Steve, a comprehensive and informative post as always. You hit on every point!
We are running the RV version and loving it. But if they shut it off for profit (during motion, no matter how slow) we will be very disappointed.
The issue: how the heck (where the heck) can I mount this on my sailboat ? I don’t even mind paying if I had to because it’s a total game changer, but I just can’t think of where I can mount it we don’t have an arch. A real head scratcher.
Maybe I’ll have to install a rail mount fish tray and bolt it to that! Lol.
Steve, Thanks for the Starlink Flat Panel Review. You mentioned in your article about the issue with the cable mounted forward. What would prevent a person from just flipping the Starlink backwards on the mount? That way the cable would enter the dish on the aft side of it. Looking at the angle of the cut out for the cable in the dish, there might be some water left standing in it, but some dielectric grease may resolve that.
Many thanks for this fantastic review Steve.
When will you test Starlink offshore? I’d really like to know how far from the coast it works, or even if it can work in the middle of the ocean (probably not).
A lot of people will be in the same situation, but the Terms of Service do clearly state that you’re not supposed to be using it while in motion so… Hopefully even if they do that, it would still work at anchor at least.
Yeah that’s something I’ve been thinking about for the last week or so. Even on some power boats, it will be hard to find a spot where you can flat mount a 23x20 square without much being in its way. Putting it on a smaller pole like what folks have been doing with the current one probably won’t work given the size and weight. Seaview have some mounts that could handle it, but they’re quite a bit bigger.
Given how angled the entry point is, a lot of water would gather in it. I’m trying to think why you couldn’t mount it backwards, and there’s something that makes me think it wouldn’t be possible, but I’m not sure why. I have serious concerns about the cable and weatherproofing in general, so I think I’d rather keep it facing forwards AND fill it with dielectric grease - that’s actually something I was just chatting with someone about. That way if water did get in, it would drip out.
I won’t be testing it in the open ocean - I am a coastal cruiser. Many others have tested the standard dish offshore, as well as the Maritime dish, which is the same as this one, has been used by many large ships and yachts offshore without any issues.
Speaking of cable concerns… I was underway today for about 1.5 hours, had a few waves I was dealing with, and some spray, although I doubt the water hit the Starlink. Nevertheless, when I arrived at the anchorage, I got this alert in the app that I’ve never seen before. I looked at the cabling, and didn’t see anything obvious, so I powered everything down, unplugged and reconnected everything, and it appears to be working fine.
Even with the alert, I was still getting normal performance… So we will see how this goes…
Steve, great article. I am considering a similar setup on my raised pilothouse trawler. I’ve read conflicting information regarding starlink and radar. I’d like to mount the flat starlink dish on the forward part of my pilothouse roof. This will be out of the direct path of the radar beam but will be below it. The radar is a 4Kw 4’ open aray radar. The starlink dish would be about 12 ft forward and 5ft below the radar.
Looking at your photos it looks like your flat dish would be below the radar. Did you try your setup while underway and with the radar operating? If so what were the results?
Starlink is definitely affected by radar. In my article a few months ago Starlink is finally useful aboard I covered some of the testing I had done with the rectangular dishes around this.
In general, they seem to be affected by most brands of modern radar that are labeled broadband, digital, etc. - not the older magnetron-style version. I’ve tested it with Raymarine, Simrad & Furuno and have seen this happen. Some folks have seen it with Garmin, while others have not.
As long as the dish is out of the beam angle of the radar, you should be fine. I have three Starlink dishes mounted aboard right now. Two are above the radar and right near it, so they’re out of the beam, and the big flat high performance dish is on the brow, below the beam angle.
Most radars have a total of 22 degrees of beam angle right out of the radar, 12.5 degrees up and down. I’ve dealt with at least 50 other installs who have calculated this and worked around it. It’s also pretty easy to just throw the dish somewhere temporarily and kick the radar on to see what happens.
Steve, thanks, your feedback is consistent with what I’m hearing from the FB starlink group. My current radar is an older magnetron radar but I plan on adding a digital radar soon so will need to consider when mounting the starlink dish. So what I’m hearing is that starlink works for either digital or magnetron radars so long as it’s not in the direct radar beam, did I understand that correctly?
