Can you put an antenna on the same mast as your satellite dish?

DISH has a local channel adapter for its Hopper and Wally. After years of denials, there are claims that DIRECTV is testing a local channel adapter as well. If it comes out, it will take the place of the long-departed but much loved AM21.

Why are we seeing this kind of interest? Turns out people love getting their over-the-air channels. But then again you, avid Solid Signal Blog reader, already knew that. You’re thinking two steps ahead. You’re trying to get to the next phase, which is getting all this installed.

Clean looking install

We all want a clean-looking install. There are very few people who see the artistry inherent in a roof full of antennas. (Although you might be one of them and if so I salute you.) If you’re looking for the cleanest possible installation, you might be thinking of putting the satellite and antenna on the same mast. There are a few things you need to think about first.

Most J-mounts aren’t really big enough.

The J-mount is the standard mount used by satellite installers. It’s flexible and can be mounted on a vertical, horizontal, or slanted surface. Putting the dish at the top of it is easy and makes for a good-looking installation. However, there isn’t much room on a J-mount for an antenna. A low-profile model like the Diginova Boss might fit but most antennas won’t.

The mast might be too big.

DIRECTV dishes use a mast that’s two inches in the outer diameter. DISH uses one that’s 1.66″ in the outer diameter. Most antennas are designed for a maximum mast size of 1.66″ and in many cases they are happier with a mast that’s 1.25″ or 1.5.”  The antenna simply might not attach to the satellite mast unless you kind of stretch and mangle the mounting hardware.

It might not work as well.

Conventional wisdom says that if you’re going to stack two antennas on top of each other, the minimum distance should be half the largest wavelength you want to receive. In the case of VHF antennas, that means you want the antennas to be 3.5 feet away from each other. Now I haven’t done a whole lot of testing on this in the lab, so it may be that the impact isn’t that great. But “conventional wisdom” is there for a reason and so if you’re looking for the best performance from your antenna you might not want to put it so close to a satellite dish. On the other hand, if you have a cell booster, you might try its antenna there if you can. Cell waves are no more than one foot and sometimes smaller. However, you do need to consider that a cell booster’s antenna should be 15 feet higher than the indoor antenna.

Seems like it’s not really worth it.

It seems to me that trying to mount something else on the satellite mast just isn’t worth it. There are so many options out there specifically designed for antennas, and you’ll be surprised at the variety and low price when you shop at SolidSignal.com.