Last week we looked at peaking our satellite dish to obtain the optimum performance for signal levels and quality. This week we will be completing the satellite dish installation and talking about cable routing, the cable entrance into the building, connections and weather proofing:
Cable routing starts with good quality cable, WF100 type is widely used (foam filled, copper core, copper foil with copper braid). It’s worth keeping in mind bend radius as you route your cable. Your cable manufacturer will have this information as part of the cable specification, but as a general rule of thumb 10x the outer diameter of the cable will be your minimum bend radius.
Connections should be made with compression F-Types to minimise connection losses and the chance of water ingress.
Weather proofing LNB connections:
Although many modern LNBs have a slide-down rain guards these are not waterproof, so sealing your connections with amalgam tape is still good practice. Good weather proofing will prevent call backs.
LNB Rain loop:
Now that your connections are sealed against the weather leave sufficient cable for a rain loop that comes off the LNB, as this will discourage water ingress at the LNB.
Mechanical forces of cables:
Arrange your cables to counter any pulling or pushing pressure exerted by the mechanical properties of the cable. Pulling or pushing the on LNB will reduce signals levels and result in an increase in error correction at the receiver. Ideally your LNB should be held firmly by the LNB clamp with no influence from the cable.
Secure your cables to the underside of the satellite dishes feed arm (some satellite dishes have provision to run the cables through the feed arm) and secure this with UV-stabilised tape. This makes it easier to service should a call back be necessary. Taping keeps the dielectric properties of the cable intact and there is little chance of damaging the cable (unlike zip ties that may crush and pinch cables when pulled tight).
Securing cables to external walls:
Pin your cable to the wall at regular intervals with appropriately sized cable clips, the spacing of the clips should not exceed 46cm on Horizontal cable runs and 75cm on Vertical cable runs. Allow provision for rain loops at all points where your cables exit or enter the building.
Before drilling always check for the presence of mains electricity cables or pipes. When drilling holes, use a masonry drill bit that is just wide enough to accommodate your cables and no larger. Always drill from the inside of the building at a slight downwards slope to prevent water ingress. When almost through slow the drill down and turn off the hammer action for the last few centimetres of drilling, this will avoid punching out a large exit cavity from the brick or surface render. Ensure that your cable hole is appropriately weather proofed so that the chance of water ingress is negated.
There are many other tips, techniques and methods for satellite dish installation and we’ve covered the basic elements, but there is nothing like hands on training. For those who wish to learn more about installation the CAI offer a multitude of training courses at various levels: https://www.cai.org.uk/index.php/training/book-training