Starlink is finally useful aboard

Starlink has been getting a lot of attention lately with changes around roaming, and has become a useful option to stay connected while on the water. There are still some limitations and challenges, so don't throw out your cellular router yet!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://seabits.com/starlink-finally-useful-aboard/
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This is great news, thanks for the detailed report.

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As usual, your timing is exceptional Steve. I got my email from Starlink an hour ago offering me service at Shilshole Marina. I’ve been on the waiting list for 6-8 months. I’m excited to give it a try!

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Great stuff! Thanks for the updates on this. I wondering if it would be possible to buy a system in one country and move it to another? Like say to Mexico?

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I know of two people who are using it in Mexico right now aboard a boat. I think one of them even had it shipped to an address in Mexico. He ended up with the v1 dish though, even though he just ordered it in the last month or so.

So yes, it seems possible.

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Excellent! Thanks for the reply.

Cheers!

We got ours a few weeks ago in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. It shipped quickly (less than a week) to Marina Puerto Escondido and has been working incredibly well at the marina, at anchor, and even underway. No problems roaming around Mexico so far. Very few anchorages have cell service here, so we mostly relied on Iridium Go until Starlink arrived. Amazing going from downloading an optimized weather forecast or email over the course of half an hour to multiple simultaneous HD video streams!

They sent us the round Dishy, which averages about 50 watts of power consumption. Performance is good…we’re at anchor now, with dishy just sitting on the deck, and it’s showing “No Signal Received” for 17 minutes in the last 12 hours, most of which have been 15 seconds or less, none longer than 46 seconds.

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Aweseome feedback @Sam_Landsman! Looks like the power consumption has been optimized on the round (v1) dishy since I originally tested it. Also really good info on outages - length and frequency.

Steve, great to find this article on Starlink. I am a Canadian customer on a Nordic Tug, and this just may be what I am looking for.

I have been limping along using my cell phone data plan and even at 50gb/mo, the Cdn wireless rates are punishing. I am leading a nonprofit marine conservation project (falsecreekfriends.org) and producing video & other public engagement media…

In light of this, can you recommend a small footprint router/hard drive that will allow me to handle large files speedily & without hiccups?

Many thanks,

Zaida Schneider
zaida [at] falsecreekfriends.org

As always, great write up and information.
Got our Starlink last month and first tested at home in Tucson. Had to get a Catalina Island address in order to signup. It connected straight-away.
This week we brought the dishy over to the boat in San Diego’s Harbor Island. Mounted it on the rear rail of the boat deck and, again, it connected straight away. Just got the Ethernet adapter so connected it to the Peplink Max ProE LAN port and disabled the WIFI (bridged). All is working great with minimal disruptions. One little red dot on the visibility graph where the boom is.
Question for you, sir:
What is the procedure for getting the Starlink data into signal k? I installed the plugin, but it obviously requires some type of data connection since Starlink has no n2k capabilities.
Thanks again for the great info.

It would depend on your budget and your goals. If you are not using cellular and are switching to Starlink, then you could just use the router they provide. If you’re still interested in cellular and also want Starlink connected, then you can look at Recommended Internet Systems & Cellular Plans and pick one of the Peplink products with a WAN port which can be used to connect to the Starlink via ethernet. As for hard drives, that’s a different set of requirements.

The only thing you have to do is install the plugin, activate it, and you should be good. It appears to look for the standard IP address of the Starlink itself and gather info that way. If your Signal K system is on a network that can reach the Starlink, you should be good.

Thanks for the latest updates - though it only make the decision whether to go Starlink or Peplink Cellular even more challenging. My partner is Work from Home and we want to head to Desolation Sound and maybe explore north. Have you seen any feedback on if either or both have been effective up there?

Also, I posted your link to a discussion that just began on Cruisers Forum this week. Dishy 2 has created a fair bit of buzz.

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Excellent, thanks.
Data from Starlink is present now.
Just had to give it some time.
Thanks again.

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I still have a Peplink router as my main system and will continue to for quite a while as Starlink has outages and doesn’t work as well underway. If I were purchasing something now, as I mention at the top of my article, I’d still have both cellular and Starlink to ensure I was always connected.

Hi Steve, long time lurker and fan. Any chance the antenna will mount inside an existing satellite TV dome? I’ve got a 24” RayMarine, which is essentially an Intellian, that is pretty much worthless now I’d think. I’d love to mount a StarLink dish inside it. Retains the aesthetics as well as some weather resistance.

Thx….Randy

I’ve seen other folks in the various groups proposing to put it in a satellite dome. It would depend on which dish you got - some folks are still getting the v1 circular dish while others are getting the v2 newer one.

Steve, thanks for the great write up on Starlink. We had already ordered ours for use on the boat, nice to see further confirmation of it working reasonably well.

Can you provide a bit more detail on your mount, as we have the same SeaView setup as Kaos, and may follow your led on mounting (although I would like to find a solution that routes the cable through the SeaView into the arch, as I think I could feed the cable into a useable location thru the arch).

Cheers

Mine is definitely a work in progress. My mount was empty as I removed the old Intellian satellite dome from the top. I took a standard marine antenna mount with a flat bottom, 1-1/4" threaded top, and cut it down so that the Starlink pole mount adapter sat on the top of the marine antenna mount, but the bottom of the Starlink pole adapter was flush with the Seaview mount.

This required cutting an inch or so off the particular marine antenna mount that I used. I then used one of the existing holes in the top of the Seaview mount to put a stainless bolt/nut/washer through, and drilled one other hole through the mount (ouch!) since I wasn’t using it for anything else. Eventually I’d like a more permanent mount, but I am waiting to see what other folks do.

I have been quite amazed at the amount of money and time that folks are throwing at mounts. Milling aluminum, building domes, etc. - for something that’s not marine grade, will likely not last that long, etc. But I guess if you have the time and money… :smile:

If you missed it, Starlink officially announced portability yesterday. This means that for $25/month you can use your Starlink anywhere on the North American continent. It is fantastic news that this is now supported, and not just something that was enabled we’ve all been taking advantage of, and could be shut off without notice.

You can sign into your account and enable it - very quick to do so.

There are a couple of limitations to be aware of:

  • Free portability ends on June 3rd - so sign up now, or yours will likely stop working then if you’re outside your home location
  • International portability limited to 2 months - so if you are cruising in Mexico / Canada for extended periods, you will need to purchase a separate Starlink device for that country/address.
  • No in-motion use - this isn’t new, but you aren’t supposed to be using it while moving
  • Best effort in non-home areas - you could be throttled, etc. but also, they may force you to change your service address if you are in one area for a long period of time.

So, it’s still not perfect, and in fact for those folks who are using it in Canada and Mexico now and are US citizens with a US address, this may actually be worse for you. 2 months of time doesn’t cover folks who head south to get warm for the winter season. But remember, roaming/portability was just enabled about a month ago, and even with the restrictions, this is still a great solution.

The folks over at the Mobile Internet Resource Center have a more detailed article on portability at Starlink "Portability" Is Here - Enabling Roaming Across North America, For A Price - Mobile Internet Resource Center