Magnetron radars don’t seem to cause issues with it that I’ve heard of. The newer digital/broadband radars are the issue, and as long as you keep the dish out of the 22 degree beam angle of the radar, you should be fine.
Easy way to test it is to throw the dish up where you want to mount it temporarily, turn it on, and kick the radar on. You’ll know within seconds if it is in a bad spot!
Steve - Great write-up (as usual)! I am considering the FHP dish and want to install its wedge mount to a chunk of starboard (or something similar) which would be affixed to the aft SS rail of the boat deck using the Magma “Dual Horizontal Round Standard Rail Mount”.
I am trying to find out the dimensions of the bottom hole pattern of the wedge mount to get an idea of how big the starboard has to be to accommodate the wedge mount and the Magma rail mounts. The Starlink manual only gives the dimensions of FHP dish mounting holes. I’ve also looked at the 3-D drawing for the wedge mount but while giving a rotating model of the mount, no dimensions are shown. When you used the wedge mount to template the permanent mounting on your boat’s brow did you record the hole pattern dimensions?
Great question! I did not, but the bracket is slightly smaller than the overall dish if that gives you a starting point. I might be able to get under it to get some basic measurements, but I wouldn’t be able to get hole measurements easily…
Thanks for responding. I did receive a diagram from Winegard after contacting their support (very quick response). The bottom hole pattern is 9.2 inches wide by 5.6 inches long (based on direction of the wedge). The diagram didn’t include the dimensions of the bottom plate but, as you suggest, the other known dimensions suggest it is around 10 inches square.
Steve, I always appreciate your articles and insights! I have a couple of questions. I installed FHP dish today with a Peplink BR1Pro 5G. I noticed you said you started your install with the Starlink wifi router, then set it in bypass and pulled it out of the loop, direct to Peplink? What’s the reason to use the Starlink wifi router to start? I went straight to the Peplink and it connected and started communicating right away. I can’t use the Starlink app, apparently I need a static route.
Second part, I use a separate wifi router connected to the Peplink LAN to secure my devices from the internet. Since I am connecting to it I am guessing I’ll need a static route there to get the Starlink app to work? Thank you for all your articles.
Regarding the Starlink high performance in motion dish ($2,500). I realize that the unit is being installed on boats, but does Starlink specifically say that the unit is acceptable to use on boats. Their geo fencing is beginning to affect boaters using the standard RV dish on the eastern seaboard, and some have reported service outages. I’m reaching out to friends in Alaska who commercial fish to see if the geo fencing is affecting their use yet. It would be nice to know that the high performance dish is allowed on lakes, waterways, near coastal, and outside of 10 nm. Any response would be helpful…
The older terms of service and FAQs mentioned using the in-motion dish on a boat, but it was not in all places, and wasn’t a resounding “approval” that you could use it on a boat in any condition.
With the recent launch of Starlink Roam, which replaces the RV plan, there is a lot of confusion around acceptable usage including whether it is OK to have a dish on the Starlink Roam plan on a boat, and the very clear messages in their FAQ that these plans are now geofenced to land only.
Standard RV dishes have had service outages even before the Roam plan. I have one that routinely stops working as soon as I pass 8 knots, which they started enforcing a number of months ago. I have two others that work fine, and I have a mix of customers and friends who have the same result - some working, others stopping at 8 knots.
No one has said that an RV/Roam dish of either the rectangular or flat high performance kind isn’t working when at rest, whether in a marina or at anchor.
Are you hearing of reports of folks seeing these dishes not working at all unless they are firmly up on land, or just while underway?
For the benefit of some of your members, we ordered the High Performance to our Boston address, we did initialized it while in the USA, then carried it with us to our boat in French Polynesia. This is not an area that is supported by Starlink at this time, so I was a bit apprehensive, but it is working amazingly well, despite the fact that we have to rely on laser link satellites V1.5+ only from this location.
I did ask Starlink to be put on the Global Roaming, they said that this was not possible on the HP antenna yet, but since it works (at the moment), I am not going to raise hell.
We are about to leave for American Samoa and/or Tonga very soon, both areas that are supposed to get service very soon (from the Fiji land station). We should be able to also report on its stability/availability above 8 knots.