Why do you need a special mount for the Slimline dish?

Because, you know, DISH’s stuff fits on a regular mast. And their dishes aren’t any smaller than DIRECTV Slimline dishes. It’s just a little bit of frustration that a 1.5″ or 1.66″ outer diameter mast won’t work for DIRECTV Slimline dishes. There’s an adapter that can be used but in a best case scenario it does put a heavy load on a traditional 1.66″ mast.

Why they did it that way

DIRECTV chose the 2″ outer diameter mast at a time when it looked like the industry was going in that direction. The SuperDISH satellite dish (no longer used) also used that larger mast, and the WildBlue internet dish uses it as well. using a larger diameter mast allows for the mast to be more stable and also a larger diameter mast can be made more cheaply than a reinforced smaller diameter mast.

At this point, DIRECTV is firmly committed to the larger mast; almost all of their installations are done by DIRECTV technicians carrying their own equipment. No professional installer is going to use an existing mast, so DIRECTV just doesn’t see a need to change this sort of thing.

Something else to consider

There’s another thing that needs to be considered. AT&T, the parent company of DIRECTV, is alone in using Ka-band frequencies for some of its satellites. Traditional wisdom is that the Ka-band satellites require a better aim in order to be more resistant to rain fade and that the larger-diameter mast helps keep the dish steadier. It’s true that Ka-band frequencies are more sensitive to rain fade, but the rest of it may be a bit of a stretch. You can say that the thicker mast, if made of the same material as the thinner one, presents a larger base for the dish and that maybe that translates out to better stability but… I’m not sure I buy it.

At this point, the bigger mast isn’t going to go away, because from DIRECTV’s point of view it isn’t hurting anyone. The folks over in corporate tend to look at this as a non-issue, even though it does make it a little harder for those DIY types like the people who read this blog and the people who shop at SolidSignal.com.

Get the accessories you need

Satellite systems need special accessories and parts. You know that of course. You probably also know the best place to get the parts you need. That’s right, from the smallest to the largest, you’ll find it at SolidSignal.com. There’s everything you need. Of course, there’s also free tech support. Just call us at 888-233-7563. We can take care of you from our 100% US-based call center. We’re ready for you during East Coast business hours. If it’s after that, fill out the form below. And… Shop now!

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.