How do I build a satellite

Everything about satellite reception

Compilation and assembly of your system (part 1)

Please do not be put off by the scope of these instructions! As long as you only want to mount a simple satellite dish, you can skim through the more specific sections and only read the passages that concern you.

There are much shorter instructions on the Internet that present the topic in a simplified manner - but unfortunately also leave out important aspects, which then leads to both annoying and avoidable problems. So better take your time and go through the complete guide before you get started! Because good preparation saves time and money afterwards.

Search for a suitable installation site

A satellite dish needs an absolutely clear view of the satellite. There must be no twig, no tree, no fence and certainly no wall in the way. You will have to find out the exact direction later by trying it out, but the first clue is: a clear view to the south (with a tick to the southeast) and approx. 33 ° upwards. Reception obstacles such as tall trees, neighboring houses, etc. are the most common cause of errors.

If possible, I recommend mounting it on a house wall. I advise against roof mounting; On the roof, the bowl is not only more complicated to assemble, it is also difficult to access later (e.g. if you have reception problems due to snow in the bowl, or if you have to repair something). The bowl is optimally protected from snow under a roof overhang. However, the roof section must not extend into the beam path between the dish and the satellite, otherwise you are giving away reception strength (and thus bad weather reserves).

What you do not have to pay attention to - in contrast to terrestrial antennas - is the height. If the Line of sight is given to the satellite, it is completely irrelevant whether the dish is attached at ground level or at a height of 10 meters. Strictly speaking, it is sufficient if a "tunnel" in the diameter of the mirror is free exactly in the direction of reception. However, it is almost impossible to determine the direction so precisely in advance using only tabular values ​​and a compass.

Tip: The page offers a very good representation of the reception direction based on Google Earth. You search for the receiving location with entries such as "Germany, Munich, Sonnenstrasse" and select the desired satellite position from the long list (in most cases this is "19.2E Astra 1F, 1H, 1KR, 1L, 1M"). Then you can move the green reception point (the tip below applies) exactly to the planned location and see the horizontal reception direction based on the green line. The vertical angle can be found under "Elevation".
If you switch on the "show obstacle" option, you can also move a red dot to a point where a possible obstacle is lurking (e.g. a tree or a wall). You then find out how high this obstacle (measured from the level of the underside of the dish) may be at a maximum in order not to interfere with reception. So z. B. If the bowl is to be installed 2 meters high and an obstacle height of 6 meters is displayed, the obstacle may not be more than 8 meters high.

If different installation locations are possible in your house, you can decide based on visual and practical considerations: From where do you have to lay the least cables? Where is the bowl well protected from mechanical damage? Where does it get the least snow in winter? Where is it least noticeable?

If other options are not available, you can of course also mount the bowl on the roof. This is sometimes the only solution in tightly built-up areas - and optical considerations sometimes speak in favor of roof mounting. If a stable antenna mast already exists on the south side, you can also use it; an existing mast is (hopefully) properly attached and properly grounded. Otherwise you will have to install a new antenna mast of the required height. The assembly of an antenna mast with a tight roof connection is already a task for advanced users and, depending on the height and slope of the roof, can also be very dangerous.

You should consult a specialist for proper lightning protection / earthing. This definitely applies to roof mounting, but you can easily leave the "lightning-protected" area even with wall mounting. Even the direction in which cables are laid plays a role. So if in doubt, please let us advise you!

A third mounting option is to set up the bowl freely in the garden, which is useful for very large bowls or houses that are overgrown. For this purpose, a special antenna mast must be built into a foundation; There are special underground cables for connecting the LNB to the house. For free-standing antennas, special regulations apply with regard to earthing and equipotential bonding, so that a specialist is needed here even more.

If you want to keep your dish as invisible as possible, for example to placate the landlord, or if you yourself find satellite dishes on the house ugly, there are a number of options available to you. I have put together a separate page about invisible or inconspicuous satellite antennas.

Next part

Author: Andreas Beitinger
Last change: July 2019


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