View Full Version : Any Ideas how to Hide a Dish on a Condo Balcony?

10-07-2003, 10:17 PM
I just moved to a condo complex that doesn't allow dishes on the balcony. Does anyone have any creative ideas about how to hide a dish on the floor of a (concrete) balcony? I've checked and there is a line of sight.

Some people have tried to install dishes on the railings in the past and have received lawyer's letters to remove them ASAP. I'm not interested in a legal battle with the association. I'd just like to quietly install a dish that doesn't look like a dish - that's all.

There is a portable dish called the Satcom Passport that doesn't look like a usual dish but it's really expensive ($345US), the dual lnb version isn't available, and they're in California and don't seem to be able to tell me if it ever will be available. Also, I have no idea if it can withstand Canadian winters.

A fake rock would be ok I guess except the only ones I've seen are $200US and up.

I'm looking for brilliant ideas.

10-07-2003, 10:20 PM
How do they feel about modern art, you would be surprised what can be made from a dish shaped piece of metal, get creative.

Make sure to spread the word that it is a $10,000 piece. /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

If that does not work call it a prayer shrine.

10-07-2003, 10:26 PM
if you can give up a little signal strength then maybe a little creativity with some form of dish cover/screening might work.

10-07-2003, 11:00 PM
Put a cardboard box over it and be done. When it deteriates with the weather get another one. Appliance stores usually have lots and give them away.

10-07-2003, 11:47 PM
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
If that does not work call it a prayer shrine.

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/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Tell them you'll sue for religious discrimination.

10-07-2003, 11:57 PM
Are you allowed to do some landscaping on your balcony /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I'm not kidding, check into the Dish Rock! (http://www.dish-rock.com/)



10-08-2003, 12:00 AM
I don't think the condo can legally stop you from putting up the dish as long as it is not bolted to the balcony or somehow fastened to the railing. I have mine fastened to an 18"x18" patio stone and that is sitting ontop of a garbage pail in the corner of my balcony. The landlord had no problem with that and so far after a year and a half it hasn't blown over. Patio stone is pretty heavy so there isn't much movement.

10-08-2003, 12:38 AM
I'm not sure if the rules in Canada are the same or not, but I know that in the US you are allowed any dish 1 meter and smaller. No one can stop you from installing one. My guess is the same rule applies here as well.

Find a non-penetrating mount, ie. one that just sits on the ground and is weighted down to prevent movement. Get a piece of flat cable to fit through the patio doors so you don't need to drill any holes or make any screw holes of any kind. If they still have problems with that, then move to a better place and sublet your condo to bikers. Kidding on that last point, and yes I know bikers are good folk. My brother and his wife are bikers.

10-08-2003, 12:54 AM
Call bell and they will have the RCMP lean on them a little. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

10-08-2003, 04:37 AM
.....or at the very least, will quickly order Sheila to introduce legislation to have similar rights for Canadian tenants as are enjoyed by our southern cousins.


10-08-2003, 12:52 PM
You got that right, every one ask Sheila where's my flag


well this is the one she is bring to us. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

10-08-2003, 12:53 PM
The condo board likely had you sign a covenant against such things as satellite dishes when you moved in. It is not an issue of screwing bolts into the building versus having it sit on a concrete pad. They are looking to preserve a tidy and attractive appearance to the building. What you and I consider attractive is not always what others perceive the same way. When I moved into my new home, there were covenants covering many items, one which was no dishes over 18 inch diameter. This is for a home which I own, not rent. My house is nearly 200 feet from the road, nearest neighbour is at least 100 feet away. I still put up a StarChoice 76E dish, and haven't had any problems yet. There are other items such as needing permission from the developer, not just the city to construct any out buildings such as a garage, not allowed any radio towers, etc. If you signed on the dotted line to agree to their terms you are pretty much stuck with it.

10-08-2003, 01:22 PM
The problem with the rock is that they cost $299 US plus shipping from the US and I would guess shipping ain't cheap.

Also, I designed a makeshift box that would hide the dish and it needed to be about 36" tall using the existing pole that came with the dish. The rock is just 27" tall. In the words of Dolly Parton after a clothing incident - "It's hard to get 50 pounds of mud in a 10 pound sack."

10-08-2003, 01:57 PM
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In the words of Dolly Parton after a clothing incident - "It's hard to get 50 pounds of mud in a 10 pound sack."

[/ QUOTE ]
Was Dolly apologizing for her own expansive cleavage when she was thus quoted? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif


10-08-2003, 02:02 PM
She was apologizing for a "falling out" accident.

