Satellite dish Julian Rogers Home Satellite dish 2 DIY Home

Two years ago or so the BBC refocused their Astra satellite transponders more tightly over the UK. That meant that areas of Europe used to receiving the BBC, ITV, Channels 4 & 5 with nothing more than an 80 cm dish needed something bigger. (The BBC says it did it to improve coverage in the UK but I think there must be another reason - perhaps so their channels will be viewed by subscription instead of for free. Sky can still be received on an 80 cm dish in the south of France.)

We hoped a 120 cm dish would do. This would have to be on the ground and as free from vibration as possible. (The south of France is a very windy place!) It also needs to be aimed very carefully and easily adjustable in fractions of a degree.

I bought two bolt-down mounting poles from Brico Depot (which is under the same ownership as B&Q and Screwfix but where everything is on display - which is great!). I buried one in the ground with the french equivalent of postcrete. It doesn’t hurt to drill I couple of holes in the pipe and bolt on some studding to give the concrete more grip.

I made a turn table out of four pieces of 6 mm steel plate drilled as shown in the sketch and welded up to form two parts as shown . A big nut and bolt hold the two bits together. The bolt can be tacked to the top plate to make it easier to tighten the nut.

A long handle can be screwed onto the turn table to enable fine adjustments in azimuth to be made. Two bits of alloy make up a pointer. Positions can be scratched on the aluminium or a fine marker pen can be used.

The next page describes the adjustable brace that steadies the dish.