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Author Topic: satellite dome or dish antenna  (Read 14047 times)

123rickw

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satellite dome or dish antenna
« on: March 06, 2010, 03:57:29 PM »
I do not have an RV at this time. I will be ordering a new motorhome very soon. Question is should I order the option for a Winegard Roadtrip dome or have the manufacturer wire for a dish, if that's a choice, or have the dealer do the work? And is the TRAV'LERŪ SK-1000 DISH 1000 a good choice for the dish, if the dish is better? I do not want to go for the expense of a MOTOSAT.  The easy way is go for the dome. Probably will go with Dish Network. Apparently the manufacturer only installs domes.
Any response is welcome.
thank you

ArdraF

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 04:42:51 PM »
If you plan to be in areas with a lot of rain or fog, domes are less than satisfactory.  They produce pixellation which can really mess up your enjoyment of watching TV.  You also might have to climb up onto a wet roof to dry off the dome.  When we ordered our current motorhome they put on a dome in error and said they'd change it out if we didn't like it.  We ditched it after about two weeks.

We have a regular wind-up antenna to get local TV stations in the area where you're camped, as well as a satellite dish.  You don't have to get the fancy automatic Motosat antenna, although you would find it very nice as you move from place-to-place.  You just push a button and it finds the appropriate satellite(s).  Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time figuring out how to aim the dish so it can find your satellites (been there, done that).  Whether automatic or manual, many of us prefer MotoSat - they're very RV oriented because the owners are RVers and understand our special issues.  By the way, we also prefer DirecTV over Dish.

ArdraF
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 04:46:06 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
:D :D

Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 05:29:00 PM »
I've read these reports/claims of problems with the dome antennae here for years. But I can count on one hand, maybe a couple or three fingers, the number of times we've lost signal due to rain or dew.

I received a call just a couple of days ago from a friend and neighbor who was about to buy a Motosat dish because they'd been told the same myth. I told them to buy a dome.
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Ned

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 05:40:15 PM »
The biggest disadvantage to a dome is the inability to receive multiple satellites simultaneously, important if you want HD and have a multi-tuner DVR.  Also, due to the smaller size antenna, it will lose signal sooner than a dish in heavy rain.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

ArdraF

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 05:45:27 PM »
Tom,

This definitely is NOT a myth!  We were in southern CA along the coast.  Jerry was up on the wet roof every morning to wipe off that darned dome.  And every morning I held my breath until I knew he safely back on the ground.  The pixelation caused by raindrop attenuation was also really annoying.  We would never have another dome!

Also, you can't have them with high definition TV.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 05:47:58 PM »
We previously had an SD dish at the house, installed by my other half. Subsequently changed to a HD dish installed "professionally". In both cases, we've had loss of signal due to rain many, many, many more times than with the dome in the coach.

This might be (due to) our home location; The storms always come come in from the south and, since the dish points generally in that direction, it gets blasted during the storms. I suppose that, if you RV in an area where the rain/storms come in from the north, a dish might be OK  ;)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 05:59:12 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 05:49:35 PM »
Sorry Ardra, it's a myth. See my last post. I've never had to get on the roof of the coach to wipe the dome.
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Ned

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 05:54:08 PM »
Sounds like a project for the Myth Busters :)
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 05:57:24 PM »
I already busted the myth with many years of factual data from dishes on two houses and 5+ years on our coach  ;D

Ardra's two weeks doesn't qualify as a good experiment  ;)
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Ned

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 06:04:33 PM »
Unless the antennas were in the same location under the exact same conditions, it's not a valid test.  Did you have a dome antenna on your house at the same time?
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 06:08:09 PM »
No, but we have one on the boat berthed behind the house  ;)
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Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2010, 07:20:09 PM »
Here's an interesting one ....

At QZ several years ago, I bought Jerry & Ardra's old Motosat dish, thinking I might install it on the boat. But I couldn't bring myself to install that "thing" on our boat, and it sat in our garage until I made a trip to the recycle facility a few months ago. That's when I ditched the Motosat  ;)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 07:28:07 PM by Tom »
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JerArdra

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2010, 01:02:08 PM »
Tom,

Because of your boat has a Dome and your house has a Dish you can run a good experiment.  The next time a storm comes in tune in the same TV station using both the boat's dome and the house's dish and see which one pixelates first and the most.  I'll bet the dish does better even though it's an older/small round 18" dish as opposed to the larger 21" oval HDTV dishes used today. 

