View Full Version : Is this tripod setup all we will need for DirecTv?

Wannabe Full-timer
05-10-2007, 11:17 AM
Sorry for asking once again about a tripod but I want to be sure I get exactly what we need and will work with the DirecTv dish we have. I think I will probably just order what we need since we know nothing of what we are doing. LOL We have the round DirecTv dish and is on the long pole (or whatever it is called).

Anyway, here is a website I found that appears to have what we might need at a reasonable price I think. http://satelliteoasis.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=4

Delaine and Lindy
05-10-2007, 11:52 AM
Wannabe, We have use both of those and still have them laying around. They work and we use the metal type for a year. But when we went to HDTV the 5 LNB dish is much larger and heaver. We also have Satellite dish for our computer. And it came with Surveyors type Tri-Pod. I went to Lowe's and got the Aluminum Tri-Pod and it works great, used it all over Texas and as for West as Arizona. One of the major steps is getting the Dish level with with the Surveyor type Tri-Pod that is very easy. And can be used on unlevel ground. And can be secured by water in gallon jugs, of the screw in rods that goes into the ground with a nylon strap. Just a suggestion. Good luck on your choice. GBY...

05-10-2007, 11:56 AM
Also got one of those for sale...hard to set up on uneven ground http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm?skunum=26276&src=SRQB

We got this one adjustible legs, level bubble in center, sets up in a few mins..using it as we speak.. Cost more but you will only buy one.

Wannabe Full-timer
05-10-2007, 12:48 PM
Didn't even think of needing adjustable legs for unlevel ground - good point! Husband would get VERY frustrated. We will go the extra $ to make for a "happier camper" and appears to be a much better product. Thanks for pointing that out. I am going to order one.

Can I find the satellite finder locally for about the same price or cheaper? (We are not President Club Members so don't get the discount.)

Lije Baley
05-10-2007, 12:57 PM

I still like the Radio Shack tripod. Here's the three-foot version: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062019&cp=&sr=1&origkw=tripod&kw=tripod&parentPage=search

If you go with the RS tripod, you'll need a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 foot length of PVC as a mast for the dish. The pole now in your dish is probably angled. If it is, replace that with the straight piece of 1 5/8" (I think) diameter PVC. If you get the one you're looking at, it has the straight section of pole to which you attach the dish.

In high winds, tripods need stability. I'm not sure about the one you linked. With the RS one, you can hang two gallon bottles filled with water, tied together with a short bungee and have 16 pounds of weight holding the tripod steady. The feet also have holes for tent stakes. I just don't know about that screw thing, especially in hard ground.

How difficult/easy is it to align the 5 LNB dish for HD reception? I'm still using the 3 LNB at home with OTA for locals, so I haven't dealt with that bigger dish yet.


Wannabe Full-timer
05-10-2007, 01:22 PM
Bill, that tripod from Radio Shack doesn't have adjustable legs, does it? The dish we have is an older one but husband says it will work. We don't have HDTV so that is not an issue for us at this time. Good to know the RS one can be staked down and great idea on the milk jugs filled with water.

Lije Baley
05-10-2007, 01:32 PM
The legs are not ajustable. I haven't found that a problem. Absolute level is not necessary. I have thrown a two by four or a flat rock under one of the legs on occasion.

Wannabe Full-timer
05-10-2007, 01:46 PM
Where we will be staying this season (and perhaps many more) is quite flat but I thought, like you said, a piece of wood could work if it is not level enough.

Now, where's a good place to get the best price on the compass and satellite finder and/or where do they sell them locally???

Delaine and Lindy
05-10-2007, 02:00 PM
Wannabe, level is a must with HDTV, and as you know in the near future it will all be HD. As for the Satellite finder I think its a waste of money (my opinion). When we went to HDTV in the 5th wheel I had Direct-Tv come out and set the system up, mostly the dish because it was a 5 LNB dish. Anyone can hook up the Receiver. I had just had surgery and my wonderful wife (Retired RN.) wouldn't let me do anything... After the recovery period we move down to our home base. I hadn't set up the new dish and I didn't have the high tech (bird dog) system. I just set it up using the direct-tv menue, and got a great picture. Just need cell phone or walky talkies so wife can tell you when you get the best signal. Believe me I am no teckie by any strech. You only need a good compass and be able to find the Southern Sky. Good Luck...GBY....