10-08-2003, 02:05 PM
"It's hard to get 50 pounds of mud in a 10 pound sack." returns 0 hits on Google. I'm sure it would be somewhere if she'd said that...

10-08-2003, 02:09 PM
She said it on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. For some reason, it stuck with me.

10-08-2003, 02:13 PM
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Johnny Carson's Tonight Show

[/ QUOTE ]

Ok, that explains it, Carson was before the Internet! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-08-2003, 02:35 PM
I've found the following:

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
When Dolly Parton's dress split at the Academy Awards some years ago, she remarked that her father had always told her that 'you can't put 40 pounds of mud in a 10 pound sack".

[/ QUOTE ]

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Dolly Parton once said, of another subject entirely but you’ll get the gist – “it’s like trying to put ten pounds of mud in a five pound sack.”

[/ QUOTE ]


.... goes off looking for a site with pics of the Academy Awards ...

10-08-2003, 02:43 PM
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
and it needed to be about 36"

[/ QUOTE ]

Bolt the dish to a block and put a garbage bag over it? /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

10-08-2003, 02:52 PM
Ya know, that's the most practical idea so far.

10-08-2003, 03:59 PM
Just say "it's a golf bag" when they ask what's on the balcony /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

10-08-2003, 04:01 PM
One of the reasons I chose this place is because the administrators are no dummies.

Maybe a golf cart.

10-08-2003, 04:11 PM
My mothers balcony was open to the prevailing winds. We put up some greenhouse plastic (the opague stuff) and we could put anything on the balcony that could not be seen from the street. Nice wind protection as well as added privacy.

10-08-2003, 04:19 PM
A good way to mount the dish is on a 2 foot square patio stone. It is low and very stable. To hide it maybe something decorative around the outside of the patio would work. Maybe some evergreen bushes if they are allowed. I do not know if they would survive the winter. You might need to keep the soil warm somehow.

10-08-2003, 07:46 PM
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Just say "it's a golf bag"

[/ QUOTE ]

...or your mother-in-law! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Whatever works for you!

10-09-2003, 02:48 AM
OnGlass Satellite Window Mount


link: http://www.skyvision.com/store/mi6000038.html
(don't try to substitute with plungers /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif !!

or put a military camouflage blanket over it and put a few flowers (plastic one) around it....

(or do like a guy I knew... the landlords showed up to remove the dish &amp; he showed him his Baseball bat!... you guess it right the dish is still there... /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

10-09-2003, 03:33 AM
I wonder if you couls hang a net from it and say it is a basketball hoop? /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-09-2003, 04:55 AM
I live an apartment building with a similar policy. I found a couple of pages which provided varying levels of useful information:
1 (http://www.roamer1.org/telecom/dish.html) (takes a while to load)
2 (http://www.selkirkshire.demon.co.uk/analoguesat/paintingdishes.html)

What I did was nail the dish to a sheet of plywood which sits on the floor of the balcony, and then I put some cinder blocks on the plywood to hold it in place. At first I put a box over it like the guy in the 1st link, but the attenuation was kind of high. Instead, I bought a vinyl tarp at Home Depot (or maybe Canadian Tire...) to place over it. Attenuation is very small, around 1 point on most transponders. Of course I had to do all the aligning and set-up in the dead of the night so I wouldn't be seen /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-09-2003, 05:18 AM
I like the "digiglobe lamps" but was not able to find the source (link) That is very cool!...

10-09-2003, 05:52 AM
An upside down plastic garbage can over the dish would also work.
I can see liability issues if fastened on a railing that can break loose with the dish or the dish coming undone from the railing and falling on someone.
Here in the U.S. you are allowed to put up a dish up to 1 meter on "your owned and controlled property" - no matter what restrictions might be in the deed or lease. This ruling over-rode many restictions that were preventing condo owners from installing dishes. (You can't put up a dish in a "common area".)


10-09-2003, 10:00 AM
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
An upside down plastic garbage can over the dish would also work.

[/ QUOTE ]

Shudder... NO,NO,NO,NO,NO!!!!!

As for "mounting" the dish, get a medium to large sized plant pot, and set a pipe, the same size as the stock mounting bracket, in cement in the pot. Make sure that the pipe is plumb when the cement hardens, and voila, a "mount" that cannot blow away, and is not perminante.

10-09-2003, 12:37 PM
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
I like the "digiglobe lamps" but was not able to find the source (link)

[/ QUOTE ]

Ever eager to please... Try clicking here then /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif:DigiGlobe Home Page (http://www.digiglobe.it/)

10-09-2003, 01:13 PM
This is what that dude need! I think it should be big enough for Expressvu...

