How to Hook Up a Satellite Dish to an RV

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Entertainment can be pretty important on the road – and especially if you live in your RV more than part time. When it rains, is too hot, or too cold to do much else you can hunker down and watch TV or a movie. Movie or show time are great family moments when you can share shows with the ones you love.

Hooking up a satellite dish to the RV is actually pretty easy, and not much different from doing so at home. You’ll just need a couple of items and you’ll be only our way to enjoying TV on the road.

Connecting your satellite dish is relatively simple. The first step is to have a satellite installed, of course, then connect it via electronics systems present in your RV. We will explain in more detail below.

Installing a satellite

Before we begin, we are going to throw it out there that most satellite providers offer free or cheap installation with their service. You won’t need to climb on the RV roof. If you are a true do it yourselfer, can’t wait for installation, or want to save a few bucks, you can install it yourself.

When you receive the actual dish, it should come with screws and a mounting plate. Bring all the items to the roof of your RV. These items include a screwdriver and the hardware for your dish.

  1. Locate the holes in your roof designed to have screws for your satellite dish. 
  2. While you should follow the specific instructions, you’ll want to put the mounting plate down first, then use the screws to fasten the mounting plate into the holes. 
  3. The satellite dish can then be screwed into the mounting plate.
  4. Some installations require a sealer to keep debris and moisture from getting under the satellite dish, which is applied around the mounting plate and satellite. Apply this if you have it.
  5. Run the coaxial cable supplied with the dish (if it doesn’t have one, get a long one) and run it down the pre-designed cavities in the roof of your RV.

This process should complete the roof installation, now for the inside.

How to get started – locating your RV satellite hookup

Most RVs come with a panel or box located within a wall in your RV living room that connects up to the satellite on your roof. A home cable technician might otherwise have to drill holes through the home’s frame and into a wall, a RV is largely designed to accept the cords that come from a satellite dish without a problem.

The panel or box is likely located on a wide wall inside your RV, where the TV would most likely go. Note that the panel or box isn’t available on all RVs and you might have to drill a small hole in the wall to bring the coaxial cable through.

In some cases, the RV might have a “jumper” that helps control the input from a satellite dish or cable. 

So, one of two things will happen. If you have a jumper that acts as a switch, you can connect the coaxial cable to the back of the jumper. Do this by taking the “male” end of the coaxial and connecting it to the “female” end on the jumper (the jumper should only have a female end) then turn the nut on the coaxial tip right until its fully tight.

Otherwise, you can connect the coaxial cable directly to the Satellite box. 

I connected my coaxial to the satellite box, what’s next to hookup satellite in my RV?

There’s a couple more things to do, but these don’t involve crawling on the roof. First, you’ll want either a coaxial cable or an HDMI cable to connect from your box to your RV.

The difference? If you are paying for a high definition TV, use HDMI. Coaxial cables can only bring standard definition TV into your house, and the picture doesn’t look as good.

HDMI is plugged in a bit differently and doesn’t require any screw turning. You might actually opt for HDMI even if you aren’t getting hi definition TV.

The plugs are on the back of your TV. If your TV is mounted, see if it leans forward so you can plug in the cords easily.

How do I setup my TV for satellite?

This could be the easiest part! Most TVs will require a channel scan before they start taking in audio and video. Some TVs might even offer a channel scan when you first plug it in.

Consider looking up directions for your particular TV, but this usually involves getitng the remote for the TV and opening up the menu. Navigate through the menu screen and you might see Cable/Satellite/Antenna. These are basically the same option and use a similar scan.

The TV will then use the satellite to assign proper channel numbers through the scan. You might even see the feeds on your screen. Once this is complete, you should have proper functioning TV.

What if it doesn’t work?

There really could be a variety of problems. Ensure all your connections are tight. You should also download an app for your phone that tells you which direction your satellite should face for the best reception for certain channels. 

Satellite TV apps assist greatly in reducing the guesswork to getting a good signal.


Hooking up a satellite dish on your RV is a relatively easy task and you might learn about how the hookups work. Finding and locating the screw holes on your roof will take moments and with a screwdriver you’ll have it mounted right away. So find your remote, screwdriver, and a couple instruction manuals and you’ll be on your way to enjoying mobile entertainment.

You’ll also learn about fun apps that help you get the best possible signal for your TV.

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