Which is best 1.8M dish in Spain - Offset or PF ?

briangw

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I have been tasked with installing a multi-switch system into our 32 apartment complex (Los Lobos, Spain). Locally I have seen 1.8m dishes working quite well, although strangely, a local 2.4m dish is struggling but cant get my hands on that to see for myself. When I say the 1.8s are working quite well, in my estimation it is about halfway between 2D and 1N levels on our old 1.25s - acceptable to me as it doesnt rain much here anyway.

All the dishes I have looked at so far have been 1.8m PF Famavals, and although I have got nothing against them other than their larger footprint being PFs (it is going on to someones roof), I have an inkling that an Offset may just be better. Does anyone have any direct comparison experience of 1.8 PF against Offset, and also whether a Metal or Fibre (Raven/ChannelMaster or Tecatel) would be preferred. Cost is a consideration, but not critical. I have trawled through other posts, but cant see an answer to my specific question, and dont want my query to be caught up amongst the myriad of conversations going on in the Iberian thread.

The second question after that , of course, is which LNB +/or feedhorn would be best for the appropriate preferred dish. The third/fourth/fifth questions would be cabling, quatro splitters, multi-switches but lets just take 1 step at a time. If the 1.8m dont work, the whole project will get dumped coz were not having a 2.4m on anyones roof.

Any help would be much appreciated, I have 32 people here chomping at the bit for Corrie and Eastenders, and me worrying about the World Cup in June.

PS I am not a pro sat installer, but an IT guy who does a bit of sat stuff on the side, but with a professional attitude. I have probably installed a dozen 1.25m dishes over the last 4 years (not much in the last 2 obviously), and re-tuned/upgraded LNBs on dozens more - so I have some experience but only on the smaller dishes. Its all done by word of mouth, so I cant be doing too bad a job.
 
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joddle

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I think you are asking a question which has no real answer - each type of dish has advantages and disadvantages and for mounting on a roof I think the physical aspects could be more important than anythng else. Weight and wind tolerance being critical.

Quality for quality, there is little to choose on performance between a good PF and good Offset dish assuming they are set up right with a good LNBs and feedhorns. In theory the offset should be very slightly better as there will be no LNB shadow whereas on a PF dish that's unavoidable - but on these larger dishes, the shadow has an insignificant effect.

Worth noting is a PF dish will be set at more of an angle than an offset so if the wind comes from behind it is more likely to recceive a lifting force from strong winds which may be an issue on some roofs! To counter that an offset dish will be more upright so may gather more wind as well as having much longer and lower LNB arms which may intrude into other space or be vunerable - it all a matter of what is best in your particular situation. With either type you need the dish as close to the deck as possible to avoid wind damage problems. With either type, mounting on a roof requires a really good base - my own dish has its stand set into a large concrete block cast on the roof - (checking the structure is srong enough is a must - don't do it without proper advice - your insurance may be affected!

As for LNBs - for the PF dish use an Invacom C120 with the correct feedhorn made for the dish - for an offset there are quite a few choices of good LNB - go for the best you can afford. Cheap ones won't get the best from your dish.
 

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A Raven/ChannelMaster or Prodelin 1.8m will beat a Famaval 1.8 prime focus every time, for the simple reason that an offset 1.8m has a larger surface area, (1.8 x 1.9m) even if you don't take into account the better construction and accuracy of these offset dishes.
 

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I've had both and would have to say offset by far as I'm assuming this is for ku band.
 

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A Raven/ChannelMaster or Prodelin 1.8m will beat a Famaval 1.8 prime focus every time, for the simple reason that an offset 1.8m has a larger surface area, (1.8 x 1.9m) even if you don't take into account the better construction and accuracy of these offset dishes.

Re the surface area of the dishes - In fact the actual area seen by the signal on an offset dish is exactly the same as for a PF dish - this is because on the offset the shape is inclined to the satellite - thats why its longer in one direction than the other The result is that the sat "sees" a round dish equal in diameter to the shortest measurment (i.e. in your example 1.8m) - the shape is inclined so its longest side seems shorter so in fact the sat sees a dish of 1.8 by 1.8.
 

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If this is a proper install you should go for a 2.4m and an Invacom optical LNB and optical distribution.
 

joddle

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@ Huevos. How much better is the optical version? Can it be measured?
 

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@ Huevos. How much better is the optical version? Can it be measured?
They are not more sensitive. Maybe even a bit less. The beauty is the distribution. V/H and H/L are all stacked on one optical fibre, which means no multi-switches needed. Optical splitters for divert off the main main. And in each property put a quad converter (or share one between two). There are also multi-switches should you want to use conventional distribution once you have entered a communal building with fibre. Up to 10km of fibre will work fine so no problem where you put the dish either.
 

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A new topic perhaps but I know nothing of the optical systems - Is there a PF version of the invacom and how does it all work? For instance, I am using a quad at the moment but it only allows me to have four receivers and really Iwould like six - does the optical version allow this? and if so how?
 

