How to Buy a Used Satellite Dish

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How to Buy a Used Satellite Dish

Buying a used satellite dish can save a considerable amount of money. The used satellite dish must be in good working order, with no corrosion or damage, and the LNB must be intact to provide an adequate performance. There are several components required for a satellite system to work correctly, including the dish, an LNB, appropriate cables, and a good quality wall mount. A used satellite dish, if properly installed, picks up satellite television signals, amplifies them, and relays them to a television set, or to the television via a receiving box. The size of the dish needs to be considered, as it determines how many channels can be received and from what countries. In general, the bigger the dish and the more sensitive the LNB, the more channels can be received. Used satellite dishes can be constructed from various materials, such as steel, which is an excellent receptor, but corrodes very quickly so needs considerable protection and maintenance.

Used satellite dishes can be purchased from private sellers, and from some satellite retailers and installation companies. eBay has a wide selection of used satellite dishes, as well as all of the cables, mounts, and accessories required to install the dish.

Purpose of a Used Satellite Dish

The purpose of a satellite dish is to receive satellite television signals. Some satellite dishes are also able to pick up digital radio signals. Buyers who select a used satellite dish in good working order can save a great deal of money, and are often able to purchase a larger, better quality dish than they could otherwise afford. Purchasing a larger used satellite dish enables buyers to access channels from other countries and frequencies, for a wider variety of viewing options. This, in turn, allows buyers to keep up to date with world events and other cultures, and can act as an effective method of learning a new language.

Components of a Satellite System

For a fully functional satellite system, buyers need a suitable satellite dish; an LNB; strong, stable wall mounts to attach the satellite dish onto a building safely; cables and connectors to connect the dish to the receiver; and a satellite receiver in the form of a set top box or a satellite ready television. A compatible remote control is also necessary, and some systems require a card to access restricted or scrambled channels.

Size of a Used Satellite Dish

Satellite dishes are available in a range of sizes. The size of the satellite dish required depends on how many channels a viewer wants to access and the location of the dish. If a buyer lives in the Midlands or the south of England, they are able to buy a minidish. A minidish is around 53 centimetres wide and can be used in strong signal areas. A minidish is unlikely to be able to pick up good quality signals from other countries. A larger satellite dish, known as a zone 2 minidish, is the most commonly used dish in the north of England and Scotland. The larger dish has a higher gain and so is favoured because it performs better in regions with poor signal coverage, which is typical for the northern half of the UK.

In areas with very poor signals or when a buyer wishes to receive channels not normally viewed in the UK, the use of a larger dish up to one metre wide is recommended. It is also advised to purchase a dish one size larger than would normally be required if the buyer needs to trail the connecting cable for more than 25 metres. For every 25 metres, or part thereof, the dish size should be increased by one size.

LNB for a Used Satellite Dish

LNB stands for low noise block. This is a small device that acts as an amplifier and is attached to a boom arm, pointing towards the satellite dish. An incoming signal is reflected off the body of the satellite dish and into the LNB unit. The size of the signal is increased, or amplified, and the frequency is lowered, which helps to filter out unwanted noise or interference. For most standard and minidishes, a single LNB is perfectly adequate. Twin and quad LNBs have two or four outputs respectively and are used for two or four separate satellite receivers, or one or two twin tuners.

Cables for a Used Satellite Dish

To connect a used satellite dish to the satellite receiver inside the home, it is necessary to use a suitable coaxial cable. A high quality coaxial cable with a solid inner dielectric core is required to get the best possible performance and reception from the satellite dish, and to avoid damage or the need to replace the cable frequently. The solid core cable offers excellent performance and prevents moisture damage. The greater the distance between the satellite dish and the receiver, the higher the quality of the cable necessary to receive a good quality signal. This is because the further the signal has to travel, the greater the danger of signal deterioration. A top quality coaxial cable has multiple layers of shielding and insulation. This reduces the opportunity for signal loss greatly.

Wall Mounts for a Used Satellite Dish

Choosing an appropriate wall mount for a used satellite dish is important, yet often neglected. The best quality used satellite dish mounted on an inappropriate mounting unit can severely affect the performance of the dish. Some buyers have made the mistake of buying a standard aerial mount for their satellite dish. Aerial mounts are not designed to support the weight, shape, or weight distribution of a satellite dish, so the dish can fall easily when the mount snaps or the dish pulls away from the mount. To prevent damage or injury, buyers should purchase a satellite dish mount that is designed for the size and weight of their selected dish.

Examining a Used Satellite Dish

When buying a used satellite dish, buyers are strongly advised to examine the dish for any signs of damage or corrosion. The satellite dish should not have any overt signs of significant wear. Satellite dishes are exposed to the elements, so examining them for damage can help to ensure that the buyer purchases a dish in a good condition. Corrosion on the dish reduces the efficiency with which it reflects signals back to the LNB, and therefore, can negatively impact the signal quality expected from the dish. Buyers should also check the integrity of any fixtures and fittings, making sure that they are all intact, securely fitting, and are not corroded. It is possible to find used satellite dishes in good condition, especially if they have been well maintained by a previous owner.

Painting a Used Satellite Dish to Enhance Performance

Satellite dishes can be painted if required to enhance their performance. They are usually painted black or white. Ideally, the dish should be coated in matt paint rather than gloss. This is to cut down on reflection and glare from the sun. In areas that receive a great deal of sunlight, a satellite dish should be painted matt black, as the reflection from a white satellite could melt the LNB.

Buying a Used Satellite Dish on eBay

Buying a used satellite dish on eBay gives buyers a wide choice. Used satellite dishes can be found by entering a phrase such as "used satellite dish" in the search box on the eBay homepage, or by navigating to the appropriate category. Shoppers can narrow down their search results by using the price range or specific features of the item. Information, such as brand or size of the used satellite dish can also be used in the search phrase if the buyer has a specific product in mind.

Before finalising a purchase of a used satellite dish, buyers should read the item description thoroughly, taking note of the specification and any other information provided by the seller to ensure that they purchase the correct dish. If the buyer has any questions, or would like additional photos, they are free to contact the seller via eBay. All good sellers respond quickly to requests from potential buyers. Buyers need to factor the postage and packaging costs into their budget when purchasing a used satellite dish, as the item is large, bulky, and heavy. It may be possible to find a used satellite dish in the local area that the buyer can collect in person after the transaction is complete, if the seller agrees, to reduce delivery costs.


When purchasing a used satellite dish, buyers must consider several factors. The size of the dish is of key importance. Minidishes can be used in some parts of the UK that have a high signal strength, such as the Midlands and the southern half of the country. In more northerly locations, a larger dish is required. Larger dishes are also necessary if there needs to be more than 25 metres of cable between the satellite dish and the receiver, and if buyers want to access channels from other countries. A good quality coaxial cable with a solid dielectric core is needed to ensure the maximum signal quality, durability, and the prevention of moisture damage. An LNB is another essential device. Many used satellite dishes come complete with an LNB, but not all. It may be wise to purchase a new LNB to ensure the best performance. Many used satellite dishes and all of the additional components are available on eBay.

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