The quantum bit error rate is a key quantity in quantum communications. If the quantum channel is the atmosphere, the information is usually encoded in the polarization of a photon. A link budget is required, which takes into account the depolarization of the photon after its interaction with the atmosphere as well as absorption, scattering and atmospheric emissions. An experimental setup for the reproduction of a simple model of the atmosphere is used to evaluate the quantum bit error rate in a BB84 protocol and the results are presented. This result represents a first step toward the realization of an optical bench experiment where atmospheric effects are simulated and controlled for reproducing the effects on a quantum channel in different meteorological situations.