How I bought a big dish
This introduction is my personal subjective opinion and I ask everyone who does not agree with me to refrain from any controversy. If you want to contribute your comments, you should write your experience with buying a large dish. This article aims to explain why I bought the Polish offset dish Laminas 2700, although its use brings some problems.
When I started thinking about buying a larger satellite dish in 2018, I thought it would be easy. We do have capitalism all around us, so when I'm willing to pay, companies start competing to buy from them. Oh, how naive I was. In today's modern capitalism, it is not enough for companies to make money. He has to earn enough. They probably have a minimum profit margin set, and rather than make less, they would rather refuse to trade. This is something I am not able to understand. I've always been taught that it doesn't have to rain, just drip. And that a small profit is also a profit. And a willing approach to any customer is the best advertisement. Because he will tell other potential customers about his good experience with the company. Well, maybe I was born too early for today's situation.
Since I was a complete novice in the field of large satellite dishes, I started looking for articles on the Internet about who uses which dish and how satisfied he is with it. I soon came to the conclusion that it should be a prime focus. The bigger challenge was to choose the dimensions and the right manufacturer. In the end, I chose a proven type of Bulgarian Pasat dish with a diameter of 240 cm as a compromise between price and quality.
I went through Czech e-shops with satellite technology and I really discovered it in one. The price was acceptable, but they did not have it in stock. So I wrote them an e-mail asking when they were able to deliver the goods and how much it would cost to transport me home. The answer surprised me. It is said that they will import the dish from the manufacturer when they have a demand for at least 5 pieces. I have to arrange transport from the home store myself. However, five customers for such specific goods practically means a term - never. I tried to get them to make a more acceptable compromise, but in vain.
Because this dish did not appear in other Czech or foreign e-shops, I decided to contact the manufacturer directly. At first I was surprised that the company did not respond to e-mails at all. So I persuaded a friend to try to talk to them over the phone. With the help of broken English, he learned that although they do not have a dish in stock, it is not a problem to make it. Unfortunately, they do not provide transport to the Czech Republic, the nearest destination was Austria. I began to explore the possibilities of transporting such a large package. But the next day, I found out on the manufacturer's website that in response to my demand, the price of the dish had increased significantly. This seemed so unethical to me that I decided not to buy this type and to start choosing another dish again.
As the second I chose the Portuguese dish Famaval 230 cm.
Although it is 10 cm smaller than the originally intended Pasat dish, it has the option of purchasing a 310 cm extension petals. Somehow I knew in advance that I would soon get used to its dimensions and the extension to 3 m will be another logical step.
I even found it in the offer of a Czech e-shop. After previous experience, I contacted the seller directly by phone. To my surprise, he had 2 pieces in stock ready for immediate collection. Unfortunately, he did not provide transport, but transport within the Czech Republic did not seem to me to be a problem. That's why I asked how the dish is wrapped and what weight and dimensions the whole package has. The answer surprised me a little. The dish was not wrapped in any way. I made sure again that it was a new, unused piece. And I learned that she had already been transported to them from Portugal like this. That seemed unacceptable to me. I didn't want to believe that such a large product would survive unharmedly transported across half of Europe without any protective packaging. That's why I gave up this purchase.
Another option was to buy a professional but used dish from the USA. Here I have to apologize to all Czech enthusiasts who are able and willing to mediate the purchase and transportation of large dishes from the US or from anywhere in Europe. Although I understand that these goods and work around have their price, it was still too much for me. What bothered me the most was that as a beginning amateur without any professional measuring technique, I am not able to verify the actual current parameters of the older used dish. I would have a lasting feeling that I bought the wrong one. And in any signal hunt, I would be bothered by the idea that with the new dish, the results could be even better. However, the new professional dish is completely beyond my financial means. So I went back to the internet and started searching again.
This time I have already reduced my claims and I was willing to be satisfied with any dish over 200 cm. And I came across the Polish company Laminas. Unfortunately, it does not produce such large central dishes. The offset dish has a problem with its tilting on satellites located low at the horizon. In the case of a pivoting device with movement in two axes azimuth - elevation (not polarmount), the lower edge of the parabola needs to reach the tube of the supporting mast. Another doubt was caused by the widespread opinion that such a "small" dish should be made in one piece. The assembly of segments is said to introduce inaccuracies into the geometry, which reduce the profit. And the Laminas 2700 dish consists of two half segments. On the other hand, I really liked the dimensions of 270 cm. I've been thinking about these things for a long time. But I really wanted to have my plate at home. In the end, I decided to accept the offset. From my point of view, there is still no view to the horizon. And because I was inventing my own turning device, I was able to place the center of gravity of the parabola off the axis of the support mast so that the lower edge of the plate did not hit it. Dividing the dish into two segments came to me as a reasonable compromise in terms of package size during transport. So I decided to buy the Laminas 2700.
And then it will look like a hidden advertisement. Communication with a Laminas representative was exemplary. Written google - English was enough for everything. The dish is delivered in a chipboard transport box and the manufacturer also ensured its transport to my home. Because the parabola is halved, the dimensions of the bale are not extreme. I even agreed to buy only my own parabolic surface, without the rear steel bracket, which is an integral part of it. I explained to them that I was designing my own turning device, which will already include a dish holder. They did not object. They just warned me that the dish cannot be operated without an adequate holder. The screws for connecting the two halves are not sufficient for sufficient mechanical strength of the unit. The money saved for the unnecessary original holder covered the shipping costs.
Finally, I will add one cheerful story from the delivery. I was a little worried about how I would talk to the Polish carrier when he would deliver the package to me. It turned out to be useless, because the consignment in Hradec Králové was transferred from a Polish truck to a car of a Czech carrier. It was a company ... and sons. When the truck arrived, I jokingly asked the driver how many sons he had with him to make the package. At first he looked incomprehensible and said in astonishment that he had arrived alone. Then he frowned, adding that according to his boss, I had a forklift truck at my disposal. I laughed heartily at this nonsense, but it certainly didn't contribute to his good mood. In the end, we found out that the dish can be unloaded in three people with the help of an ordinary pallet truck. But I think he was cursing long after he left. I wouldn't want to be his boss that day ...