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beggert1@comcast.net

Satellite TV installation

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We just purchased a 2000 Class A motorhome and want to subscribe to Dish or DirecTV and have questions re roof antennas. We want a roof antenna used only when we are stopped (in-motion not necessary). In talking to Dish and DirecTV their salesmen both say installation on an RV is free, just like in your home. But when I query them about wanting to speak to their installation people (usually independent subcontractors) to verify both the type of equipment and free install they say they cannot provide any contact info. I must first sign up for a two year plan AND THEN an installer will come out. At that time I will get my answers.

What has been your experience with these two companies re installation?

Thanks,

Bill Eggert

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Bill,

I have never heard either Dish or Direct TV indicate that installation is free in a motor home. Generally motor homes are orphans as far as they are concerned. The sales people you contacted were likely confusing motor homes with mobile homes.

If you want a roof top installation, you will have to contact one of the suppliers of dish systems, King, KVH, Winegard, there are others... You purchase and have installed one of their units. They may be representatives for Dish or Direct TV and may install the receiver system in your motor home for you but most will charge something for this. I would never let a regular home installer work on my RV. You will get your best installation from an RV service center familiar with RV's. You have a great variety of choices from automatic dishes to crank up aim it yourself dishes. Take your time, ask questions and choose what you want.

Years ago I used a regular home dish that I carried in the toad when we were on the road. I had a Dish installer come out and replace the old dish with a Dish 500 dish for more channels. They set up and aimed the dish outside the motor home for us but would not come into the motor home to do any work. Fortunately, no interior work was required so that took care of my needs. Last year I purchased a new KVH Dish at the Monaco Rally before the Bowling Green FMCA Convention. The person who sold it installed it the next day and wired a second feed into the motor home for a small charge. He wired the Direct TV receiver using existing wiring from the old dish and I had a working installation. I chose to run the second lead from the front of the motor home to the rear bedroom. I worked on it for several months, a little at a time.

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Guest BillAdams

It's a bit of a play on words. Yes, you can get a free Dish Network or DirecTV installation in your RV just the same as you can in your house. The key word is the same installation as in your house. That's not a roof mounted automatic RV antenna, it's a dish on a stick. In a home they would attach it to the house or a pole and in an RV they should provide a tripod. How you get the cable to the receiver is also up to you. They will run it through a window or if you have an external coax connection specifically for sat. TV only they will plug it in there. They will point the dish and get you on satellite (once) and then you are on your own from that point on.

If you do not currently have an antenna then you will have 2 choices. A dome antenna which get points for convenience (can't drive down the road having forgotten to put the antenna down) or an open face antenna for maximum performance. You cannot receive the DirecTV HD programming with a dome and you cannot watch/record different channels if they are not on the same satellite with Dish. The MotoSAT HD series or the Winegard Trav'ler (my personal recommendation) will be able to receive all of the programming from all of the satellites that Dish or DirecTV use and give you the maximum flexibility, the best signal strengths as well as the least amount of rain fade.

If you need more information, come visit me at www.datastormusers.com.

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One downside to the open face antenna that Bill mentions is they are affected by wind. I know people who have switched from an open faced dish to a dome because the wind was causing enough shaking to interrupt signal. If you think you'll be in a windy area frequently it might be something to consider. Perhaps some open faced dishes are more sturdy than others.

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Guest BillAdams

Wind is really not an issue with the newer open face automatic antennas. It is nearly impossible to get a Winegard Trav'ler to move in the wind (mine did not wiggle in 60+ MPH winds this Jan in Quartzsite but I did stow it after watching it for awhile to see how it handled the wind. After the wind subsided it was back on target in 90 seconds. Even if I had a dome it is unlikely that we would have been able to a watch TV at all due to the volume of rain.

The MotoSAT HD TV antennas stand up almost as well unless the wind is very strong (50+ I would guess) and is coming directly from the front or rear which can move it off of the correct elevation. A quick push of a button will get it back on the signal in a few minutes. Since wind this strong are much more rare than the rain that will wipe out your reception with a dome I still find the open face dishes to provide the best overall performance.

Just don't forget to put them down before you drive off! :rolleyes:

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We have a dome dish on our motorhome, and have Direct TV at our home. All we have to do is take one of our receivers with us in the motorhome. On the back of the receiver you have a choice of Channel 3 0r 4. Just be sure to tune the tv to which ever channel you choose on the Direct TV receiver. We have never had a reception problem. The nice thing about the dome is it automatically searches for the satellites and locks on to them.

When we had the travel trailer, we had a portable dish that we mounted on a post attached to the ladder. The aggravation was getting it aimed properly at the satellites. Using a satellite finder made it a lot easier, but at times it was a pain.

One advantage of the portable vs dome is you have some flexibility getting the dish around trees. With the dome, if there are trees between you and the satellites, you are out of luck and stuck with the regular antenna.