05-10-2007, 02:48 PM
Level is critical..1/16 ofa inch off here on earth can be several miles off at the satellite. We attached 3 gal jugs of water to our while in Havasu City and it held up under big winds. I agree the signial meter is handy but I ue a boy scout compass..It is not to hard to find , in my case where we are now, 212 Degrees on a compass

05-10-2007, 03:55 PM
Wannabe, we have the same tripod as the one your looking at. We bought, in the lawn and garden section of Wal-Mart, metal tiki torch stakes. We drive those down and the legs of that tripod fit right down in it and you can adjust it because the stakes have a tighten screw on them. They were only a couple of bucks too. We have been doing this for six months now and have never had it blow over. It has went through 50plus mph winds too. I still use the corkscrew on the tripod also. As far as finding the satellites my wife stays inside and tells me, on our two-way radios, when we have a strong signal(95 plus) while I walk around with it. Works for us at a low cost. Hope this helps.

05-10-2007, 04:24 PM
Ok...I have the first tripod you mentioned. Couple of points here, the round dish is by far the easiest to aim and get signal with. I still use the compass and the sat finder meter as there are cases where I've shot through trees. I've also strapped it to the off-air antenna on the roof when camped inside NASCAR tracks so it was less temptation for someone to walk off with it. Compass I bought from Walmart, got one that you can aim and read the numeric heading. I have a small torpedo level I use to confirm mast is vertical. Sat finder meter just gets me point spot on in little time then let DW tell me the fine tune number out the window.
The oval dishes are what you need to get HDTV and they are very picky on pointing with the extra rotational setting. Nearly impossible to shoot one of them through trees...when camping I figure I'm roughing it sans the HDTV...I also modified my Round Dish by drilling out the rivets to allow the arm to collapse for packing and then have quick insert pins to open it up and lock in place.

Wannabe Full-timer
05-10-2007, 10:37 PM
Yes, ours is the round dish, an older one but not too old. We will then probably pick up the compass at Walmart. Will probably try a satellite finder and see how that works if we can find one locally. Anyone know where we can get one without ordering it? We have a small torpedo level that even I use on occasion. :D

Thanks for all the great feedback. It is interesting to read everyone's opinions and experiences with different set-ups. It really helps.

05-11-2007, 02:28 AM
Like noneck we have the , by todays standards, the primitive round dish for the camper for the reasons stated by noneck. As I advance in age I become wiser and lazier, it is easy to use and set up.The adjustable leg tripod with the bubble level makes set up a snap. Remember the satellites are in a geosynchronous orbit about 22K miles up and are about as large as a Volkswagen. Trig 101 will tell you that a very small error here will result in a very large error up there. I can set up the tripod, set the proper azimuth and elevation and have a signal in a very short time.9 times out of 10 when I set it up and point it the signal is there.. It has been our experience that when you try to save money you wind up making the job harder and spending more money down the road to correct the initial oversight. What ever you are comfortable with is the right way to go.

Wannabe Full-timer
05-11-2007, 08:16 AM
One thing we thought we might want to consider, in our particular situation is, at least for the next year and possibly for many years, we are going to be seasonal campers so we won't be going from campground to campground and needing to set up the dish all the time so once it is setup (unless it gets blown over, etc.) it should be a semi-permanent situation. Obviously, it will need to be taken down at the end of each season and set back up each spring. That is the only reason I was thinking that maybe we didn't need the higher priced tripod. If we were going to be on the road a lot, then absolutely we would want the one you have Rich.

Found out our local Super Walmart doesn't carry the compass nor does Sears. Guess I will check with Radio Shack and see if they carry it as well as the satellite finder.

05-11-2007, 09:04 AM
If you are going to be semi permanent all you need is a pole in the ground and the dish.Set it and forget it.That is what we have in the back yard of our stick house. Any compass will do..all you need to know is which way is north and what your azimuth setting is. Elevation is published for your area. Example at this location Directtv is Elevation 38 Azimuth 215 Dish is Elevation 34 Azimuth 226.

