This post was most recently updated on September 2nd, 2017
Much has been said in the past about the big dish factor. This notwithstanding, its significance to free to air users can never be overemphasised. In case you don’t know, it is only with a big dish(especially prime focus) that you can get the most of free to air channels that can allow you watch premium channels free and legitimately. Just yesterday, I posted an article on a dedicated sports satellite tv packages that have been working for free since April 2016. You can read it up here. This and many other freebies are mainly available on a big dish of around 1.2 meters and above.
I grew up to know the big ugly satellite dishes. Interestingly, up to today, the big dish factor is still holding sway. In today’s article, we are only considering a prime focus dish which is best for C band, and also very good for Ku Band LNB. A satellite dish is used to pick up TV signal beamed to you from space via satellite; it then sends this signal to your satellite receiver via the antenna cable for decoding. A satellite dish is a parabolic television antenna that receives signals from communication satellites in orbit around the earth.
The type of big dish you should buy in Africa and why
You should always go for a prime focus dish if indeed you have interest in switching to pure FTA. Offset dishes are generally small between 60cm to 1meter. Offset dishes by nomenclature are called Ku Band dishes and it is almost impossible to use Ku band for c band signals. On the contrary, you can use a big prime focus dish for both C band and Ku band.
The Prime Focus Dish
The Prime Focus dish (parabolic antenna) is a satellite antenna which is perfectly round. It is absolutely symmetric built and has a parabolic shape. The focal point is in the middle of the dish. That’s why the LNB is mounted centrally at the focus, where it can collect all incoming signals. Such a satellite antenna is typically larger than 1.2 meters.
especially relevant: Types of dishes by Lnb bands
The advantages of a prime focus dish
• Because of its relatively large surface, the prime focus antenna is less sensitive to small directional deviations and there is a better chance of receiving signals outside the normal footprint. Although we have a handful of disadvantages of the prime focus dish, It major advantage as mentioned above is an irresistible urge to buy for all free to air enthusiasts. It is only with a prime focus dish that you can receive many satellite signal outside your footprint
Types of big dish by material reflectors
We are still on the big dish factor. Moving forward, let us acquaint ourselves with the categorization of dishes based on the materials with which it’s being constructed. This has two categories which are: Panel dish/antenna(which is also known as Pan) and mesh.
1． Panel antenna
According to the material of reflector, there are types of steel, aluminium, fibre glass, plastic ester etc. Among these,
- Steel antenna is made of press forming steel plate through the mould, which has a large output, low cost and highest utilization in personal receiving at present. Examples are dstv dish, startimes dish or any other dish constructed with steel/ galvanised iron.
- The aluminium antenna is made of press forming aluminium plate through the mould, which has features of light weight, no rust and self-protection. When aluminium protection layer is scratched, it can generate light aluminium film to protect itself in a short time; but this is with weak intensity and easy to distort.
- Fiber glass antenna(this is by far the best for Africa in the economy and signal sense of it): is made of fibre glass enhanced SMC material through high temperature and high pressure. With aluminium foil, metal net in the internal of fiber or spraying metallic paint on the surface, it is used to reflect satellite signal and receive Ku-band signal with high gain. Antenna adopts metallic paint and aluminium foil as interlayer has features of light weight and corrosion resistance but the firmness of reflector material is poor and lifetime is short. This is more used in earlier time. However, we always adopt metal net as an interlayer, which has features of good firmness, long lifetime light weight and corrosion resistance. The lifespan of a Fiber dish depends on the construction company or group. You need to cautious before buying a fibre dish
- Plastic ester antenna is consist of plastic ester material. Its interlayer with steel mesh is used to reflect satellite signal, which has features of corrosion resistance, high precision, high intensity, decorativeness and concealing. It’s often used among Ku-band antennas with a small diameter.
According to the structure of reflector, we can divide panel antenna into complete panel and segmented panel antenna. The complete antenna is the ppular one. Segmented antenna(also known as detachable) is a kind of common satellite antenna, whose reflector consists of multiple panels. This is because of shipping convenience. Segment antenna’s efficiency is lower than the complete panel antenna with the same size.
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