Mount a dish to the top of a tree

So the other day…

A customer asks how much the wind would affect reception if he mounted his satellite dish on the top of a tree.


Folks, this is a classic “don’t do this.” Your dish can’t move more than a fraction of an inch before reception is compromised. Even if it’s stiffly bolted down, a very strong breeze can blow it far enough out of alignment that it won’t work. Think about your average tree, it probably sways a foot or more. There’s no way that’s going to work.

In fact, just being up there to aim it is going to make the tree droop so much that a proper aim is just plain out of the question. Mounting a dish to the trunk of a tree will probably work for a period stretching out into months, but eventually the tree will grow to the point where your dish won’t work and needs re-aiming.

If you really need the dish to be up high in order to avoid obstructions, use a strong mast anchored to your chimney, to your house, and guy wires if it’s higher than ten feet, but never ever use a tree. That’s just a mistake waiting to happen.

Also, don’t put the dish on the ground.

I’ve also seen where people will just prop the dish up on cinder blocks. Some people who think they’re being enterprising will use a stub mount bolted to a piece of plywood and think they’re done.

Honestly this is just as bad. It won’t take much to knock that dish out of alignment and if you put it where someone can trip over it, that’s going to cause a lot of problems. If by some weird happenstance you actually have a good line of site from the ground, then use some common sense.

You can use a stub mount and attach the dish to the side of a building quite easily. If that’s not an option, then dig a hole 2 or 3 feet deep. Go to a local home store or fencing store and get a 2″ outer diameter pole. If you can’t get one locally, buy one from Solid Signal. (for DISH, use a 1.66″ outer diameter pole.) Put the post in the hole, get it nice and plumb and then pour some Quikrete or other self-setting cement into the hole. Wait a day or two and there’s a perfect way to mount that antenna. It’s still not going to be perfectly secure if you back into it or something but it’s a lot better than putting the dish on the ground.

Better options

If you’re looking for a way to make sure your satellite installation is nice and secure, shop the great selection of mounting supplies at Solid Signal. There’s something for everyone, whether you have a simple installation or a difficult one. There are ways you can mount to a roof without causing any damage. You can also go all the way up to commercial-grade tower systems that will get your dish high above the trees. That way you can get a great look at the sky and never lose signal. If you are stuck on what to buy, call the experts! Our call center is open during weekday business hours.  It’s staffed with satellite technicians who can help you figure out the best product to get and how to install it. We’re here to help… call 888-233-7563 or fill out the form below.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.