UK TV in Europe: How big should my dish be?

Since transmissions of the main UK channels switched satellites in February 2014, reception of these channels has become more limited.

However it is possible to receive the channels with a larger dish. The extent to which this will work depends on location. In some areas, reception varies greatly from hour-to-hour, month-to-month and season-to-season thanks to propagation factors (how radio waves behave in different conditions).


On the Q&A page, a516digital published an interim reception map. But some visitors to the site wanted to see a better breakdown. It's impossible to provide a dish size for every town and city, but the list below will act as a guide.

NOTE:
a516digital has been conservative with dish sizes - to provide a bad weather reserve / rain margin and more reliable reception. Yes, reception with a smaller dish is possible, but you may not have constant reception, especially in the evenings.  There are variations to reception depending on the time of day and time of year, due to normal propagation factors. The larger the dish, the longer you may be able to watch your favourite programmes.

The quality of your receiver (and sensitivity of the tuner), cabling and the LNB on your dish can all help to improve reception.

Some viewers may find it useful to adjust the skew on their dish, as Astra 2E is at 28.35 degrees East, Astra 1N was at 28.2 degrees East (doesn't matter in the core spotbeam area as most dishes were set-up to receive both Astra  at 28.2 and Eutelsat at 28.5 degrees East and may have set up with a slight offset from 28.2 to improve reception from the weaker Eutelsat 28A satellite).
Some reports contradict others from a similar location: this is down to the fact that some receivers and LNBs are performing slightly better than others, or because some viewers need to realign their dish slightly.
For example, the Multytenne dish used in some parts of Europe is reported to outperform "regular" dishes in western Germany. The Multytenne is generally not suitable in 100cm+ locations.
The following refers to reception from the Astra 2E and F UK spotbeam. Some Sky-hosted services are broadcast on the pan-Europe beam and widely available across the whole of the western half of Europe.
Where it states "consult local specialist", a516digital recommends that you seek professional advice before upgrading your dish. Locally, there are "null" spots where reception is practically impossible. In some areas, there may be restrictions on the size of dishes that may be installed. Therefore local professional advice can avoid any pitfalls.



AUSTRIA:
No guarantee of reliable reception. Consult local specialist. Very large dish sizes.

BELGIUM AND THE NETHERLANDS:
50-80cm. Smallest dish sizes near UK south east, biggest towards German border and NE Netherlands.

CZECH REPUBLIC:
No guarantee of reliable reception. Consult local specialist. Very large dish sizes.

DENMARK:
  • Most: 160-240cm
  • Copenhagen: locally 150cm due to hotspot (sidelobe)
  •  
FRANCE:
  • North, including Paris: 60 cm dish (In northern coastal areas, a regular Sky mini dish can be used.)
  • Middle (from Bordeaux to Lyon): 60-100cm dish
  • South: 100-150cm dish  [Toulouse: Reports from the area suggest the city is on the border of the 100cm zone - great variations to the north and south: right at the edge of the main spot beam.]
  • SW (Pyrenees): 140-180cm dish

GERMANY:
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen (not Ostwestfalen), Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg (West), West-Niedersachsen: 60-100cm (Smallest dish sizes closest to the Dutch/Belgian border.)
  • Bremen, Ostwestfalen (Bielefeld/Minden), West Hessen (Wiesbaden): 80-120cm.
  • Most of Ost /Süd Niedersachsen (Hannover, but not Braunschweig), Hessen (except West), Baden-Württemberg (East): 125-160cm  (steep drop-off within a few kilometres from west to east, please go larger if you can for reliable reception throughout the year)
  • Hamburg, Braunschweig/Wolfsburg, Harz, West Thüringen, North Bavaria (Bayern Nord): 150cm-220cm
  • Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Sachsen-Anhalt, Sachsen, Thüringen (except west), most of Bavaria (Bayern) : 160cm-240cm: no guarantee of reliable reception (null zone). Consult local specialist. Munich: reports suggest you'll have reliable reception with a 200cm+ dish size.

ITALY:
  • Turin/Milan: 110-150cm (smallest dish sizes closest to French border)
  • Rest of Italy: No guarantee of reliable reception. A large dish may be required. Consult local specialist.

LUXEMBOURG:
60-85cm

NORWAY:
  • Bergen: 130-160cm
  • Far North (above Arctic Circle): no reception.
  • Rest of Norway: very large dish sizes (mostly 160cm+). Consult local specialist. Reliable reception may not be possible in some locations.

PORTUGAL:
  • North: 150-180cm
  • Rest of Portugal including Algarve: No guarantee of reliable reception, even with 3-4 metre dishes in some locations. Consult local satellite specialist.

SPAIN:
  • Catalonia (including Barcelona, Costa Brava): 3 metre dish
  • Costa Blanca/Valencia/Alicante across to Madrid: from 120-150cm (local hotspot)
  • Costa Del Sol : 3 metres or more – no guarantee of reliable reception.

