How to Install Satellite at an Apartment

Written by jack gorman
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How to Install Satellite at an Apartment
Laws protect the rights of satellite television consumers to install equipment, even in apartments. (satellite dish image by Cornelia Pithart from Fotolia.com)

Some apartment landlords or leasing companies would prefer that you not know this: there are laws that allow consumers to have a satellite dish in their apartments. The trick is that the satellite dish must be in what is known as an "exclusive use area," meaning that the dish must be wholly contained within your apartment's balcony; if it protrudes even an inch over the edge, your landlord can order the dish removed. In addition, no permanent changes can be made to the property, including drilling holes for mounting and wiring. Though complicated, satellite dishes can be installed in rented or leased apartments.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Flat coaxial cable for door or window installation
  • Tripod for satellite dish
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench or pliers
  • Compass
  • RCA audio/video cables (yellow, red and white)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select the spot on your balcony where you will be placing your satellite dish. You must have a clear, unencumbered view of the southern sky. Trees, leaves, power lines or other buildings can block your signal. If living on the east coast, the satellites will be south-southwest; if on the west coast, then south-southeast. Set up your tripod appropriately by pulling out the legs and pulling up the mast.

  2. 2

    Connect your coaxial cable to your low-noise block converter (LNB), which is the portion of the dish that receives and decodes the signal. Since drilling a hole in the wall to run your cable inside is not an option in an apartment, you will need to use special "flat" coaxial cable, which can be run under a door or window. The coaxial output on the LNB is a cylindrical, metal port with a pin-sized hole in the centre. Insert the pin from the coaxial cable into this port and twist the end to secure it in place.

  3. 3

    Run the coaxial cable through the arm of the satellite dish, then attach the LNB to the end of the arm with the included screw. Attach the arm to the round portion of the satellite dish using the included mounting hardware.

  1. 1

    Run your coaxial cable into your home underneath a door or window; ensure that the door or window will close, otherwise, your landlord might decide your dish is in violation of the laws given that it poses a security risk to your apartment.

  2. 2

    Connect the coaxial cable to the coaxial input on the back of your satellite receiver. This will be marked "input" or "in from satellite."

  3. 3

    Locate the RCA audio/video outputs on the back of the satellite receiver; these will be yellow, red and white in colour and round. Insert one set of ends from your RCA audio/video cables into these ports. Then locate identical input ports on the back of your television and connect the other set of ends there. Match the colour-coding each time. Then plug the receiver into a power outlet or surge protector.

  4. 4

    Set your television to the appropriate video mode to receive a signal from the satellite box. This is done with your television's remote, traditionally by pushing a button labelled something like "source," "input" or "tv/video" until the picture from the receiver appears.

  1. 1

    Navigate to the set-up screen on your satellite box; this can usually be done through the main menu. Enter the initial set-up screen and select dish alignment. Enter your zip code when asked. Your receiver will give you two numbers: elevation and azimuth.

  2. 2

    Set the dish's elevation. This will be done on the bracket that you mounted the dish to earlier. Loosen the bolt holding the dish in its location and slide the bracket until you reach the appropriate elevation (there will be corresponding numbers on the side). Tighten the bolt when done.

  3. 3

    Place the dish on the tripod and secure it in place with the included hardware. Then determine the azimuth. This corresponds to degrees on a compass, so turn the dish until it is pointed in the correct direction. It is a good idea to mark where your dish is located at this point, in case sometime in the future the tripod gets knocked around.

  4. 4

    Call your satellite provider to activate your system.

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