Yes, but why two? Timber!!! Sinking Feeling The 12 Footer TV for Nothin'

After the disaster with the tree and 10 footer, I was pleased to find that my dishes are covered by my home owners insurance as an "out building". Go figure. They covered replacement cost of the dish, mounting system, and installation charges (within reason). I added some cash and a lot of sweat to move up to a 12 footer with a vertical actuator. Given that the ideal location for a dish in my yard is in a (drying) bog, the installation was, to say the least, a challenge. This page describes, in detail, the process of taming the bog.

As you can see in the picture below the soil is damp just a foot down and moist within two feet. This hole sat open from late one afternoon until two days later and it is still damp. The hole in the middle is about four feet deep giving a total depth of ~6 feet to battle the frost line which could be deeper in the bog. I used my auger to punch three 8" holes 48" deep in a triangle pattern and cleaned up the junk between the holes (so there's one big hole ~16" in diameter). The bottom of this hole filled with about a foot of water within an hour or so of digging. The pad area of the hole is about six feet in the East/West plane and about five feet in the North/South plane (left/right in the picture). The pole is set just North of the center and centered East/West. This was another attempt to offset issues related to the soft soil such as lean. 

Ten-foot-long sections of half-inch rebar were bent such that it extended from the bottom of the middle hole and then wrapped into a spiral pattern up top where the floating pad would reside. Bricks were used to assure that the rebar would reside in the pad rather than under it. The rebar will prevent the hole portion from separating from the pad. I also tried to get the sides as vertical as was possible to avoid giving the frost something good to grab (though that didn't work exactly as I had hoped).

Wanting to transfer some of the weight of the pole/dish to the platform (vs. all of it into the hole) and wanting to leave 6' of pole above ground level (it's a 12' dish), I used my drill press to punch a half-inch hole at about the 3' mark from one end of the pole (schedule 40 4.5" OD), roughed up the openings a little and sent a six-foot, half-inch rebar rod through. I used the two vacant bricks in the picture above to hold the rebar and pole up into where the pad would be poured. Later during the pour, I added another U-shaped rebar rod to the pad. The 'L' PVC run for the cabling was also positioned at this time. 

Fortunately for me, my neighbor owns a small cement mixer which he let me borrow (the next day he had several cases of beer delivered to his door). There was no way that I could have gotten a truck anywhere near the construction site as it would have sunk into the bog well in advance of being in range for a delivery. I also had limited funds (what's new) which eliminated a buggy or mechanical arm delivery.

What I lacked in funds I made up for in determination. So, there I was in the heat of that summer day mixing and delivering forty-seven sixty pound bags of Quickrete (yup, 47!). That was a painful experience. I filled the hole up to about a foot shy of the top so that grass or garden goods could be planted right up to the pole if so desired. The conduit was brought out of the garden area at a two foot depth to prevent a mishap with the tiller and then raised to a foot for the trek up to the house.

I created a forming wall out of bricks where the PVC exited the pouring box which was, otherwise, completely formed from dirt (the bottom was ~16" below the surface). The intended pad depth was around 6"-8" (easier said than done). That would leave about 8"-10" of clearance above the pad, which was filled back in since this baby was planted in the garden. I should have gotten the conduit a little closer to the pole but I wasn't sure how that was all going to work out so I erred on the side of caution. It turned out fine.


Out of sequence below are two pictures that show the trenching that was required to get the cables to the house. Yup. He hand dug it. That's a little over 150' all told. It runs about 2-3 feet to the right of the trench originally used to feed the 9 footer. I needed the exercise anyway and, once again, found myself short on funds. Persistence! I also took the opportunity to run a 220v direct burial line to the 9 footer. This was to be used for a shallow pump to water the garden. Since we're moving it isn't of much use to us but may be for the next guy. I also pulled some extra video and control wires to both dishes in case something broke or some new gadget was obtained. That way I wouldn't have to dig another trench!


For the most part I was on my own constructing this thing so I had to be creative for some tasks that really need or could use two people. The dish assembly definitely fits that category, but even wire runs and conduit assembly can be very difficult when you're alone. Below is a picture of a spool roller that I made with a shovel, the spool of dual RG6 plus control wires, two saw horses, and some nails.