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Vol.2 - No. 3

The Evolution and Storage of Satellite Dishes

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Fig. 1

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Fig. 2

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Fig. 3

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Fig. 4

I'm beginning to think that TV satellite dishes are a lot like neckties.  I have a closet full of neckties.  Since retiring, I seldom wear them except for weddings and funerals.  I have narrow ones, medium ones and wide ones.  I never throw them out as I believe that eventually that width will be back in style at some point.

When we purchased our present home in Southern Oregon in 1996 the former owner had satellite TV as there is no cable TV in our area.  He left the equipment, a huge 10' dish like the one in Fig. 1.  Not exactly a dish I would bring along in the RV.  Several years later the smaller, 18" dishes were introduced which made it very convenient for RVers to bring their equipment on the road.  Winegard came out with a clever, folding satellite dish for compact storage (See Fig. 2.).  As satellite technology progressed, the dishes grew a bit larger with the introduction of more channels and multiple LNB's.  This led to even larger dishes with the addition of High Definition TV.  Some of these new dishes are almost twice the size of the original 18" dish.

What will the future bring?  Smell-a-vision - with a 6' dish?  Maybe Touchy-Feel TV - and we will be back to the 10' dish?  Now you see why I think TV satellite dishes are a lot like neckties - wait long enough and they come back in style!

Needless to say, as these dishes get larger, storage in the RV becomes more of a challenge.  To make that job easier we developed several kits that allow the LNB arm to fold up.  In researching that product we found that the only folding LNB arms were in Europe, where the dishes were already larger (See Figs. 3&4).  With the popularity of satellite TV in RV's I can't imagine why our U.S. dish manufacturers haven't come up with similar dishes for RVers.

We offer two kits to allow the LNB arm to fold up against the face of the dish.  This feature allows for approximately 50% less storage space.  One kit is designed for certain models of the DirecTV SlimLine dish.  It involves replacing just a few of the existing parts of the dish with our kit.  The other kit is designed for the remainder of the satellite dishes out there.  Installation involves some cutting with a hacksaw and drilling holes in the metal arm.  If you are even a little handy with tools it is not too difficult - and well worth the effort. 

Click here to see these kits on our website.  Also, check out our valuable coupon below and save some $$$$.



In last month's issue of the newsletter we discussed setting up the Heavy-Duty Tripod to withstand high winds (above 50 mph).  We offered some suggestions for improved stability and anchoring.  While these were originally intended to be a Do-it-Yourself project, we received several inquiries to purchase the components for the project.  (The chain, ratcheting tie-down strap and 12" spikes.)

We have decided to offer these items for sale as a package - in two options. 

First option - when purchasing our Heavy-Duty Tripod you can add the High Wind Option Package and we will drill the necessary holes in each leg foot for the chain, and supply the chain, ratcheting tie-down strap, and two 12" spikes and complete instructions for $19.95. 

Second option - if you already own the tripod, you can drill the three, 7/16" holes yourself (just need a hand drill or drill press) and we supply the other components - $19.95. 

Click here for more information on our new, High-Wind Option Package.  Also, check out our valuable coupon below and save some $$$$.



In the November issue we discussed the problems encountered receiving U.S. satellite TV when traveling beyond the borders of the U.S. 

One of our readers, Ken T., noted an error in the article regarding travel into Mexico and sent this correction:


Just 'discovered' your newsletter and subscribed today.  While reading the Nov. 2009 issue I noted the following;

'We were able to get about a 55% signal in San Carlos (about 250 miles south of the US). Geo satellites can be placed in other locations other than over the equator and the TV signal does NOT get stronger the farther south you go.'

The original author is wrong!  All geosynchronous satellites are positioned above the equator!  All satellites orbit the earth's center of gravity which is at the center of our planet.  This simple fact means that the only position that appears stationary from the ground is directly over the equator at a distance that produces an orbital period of 24 hours.

The reason that received signals get weaker farther south is because the transmit antennas on the satellite are "aimed" to achieved a desired coverage and not waste transmitted power sending signals to unwanted areas.

We've been full time RVers for over 6 years and I've built a couple of 'different' tripods.

One was an inverted DirecTV dish that was very portable but it tended to vibrate in strong winds even after I filled the PVC pipe with gravel.  Presetting the dish with the proper elevation was impossible!  I now have a Dish 500 mounted to a very low profile tripod.  It has 3 feet made from 3.5" length of 2 x 4.  The feet are spaced as a 36" equilateral triangle with the pipe at the center of the triangle.

Ken T."

Thanks Ken!  It's helpful feedback like your's that make our newsletter more valuable to our readers. We recently improved our newsletter archive.  You can now view past issues of our newsletter, complete with photos, directly from our website.  Simply click here and select the issue you wish to view from the archive list.