BEWARE the 1.2 meter Alaska/Hawaii dish

Bigger just has to mean better, right? That’s not the case with the 1.2 meter DIRECTV dish designed for use in Alaska and Hawaii. It’s quite a behemoth, so before you think about using it to improve your DIRECTV reception, it’s time to look at the facts:

  • This dish is designed specifically to give better performance through the atmosphere, because Alaska and Hawaii customers need to point almost sideways to get reception. It isn’t designed to help with rain fade or any of the problems you generally have in the continental US.
  • If you want to see all five satellite locations, you’ll need two reflectors (the dish part), two LNB assemblies, and two poles. You’ll need to dedicate a space about 7 feet wide for all this equipment.
  • You’ll need a sturdy way to mount the stuff, too. It’s not designed for a regular roof. It’s best to have a concrete wall or a post mount with plenty of concrete around it. This thing is heavy.
  • You’ll find it’s not exactly a breeze to set up, either. Even experienced techs report spending hours aligning one dish.
  • Even if you can receive signals from another market with this dish, it’s against your DIRECTV customer agreement to actually watch them.
  • Everything on this dish is a la carte: the reflector, mount, LNB and mast are all sold separately and those costs do add up.

At this point, you might be getting cold feet about putting a dish like this in just to fight rain fade. The solution for rain fade is usually just doing a better job aiming the dish, or possibly using a signal amplifier like the LA144R-T from Sonora Design.

Sure, it may make perfect sense that a larger dish would work better to combat rain fade, but that’s just not how this dish is designed. Unless you’re in Alaska or Hawaii, it’s better to avoid this dish and focus on the Slimline series from DIRECTV.