Mounting dish in a bucket of concrete? (1 Viewer)

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David_R

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Dec 2, 2004
24
0
Rochester, NY
Right now I'm living in an apartment, and trying to figure out the best way to install a dish. I have a private south facing balcony, so I don't think landlord or line of sight will be a problem. The building exterior is brick, and I'm honestly not quite sure what the balcony itself is made out of; it's covered with astroturf.

My thought is to take a 5 or 10 gallon bucket, fill it with concrete, and sink and pole or 4x4 into it. I'm abit concerned about the stability of this arrangement. Snow shouldn't be too much of an issue, as the second story balcony acts as a roof over mine, but we do get some nasty wind around here on occasion.
I'm also not quite sure how I'd ensure that it's sitting perfectly level.

BTW, I'm still trying to figure out whether I should go with a Dish500, or order locals and get the windsail otherwise known as SuperDish...

Anyone have any advice or experience with mounting a dish like that?

Thanks,
-- Dave
 
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korsjs

Welcome To SatelliteGuys
Supporting Founder
Jan 25, 2004
7,583
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Land O Lakes, FL
for one of my dishes, i have a bucket (one of those painter kind) filled with concrete and a 4 x 4. i did did a hole in the ground a put the bucket in first. the reason i did that is for easy removal when I move.

i think you migh need a bigger bucket since you are not going to have it in the ground. make sure when you are pouring the concrete, you have the bucket where you want it to make sure the post is level. or just make sure your patio is level if you can't pour it there.
 

David_R

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Dec 2, 2004
24
0
Rochester, NY
make sure when you are pouring the concrete, you have the bucket where you want it to make sure the post is level. or just make sure your patio is level if you can't pour it there.
Ah, well there's the rub. It's abit cold around here lately (snowing today), and I'd be concerned about the concrete not setting up well. So I planned to pour it in a garage or basement, and then place it on the patio. I'm also have a suspicion that the patio is not level, but I'll have to double check on that. If it's not then I suppose I'll have to place something under the bucket to level it out.

Hrm, how about this idea. I take the largest post I can find, say a 4x6, such that the dish mounting bracket has some room to skew. Then I should be able to plum the mounting bracket on the post even if the post itself isn't plum.

I'm still concerned about it just tipping over or sliding around in high winds. Repositioning perfectly would probably not be easy.

-- Dave
 

ats7627

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 10, 2003
341
4
We have used the concrete bucket install at many apartment homes. It works very well. We never use a wooden post, always schedule 40 pipe. You can use wooden shims around the bucket to level and plumb the post. Once your antenna is aligned, place 2 pieces of tape at the bottom of the bucket at least 90 degrees apart. Then place 2 pieces of tape on the patio directly under the tape on the bucket. This way if a strong wind does move the bucket, you would simply align the tape on the bucket with the tape on the patio.
 

deezoneezo

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 31, 2004
112
0
Buy a tripod. You can get one from radio shack or probably any home center. If you weigh it down with cinder blocks it won't go anywhere. It will cost more than a bucket and concrete but less than a new dish and lnb for when the bucket blows over.
 

SRW1000

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 26, 2004
286
0
Wisconsin
I didn't want to mount my dish on my house, so instead I got two large (18" x 18") patio blocks, drilled four holes through them, and attached the dish to them. I used some washers to level the dish's bracket before the final tightening.

That was about 10 years ago, and it never moved. Just another option for you.

Scott
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
Repositioning the dish probably won't be as hard as you imagine. The dish will not, or should not, turn on the pole or tilt up and down. At worst, the whole setup will move on you and it shouldn't be that hard to just turn the bucket. Following the string-and-tape idea, you could mark the bucket and the balcony deck with something when it's aligned. That way you have something to guide you if it ever does move.
 
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David_R

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Dec 2, 2004
24
0
Rochester, NY
Once your antenna is aligned, place 2 pieces of tape at the bottom of the bucket at least 90 degrees apart. Then place 2 pieces of tape on the patio directly under the tape on the bucket. This way if a strong wind does move the bucket, you would simply align the tape on the bucket with the tape on the patio.
That's an excellent (and even better, simple) idea. I'll definately do that.

Buy a tripod. You can get one from radio shack or probably any home center. If you weigh it down with cinder blocks it won't go anywhere.
Hrm, hadn't thought of using a tripod. Do have you a RadioShack part number or pictures of such an installation? I'm having trouble imagining how you'd weigh a tripod's legs down.

I didn't want to mount my dish on my house, so instead I got two large (18" x 18") patio blocks, drilled four holes through them, and attached the dish to them. I used some washers to level the dish's bracket before the final tightening.
If I understand you, you put the dish's mounting bracket flat, similar to how it would be for a roof-top installation? I'm not sure if that'd work for me, as I have a railing to clear, which is about 3 feet high. So I need some way to raise the dish off the ground at least a few feet.


