Here’s how to find a satellite dish installer, but should you?

I suspect that most readers of this blog install and maintain their own satellite dishes, either willingly or reluctantly. Just as some people like to tweak an automobile until it’s running perfectly and exceeding the manufacturer’s specifications, some people enjoy the challenge of setting up and maintaining a satellite dish system. But there are others who would prefer to simply pay someone to get a system installed. I don’t recommend that approach, because the more you know about your system, the easier it will be for you to resolve any problems that occur down the road. But if you really want to just pay someone to set up your system for you, I suggest you take a look at this article:

8 Ways to Find a Satellite Installer

HOWEVER, don’t just find someone through that site (or any other site) and call them up without first taking the step of entering their company name (and their personal name, if it’s given) into your favorite search engine. If one of the returned results goes to a well-known satellite forum (and I stress well-known here because anyone can set up a forum, and some dealers have done so, and not all of them are good guys), then I strongly suggest you go there and read the comments. The reason I say that is because there are a few guys out there (one in particular) that are selling overpriced crap systems that will only pick up a small number of channels, and meanwhile they are doing their best to kill the Free-To-Air hobby in the hope that you’ll have to come crawling to them for one of their inferior systems, or else pay for service from a cable or commercial satellite company. Even if you don’t get that asshole, you could wind up with an installer that badmouths free satellite TV throughout the install, then tries to sell you one of the small dish pay services that he conveniently offers (and on which he receives a nice fat commission when he sells one).

I will also point out that before searching an online resource you might check to see if there are any older guys still around that were in the TV repair business during the 1980’s. Particularly if they were installing TV antennas back in the day, they may have also installed satellite TV systems, or they know someone who did. Many of those guys have since retired, both because fewer and fewer people get TV’s repaired anymore, and because climbing antenna towers isn’t exactly safe for older people (or anyone, really). But there are a few still around, particularly in smaller towns, and some of them might not mind lending you their expertise for your install. Another possible avenue to explore would be the amateur radio community, if you know any “hams”. Those guys often tend to know people who’ve installed towers and satellite dishes back in the day. If there are amateur radio “swap meets” in your area, you might want to go to one and wander around and ask some of the guys if they know anyone locally that does C-band or Ku-band satellite dish installations.

If you do pay for an installation I suggest you watch the entire install, and if the installer doesn’t mind, take pictures and ask questions. Your goal should be to learn what all the parts are and how they work together, and what is involved in aiming a dish. That installer won’t be around forever, so learn what you can while you can!

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