An item on my list to install in my toy hauler has always been a roof mounted automatic positioning satellite dish. For years I’ve been dealing with manually positioning the tripod mounted dish in the sand. More often than not I wouldn’t even set it up because of the hassle. Up until now I had no idea which brand to get so I contacted a friend of mine who is the parts manager at Sierra Rv in Sunset, Utah to get some advice. With his help, I decided on Winegard’s RoadTrip MiniMax RT8000S The RoadTrip has a small footprint, is fully automatic, works with Directv & Dish networks and supports up to two receivers. I chose the stationary model but they have an in-motion model for RV’s as well. The minimax only supports SD programming with Directv but both SD and HD with Dish Network.
First, I removed my flatscreen TV from its mount so I can locate and understand the existing cabling. I then got on the roof and found a suitable location for the dish making sure it would not be blocked by the A/C units. Back in the trailer, using a hole saw, I drilled a one inch hole in the ceiling below and in front of where I planned to install the dish.
I was very careful not to punch through all the way with the blade in case wiring existed in the attic. I used a flat head screwdriver to break through the rest of the way. It turns out this was a good call as I would’ve cut into some romex wire.
Next, using a long 1″ flat wood bit, I drilled up through the hole I just made and out through the roof just barely poking a small hole through the rubber roof membrane. Then, from outside on top of the roof I used my utility knife to cut the rubber membrane in a neat 1″ circle so I could continue to cut through the wood portion of the roof from above.
I then mounted the dish using the hardware provided, throughly covering each screw and each mounting location with an all-weather flexible sealant. After connecting the provided coax and power cables to the dish and routing them through the hole, I thoroughly sealed the entrance hole and screwed down the cover plate.
Inside I routed the power lead to the provided switch which I mounted on the entertainment cabinet below the thermostat. Then ran a hot lead and a ground wire to the 12 volt distribution panel. The coax cable was connected to my Directv box and a short coax run from the box to the TV completed the wiring.
Operation is just a matter of turning on the switch. Once you do, you will hear the positioning motors rotating the dish as it attempts to locate the satellite. This normally takes 2 to 3 minutes the first time. Once it locates the correct satellite, normal Directv operations take over. One last tip, once the dish locates and locks on to a satellite, turn off the switch. This will keep the dish from trying to re-locate in the event dew or excess dirt build up on the dome and send the dish a false signal.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the MiniMax. The installation and setup were simple and quality of construction was top notch.