What is the Difference between a Zone 1 & Zone 2 Sky Satellite Dish?
If you’re interested in having/ doing yourself a satellite dish installation for Sky or Freesat in the UK you will inevitably come across the choice of buying a Zone 1 or Zone 2 satellite dish and you may wonder which one should you buy. In this blog I discuss the difference between Zone 1/ Zone 2 dishes and explain their uses so you can make the right decision when purchasing a satellite dish. So, let’s begin!
What is a Zone 1 Satellite Dish?
A zone 1 dish is a 43cm diameter elliptical mesh dish of a painted steel construction, nearly always a dark blue colour. You can paint satellite dishes if you do not like the colour. It is most commonly used for satellite dish installations for Sky or Freesat south/ midlands in the UK. I recommend watching our video for a Zone 1 Sky dish assembly.
What is a Zone 2 Satellite Dish?
A Zone 2 satellite dish is a 60cm diameter elliptical mesh dish of a painted steel construction, nearly always of a dark blue colour. Zone 2 Sky dishes are commonly used in the North of England and Scotland. Apart from being larger they are of a slightly different design that Zone 1 dishes as they have a separate mounting arm that the dish clamps onto and is inserted into the mounting bracket, whereas with Zone 1 dishes the mounting arm is effectively part of the dish and clamps directly into the mounting bracket.
Why Does South UK Use Zone 1 & the North Use Zone 2?
It’s all to do with distance that between the satellites and the satellite dishes. The satellites that deliver Sky and Freesat to the UK are found at 28.2E and 28.5E and are in geo-stationary orbit around the earth’s equator. As the south of the UK is closer to these satellites there is less signal loss over the distance travelled between the satellites and the satellite dish in the south of the UK when compared with the north. The frequencies that satellite TV uses are very high, approx. 10.7-13 Ghz and these frequencies can attenuate greatly over distance. This means that is the north of the UK where the signal is slightly weaker a larger dish size (60cm) is required to capture more of the signal to give a stronger signal. This isn’t to say that a smaller dish wouldn’t work in the north England/ Scotland but that it is more likely to fail, meaning a blocky/ pixelating picture or no signal at all. This is particularly true in rain,something referred in the trade as rain fade.
Can I Use a Zone 2 Dish in Zone 1?
Yes, you can use a Zone 2 Sky satellite dish in a the South/midlands. In fact doing this will give you slightly stronger signal so you do not have to worry about it not working. The downsides to doing this however is obviously the dish will be less discreet, which may or may not be a problem,but the spouse may not be happy about it. The dish is also a little more expensive.
Can You Use a Zone 1 Dish in Zone 2?
This isn’t to say that it can’t be done or that it categorically wouldn’t work, but it isn’t recommended. If you want to install the dish in the north of England it wouldn’t be the end of the world. In fact I visited Oldham recently and saw that most the dishes for Zone 1 but I strongly wouldn’t recommend using a Zone 1 Sky dish in the middle to north of Scotland. This is because the satellite beams are received weaker in the north and a larger dish size is recommended.
Other uses for Zone 1/ Zone 2 Sky Dishes
Both satellite dishes are fine for Sky and Freesat reception in the UK but you may be wondering whether you can use either dish for foreign satellite TV systems. The answer is yes you can but you may have limited options. Again, this advice differs slightly where you located on either the north or the south but Zone 1 dishes can also be used for 19.2E reception in the south of the UK. There is a wide variety of services at Astra 1 at 19.2E including French and German TV services like TNTSat & Sky Deutchland. Obviously you would need to change the Zone 1 to a Zone 2 for this to apply in the North.
A Zone 2 is a little bit more versatile, especially in the south of the UK with it being larger and more suitable for picking some weaker satellite beams for TV from the continent. Rather than listing all the services/satellites that can be received with a 60 cm satellite dish I recommend reading our blog on what sat dish size do I need for a fuller explanation.
Do Zone 1/ Zone 2 Dishes Use The Same LNB?
The same LNB’s are used for Zone 1 and Zone 2 satellite dishes.For your reference a Wideband LNB is required for Sky Q, a universal Quad LNB is fine for standard Sky/ Freesat, but you may need an Octo LNB is you have multiple satellite receivers around your property. If you want to run Sky Q,Sky & Freesat off the same dish a Hybrid LNB is required. For your reference most LNB’s for Sky dishes have a 38mm collar size and some of the new ones have a 40mm collar size so you may need to fit a new LNB holder if replacing an LNB on an existing dish for it to fit properly.
Satellite Dish Questions – Post Them In the Comments Section
If you have any comments/ questions arising from this blog please do feel free to post them in the BLOG COMMENTS SECTION BELOW. I now write this message on our of our blogs as we can’t cope with the amounts of technical support questions we get asked over our phone lines. I kindly ask that you DO NOT CALL OUR PHONELINES WITH QUESTIONS as we do not offer free over the phone technical support and do not have the staff. We are a small business that operates in Sussex and Kent only, that happens to have a very popular blog and it’s very difficult to run with all the calls we get from all over. If you do call our telephone lines you will be asked to leave your question on the blog comment section of the blog that you have read. In a similar theme please also DO NOT FILL OUT OUR WEBSITE CONTACT FORMS or E-MAIL US. There is no real hardship our end in receiving these but it’s highly likely that you will not receive a response. This is because it’s very difficult and time-consuming answering these individually,by posting your comments/ questions below I have a central location to answer these,it helps the blog and everyone reading the blog gets the benefit of the question asked and the answer given. So, post away!
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