One of the problems with buying satellite equipment in the United States and Canada is that there are so few distributors, and you may have found that a few of those distributors are not people you’d care to do business with in the future, for any of a number of possible reasons. Let’s just say there may be a seller or two out there who thought that “The Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld was an instructional video on how to treat potential customers.
Another problem is that satellite equipment sellers tend to exit the business without much notice. So you buy an LNB from a company and it works well for you, and then a year later you get a new dish, or maybe your original LNB got hit by lightning, and you want a replacement. Sadly, the seller is nowhere to be found. In one case a web site still exists for a distributor that apparently left the business years ago. None of the phone numbers appear to still be working, but that site is out there. But interestingly, it has some pictures of its “Factory & Offices in China” that give us a clue as to who their supplier was. That’s because some of the same photos appear at the bottom of this page.
The Chinese company that seems to make a lot of the LNB’s that are sold in North America under private labels is Anhui Bowei Electronics Technology Co., Ltd., and as best I can determine their main web site (in English) is at http://www.chinabrave.com/en/ but most people wanting to buy their products retail would likely go through their store on AliExpress.
You do have to be a bit careful when buying this way because the shipping charges from China are a bit high, and you may or may not have the same level of buyer protection that you would have with a USA or Canadian seller. Also you have to be careful that what you buy will work with your equipment. For example, when buying a C-band LNB, most equipment sold in the USA and Canada expects to use voltage switching to switch between vertical and horizontal polarization. But there are LNB’s being sold now, including some by this company, that do dual local oscillator frequencies, where the local oscillator frequency for the vertical channels is the usual 5150 MHz but for the horizontal channels it is 5750 MHz (here’s a page in PDF format from a New Zealand supplier that explains the advantages of this scheme). Not all receivers, tuner cards, or software may be able to deal with that, so if you are not sure, it’s safer to stick with the older models that show only a single L.O. frequency of 5150 MHz in the specifications.
And if you happen to be looking at a product that plugs into a wall outlet for power, make sure you can get it with a USA/Canada type plug, or that it at least comes with an adapter, and that it will work with 110/120 volts AC at 60 Hz. Remember that much of the rest of the world (including much of North America outside the USA and Canada) uses 220/240 volts AC at 50 Hz, and while some devices can deal with either type of power, not all can, plus plug styles vary from country to country.
If you have never used AliExpress before, one tip is that when you are on a seller’s main page, look at the (usually blue or green) bar at the top of the page and mouse over the “Products” link; it will show a dropdown of product categories offered. Even then there may still be products offered by a seller that for some reason don’t appear in their store listings, but that can be found if you do a general search in AliExpress for a particular type of product (such as “C band LNB”). AliExpress isn’t eBay, and their site doesn’t appear to be quite as well indexed.
Of course, Anhui Bowei Electronics Technology Co., Ltd. is not the only maker of LNB’s in China, it’s just that their product line seems to include some models that looks suspiciously like models currently being sold in North America under a different brand name. I have no idea if they are the same or not, and obviously the USA importers are probably not going to disclose who they purchase their products from. But the point is that when a North American supplier appears to either drop off the face of the earth, or angers you to the point that you wouldn’t buy a bottle of water from them if you were dying of thirst in the desert, then it may at least be possible to go “upstream” and buy from their supplier.
In the course of looking for this information I did find a couple of other sellers of LNB’s and other satellite equipment on AliExpress:
SatMaximum in particular seems to carry about as extensive a line of LNB’s as Anhui Bowei Electronics Technology, but again you have to be careful about the local oscillator frequencies, to make sure you don’t get a dual L.O. unit if your receiver or tuner can only handle voltage switching of polarity. I have never dealt with any of these companies personally – I am probably like most Americans, a bit reluctant to order direct from overseas due to the higher possibility of disappointment, and the inability to return a defective item without paying more in shipping than what the item is worth (in many cases). So when you buy like this it is a bit like buying a pig in a poke, although AliExpress attempts to mitigate these concerns with their Buyer Protection. If anyone has purchased a LNB, or any other satellite equipment for that matter, from one of these Chinese companies using AliExpress you’re welcome to share your experience (good or bad) in the comments.