05-12-2007, 04:13 PM
I have the simple little Wineguard Tripod and don't bother with the screw that came with it. I put small wooden wedges under all 3 legs, drive three 12" spikes into the ground the same angle as the legs, attach each leg to each spike with a 2" screw clamp and I am good to go. Tap in the wedges to plumb the mast. Use a 5/16" nut driver to quickly tighten the tubing clamps.
Last week in northern Alberta, the wind kicked up and blew everybody else's dish down. Not mine. My HD signal stayed crystal sharp. Check out the link. The Starchoice locater has azimuth, elevation and skew.

Wannabe Full-timer
05-13-2007, 02:18 AM
Well, after giving it some more thought and not knowing what our future may hold as far as how we may be using our RV in the future and also not knowing if we will be moving up to a different type of satellite dish (or being forced to with all the changes the future may hold in advancements in technology), we decided to go with the type of tripod Rich has from Camping World as hopefully we won't need to invest in another tripod for many years to come. Knowing husband's frustration level (may we describe it as HIGH ;), I just thought it might save a lot of aggravation as well for him and ME. :D I didn't order the satellite finder but hopefully we can figure that part out since it does come with the compass and level. Maybe we can at least locate the satellite between the two of us working together. That might be another challenge but we won't go there. LOL like I said before though, it is not like we are going to be moving from CG to CG so hopefully it won't be something we have to do often.

Thank you again for all of your feedback. Much appreciated in our decision.

05-13-2007, 03:36 AM
Just take your time the first time you set it up.. once you get the bubble in the center(tripod centered). We use the good old Boy scout compass where the red needle points North and you can turn the outer ring around to your Azimuth reading.Make sure the Elevation is correct, (Remember trig 101) point in the indicated direction.. and...signal.. move the dish side to side SLOWLY there is a slight delay in signal strength return.. 22K miles up and 22K miles down, Speed of light and all that stuff..You can nail that tripod to the ground and use 1 gallon jugs for stability. We are looking a gust to 22MPH as we speak....no problem..it is spiked to the ground.

05-13-2007, 03:42 AM
It is a lot simpler than many make it out to be. We have our antenna mounted on a 2' long 2/8. When we arrive at a destination, I have a sense of about which direction the dish needs to be pointed--towards east to southeast, depending on where you are. I hook up the cable with my satellite finder inserted (bought it at Radio Shack 6 years ago). There should be a signal showing if you move your antenna back and forth. With DirecTV, there appear to be three signals you can pick up. Only one is the one you want. I then turn on the TV and the Satellite Receiver, adjust the menu to Settings and View Signal Strength. If you're not on the satellite, you will hear a beep - - beep - - slowly. I turn the volume up so I can hear it outside. I then adjust the antenna back and forth slowly, monitoring the satellite finder and listening to the beeps. When I reach the proper satellite, the beeps become rapid and the satellite finder shows a signal. I then adjust the antenna for maximum signal and nail it down using tent spikes. If on concrete, I just set something heavy on the board under the antenna arm and that usually holds it. Adjust the up/down for maximum signal. I use a 7/16" spintite, for that. You will get so you can set up in 5 minutes or less. It's really that simple. "So easy a caveman could do it."

Be glad to help you with anything else.


Wannabe Full-timer
05-13-2007, 12:40 PM
You guys are terrific and give great instructions and believe me, we need all the help we can get! :D We have never done this so I will be printing this out and we WILL be using this info so, again, thanks a bunch!

05-26-2007, 05:31 AM
Radio Shack does sell the "satellite finder". Around $30-40. I use it all the time for the set-up. I keep the "beep-beep" from the TV signal strength indicator muted...sometimes I'm too far away to hear it, and it drives me, and more importantly, DW, crazy...so it stays off.

Level and secure the tripod(stakes, water buckets, whatever). Preset proper elevation for your location, hook up the satellite finder at the antenna, then make a very slow sweep in the general direction all the other neighbors antennas are pointing. At very best signal strength, verify it is showing as valid the TV signal indicator, then lock the azmuth. Then "fine tune" the elevation for best/best signal. That's it!! 3-5 min, tops..

06-11-2007, 03:33 PM

This is what I built and it works great. With the Dish 500 I can lock on to two satellites most of the time. Handles wind with no problem.