I'm planning to develop this page further when I have some suitable photos or web pictures. If you have any suggestions about hiding dishes, photos, or ingenious ideas, contact me and let me know. (See left navigation panel for the contact page).
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Painting the dish.
Not everyone wants (or is allowed) a 60cm or 80cm black mesh dish bolted to the side of their house. However, with a bit of ingenuity, it is possible to hide a dish so well it (more or less) disappears from a distance.
The easiest way to hide a dish it to bolt it to a wall, then paint it to match your house colour:
Sometimes you need to try a bit harder:
These 3 photos are from the SES Astra web site.
There are a couple of things to remember when choosing your paint. Firstly, don't use a metallic paint - these would reflect too much sunlight up onto the lnb, and could cook it. For the same reason, the paint you use must be matt, not glossy. Also, you need to use paint suitable for outside use, normal household emulsion will wash off in no time! Something like matt car paint should work fine. Make sure you use lead free paint for your own safety.
Make sure you prepare the surface of the dish before painting to wash off any dust & dirt and remove (and seal) any surface rust. Don't paint the lnb cap.
Use a smaller dish.
Its obvious that a smaller dish is less visible. With modern higher powered satellites (like the Astra 2 series at 28E) smaller dishes give an acceptable signal. Whilst small dishes will work ok with newer satellites, they wont give sufficient signal for older or lower powered satellites. However, it might be worth trying if you cannot have a large dish.
Think about where the dish is placed.
You don't have to bolt the dish to the front of your house. There are several alternatives.
put the dish at the side or back of the house. If its at the back, it could be mounted on a pole peeking over the roofline of the house.
If you have a balcony that faces the right way, you could hide the dish on the balcony.
Behind a window that faces south to south-east. Not ideal, who wants a bloody great dish inside the house? However, if you have a plain glass window, its perfectly possible to rig the dish behind the window so you get signals off it. (This will not work if the glass has a tinted metallic glare shield on it - the metal reflects the signal).
In the garden. You could put the dish on a ground mount in a inconspicuous corner of the garden. Then plant some bushes, or erect fencing panels around it to screen it from view. As long as the dish has a clear view south-east you will be ok.
Why install the dish vertically? There is no reason why it can't be installed upside down and more or less horizontally.
Don't use a dish! There are some modern alternatives to traditional dishes. How about one of the new flat plate antennas?
In the roof space - this one could be expensive. Under normal circumstances, satellite signals wont penetrate roof tiles. The worst sort are the red clay tiles, since these have iron ores in them which kill the signal dead. If the only way you can have a dish is to put it in the roof space, then you are going to have to do some alterations to your roof. You will need to replace some of the tiles with special plastic ones which are invisible to microwaves. This really is a last resort answer!
If you have a window in the roof that faces south east, you might be lucky enough to be able to install a plastic window and put the dish behind the window. Contributor Robbie Roulette has picked up several satellites using a dish behind a window.
This picture is taken with permission from the website of Gerd Schweizer in Germany. This installation belongs to a satellite fan called Michael Ruhnke, and shows that with a bit of imagination and experimenting, you can get reception of satellite signals without having the dish bolted on the wall. The window glass has been replaced with plastic.
Camouflage your dish.
When is a dish not a dish? When its a lamp! Or a rock! Various companies have come up with ways to make a dish into something else.
The digiglobe lamps do
actually work as lamps - there is a bulb hidden inside the globe.
This system would only work with more powerful satellites, since the dish is only 43cm in diameter.
This American idea puts a fibreglass rock over the dish. Im not sure how realistic this looks... but if you are stuck...
David Hills emailed the following camouflage suggestion:
With regards to hiding a dish I have seen another method used. The dish was mounted on a patio mount and was postitioned in the flower bed in the garden of a listed building. Over the top was placed a green garden refuse sack ! (I like the simplicity of this suggestion).
If anyone tries painting their dish, or finds an ingenious way to hide their dish, Id love to see some before and after pictures. I'm willing to put them up on this page to let everyone see your handywork :-)
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