JerryF
JerryF  ;D  ;D

Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 01:13:10 PM »
Quote from: JerArdra
....even though it's an older/small round 18" dish as opposed to the larger 21" oval HDTV dishes used today.

Jerry, we currently have a newer oval dish (multi LNB/HD) on the house. As I said in my earlier message, the one in the photo that Chris installed was the older, smaller dish. Both the new dish and the old one lose/lost signal quite often in bad weather. That's why I can't understand all the reports that a dish is superior to a dome in the rain.

I'm not sure I want to be going back and forth between the house and the boat in a storm.
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BigLarry

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2010, 03:12:44 PM »
While you're on the subject, is there a difference in the reception of the Dome and the Dish in Canada and Alaska?  We've been contemplating taking our receiver with us up there this summer.
Larry and Betty
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Ned

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2010, 03:22:05 PM »
Larry,

You'll lose TV reception in Canada as you move north regardless of antenna.  Neither the dome nor standard 18" dish will work in Alaska, even if you can see the satellite, which you won't most of the time.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

BigLarry

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2010, 04:25:42 PM »
Thanks Ned.  I'd suspected such, and now I know the answer.
Larry and Betty
Bryan, Texas
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2010, 06:25:12 PM »
A lot of us started with various manual mounts (tripods and such) when the smaller dishes for TV were introduced. The crank up roof mounts that required manual positioning were next, and that is what I used for many years on three different RV types.

Probably 4 years ago I installed a King Dome semi-auto roof mount, and other than HD that I would like next, I am a very happy camper. After cranking up and pointing the dish for so long, it was quite an improvement. My last one was in a Class C with the crank over the dinette -- so I had to bend, lean, and twist to get the sucker positioned. I didn't have jacks on those RVs so it was never perfectly level, which causes the TV screen numbers to always be slightly off.  That in turn sometimes caused multi elev tries and azimuth scans to find the bird.

Now with my semi auto King Dome, it is all done via a remote. I "do" first push a button to get the elevation, then, using the rigs direction as 12:00 o'clock - push the azimuth buttons until I find the bird. In 4 years, have never had to change the elevation and make a second sweep with the azimuth.

Rain fade is not a problem. And I really like that wind is "never" a problem anymore. As to rain fade, I purchased a can of Dome Magic to spray the dome - and it works just fine for me. They advertise that it will last up to a year and that has held true in my case, if applied properly (cleaning the dome plus multiple coats). Also, the remote allows me to maximize the signal strength, so have never had the problem of rain causing the signal to lessen to the point of no picture. W/sat signal, if you have "any" signal, you have a good picture. Quality does not lessen with a weaker signal.

I guess I don't understand the statements here about not being able to get HD with a Dome.  Both King Dome and Wineguard advertise HD w/both Dish and DirecTV.  Am I missing something there? I hope to go HD and redo my TV and front cabinets - and would hate to have to go back to a sail (oops, I mean dish) on my roof.
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Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2010, 06:38:03 PM »
Oh gosh Bob, you're going to add to the myth busting  :o
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 04:40:13 AM by Tom »
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Jim Godward

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2010, 10:13:02 PM »
Bob,

You are right on the money except the dome cannot get multiple satellites so my wife cannot watch a program on another satellite unless we get 2 domes whereas the dish has 2 LNBs for each satellite so multiple receivers can be used.  The newer dish and receivers allow multiple users with less equipment than my old dish.