So, assuming a superdish 5 feet off the ground, and I'll say some 60mph wind, does anyone think I'll run the risk of it tipping over (and getting damaged)? Seems like it might be abit top-heavy. Perhaps I need a larger base than a 5gal bucket would give me?

Thanks for all the suggestions guys, keep them coming :)
-- Dave
 

SimpleSimon

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Feb 29, 2004
5,692
3
Florissant, CO
The tripod solution takes considerably more floor space than the bucket.

Bucket of concrete work great for Dish500's, but NOT for SuperDish.

Wind load goes up with the square of the area or some such nasty formula. Suffice it to say that you'd need as much as 4-500 pounds of concrete to prevent wind shift.

Add to that the fact that a SD is a bear to aim, and big enough that it'll get bumped a lot, and I recommend you just fuggitaboudit.
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
16,561
339
Western WV
A nonpenetrating mount would work great for what your wanting. I installed a dish that is about 3-4 foot wide and the same heighth earlier this year for a business that wanted weather satellite using the nonpenetrating mount. There has not been a problem since.
 

Stargazer

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
16,561
339
Western WV
I can get them for cheaper than $47 so if anybody is looking for them they can message me. Even Radio Shack was cheaper than this at one time (maybe they were on sale though).
 

bcshields

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 28, 2003
1,458
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Delaware
The only problem I saw with concrete bucket mounts was human factor... moving to sweep around it, kids playing with it, etc. As long as the bucket is marked in At LEAST 2 PLACES for triangulation, you shouldn't have a problem.
 

pattjin

New Member
Dec 7, 2004
1
0
I've seen the tripod for $15-20 at the local Fry's. I don't know if you have a store like that around you, but I wouldn't pay more than $25 for one. I have a few that I picked up from people, two of them, I got from some guy who weighed them down with cinder blocks on each leg. (each leg has a tab on it that will fit under a cinder block.)

Or, I suppose you could buy a 4'x4' piece of plywood, screw the legs to the plywood and then put cinderblocks on top of the 4'x4' piece of wood.
 
Aug 8, 2004
8
0
I have used a tripod with a 6 foot fence pole with plastic zip ties attached to a railing on the 14th floor of an ocean-side condo. I then used water jugs for balast. The Dish 500 did not move in three month that I have used it.
 

David_R

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Dec 2, 2004
24
0
Rochester, NY
All done and hasn't fallen over yet

Being of a do-it-yourself personality, I decided to make my own mount, rather than buying a tripod. It's similar to the non-penetrating mounts, but made of wood. Basically a 4"x6" post attached to a 2'x3' piece of 3/4" plywood with some 12" tall triangular braces and screws. I then also screwed the plywood down to the balcony and put a couple of concrete blocks ontop of it for extra stability. I went with a 4x6 post instead of a 4x4 so that all the corner screw holes of the mount would hit solid wood.
I should note that I decided to go with just a Dish500 to make the whole deal easier, but looking at it now I think that with the addition of some steel tensioning cables attached directly to the dish that even a superdish would be very stable. Installer even commented on the sturdiness of the mount; I'm sure it looked like abit of overkill to him.

If anyone's interested the total cost for raw materials would be roughly $30 around here. Much of that is because 4x6 posts were only available in 8' lengths, so that cost $12 alone.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. If I wasn't such a fan of overkill I'd probably have gone with the tripod from RadioShack for roughly the same price, but I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with. I can take it apart to move to a new place in the future, doesn't need to be absolutely plumb since the dish mount is adjustable, and would probably withstand anything less than a hurricane without moving. :D

-- Dave
 

hokiecb

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 17, 2004
200
0
Southwest VA
For anybody else thinking of balcony mounting...If the balcony has 2x2's for the railing, I have a great way to mount the dish. Get a 2x8 or 2x10... cut it about a foot in length. Buy 4 U-bolts from lowes. Drill holes in the 2x10 or 2x8 in a manner that the U-bolts will be able to clamp around the posts. Mount the dish to the 2x8 just like you would to the side of the house with 1 1/2" long bolts. IF the bolts/screws are longer they stand a chance of going into the railing. It's as sturdy as can be, and not damaging in the slightest to the rental property. Plus it doesnt take up any balcony space.
 

GutBomb

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 17, 2004
171
0
Denver, CO, USA
that's a great idea, but not every apartment complex will let you have something overhanging. i have seen a couple superdish installs at my building that had the mounting arm going back from the balcony, rather than going outward. the dish was mounted on that, and it worked fine. i don;t know how it took the wind or kept a signal. it did survive a near tornado though, so i think it might be ok. this will take much larget u bolts
 
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