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Satellite TV and Cellular RVing Solutions

Satellite Antenna Tripod From TV4RV

We had used a tripod with a standard satellite dish for over 5 years to receive our television feed until a thunderstorm wind blew it over, damaging the dish and tripod. We decided to upgrade to High Definition. The dish supplied by Direct TV was much larger and heavier than the standard one. The mounting platform they provided was a large flat affair made of steel angle iron. It was stable but very difficult to level. In addition, it was quite heavy and large and had to be stored
in our car for travel. We looked around the campground for a solution and saw several tripods with “TV4RV.com” printed on them. We went to the company website and discovered their heavy duty tripod designed for the heavier High Definition antennas. We purchased a complete kit that included the tripod; an aluminum mast assembly that will support a mast size of either 1 5/8″ or 2″ diameter; a Lensatic compass modified to fit in the top of the tripod; a bubble level; a ground stake and heavy-duty bungee cord, a satellite signal finder; and a black nylon carry bag for everything.

This heavy duty model was designed to handle large HD dish antennas of up to 35 pounds in up to fifty mile per hour winds. A compass fits in the top to orient the tripod to within a degree or two of the azimuth required by your satellite TV provider. Next, replace the compass with the supplied bubble level. Each leg is individually adjustable, so making the tripod plumb was a snap taking all of one minute to get perfectly level. Once leveled, the dish is mounted on the mast assembly and you will be plus or minus two degrees from the optimum signal point. Then you screw the ground anchor into the ground below the mast and connect the bungee. In case you locate the antenna on a surface that cannot be penetrated by the anchor, cinder blocks or a five gallon pail of water can connect to the mast to stabilize the dish. After a little practice, we can setup and aim our antenna in less than five minutes.

When folded, the tripod is quite compact and measures 38″X6″X6″. It opens to a minimum height of 34″ or a maximum height of 61″ (with a normal 32″ leg spread). The legs can be extended with a wider stance for greater stability in high-wind areas.

When using this tripod in an area where it may be exposed to wind gusts in excess of 50 mph, the company sells a High-Wind Option Package. When set up according to supplied instructions, the heavy-duty tripod can generally withstand winds as high as 50 mph. (This will vary depending upon the size of the dish that is mounted.) The included instructions recommend modifications to the tripod that can be made to allow a much wider leg spread, which increases the footprint area by 100%. This modification to allow the wider leg spread involves drilling 3 holes in the tripod feet. They also suggest replacing the heavy-duty bungee Cord with a ratcheting tie-down strap to create a solid anchor to the ground. For ground surfaces that are too hard to insert the ground screw stake, they recommend hammering in two 12″ galvanized spikes at opposing angles.

Unfortunately, we didn’t heed the instructions for operation in high wind. We had set up the tripod too high and with too little weight under it. It went over during a thunderstorm and two small parts broke in the tripod. All parts of this tripod and all the supporting parts are available from the company website. I was able to order the parts and they were mailed the next day.

At the start of each month TV4RV publishes a newsletter with helpful tips on setting up and using satellite systems and a coupon for discounts on their products. The coupon offer changes each month.

I highly recommend TV4RV and the Heavy Duty Tripod. The Heavy-Duty Combo Package reviewed here is available for $154.95.

Check them out at: http://www.tv4rv.com/