The beauty of RV’s is that they are pretty much a home from home. You have all of your creature comforts under one roof, with the added bonus that you can park up anywhere you like or move on if you don’t like the area. But what about installing a satellite dish to your mobile home? It is a quick installation that can help you while away the hours when the rain is coming in and you don’t want to venture outside.
Follow our guide to help you install a satellite dish on your RV roof. Like with all projects, you need to make sure you have access to the correct tools, products and an extra pair of hands! Once you have all this in place you are ready to begin your installation.
Before you start cutting any cables or drilling any holes, you first want to check that the system works. Test it by plugging it in and making sure that your satellite and box have the correct cable configuration and that you can receive a signal and tune accordingly. There is nothing worse than drilling holes and making cuts only to find out that the entire system has a fault! You want to ensure you know where the timber supports are in your roof. You can do this by popping out a light and checking if there is a timber support above it. Make a note of the measurements of where the support is so you can match this location on your roof. Find a convenient place where your signal box will live and take the measurements from the receiver to the timber frame where the hole will be, make a note of this measurement to make sure you have enough cable.
2. Assess Your Roof
Find out what type of construction your roof is, this will impact on the type of screws and drill bits that you use. This will save problems later on down the line. You want to make sure that you aren’t putting your RV satellite dish too far away from the receiver, so make sure you have considered the placement of your dish in line with the timber supports inside. Avoid placing it near other objects on your roof, so that the signal isn’t blocked. Once you are happy with the placement of the dish mount, mark out the areas where you are going to make cuts. Make sure that you have enough cable length to go from your selected dish mounting point to the receiver mounting point, use the measurements that you took earlier and add the distance from the roof holes to the mount to create a total distance figure.
3. Place and Seal
Once you have made the appropriate cuts and holes, on the inside of these use strong sealant all the way around. This will seal the unit and make sure it is watertight. Don’t worry if you have to move the mount to make sure the holes line up, the sealant will make sure that water stays out of the roof of your RV. Fasten the satellite dish mount to the roof using your preferred method of connectors. This can be screws or wing nut, depending on what it is you want to. Once the satellite dish is bolted down, take some roof compatible sealant and seal the edges and cover the holes you have made to make sure water doesn’t get in.
4. Weather Boxes
There are going to be a few connectors coming off the satellite dish that you won’t be able to fix inside the van, the will need to be left on the roof and be made weather proof. Get a weather box and fit it around the connectors to make sure they aren’t subject to water damage. Fix this down by sealing the bottom and then using screws. You shouldn’t have any exposed connectors at either end of the weather box.
The cables should be fixed to the roof every 12 or so inches depending on how you are running the cables. You can do this by U nails and sealant. You don’t want the cable to pull out of the satellite when you are driving or faced with poor weather conditions. Where you run the cables into your RV, use a blanking panel to make sure that no water can get in. Use sealant around the sides and then place the screws in. You need to be able to access this if the cables fail in anyway, so make sure you don’t blank the heads. Cable tie the cables together to make sure none are floating around.
6. Waterproof, Waterproof, Waterproof!
Waterproof absolutely all the holes, if you can see anywhere where you think water may leak through, place sealant there. You don’t want any water coming through that could compromise the structural rigidity of your vehicle.
7. Put The Satellite Up!
Once you have completed the waterproofing, follow your manufacturer’s instructions on how to erect your satellite. Make sure that you have the correct tools and some helping hands as they can be difficult to put up on your own. Line up the base with the correct holes and make sure that no cables are caught or pinched in any places that may cause a problem later on.
8. Running The Cables Inside
You’ve done the hardest part, now all you need to do is to finish the job on the inside and hook up the entire unit. Look at the connectors that you have from your satellite and marry them up with their counterparts on the receiver box. Plug in the relevant cables and then put the box in your chosen location, you are now ready to tune your satellite and begin watching satellite TV wherever you go!
Installing a satellite on the roof of your RV doesn’t have to be an intimidating project. Make sure that you have access to the correct tools and additional products that you need in order to make the installation a successful one. Always have the manufacturers guidelines on hand and measure twice before you make any cuts! As long as you remember to waterproof all the holes you have made throughout this installation, you will be able to enjoy satellite TV wherever, whenever for a long time to come.