Maybe he should get his Landlord to buy one!

10-09-2003, 01:33 PM
This is wild. It scares me but it is wild. Oh yeah, I don't think this would work for me as mounting on my particular window wouldn't allow me the line of sight I would need.

10-09-2003, 01:45 PM
This is very informative. Boy, do I ever like this setup. I also like the idea of a cinder block. I think bolting directly to a large patio stone makes the most sense. As for a cover, a cardboard box is uglier than a dish unless you can put it in a corner like in the picture. My particular balcony can be seen from above and the side. I have a strategically placed barbeque to block one angle but it doesn't help from above or the line of sight.

Based on all these suggestions. I'm starting to think a patio stone for a floor (about $6 at Home Depot), a very large plastic garbage bag as a cover with a hula hoop inside top to round out the form factor and make it look like a barrel shape.

10-09-2003, 01:48 PM
This must cost a fortune - particularly if you have to go to Italy to pick it up. /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

10-09-2003, 01:57 PM
When you look at that picture, the flower pot on the first picture seems like a great place to bury a pole. Then you install the dish and place a plastic bag over it and voila, it's a plant being protected for the winter.

One other interesting piece of info about our complex. It was announced yesterday that our annual meeting would be held Oct 26th. Met someone on the elevator who is lobbying to get on the board. He asked to me add an agenda item about allowing dishes on the balcony or possibly a mdu on the roof.

10-09-2003, 01:57 PM
This would be tacky but might work. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Mount the dish on a patio stone inside one of those old half whisky barrels they sell for planters. The top of the dish would still stick out of the top so it would not obstruct line of site. Then "plant" an artificial xmas tree in the top of the dish mast. so it looks like you have a tree in the planter. Paint the dish green for camoflage. How tacky is that? /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

10-09-2003, 09:04 PM
One of the companies that sell the digiglobe also sells the digicube. That would be great.

Why are they so far advanced in Europe compared to us and why aren't they taking advantage of our market potential?

Digicube Picture (http://www.ddelec.com/digicube.htm)

10-10-2003, 03:33 PM
That would be so easy to fabricate out of wood with a plexiglass face. It might attenuate the signal a bit. You could even have a design painted or silk screened on the face.

11-19-2003, 06:49 PM
I'm finally down to the short strokes. My dish is attached to a patio stone; my cable is strung; and I found an old barbecue that I stripped down and am using to camouflage the dish.

My next question is how much can I expect a barbecue cover to attenuate the signal? I'm about to buy one but I'm wondering if a heavy duty cover would interfere too much.
Are there brands or weights of vinyl I should avoid?


11-19-2003, 08:38 PM
Covering the dish with an ordinary cheap black plastic garbage bag will not interfere with the signal in any way, will prevent the dish from rain and snow, and will obscure the dish from visibility - try this inexpensive solution first and you may be surprised how well it works to take care of your concerns!

11-19-2003, 09:35 PM
I know but I have very nosy neighbours. When I drilled the hole for the cable, a neighbour reported my activities to the admin. He's a good guy and it was actually he who gave me the barbecue after the complaint and told me to make sure it's well hidden. He won't do anything unless there's a fuss.

I found that even the largest size garbage bag I could find reveals the shape of the dish too much. The orange leaf bags are a little better but the orange colour draws too much attention. I even tried plastic bags that garages use to protect tires from dirtying your trunk. Still looks too much like a dish.

I did find a very cheap barbecue cover at Rona whose weight is just this side of a garbage bag. It's just a bit small. The bigger covers are much more heavy duty so I'm afraid they'll interfere with the signal too much.

11-19-2003, 09:36 PM
Cut out a piece of the BBQ cover and replace with black colour plastic mosquito netting.

11-21-2003, 02:31 PM
So I setup everything last night - almost. For those who are interested, I'm using a relatively heavy-duty barbecue cover and found almost no attenuation - maybe 1%. On the other hand, the weather is perfect at the moment.

My final issue is that using Expressvu's old 18" dish, I was only able to lock into the 82 satellite. In previous tests, I was able to get an 80% signal on 91. My lock on 82 is only at 66% - in perfect weather. So I still have a bit of work ahead of me.

Thanks all for your help to this point.

11-22-2003, 05:29 PM
Final status: 77% signal from my balcony. If anyone would like a picture or 2, drop me a note. I have a couple.