Satellite television went through a dramatic change in the 1990s, going from predominantly an enormous C-band dish mounted in concrete in your back yard to the small, 18- to 20-inch array available today. While this shift was helpful, an increasingly mobile subscriber base asked for even more portability. Dish loyalists began taking these small dishes on the road, mounting them at campsites, RV parks or wherever they were. Today you have multiple options to take your dish with you as you travel.
If you would like satellite television on the road but are budget-conscious, you can buy an extra dish and take your home receiver with you. You can choose from permanently mounting your extra dish on the side of your RV, boat or camper or you can purchase or make one that sits on the ground on a tripod. Ground mounts are also readily available and typically use cinder blocks to weigh them down to prevent shifting and losing signal. You can also purchase specialized mounts for your vehicle that swing out for better coverage and then retract while you drive.
Basic Dish Setup
Find a site with an unobstructed view of the south, sometimes a problem while travelling or camping. Carry your satellite dish and mount or tripod to a location that will not be in the way. Run a waterproof RG-6 coaxial cable from your receiver location to the dish location. String this cable through the rear of the dish, through the arm and connect it to the LNB that screws on the front of the arm. Connect the other end of the cable to your receiver. Use the onscreen menu to determine which exact direction to point your dish using the zip code of the location where you stopped. This can be challenging for many, but it can be made easier with a satellite finder, available at many specialty electronics stores. Tighten the dish carefully when pointed.
To simplify your satellite experience, you can now purchase mobile satellite systems that point themselves. These devices, available through all digital satellite carriers and some specialty electronics stores, are about the size of a round barbecue grill. They come in stationary and mobile or motion units. Mobile or motion units actually point as you drive so you can enjoy television as you transverse the country. While these devices are much more expensive than the basic, mounted systems, many find the convenience of setup worth the expense. Low-profile systems are also available if you prefer them mounted on a vehicle roof and desire a minimal footprint.
You must have a paid subscription to the satellite service of your choosing. Some services offer a discounted or special subscription for this application. If you use your home service subscription and take one receiver on the road, you will need a new subscription as all multiple receiver systems require you to hook a landline phone to the box. A basic, nonmobile dish must be as stationary as possible to avoid signal loss, making less expensive options inconvenient for small boats that move with waves.
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