Dish TV & Snowfalls

I was wondering if dish owners find it necessary, on occasion, to go outside and clear out any snow or debris that might accumulate inside the dish, or on the dish surface? I know, from my observation, most house dishes have a shallow angle of tilt from the vertical (why?) as opposed to a sharper angle of tilt (why not?), so you’d first say the snow doesn’t accumulate. But, if you had a winrty mix changing to all snow, I WAG the snow would stick to the walls of the dish and accumulate perhaps just enough to interfere with good reception, true?

Extra Credit: The local TV studios have giant dishes pointed upwards at maybe a 45 dgr angle (why?). So, does any SDoper know if they have a greater problem with snow, leaves, and/or trash collecting in the dish?

Bonus: Actually, IIRC, the first radio (dish) telescope to study the universe was plagued by interference believed to be caused by goose droppings collecting within the dish. However, this interference was later proven to be the background radiation leftover from the Big Bang! (Ha! Who knew?) I WAG they killed all the geese in the vicinity to eliminate this variable?

Duck, Duck, Goose (Ouch!) Someone just goosed me! :smiley:

  • Jinx

P.S. The cable co’s can “dish” it out, but they sure can’t take it!

Shallow dish tilt because the sattelites orbit is below Texas horizion, more or less, and most folks will have a shallow tilt to face the sattelite.

If the sat was over Illinois, then alot of the dishes would be pointed up.

You can buy a satellite dish heater to keep the snow and ice from accumulating.

Here in Michigan my oval DirecTV dish is pointing at two satellites over Texas. The only problem is gives me is during severe rain storms in the spring. Of course there’s nothing to clean and I have to wait for the rain to stop. Never had a problem with snow in the two years I’ve had it, even with accumulation on the disk. However before I had the oval dish, I had a round dish pointed at only a single satellite over Texas. For the three years I had it I still had the same problems with torrential rains, plus had to go beat the snow off of it once or twice per year after heavy snow. Light stuff never bothered it.

The oval dish is obviously a lot larger, so I imagine that’s why the snow doesn’t seem to effect it – it focuses more microwaves at the receiver tip waveguide thing (gosh, I know how it works, just can’t think of the name, you know, the antenna proper).

Oh, it’s two satellites 'cos I have that “Para Todos” thing.

Recently my upstairs neighbor had to do just this; his dish was mounted on the ground close to our apartment house wall, and a freezing rain tilted the dish enough to allow snow to fall into it. Looking at how his (and others’) dish is normally aligned, I don’t think snowfall would be a problem.

I have to knock the snow off a couple of times a year. Not really a big deal as long as the thing is accessable.

You recall correctly. Although I never heard “goose droppings”, just bird droppings in general. A great story – clean bird droppings and win a Nobel prize!

Oddly, this has happened.

You can see from this pic:

What our dish looked like after the President’s Day snowstorm.

Oddly, our TV reception wasn’t diminished but our Internet connection was. The base station for my satellite ISP got creamed by the same storm and they were caught flat-footed by the holiday.

More scarily…

For a few years I worked for a political publisher and we had DirecTV. The dish was mounted on the roof of our office building. During an ice storm it was knocked out and I ended up on a ledge at the top of a 10 story building knocking ice off the dish with ice coming down and no safety line.


With my home DirectTV dish, in the two years I’ve had it I’ve only had to brush out some accumulated snowfall once. Since I live in Milwaukee it’s obvious that it snows much more frequently than that, but only once was the snowfall conditions such that it stuck to the dish.

As others have mentioned, the dish is at a more vertical angle due to our more northern latitude. This helps to avoid snow accumulation problems.

When I was living in Oracle Arizona I found it didn’t take much snow or rain to futz up my DirectTV reception. A non-issue in Phoenix and I have cable anyway now.

FWIW your mini-dish is pointed in the same neighborhood as a lot of other satellite dishes but yours is not symmetrical while the big dishes typically are. With a symmertic dish the axis and feedhorn point straight toward the target. With a mini-dish the aiming direction is above the feedhorn. This allows a more vertical reflector surface which collects snow and debris somewhat less than a symmetical dish would.

My dish in Denver used to accumulate snow on the days when it was the blowing-sticky kind. It could interfere enough to prevent it from working.

I used to just walk out with my broom and brush it out. I purposely placed it low enough to allow this. At another house, I could reach it from an opened bedroom window with the broom.

I think there’s signal-transparent covers you can get for a standard 15-inch dish and I’ve heard of people spraying the dish with silicone spray to keep it too slick for snow, too.

Had my direct TV dish for 4 or 5 years and never had a problem with snow. (Centeral Wisconsin) Never bothered to see if it was covered with snow or not as the reception was never interupted. Do have a problem every now and then with thunder storms and heavy rain.

No problems here with snow, unless it’s like 3 feet, and the receiver is completely covered. Only times that the Dish wigs out is when there is lightning nearby because it ionizes the atmosphere…

I used to sell DirecTV and Dish Network systems. We always recommended to customers that they spray their dishes with Pam or other non-stick cooking spray a couple of times during the winter so the snow and ice would not stick. It’s cheaper than a dish heater.