SWEDEN:
  • Mostly no reliable reception unless very large dish. Consult local specialist.
  • South Sweden: reports suggest dish sizes from 120-160cm, due to local hotspot (sidelobe) - see also "Copenhagen", Denmark listing (above).

SWITZERLAND:
90-150cm (smallest dish sizes in NW Switzerland).

UK AND IRELAND:
45-60cm   :)







 
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22 comments:

  1. We are about 20km to the west of Perpignan. I replaced the 1.2m dish with a 1.8m dish a week or so before the scheduled satellite moves of the UK free to air channels to 2E. Immediately after the move we lost quite a number of channels but many of these have now become receivable again in the last few days. This could certainly be due to the removal of some higher level adjacent channels, with the switch off of 1N, a slight re-orientation of the satellite or a small increase in power levels. Because I am using a satellite multi-switch to feed a number of receivers the problem of large differences in satellite signal power requires quite critical setting of the gain - you can observe on a spectrum analyser the effect of too high a level of the European beam multiplexes on the lower level UK spot beam multiplexes, as a rise in the noise level due to the amplifiers being overloaded.

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  2. It seems to me very unlikely that 3m could be used on costa del sol although you say or 'or more' - I expect 4 to 5 metres depending on dish and LNB quality.

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    Replies
    1. Early reports suggest that there are some blackspots in Southern Spain where a 6 metre dish won't help you. But one or two have managed. As explained at http://www.a516digital.com/2014/02/special-what-changed-in-european.html , there are nulls and sidelobes around the main spotbeam, with very distinct local variations. It is difficult to map exactly every null and sidelobe.

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  3. My existing 1.8m dish has zero signal to noise viewed on spectrum analyser when looking at channel 5 on 2F a few weeks ago. Will check 2E.

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  4. I live in Warsaw, Poland and I have a 2.7m dia. dish used with a Freesat HD receiver. It seems that I have lost most, if not all UK channels. Is there a possibility of receiving the signal if I reallign the dish to the new satelite or is there no hope for me?

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    Replies
    1. Don t think you ll get it.....a 5 metres dish is very very expensive though...

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  5. New 98 cm dish installed in Port de Lanne (40300). All channels back with 74% signal. Don't know yet how it'll be in bad weather.

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  6. piacenza..70 km south of milan..upgradet to 100cm dish..with a old pace sky box....100% reception..all bbc..itv..ch4..ch5..ecc..ecc.

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    Replies
    1. Do you think l can get it??? Like l used to ??? I have a motorized 90 cm dish. I live in Assisi

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  7. I live in Nice, south-east France and we have a Sky mini-dish 55cm which gave signal on all terrestrial channels except C5 until the Feb changeover. No proper signal at the moment, which is to be expected, but BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have all appeared tonight (although very blocky, and not much use).
    You suggest a 1-1.5m dish, but we would not get away with that on our balcony rail. If the 55cm mini-dish has been sufficient would a 80cm one be similar?

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  8. You can try a smaller dish than the sizes indicated, but you are not guaranteed all year round reception in all weather and atmospheric conditions.

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  9. Can anyone explain why we, 50km west of Munich, are receiving overwhelmingly stable signals on our existing 90cm dish, while the advice above would indicate we need at least 160cm?

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    Replies
    1. The edge of the spotbeam is very sharp and drops off rapidly in that area. You are getting away with a smaller dish than people 50km to the east of you. 160cm dish in Munich factors in daily variations in signal, which are noticeable at the edge.

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  10. In I-Varese, 20km north of Milan, good reception on a 100cm carefully aligned dish and LNB. Signal quality 80%, not dropping under 60% even during moderate rain.

    In South Tyrol, town of Bozen (Bolzano), same 100cm dish and newer low noise LNB: reception throughout the whole day with good signal quality 50%, light rain 30% but still stable reception possible.

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  11. Could you recommend a decent place to buy a 1.3m dish (and suitable LNB) for delivery to the South of France (near Pau)?

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    1. Sorry, a516digital can't provide any information or advice on buying specialist satellite equipment. You may wish to ask on a local expat forum.

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  12. Help please. I live in Schleswig northern Germany, what size dish do I now need to receive BBC tv?

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    1. 160cm or larger to guarantee stable reception through the year. However, Schleswig is very near the null-line where reception is very difficult.

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    2. Many thanks for that info. I have to wait until a couple of trees are removed and then check if I have line of sight to the satellite from a ground location. For info, reception of Sky etc is not affected except in the most atrocious weather!

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  13. Hi, I live in Lagos, Portugal. 6stories high. What is the smallest size dish I can use to get decent reception. Some loss of picture in bad weather conditions is acceptable.
    Thank you.

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  14. hi i live in cassino south of rome and im looking to get freeview.any advice would be grateful kind regards

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    Replies
    1. Freeview is the UK's terrestrial TV service, so not available in Italy.
      Freesat is available in parts of Europe, but your area is out of range - please see the updated version of this page at http://www.a516digital.com/2014/06/uk-tv-via-satellite-dish-sizes.html

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