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Satellite Update Special - Astra 2F: UK Spot Beam Map

Astra 2F UK spot beam footprint map - based on reception reports.
Click/touch map to make bigger (c) a516digital/Google Maps. See footnotes.
15/12/2012: An updated version of the map, based on SES Astra's own predictions plus reception reports has now been published at the following link, which summarises the recent changes.
Click here to see new map  >

SATELLITE UPDATE SPECIAL On Friday, a516digital reported of the growing concern among British expats that they might soon lose all the main UK TV channels following the sudden change in the footprint of the transponder that is currently testing BBC One HD in preparation for the launch of national variations for Scotland and Wales. It is widely assumed that this transponder has moved to the new Astra 2F satellite and its tighter UK spot beam.

Based on internet user reports, this is the latest a516digital.com map of the Astra 2F spotbeam footprint, compiled using reception reports of the BBC One HD "test" transponder (11023 H). Please see the following footnotes with regards the map:

  • Realistically, the spotbeam is unlikely to be as smoothly formed as depicted, and there will be local "hot" and "not" -spots around the fringe, including side lobes. Around the edges signal strength varies dramatically within short distances. This map from 3pmfooty.com showing a former satellite's footprint shows how spotbeams aren't nice and smooth in real life: http://www.3pmfooty.com/images/Iberiafoot.jpg (a516digital.com is not responsible for the availability or content of external links)
  • The 60cm ring and inwards shows the core of the spotbeam, where normal domestic satellite dishes built for the UK and Republic of Ireland market can be used to receive the service.
  • Some types of dish, such as the "Multytenne" dish, widely sold and used in some countries tend to outperform traditional dishes and are reported to be able to receive Astra 2F in areas where larger dishes are typically required.
  • The map has been set conservatively to reflect areas where reception is available 24/7 and where a dish of a certain size will provide reception during all but the worst of weather.
  • The map aims to reflect areas where services can be received by the majority of normal satellite receiving equipment. For example, Barcelona is on the edge, with some viewers able and some viewers unable to receive services with a dish size around the 1 metre level.
  • The dish size markers refer to the lines on the map, and nothing else. For example, the presence of the 1m marker over Germany does not mean the whole country needs a dish that size.
  • Viewers with suitably sensitive specialist and semi-professional satellite equipment can, in effect, stretch the zones outwards and receive services with a smaller dish than shown or receive services beyond the outer ring.
  • Local satellite installers will be able to provide advice for viewers around the fringe area and be able to measure local signal strength (see first point, above)
  • Astra 2F will host all UK public service broadcasters. Most Sky subscription channels are not affected.
  • This is based on assessing data from reception reports on the internet. There has been no official word as yet from satellite operator SES or the BBC.
As more services launch on Astra 2F, in both horizontal and vertical polarisation and with differing parameters, the situation will become much clearer - but it will be possible that viewers closer to the fringe will only be able to receive certain channels and not others, depending on the parameters used.

Article updated 25/11/2012 09:30

  Related articles:
UK television blackout fears for expats following satellite changes

SES ends week of speculation, UK channels migrate Tuesday 4th
(a516digital.com, published 30/11/2012) Includes all the channels affected.

15/12/2012: Comments are now closed for this entry.


  1. I Have a 1 Metre dish in Barcelona, Spain, and I have COMPLETELY lost 11023 H. since it's on 2F. (0% quality on HUMAX FOXSAT HDR)
    When it was in 1N it was OK. (85% Q)

  2. If you have any reception issues in Spain you can try http://www.mrskytv.com

  3. Doesn't show the right levels at all for many parts of Europe, who did this footprint?

    Just look at Northern Italy for an example, the footprint says 1.4m or smaller, it's not even trustworthy for any reference.

    Look at Norway, Oslo, which can received with a 1.2m and your map shows 1.4m or larger dish requried.

    It's a joke.

    1. Please see the footnote in context with the above map. As more reception reports come in, the picture can become clearer. We like to refer to dish sizes with constant reliable reception - not reception that fades in bad weather or at certain times of the day.

    2. With more reception reports now available, I can confirm that in Italy, reception with a sub 1 metre dish is possible in the far NW of Italy (as shown on map). Reports indicate that for a constant, reliable reception across most of Northern Italy, a dish of up to 1.4 m is required, justifying the inclusion of that area in that dish zone.

      However - reception drops very quickly to the south and east. A rapid drop marker is now indicated on the map. The full effect on this part of the world remains to be evaluated.

      With regards Oslo, I cannot adjust the map based on one report that doesn't tie in with reports from nearby locations. 1.4-1.8 m appears to be the safe range for stable reception from Norway down to Southern Sweden, including Eastern Denmark.

      Until further services migrate, there will be no further updates to the map. A fuller, more accurate picture should quickly emerge.

      A reminder that the map aims to show safe zones and dish sizes where constant and reliable reception should be available in the majority of cases. Many viewers across the eastern edge of the footprint who have reported reception with smaller dishes have also reported worsening signals in the evenings, indicating the spot is wobbling. These reports do not meet the criteria when evaluating safe dish sizes. We assume use of traditional style dishes in fringe areas.