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What follows is a step by step, detailed description of how one particular satellite dealer would advise a do-it-your customer on how to perform a standard pole mount installation of a Hughes, two-way system (SRS).

I am going on the assumption that one plans on installing a one-way Hughes System with the intention of upgrading to a two-way, at a later date. However, this installation will work for both one-way and two-way.

Step 1: Figure out where you are going to install your pole and take all measurements for the length of conduit you will need to run your cable underground. Determine how many elbows you will need and couplings. Also figure on putting a junction box at the entrance of your home. If you are running the conduit on the outside of your wall, up to the roof overhang and then into the attic, I would suggest two junction boxes. One will be about 12 inches up from ground level and the other will be under the eve of the house. The junction box should be large enough to mount your cable grounding blocks on the inside of the box that is close to ground level.

Step 2: Head to the nearest electrical supply store and purchase an adequate amount of 1 and 1/2 inch or preferably 2-inch electrical PVC conduit. Try to avoid the flexible type. Get the gray colored rigid type. Also make sure you get enough sweep 90-degree elbows, couplings and 45 degree elbows, if you need them. Do not substitute with the PVC elbows used for water. If you do not have any pull string (for pulling cable through conduit) then get some of that also. Don't forget the PVC cement and 5/8 inch by 8-foot long ground rod and ground clamp for that rod. Also some #8 or larger, solid copper grounding wire. Don't waste your money on the aluminum grounding wire.

Step 3: Go to the local supply store where you can purchase a 3-inch, schedule 40 steel pipe. The pipe will be 3 inches inside diameter (ID) and 3.5 inches outside diameter (OD). It should be a minimum of 8 feet, 2 inches long. It can be galvanized or black painted, depending on your environment. If you have sprinklers that spray water containing chlorine or if you mount it close to a swimming pool, then I would suggest the galvanized. However, cleaning the pipe, with a power brush, and painting it with Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal primer followed by two coats of Rust-Oleum paint (color of your choice) will give you many years of service. While at the pipe supply store purchase a short piece of schedule 40 pipe that is 10 inches long and having an OD of 2 and 3/8 inches. If you can't find this short piece in schedule 40, as a last resort, you can substitute by buying a piece of Chainlink fence post. It is usually 2 and 3/8 inch outside diameter.

Step 4: Head to the nearest welding shop and have them weld a piece of 1/4 or 3/8 inch steel plate to the end of your 3 inch schedule 40 pipe. Have them cut a round 2-inch hole in the center of that top plate. You are going to run cable through that hole. Now, have them weld the piece of 2 and 3/8 OD pipe to the plate. Make sure everything is perfectly straight and centered. Also it would be nice if the top plate was cut so that it is round and the outside diameter is 3 and 1/2 inches. You should now have a pipe that is 9 feet long including the 2 and 3/8-inch by 10-inch extension. While at the welding shop, have them cut a 45-degree angle cut on the bottom of the pole. However, instead of the angle cut they could cut a couple of ears (I prefer three staggered ears) near the bottom of the pole and bend them out. This keeps the pole from turning in the concrete. I prefer the ear method versus the 45-degree angle method. It keeps the pipe from raising vertically as well as turning. Don't leave the welding shop yet. There is more. Consider that your pole is going to be buried 36 inches into the soil. Figure at what depth you want to place your conduit. Take a sweep 90 elbow, place it next to the pole and have the welder cut a hole so the elbow fits nicely into the pipe. You want to make sure that one end of the elbow fits completely into the pipe and the other end is at a 90-degree angle to the pipe. You are going to run the cable through the center of the pipe and out through this elbow which will then be connected to the underground conduit. There will be no unsightly conduit or cables strapped to the outside of your pole to be cut with "Weed-eaters" or to deteriorate from sunrays. Last, have them weld a 1/2 inch by 1 inch long, bolt to the pipe about 6 inches up from where you think the pipe is going to meet ground level. For example, if you bury the pipe 36 inches in the ground then your would weld the bolt at 42 inches from the bottom of the pipe. You will want to weld the head of the bolt to the pipe. Then make sure you get a 1/2 nut. This is going to be your ground wire attachment point for the pole. There is no need to purchase a ground bracket for the pole. Put a piece of tape on the threads of this bolt, to protect the threads, for now.

