How Do Toroidal Dishes Compare?

 

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Toroidal dishes have been around for a long time, the twin reflector system is a proven one, giving many advantages. Common ones and the one that I recommend are the Force or Wave Frontier dishes, well made and very functional.

 

Force T90
Force Frontier T55 55cm effective size 67cm actual width Force T90 90cm effective size, 110cm actual width

How can I receive all the popular satellites giving French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Swiss, Italian, Greek, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and many more....

3 ways:

1 A motorised dish

2 A parabolic dish with multiple lnbs

3 A Wide angle Toroidal dish

What is the difference? A standard dish , ( parabolic ) like the TD78 dishes shown below, can certainly pickup several satellites, but reception from the lnb furthest off centre will always be at least 6dB down on the centre position, which is fine if the satellites required at the edges is a strong one like Astra 1 or 2, but I wouldn't expect to see great results from say 16 degrees east, which normally requires a big dish. Typical spread would be 20 degrees maximum

 

4 lnb triax Triax with 3 lnb
Triax TD78 with 4 lnbs note the TM1 b/g lnbs at the outside Invertos inside Triax TD78 with 3 Quad lnbs on a Triax multi-block adaptor

A motorised Dish has the advantage of pointing DIRECTLY at the satellite, so the full diameter of the reflector, is collecting signal. The disadvantage is the time taken to move across the arc, from south to Astra 2 for example would be 10 to 15 seconds, from Hispasat to astra 2, 20 to 30 seconds. The motor which is mounted at the centre has a certain amount of play, so with age it will be less accurate and in windy conditions the extra distance from the fixed pole allows it to bounce around in the wind a little causing the signal to fluctuate. There is a little noise from the motor unit when it moves, but this shouldn't be very loud with a modern motor.

The Toroidal dish however has an 'effective' size , meaning no matter how far from the centre of the dish , up to 20 degrees each way, the lnb is picking up roughly the same amount of signal, so it's a fixed position dish, which gives better position solidarity, which can switch immediately from east to west extremes. Of course it costs more and the switching cabling can be complex, but the major advantage for bigger installations, is that with twin lnbs, two ( and with quad , up to 4) receivers can be working independently. So its possible for someone to watch German from Astra 1 in one room and someone else, to watch Spanish from Hispasat in another room.

As far as installing either of the above, the main factor is true verticality of the mounting pole, for the motor this is critical, a fraction of a degree will make a big difference making satellites at the ends of the arc difficult to receive. With the toroidal dishes, a calculation is usually done to determine the main dish skew, but if the pole isn't accurate then the dish will not give its best performance.

I've installed the T55 all over the uk , they are a truly amazing dish, giving more than expected for their size. The T90 mainly in London, one or two in Yorkshire and Birmingham makes Turkish from 7 deg East and 42 deg East possible on the same dish !! Although i've never installed more than 6 lnbs on these monsters, it is perfectly possible to fit 8. If they are going to the same receiver, then the Amiko 10 way switch is very good.

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