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We currently have a dome (KVH), and previously we had a Winegard open face dish. The Winegard consistantly found the satellites much faster. While it was pruchased about 10 years ago, it was automatic. One button on and the bird was found. We did experience some wind difficulty, but this problem seems to have been fixed on the newer units. Usually if the wind was high, rain followed and all reception was lost. We could also find the satellites in the northern US and Canada where do to the level of the site and location the satellite could have been below the horizon. The dome seems to be affected by rain much more that the dish. So as you can see there are pluses and minues to both sytems, but if I were installing new, I would not go with a dome.

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While on the topic, but slightly off the subject. We travel all winter mostly to the southwest, but sometimes to the southeast.

Which is better direct tv or dish? Programing, locating satellites, etc. We have a dome KEV unit on the top but never used the system.

Ed Marynik

2005 Mandalay 40E, 350 cat

US Army retired, 1SG

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Guest BillAdams

I will take a stab at it that you mean a dome KVH. If so, I personally would recommend DirecTV as long as you don't need the extra cost HD programming. All of the DirecTV channels are available in SD (standard definition) from only one satellite and the coverage is good from one side of the US to the other and even into Canada and the very N. part of Mexico.

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I would second the recommend for DirecTV. This is based on a history with Dish TV for three years and DirecTV for six years. I've had good service with both but you do need dual LNB's to bet the premium packages from Dish TV. That can be done but you'll need to have additional wiring run. Check to see also if you can get network channels without a dual LNB if you are interested in having the network channels via satellite.

I would also say that I've had technicians recommend DirecTV as being a much easier signal to bring in. We've traveled from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and all over the US and had no problems with the DirecTV signal. We didn't travel in Canada with Dish TV. Of course nobody gets satellite in Alaska unless you bring an oversized stationary dish with you.

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Guest BillAdams
I would second the recommend for DirecTV. This is based on a history with Dish TV for three years and DirecTV for six years. I've had good service with both but you do need dual LNB's to bet the premium packages from Dish TV. That can be done but you'll need to have additional wiring run. Check to see also if you can get network channels without a dual LNB if you are interested in having the network channels via satellite.

I would also say that I've had technicians recommend DirecTV as being a much easier signal to bring in. We've traveled from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and all over the US and had no problems with the DirecTV signal. We didn't travel in Canada with Dish TV. Of course nobody gets satellite in Alaska unless you bring an oversized stationary dish with you.

A couple of clarifications. A dual LNB is one single LNB with 2 (dual) outputs. TButler would be referring to twin LNB's if you want to pick up both 110 and 119 for Dish Network, also known as Dish 500 or a triple LNB antenna if you want Dish Network HD programming which is known as Dish 1000.

You and use a single LNB (with or without dual output) to point to any one of these satellites, but only one at a time. You can get the Dish 500 service without a twin LNB but you will only have to move the dish to point to the satellite where the programming is located. Most of the Dish SD programming comes from the 119 satellite but a bit from 110 and the HD programming from 129.

You would not need to run any additional wiring no matter what kind of an LNB you are using. Additional wiring (coax) would only be necessary if you wanted to power more than one receiver/tuner or fully utilize a DVR. You also can get the Network (DNS) programming from the main 119 satellite so nearly any antenna on the market would get you a pretty good package from Dish.

I still prefer DirecTV, just wanted to get some of the details corrected.

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Additional wiring (coax) would only be necessary if you wanted to power more than one receiver/tuner or fully utilize a DVR.
Are you referring to a dome installation? An open face dish only needs a single coax to a dual tuner receiver. For example, I'm running a Dish 1000 with a single coax to a VIP 722 receiver. For an RV, I think this is the sweet spot because one receiver can feed two TVs. I've had both, but prefer Dish because they offer the dual tuner receivers. It makes setup a whole lot easier.

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Guest BillAdams
Are you referring to a dome installation? An open face dish only needs a single coax to a dual tuner receiver. For example, I'm running a Dish 1000 with a single coax to a VIP 722 receiver. For an RV, I think this is the sweet spot because one receiver can feed two TVs. I've had both, but prefer Dish because they offer the dual tuner receivers. It makes setup a whole lot easier.

No I was referring to both. However, there are some newer open face antennas such as the Dish Pro Plus that have a switch that allows you to run one cable to a special splitter to provide 2 inputs. For DirecTV this is called a SWM switch (single wire multi) and will allow the same operation.

However, as you have noted, DirecTV does not have a dual tuner receiver. Also, the Dish Network HD receivers only output HD on on tuner and SD on the second.

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Guest Wayne77590

Dish calls it the "Dish Pro Plus Separator"

It is designed for the Dish antenna. I could not get it to work on my Carry Out.

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Guest BillAdams
Dish calls it the "Dish Pro Plus Separator"

It is designed for the Dish antenna. I could not get it to work on my Carry Out.

That's correct. It requires a special LNB and switch which would not exist in any dome antenna.

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