Step 5: On your way home pick up about 5 to 8 bags of concrete "Ready Mix." I never use that quick set stuff. You can use it if you want to. The "Ready Mix" usually comes in 80-pound bags and has the gravel, sand and cement already mixed in. All you do is add water and mix it up and throw it in the hole. Depending on your soil will depend on how much "Ready Mix" you will need and the diameter of hole you will need to dig. For example, if you have a very sandy soil, I would recommend the full 8 bags. If you have a hard, solid type of clay soil then you could probably get by with the 5 bags. Of course if you have solid rock then you could probably get by with just a couple of bags. Good luck on drilling or blasting a hole in solid rock. I have been there and done that.

Step 6: This is the hole digging section. The dimensions are for sandy or a sandy loom soil. Get out the "Post Hole Digger" and some gloves, if you have delicate hands. Dig a hole 36 inches deep. You might want to dig the first 12 to 15 inches with a shovel. Make the hole 14 inches in diameter. Dig it down to 30 inches using the "Post Hole Digger." Now, cave in the sides of the hole to form a "Bell Shaped" hole and take out the dirt. The bottom of the hole should be about 20 to 24 inches in diameter. Next, using the "Post Hole Digger" dig down to the 36-inch depth but only making a 10-inch diameter hole. Remember, because of your hole in the pipe to attach your conduit and the bolt welded on for the ground wire attachment, it is critical your hole is exactly at the right depth and not an inch or two more or less. Try to have all angles of the hole as sharp angles versus rounded. Don't forget to dig the trench for the conduit. Have the conduit trench go all the way to the pole.

Step 7: Now it is time to mix the concrete and set the pole. You can do it however you want to but I am going to tell you how I have found is the easiest, most efficient way with the best water to concrete mixture and the least about of work and clean-up. Of course if you have one of those small, electric or gas powered concrete mixers, then you might want to use it. However, I have found that you have to put too much water into the mixture to get the concrete to flow out of the mixer. If you want to, try this method. I call it the water injection method. Get a piece of inch or thicker, plywood or some large piece of material about 4 feet by 4 feet. Lay it next to the hole with it hanging over the edge of the hole about an inch. Hook a hose to the water faucet with a hand sprayer connected to the end. Take a bag of "Ready Mix," lay it in the middle of the plywood and split it in half with a shovel. Empty the contents. Take another bag and gently lay it on top of the "Ready Mix" you have on the board. Split that bag and empty it. Now you have a small hill of "Ready Mix." Spread out the "Ready Mix" so as to make it look like you would imagine the top of a volcano would look like. Turn on the water, grab the hand sprayer and shove it down into the "Ready Mix" so just the tip of the sprayer is in the "Ready Mix" and no water sprays any where except that being injected into the "Ready Mix." Dont leave the spraying nozzle in one place too long. Move all around the inside wall of your volcano until there is water about an inch to an inch and a half deep, inside the volcano. Take the shovel and start from the outside wall of the volcano and gently shovel the "Ready Mix" into the center of the volcano until all the water has been absorbed by the "Ready Mix." Now start mixing, with the shovel. You do not want it too wet. You want it wet enough so that the concrete will be smooth if you happen to run the shovel across the top of it. You want the concrete to maintain its shape and not end up like a soupy mixture. Have a 9-inch magnetic, torpedo level handy that you can stick on the side of the pipe. The pipe should already be in the hole. Don't worry about it being level at this point. No need for rocks and such to keep the pole level. That is a waste of time and energy. Now, throw your first mixture of wet concrete into the hole. Level the pipe with the torpedo level. Level two sides of the pipe at 90 degrees apart. For example, level the North side and the East side. Don't worry if it does not stay perfectly level, when you let go to mix some more concrete. Mix two more bags of "Ready Mix" and throw it into the hole. Repeat mixing and throwing until you have reached the point where the 90-degree sweep elbow is to be inserted into the pipe. Make sure the pipe is now perfectly level. Tie a nut to the end of a piece of pull string and drop it into the pipe, from the top. Reach in through the hole in the pipe where the elbow is going to be inserted and pull out the string. Run it though the elbow. Glue a coupling to the end of the elbow and have about a foot or two of PVC glued to the other end of the coupling. Pull the string all the way through so that it extends at least three feet out of the top of the pipe and 3 feet out the end of the short piece of PVC, that is now in your trench. Tape the string to the outside of the top of the pipe so you dont loose that end. Insert the elbow into the pipe and continue to mix and throw concrete. From time to time you will want to poke the shovel into the concrete, that is already in the hole, to make sure it fills all air pockets. Don't forget to dam up the trench where it enters the hole, with dirt, so that you do not have concrete running into your trench, from the hole. Stuff some newspaper or paper towels into the end of the short piece of PVC that is in the trench, so you dont fill the PVC with dirt. Once you have concrete all the way to the top of he hole, put some more on top of that. Check two sides of the pipe to make sure the pipe is still perfectly straight, using the level. Form like a dome or ant hill around the base of the pipe. Go a head and use your hands. Be creative and see how smooth and pretty you can make this dome. Form the dome with your hands and then pat the concrete to smooth it out. The reason for the dome is you dont want soil to come in contact with the metal pipe and cause it to rust. Also, when it rains you will not have water standing next to the pipe; and last when you use the Weed-eater you wont need to get so close to the pipe that you start knocking paint off of the pipe and give it a chance to rust, at the base. Now, before you leave the job site to let the concrete setup for 24 hours, drive your grounding rod in, next to your concrete. It is best to drive the rod next to and on the outside of your concrete, but I have also driven the rod in, next to the pole and buried the top 3 feet of the rod in concrete. Of course if you put the rod next to the pole, make sure you drive in the rod before you start mixing and throwing concrete. Now you can rest or start running cable on the inside of your house.

