Dish Installation: the basics

Dish Installation:This is a very basic introduction. First check the property on Google maps and ensure there is no serious obstructions like trees or tall buildings. Then use Dishpointer to check the exact satellite direction, then decide where the best dish position is. Do not forget the cable routing, which should be as short as possible

Safety First !


Use Online Tools to See the Best Position

An initial ‘survey’ with can make the dish installation very easy. Here is a full explanation

5west beam

Use the Shortest Wall mount Possible

Avoid long arm wall brackets if possible, in a high wind, a shorter bracket will be more secure.  Also, large dishes are heavy, over a long period the force exerted by a long bracket may pull out any wall plug with less than 100% perfect grip!

Check that the dish can turn towards the exact satellite direction, without touching the wall.

Initially find the direction, hold the dish by hand and select the wall mount bracket that allows enough space to install the dish at that angle.

Don’t use 1 inch or 1.5 inch diameter bracketry with anything bigger than a Sky dish. 2 inch steel  or alloy brackets are standard.

Elbow brackets

Take care with Adjustment and Clamps

Triax Dish on the 12" wall bracket
  • Use the right length elbow mount
  • Leave at least 40cm extra cable for future repairs
  • Always use 2 clamps – tighten evenly
  • Grease the M8 clamp bolts on Triax dishes
  • cable  tie the wire
  • recheck with a meter after fully tightening clamps

Ensuring your dish installation will last a long time is relatively easy, do bear in mind that Alloy brackets are relatively soft and will deform if overtightened, which will make readjustment more difficult. Steel is hard, so tighten the clamps more, for steel hardware, in fact the clamps supplied with Triax dishes sometimes bend before the bracket deforms.

If the dish is on a pole, or you have to search for a weak signal, it may be worth fitting a temporary clamp under the dish clamp, to stop it from sliding down. Particularly useful with the “goose neck” type wall brackets, and with big heavy dishes

Wall Materials

Drill into the brick, not into mortar, wall plugs can pull out of mortar in weeks, especially in high winds

Modern bricks have spaces within, if you feel the drill entering a space, while drilling, it may be wise to use more wall plugs but shorter ones, to give more grip on the available material.

For most medium dish sizes, use plastic wall bolts, for big dishes metal bolts may be a better choice, but make sure not to drill too close to the edge of a brick, the metal bolts can easily crack the brick,  making the fixing useless.

Choose the length carefully, sometimes a 50mm can be better than an 80mm plastic bolt, depending on the weight of the dish and type of brick used. full details of wall bolts

metal expansion bolt
Steel expansion bolt for concrete or block walls where a heavy dish is to be mounted
50mm M10 wall bolts with 13mm head – Most common for 65cm/80cm dishes on an ‘elbow’ mount
80mm bolts
80mm M10 wall bolts with 13mm head used for T&K Pole mounts for 65cm to 90cm dishes Similar 100mm bolts can be used if the brick is solid.

Dish Installation Tools

For the majority of wall bolt fixings and dish adjustments a 13mm ratchet spanner is ‘standard’, Sky use a 10mm bolt, so a small fixed width spanner is useful in the tool belt.

Poles and T&K brackets with 2″ clamps generally use 15mm, but more recently 17mm has been supplied.

A ratchet is a great idea here as holding a heavy pole with dish attached, in position while tightening a long bolt at the top of a ladder, is not easy! I now have a small battery drill with a 13mm socket, to quickly zip up those long bolts.

Drill bits and battery drills, should be the SDS type. M10 wall bolts are the minimum size that you should trust with 80cm to 120cm size dishes and poles. Use Multiple T&K brackets if necessary to secure it to the wall.

TIP: As your drills wear, assembling the wall plug in the wall will become harder, do not let it go too far, you could end up splitting the brick, or shearing off the head of the bolt.

The cable entry

Some bricks have grit baked into the mixture. As you drill through these heat up and crack the surrounding area resulting in large exit holes – something to watch for when drilling the cable holes. 

This can be much worse if the wall is rendered,  so take it slow through the last inch of drilling

If you can see the brickwork, it’s sometimes better to aim to come through the soft mortar, which is easy to drill neatly.

Normally you would drill from the inside, but ideally, if the hole position is hidden, drill from the outside and through the mortar, halfway, then from the inside having measured up carefully, for a perfectly neat job.

NEXT Article: Dish Alignment basics
PREV Article Elon Musk and Starlink