This was a rather nice house in a rather nice area. The aerial installation was anything but nice. I've seen a lot of dodgy stuff but this ranks up there with the best of them (worst of them)!

You can't see from the photo, but this is directly above a flat roof, which has a very large and very expensive window built into it giving the room below plenty of light. A few gusts of wind and the room below would have had a lot more going into it than some sunlight.

It's hard to find somewhere to start with this one. The Sky minidish was installed first. Why on earth they chose to site it above the glass window is beyond me. I can only think that they didn't notice the window (almost impossible) or they were trying to save on the amount of cable they used. The brackets are painted and are not hot dipped galvanised meaning that they would have started rusting fairly quickly and eventually would have covered the white wall with large brown rust stains . These brackets are incredibly heavy yet somehow the installers have reached the decision to secure them to the wall with some thin screws and wall plugs. The head of the screws are so small they slide right through the fixing holes on the brackets, but rather than give them a wake up call as to the inadequacy of the chosen fixings, they have decided to work around this and have pressed some flimsy washers into service.

This is a close up of the fixings they used. Look at the state of those fixings - they have pulled out completely. I can't remember most of the formulae from my Civil Engineering days (thank god) but I can tell you these screws are a long way from being sufficient. The cables are wrapped around the brackets and the cables for the Sky dish are routed up inside the mast. This is never a good idea as they will rattle around in the wind and wake everyone up who is nearby. I'm sure that the installers of the camera wouldn't be too please about the brackets obscuring the view if the camera pans to the right. According to the owner, the Sky used to work most of the time but would suffer from drop outs and occasional loss of service. Presumably this was the mast moving in the wind and/or a poorly aligned dish.

Anyway, riding into the foreground comes the person tasked with installing an aerial on the property. After going to B&Q and selecting a poor quality wideband aerial and a length of aluminium mast only a little thicker than a pencil, they looked for somewhere to install it. The location where the Sky was already installed was their choice. They must have deemed the brackets and fixings strong enough and the large window below irrelevant, because they fixed the new aerial and mast onto the existing Sky one. After using two pieces of wire (earth bonding safety warning clamps) to clamp the new mast to the existing one, they were obviously still a bit concerned as to the longevity of their work because they then wrapped the two masts with tape at certain intervals to hold them together.


Note the Sky minidish has a pull down shield to help prevent water getting onto the LNB connections, but this has not been pulled down so it's rendered useless and the connections are left exposed.

I'm not sure how long this creation stayed vertical, but it can't have been long. Possibly a few weeks or so I would imagine. They can't have tested the signals there anyway, as half of the DTT multiplexes were unavailable. When I arrived I was so concerned about it all falling down onto the window that I only took a few quick snaps before getting up there and making it safe.

The owner also wanted to install an FM aerial, but getting good reliable signals for VHF FM or Freeview proved impossible at the back of the house! I don't think he would have appreciated a jamboree of aerials and Sky dishes hovering over the main entrance at the front of the property so we had to think again about where we could put them.

The photo below shows what we came up with to solve the reception problems. The Non Penetrating Roof Mount (NPRM) is fully hot dipped galvanised, and all the aerials are made by Antiference. This is situated a lot higher than the previous installation up on a flat roof at the top of the house, and the reception was spot on. You can hardly notice this from the front of the house which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on whether you like looking at interesting aerial installations!