Step 8: Gather together all of your conduit, elbows, couplings, glue, pull string and junction boxes. Run the pull string through all of your PVC, couplings and elbows. Glue all PVC and its components together except for gluing the junction boxes to the PVC. I normally never glue junction boxes to PVC. You can if you want to, after the junction boxes have been installed or just before you install the boxes. Make sure you have at least one pull string installed. I usually install two and leave at least one, after all cable has been pulled through. You never know when you might want to run more cable. Make sure you pull all cable through the conduit before you fill in your trench. Remember that you are going to pull the cable through the center of your antenna pole. Let about 6-feet extend out from the top of your pole. It is easier to cut off extra than to have to add some. Dont forget to pull that grounding wire through your conduit if you attached a ground wire to the grounding point on the Radio of a two-way system. Also, if you placed your coaxial grounding blocks, at the antenna. All electrical grounds need to be connected to your whole house ground. Check out the grounding FAQ . You might also want to consider gluing the conduit after you have pulled all of the cable. It gets a bit messy, by doing it this way and it is hard to keep the glue off of the coaxial cable but it is easier fixing a problem before the entire conduit is glued together. Once the cable is installed and the trench is filled, you should be ready to install and point your antenna. Refer to your antenna pointing manual of the one-way system or call the certified installer to install the two-way system. You could actually install the antenna before you run the cable, as long as you wait at least 18 hours for the concrete to setup. The end result you want is to run your cables so that they are neat as possible and with the least about of cable being exposed to the elements.

You might want to check out the Photos of Our Satellite Systems, click on Gallery, then click on Amersat. You will see several antenna installations where the cable can barely be seen.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • 5 to 8 bags of ready mix.....I think the phrase OVERKILL does not do your article justice.They sell 40 lb bags for setting post and 1 or 2 80lb bags (depending on your post)would be moore than great for corner post.a satellite post would only need 8 80lb bags of concrete if it doubled as a car hoist.LOL

    2010-04-30 16:40:11

Expand got feedback?

by amersat See Profile edited by PetDude See Profile
last modified: 2002-04-02 23:50:32