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Global invacom do a C120 version of their fibre LNB
Code:
http://www.tektica.com/global-invacom-fibremdu-c120-optical-lnb-psu.html?gclid=CLiDv9C6wb0CFWvjwgod84MAeQ#fo_c=48&fo_k=1d18c495efe8de3db3387bf6439a012f&fo_s=gplauk

The only problem with fibre systems on fringe reception, is that they require attenuation to prevent over driving the converters and on large dishes and this may mean that the weak signals may disappear when attempting to bring the strongest signals down to an acceptable level.
 

briangw

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A new topic perhaps but I know nothing of the optical systems - Is there a PF version of the invacom and how does it all work? For instance, I am using a quad at the moment but it only allows me to have four receivers and really Iwould like six - does the optical version allow this? and if so how?
Why not swap your quad for a quatro, and connect your existing 4 feeds into an 8-multiswitch placed at the most convenient point in your house? You will then have 4 extra connections available without the complexity and cost of optical.
 

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The only problem with fibre systems on fringe reception, is that they require attenuation to prevent over driving the converters and on large dishes and this may mean that the weak signals may disappear when attempting to bring the strongest signals down to an acceptable level.
Apart from 2A South there are no high power signals left here. Not much difference between PE beam and UK except that most of PE is transmitted in 2/3 which makes reception a doddle. And anyway 2A is in high band and UK beam is low band so not going to cause adjacent channel flooding the tuner like the old days where North and South beam transponders were just a few MHz apart.
 

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A new topic perhaps but I know nothing of the optical systems - Is there a PF version of the invacom and how does it all work? For instance, I am using a quad at the moment but it only allows me to have four receivers and really Iwould like six - does the optical version allow this? and if so how?
Yes, it does allow this. Either split first and use 2x quad converter or use a multi-switch. But I wouldn't use optical for a domestic install, just communal installs. The main advantage of optical is distribution over a wide area without lots of cables, amplifiers and multi-switches. In your case though you already have a working system... so... just bring 4 cables from your quad LNB to a central point in the house and then split round the house using a 5/8, 5/12, or 5/16 (quad compatible) switch depending how many receivers you want to feed. That way all you would need to buy is a switch and some cable.
 

briangw

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Thanks guys for all your responses. Could I just ask that those who want to discuss the merits of optical connections create a separate thread, as I have discounted it for reasons of cost/complexity/DIY practicality and it doesnt quite fit the logistics of how I am having to use the existing infrastructure of our complex. I can certainly see that on a new build with a clean sheet design, it would be the way go.
 

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without the complexity and cost of optical.
Not complex at all, but would work out more expensive for a domestic install.
 

briangw

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Back to my OP, I think that it has been confirmed that my original thoughts to use an Offset would possibly gain some signal, but definitely not lose any. The main advantages though, being that its more upright position would allow me to fit more of it into a wind protected recess, whilst also not using up as much of the roof space.

I would also feel that a fibre dish might be better than metal, but the additional cost would be disproportional to the gain. How would the metal FTE Maximal compare to say the Prodelin/ChannelMaster for instance. Is there another metal offset 180cm available ?

When using an offset, is there any advantage in using a feedhorn, or is just a top quality universal LNB sufficient ?
 

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Normally a PF dish has a nice heavy-duty backring. This keeps the shape and focus perfect. Most offset dishes don't have this and are nowhere near as well built. Normally they are just scaled up cheap domestic dishes. Apart from the CM 1.8m I wouldn't consider an offset dish of this size.
 

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Apart from the CM 1.8m I wouldn't consider an offset dish of this size.
Pardon me! I would certainly add to your list also Prodelin :cool:, I see no faults in them at all :rolleyes:

And, just to say something on topic, both, PFAs and Offsets, have pluses and minuses. Same size will give same signal level.
 

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I have a Prodelin 1.8m dish and it's construction is every bit as solid as the Raven version , I have several CM's at work from 90cm to 1.2m and they are nearly identical . The feed arms and lnb mount are better on the Raven , but as I bought it a few years ago ,new, for well under £500 I didn't and still can't see the justification of spending the extra hundreds on the CM Raven version . Last November I was in my apartment when Cala d'or had one hell of a storm ,winds were recorded at 150 km/ hr and the apartment above lost its terrace roof , trees , signposts were down everywhere ,never seen anything quite like it . It lasted about an hour and I sat there and thought my dish was going to be in the gardens below, as some were along with a lot of roofs etc... And when it subsided and the rain eased I put the connections back in and switched on the TV to find that my picture was perfect ! I was, to say the least, gobsmacked ! The tripod is held in place with 9 resin fixed stainless studs fixed into the roof , absolutely fantastic . I can whole heartedly recommend that dish and that means of fixing .
 

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