How high up should you mount your satellite dish?

I salute the DIY spirit of those folks who still put up their own dishes. You’re a rare breed, especially since DIRECTV and DISH have been providing free professional installation for about a decade now. If you’re putting up your own dish at this point you’re one of the serious ones. And we at Solid Signal salute you. That’s why we have the best selection of DIY satellite parts and accessories, the same ones the professionals use. And of course, you have The Solid Signal Blog, where you can get all the inside tips.

What’s the best place to mount your satellite dish?

Your dish should be mounted up high, with a clear view of the southern sky. If you need some real detail, a site like DishPointer will help you by showing you the angle on a Google map. But the real question here is height.

I’ve seen people mount dishes on the ground and I’ve seen them put dishes on fifty-foot towers. Dishes can be mounted on roofs and on poles. It really comes down to your needs, but there are two things to consider to try to get that “sweet spot” that’s perfect for aiming.

High enough that nothing touches it…

Mounting your dish on the ground is just plain dumb. You have this dish that can go out of alignment if it’s moved by 1/32″ in any direction and then you put it somewhere that people and animals can touch it? I don’t understand people who mount their dishes on the ground when there’s any other possibility.

If you’re in a single-family home then mount the dish to an eave (that moulding on the side of the roof) if you can. This makes the least number of permanent holes in your actual house. You can also mount to a roof but you risk leaks around where you drill the hole.

Apartment dwellers don’t always have the option to mount a dish on the roof. Some apartment owners will let you do this, but others will most definitely not. You have to respect what the apartment owner lets you do. If you can’t mount to the roof and the owner doesn’t let you mount to the building, you can get a non-penetrating mount. This lets you secure the dish with big bottles of water or cinder blocks. It will take up a large part of your patio, but you’ll be able to mount the dish without drilling any holes.

Low enough that the mast height isn’t a problem

Sometimes people get a little ambitious when mounting. They’ll put a satellite dish on a 10-foot pole so they can clear some trees. This is fine if you really need it. However if you are going to have a pole longer than about four feet, you need to make sure it doesn’t move. Long poles can sway in the wind and even a tiny bit can cause problems with aiming.

If you’re going to use a long pole, consider a true tower with guy wires so that there’s some sort of anchor. At the very least use a pair of monopoles to make sure that you’ve braced things the best you can. You want to make sure that you have the least possible movement.

So, although it might be fun to think about, it’s best to avoid putting a dish up so high that it could move in the wind. Of course such a dish could also be very hard to aim, unless you are so comfortable with DIY that you also happen to have a scissor lift or cherry picker.

Get all the parts you need at Solid Signal

You won’t find a better source of satellite mounting supplies than Solid Signal. We have thousands of parts available for shipping today, and these are almost always the exact same parts the installers use. Get the best quality installation experience, and do it all yourself!

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.