Jim
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SCVJeff

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2010, 11:03:00 PM »
Sorry.. It's not a myth and the proof can be found on any microwave license on file at the FCC. Part of the ERP power calculation is the LOSS of the fiberglass dome on the dish, exactly the same composition found on a DSS dome antenna that is already at rx threshold in a lot of cases. Now add a dome for an extra 1-3db (+ moisture gathered on the surface), and you're asking for trouble. Maybe not today, and maybe not for most people, but it's a well known fact that anything you place in front of any MW antenna: satellite or terrestrial will cause attenuation. There is absolutely no substation for gain, and it's not going to come from that cute little reflector in the domes cannot compared to a Motosat or Winegard.
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Jack Nichols

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2010, 11:42:35 PM »
I swore to never subject myself or my coach to snow, and have been through four heavy snows this year.  The earlier snows were cold and dry snow, so it sort of blew off the dome, but later ones were wet and sticky - had to get up there and sweep the snow off.  Old man, tall slippery coach - I did not have any trouble staying awake up there.

A neighbor has an open dish, on a tripod - the snow just slid off the antenna reflector, and he never lost signal.

Jeff has the attenuation of signal nailed, in my estimation.  I will not repair the dome antenna, should it fail for some reason.  I will opt for an open crank up if I ever replace it. I will spend much time avoiding snow in any case.

Jack Nichols, 2003 Country Coach, KA5IFU
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Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2010, 02:40:14 AM »
I have no doubt that there's attenuation through the fiberglass, but that wasn't the issue I was addressing; The claim is often made that a dome antenna loses signal in the presence of rain or dew, whereas an open dish does not.

We don't consciously RV in snow, so I don't have a good data point there, but wouldn't expect a good signal. OTOH our kids live above the snow line and regularly lose signal on their open dish.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 03:12:20 AM by Tom »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2010, 07:37:53 AM »
In my limited experience, an open dish will continue to shed rain or even light snow when it accumulates on a dome. No rocket science - the dish face is pretty much upright (depending on your location, of course) and the rain/dew/snow runs off, whereas the dome is more or less flat across the top and beads of water cling easily. I've had the experience of parking next to friends with a dish and seeing their tv work in light rain while ours was spotty or blank. 

However, our new dome (KVH R4SL) does a much better job in light rain or dew than its predecessor, a KVH SF.  And I'm using Rainex on the dome a couple times a year and it seems to help a bit.  The top of the line KVH has a heater inside to help dispel dew and droplets.

But in heavy weather, none of them are going to work.
Gary
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Clay L

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2010, 09:10:09 AM »
Sorry.. It's not a myth and the proof can be found on any microwave license on file at the FCC. Part of the ERP power calculation is the LOSS of the fiberglass dome on the dish, exactly the same composition found on a DSS dome antenna that is already at rx threshold in a lot of cases. Now add a dome for an extra 1-3db (+ moisture gathered on the surface), and you're asking for trouble. Maybe not today, and maybe not for most people, but it's a well known fact that anything you place in front of any MW antenna: satellite or terrestrial will cause attenuation. There is absolutely no substation for gain, and it's not going to come from that cute little reflector in the domes cannot compared to a Motosat or Winegard.

And as you know the gain of a dish is proportional to the size so the smaller dish in the dome will always suffer from rain fade and the like more than a larger dish.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats), Sali (toy poodle)
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2010, 10:12:47 AM »
Oh gosh Bob, you're going to add to the myth busting  :o

My dome did experience rain fade before I started using the Dome Magic product, Tom. That's what led me to try it. Once I started using it -- no rain fade. But whether to go with dome or dish is as with most other stuff we decide on -- a matter of trade-offs.

I have experienced the downsides of an open dish, both with Internet (DirecWay, then Hughes, and then Starband) and with crank ups for TV. I now use a Vz air card for internet and a dome for TV. So am able to make the comparison on what works for me very well. The downsides of an open dish, for me, outweigh the good sides. Not sure what HD will do to my own equation, but for now, I am very high on the dome.

As to the snow issue, that would be a non-issue with me. Have been living full time in an RV since the mid 90's and have only been in sticking kinda snow maybe 2 or three times. During those times, it was gone by noon the next day. So I would never include snow in my own decision process on this subject.

