Satellite dish materials

The manufacture of fiberglass dishes involves first preparing a compound paste that contains resin and calcium carbonate and pouring it onto a polyethylene film with fiberglass bits embedded in it. The material is then pressed into shape. In contrast, aluminum dishes are perforated with punching dies and molded into shape.


A satellite dish is a parabolic television antenna that receives signals from communication satellites in orbit around the earth. Its sole function is to provide the television viewer with a wider variety of channels.

The first communications satellite— Echo I —was launched by the United States in 1960, transmitting telephone signals. In 1961 Relay began transmitting television signals, and in the same year Syncom established itself as the first geosynchronous satellite capable of transmitting signals to one particular section of the earth's surface continuously.

The rapid advances in communication satellite technology were not simultaneously matched by advances in satellite dish use and technology. Television broadcasting began with individual stations that could only serve a limited area. Television networks had to provide their affiliate stations with recordings of programs if they wished to provide nationwide service. Satellite television was not widely available until the 1970s, when cable television stations equipped with satellite dishes received signals that were then sent to subscribers by coaxial cable. By 1976, there were 130 satellite dishes owned by cable companies, and by 1980, every cable television station had at least one satellite dish.

About that time personal satellite dish earth stations were selling for approximately $35, 000 per unit. Taylor Howard, an employee at Stanford University who was well-versed in the usefulness of satellites as relayers of data, is credited with designing the first satellite dish for personal use. Howard's dish, which was placed into operation on September 14, 1976, was made of aluminum mesh and was about 16 feet (5 meters) wide. By 1980, 5, 000 satellite dishes had been purchased for home use. In 1984 alone 500, 000 were installed. Recent reports state that there are 3.7 million owners of home satellite dishes worldwide, and the number will continue to grow.

A typical commercial satellite dish of the 1970s was made of heavy fiberglass, and the dish itself, at its smallest size, had a diameter of about ten feet (three meters). Since then, satellite dish design has shifted toward light-weight, aluminum mesh dishes (similar to Howard's homemade dish), some of which are inexpensive and small (three feet, or one meter, in diameter is typical), with many sections (petals) that can be easily assembled. England, Japan, and Germany, have led the way with direct broadcast TV, which sends signals directly to the viewer's dish, but the United States has yet to do so. This trend would yield smaller, more affordable satellite dishes and regulated satellite programming.

Hughes Hot Shot Heater for Ka/Ku Slimline Satellite Dish
CE (Hughes)
  • •Safe low-voltage 24 VAC heater keeps off ice & snow off Satellite Dish
  • •Does not require hiring a licensed electrician for installation
  • •Automatic thermostat turns on just above freezing temperatures and off when the dish surface warms up
  • •Durable Vinyl material lasts a long time
  • •One hundred feet of electrical cable provided •Heavy-duty wire-wound power transformer provided
Dish Armor, LLC (Black) Satellite Dish Cover - Snow and Ice Protection for Directv and Dish Network
CE (Dish Armor, LLC)
  • Satellite Dish Cover - Prevent Snow and Ice
  • Made from a special synthetic nylon material that creates a super slippery surface.
  • Dish Armor satellite dish cover will fit nearly all directv and dish network dishes.
  • Designed and manufactured in U.S.A.
  • Fits most dishes up to 38 wide x 24 tall
Siskiyou Gifts Siskiyou Philadelphia Eagles Satellite Dish Cover - Philadelphia Eagles One Size
Sports (Siskiyou Gifts)
  • Patented nylon mesh material
  • Elastic rim for a secure fit
  • Fits 18 to 20 dishesDecorated with the team logo
  • Officially licensed
Summit Venture 18" Inch Linear Actuator Super Jack Arm with Saddle Clamp Dish Mover Black Power Jack 36 Volt Satellite Positioner with Limit Reed Sensor
BISS (Summit)
  • Anti-Rust Epoxy Coated Steel Construction.
  • Precise Accuracy Positioning for both KU / C Band Capabilities
  • Adjustable Limit Reed Switch Protection.
  • Single Screw Limit Switch Adjustment
  • Whisper Quiet Long Life Operation
RSTC Enterprises SuperDeck 12-inch Satellite Dish Mounting System
Speakers (RSTC Enterprises)
  • Easily removed without leaving holes
  • No cutting of shingles required
  • No damage to roof materials

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