishes are very large and the areas in which satellite broadband is required, out in the sticks away from towns and cities are the places typically where people don’t want whacking great dishes on their building so this is a great method as the dish can even be installed down the end of the garden behind a bush or something.
6 – If all else fails – paint the thing!
I often get asked. “Can I paint my satellite dish?” and the answer is yes you can! For this task I recommend using a non-metallic car paint as this is perfect for the job. You want something that is designed for metal and that doesn’t reflect the as this could cause problems with the LNB. Hence a non-metallic car paint.
You can pick a colour that matches the walls so it will blend in. I have seen dishes where the dish itself was painted white to match the render behind with a black stripe through the middle which blended in with a black wooden beam. To glance at it quickly you wouldn’t even notice it!
For more information on satellite dish installations please visit here.
If you’re interested in using Smart Aerials for your own discreet install. Get in touch. We serve the whole of East and West Sussex and regularly serve Bexhill, Hastings, Rye, Uckfield, Crowborough, Hailsham, Polegate, Eastbourne, Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven, Brighton and Hove.
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