BTW, snow "does" stick to an open dish. The attached was taken in Verdi just West of Reno. I was parked at the Boomtown RV park (sadly now a KOA  :(). The night before, I used my windshield scraper to remove the snow a couple of times. This image was taken in the later AM so it was beginning to melt off. The night before it was 2 to 3 inches thick.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 11:13:17 AM by Bob Buchanan »
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Tom

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2010, 10:34:30 AM »
Aye Bob, I couldn't understand the suggestion that snow does not accumulate on an open dish. Glad you posted that photo. Somewhere around here I have a picture of the kids' dish covered in snow.

Our experience with the dome on our coach is obviously limited; The longest we've stayed out on one trip is 14 weeks, and most trips are closer to a month. But I do know that I'd hear from Chris if/when she couldn't watch TV in bed at night or early morning. We awoke one morning in Las Cruces to unexpected snow, and the King Dome was covered; Definitely lost signal that day (and I heard about it).
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 10:41:17 AM by Tom »
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John From Detroit

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2010, 10:48:04 AM »
I will try to explain the two differences between dome and dish.. One is the dome itself.. if it gets wet then the water will "Get in the way" of the signal and degrade performance (that was easy wasn't it)

now the hard part.

Domes are usually 1/2 of a small dish

Now, Imagine if you will a bunch of parabolic mirrors

you are out at night and you hold the reflector (mirror) up so it gathers light and then use a flat mirror at the focal point to aim light down so you can read a book... System works great but.. There's not enough light to read by.

So you get a larger parabolic reflector and now.. You get more light.

IN fact the larger the reflector..... the more light

(Think of some of those big reflector telescopes... They gater a whole lot of light. from a very small portion of the sky)

Now.. How does this pretain to Sat Television?

Well, that "Dish" is a parabolic reflector and Light, like microwave television signals, is an Electromagnatic radiation..

So.. It is EXACTLY the same thing

The bigger the dish, the more "Gain" it has (That is the more light or in this case television signal, it will gather and focus on the focal point/LNB)

No difference at all between the mirror and the... Mirror.

Thus a DISH will always work better than a dome.. Unless you are moving in which a dome is your only choice.

CANADA/ALASKA question:
The satellites are over the equator. The farther you are from them the weaker their signal (Distance Squared formula if you wish to know) so the farther you are from the equator the STRONGER your antenna needs to be.. So again Dish beats dome


Final comment (I may have posted this before)

Domes see one satellit at a time and that is a KU bird,  DirecTV standard def works great with this kind of system (in fact the Standard DirecTV dish is a single KU antenna)

DishNetwork (SD or HD) and DirecHDTV both need multiple birds.. Some domes can do Dish if you have only one reciever, but none can do DirecHDTV at this time since two of their birds are Ka band

As for snow... I have seen a DISH get snow covered. .I've seen DOMES snow (And Rain) Covered.. Heck I've seen long wire antennas covered with ice and/or snow.  NO antenna is immune to snow or ice
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2010, 11:21:09 AM »
John has it nailed (I taught this stuff for several years).
On another note, I just installed a Trav'ler Friday afternoon past. It is simple, inexpensive (~$1,350 total cost), and worked the first time out of the box. As I noted in another post:
* pookey - the area where it will be
* ~ 10 screws to secure it
* Drill 0.5" hole (I went to the front of the MH thru standard wire channels from Home Depot)
* Run cables and install termination (simple task and, w/antenna install, the only assembly required) on one.
* Pookey and secure cover (provided) over the hole with cables in place ~ 8 screws.
* Connect control box and plug in wall wart; connect TV cable
* Follow simple instructions (includes install reflector- 4 bolts).
* Watch TV less than 4 hrs. after starting.

I'd do this install for $300 (total installed cost at retail ~ $1,650) - not looking for work - I have enough, but I'd be happy to help anyone who has questions. I'm just trying to put some of the prices (as high as $2,400 in one case) I've seen in context.
Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Bob Buchanan

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Re: satellite dome or dish antenna
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2010, 12:53:35 PM »

now the hard part.

Domes are usually 1/2 of a small dish


John, sometimes when I read your posts I feel that if someone asked you for the time, you would give them a lecture on how to build a watch.  :) :)

Ned and then Clay mentioned earlier in one sentence each that the size of the dish in a dome is smaller, ergo, less signal. What is "hard" about that??  ;)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 12:55:24 PM by Bob Buchanan »
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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