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Old 26-09-2021, 08:57   #1
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Can you use Starlink on a boat?



Hi folks,

does anyone know more about this statement?

SpaceX is working on a “ruggedized” version of its Starlink dish designed to work outside cars, boats , and planes and in harsh climates. SpaceX filed an application with the FCC on Tuesday to operate the so-called “high-performance” Starlink dish. (Dated 04.08.2021)

https://uk.pcmag.com/networking/1348...ats-and-planes


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Old 26-09-2021, 09:02   #2
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

Been wondering about this too
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Old 26-09-2021, 09:13   #3
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

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Originally Posted by Dirk01 View Post


Hi folks,

does anyone know more about this statement?

SpaceX is working on a “ruggedized” version of its Starlink dish designed to work outside cars, boats , and planes and in harsh climates. SpaceX filed an application with the FCC on Tuesday to operate the so-called “high-performance” Starlink dish. (Dated 04.08.2021)

https://uk.pcmag.com/networking/1348...ats-and-planes


Cheers
Dirk

Probably, because how would it know if its on a car or on a boat?
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Old 26-09-2021, 09:24   #4
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

Right now, no, it will not work on boats. Eventually yes, it will. When that will be is hotly debated, but my money is that it will not be soon.
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Old 26-09-2021, 09:38   #5
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

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Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
Right now, no, it will not work on boats. Eventually yes, it will. When that will be is hotly debated, but my money is that it will not be soon.
This is a comment I am in agreement with 100%.
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Old 26-09-2021, 09:42   #6
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

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Originally Posted by David Ess View Post
Probably, because how would it know if its on a car or on a boat?
I can't follow your post, sorry.

Another statement (a passage out of the linked url):

"SpaceX is calling for the FCC to grant the license as soon as possible. Other FCC applications from the company has also indicate the company is working on another next-generation Starlink dish that will use a smaller antenna than the current model."

A little bit smaller and covered like the actual sat-connections should work. Maybe on a catamaran and in calm weather (or waiting for fish in the duldroms) it would greatly pass the time if you could stream youtube, tiktok & co. (not to forget the weather forcast of course).
Ahmm, the weather forcast only for planning if there's enough time for a complete series
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Old 26-09-2021, 09:49   #7
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

No. They currently need connection to satellite and ground station (or two). In the future they plan to deploy enough satellites to provide multiple connection points making a ground station unnecessary. ETA end of 2022 if I recall. However, the tracking and stability on a moving platform will still need to be overcome...
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Old 26-09-2021, 09:54   #8
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

Yes you can use it on a boat.
No, you won't get service outside of your assigned "cell" unless you apply and are accepted for a different address, so using it on a cruise isn't possible yet.
Hopefully next summer the system will allow connections wherever we want to go.
The existing dish is quite small and rugged enough for us. Would it stand up to green water? No, but any green water that high on our boat would damage all sorts of things.
It is happy in winds of 35knots and driving rain without loosing the connection.
I don't know how much more rugged it needs to be for a sailboat.
Probably more rugged is needed on vans that potentially could see the equivalent of 100 plus knots.
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Old 26-09-2021, 10:16   #9
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

I use Starlink on a 83' powerboat. Big waves or big wakes will cause a disconnect for seconds to minutes. But the current antenna is durable. Before I had the antenna bolted down, but after activating it, a sudden storm blew it into the river. I let it drip dry overnight and it was fine the next day. Download is about 200mbps. I hope the speed stays with mobile antennas.
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Old 26-09-2021, 10:50   #10
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

StarLink finished the launching the first shell of satellites and has now paused launches.

They are building a next generation of satellites that have laser communication links between each other. This will allow dishes in remote places to communicate from satellite to satellite until the link can get to a ground station. This is needed for remote access, be it on a boat, aircraft, vehicle, or land based station, that does not have direct communication from dish to satellite to ground station and thus the Internet.

For boats, planes, trains, and vehicle applications, stabilized and low power dishes will be needed to maximize usage, but that is not rocket science to build.

I think we would have gotten our dish by now if not for the chip shortage that is going to take years to work our way through...

Later,
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Old 26-09-2021, 13:38   #11
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

Bit of inaccurate info here (and accurate as well).



Starlink will work on boats now with a big BUT. As of now each antenna is "geo-locked" to the cell it is registered in. It will work anywhere within that cell, but if relocated to another cell it will have to be re-registered. This may or not be possible depending on whether or not the cell is "full". This will ease up when they get past the beta stage and as more satellites get up.



The phased array antenna alleviates the need for a traditional boat satellite installation. The antenna can track (quickly) through wide angels without the dish actually moving. Don't know how much roll it will handle, but should be substantial since they currently track from 25 degrees above the horizon to 25 degrees above the opposite horizon. The LEO satellites are moving relatively fast and the dish tracks without moving the antenna. It is a matter of micro seconds for the antenna to adjust electronically per Musk.



They have re-started launching satellites on Sept 14th.. These are going into polar orbits and have the laser satellite to satellite gear so every satellite does not need to be in direct contact with a ground station. They have said all future launches will have the laser capable satellites. The polar orbits for foreseeable launches appears to be due to DOD wanting to have better comms with bases/outposts in the polar regions. Would seem this could mean mid-ocean coverage when they get enough birds up. The laser equipped satellites are bigger so they can only launch 51 at a time, vs. 60 of the original satellites.



The current dishes require around 120 watts. On a cruising boat this would be a heavy load (think 2-3 as much or more hourly consumption than most boat refrigerators) but probably OK if not left on all the time. The antenna itself doesn't care where it is located, although durability in a marine environment may suffer a little. The more ruggedized (and smaller) antennas in development would be a plus, but not absolutely required.



Am still hoping to get one before heading to the Bahamas next winter, but not counting on it. I checked and almost all the Raggeds are close enough to get ground station coverage from the Miami stations. Rest of the Bahamas should be fine - just need the antenna and no geo-locking (although I have no idea if use would be legal per Bahamas regs).
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Old 26-09-2021, 23:16   #12
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

Okay, the current official Starlink blurb is:

Starlink satellites are scheduled to send internet down to all users within a designated area on the ground. This designated area is referred to as a cell.

Your Starlink is assigned to a single cell. If you move your Starlink outside of its assigned cell, a satellite will not be scheduled to serve your Starlink and you will not receive internet. This is constrained by geometry and is not arbitrary geofencing.


AND

If you could see the connection between a Starlink satellite and your Starlink, it would look like a single beam between the two objects. As the satellite moves, the beam also moves.

The area within which this beam moves is the “field of view”. If any object such as a tree, chimney, pole, etc. interrupts the path of the beam, even briefly, your internet service will be interrupted.

In early service, the required clear field of view is a 100-degree cone around the center of the dish (after tilting) with a 25 degree elevation minimum. Some obstructions are worse than others. Obstructions low in the sky will cause more outages because satellites are in this area of the sky more frequently.

The best guidance we can give is to install your Starlink at the highest elevation possible where it is safe to do so, with a clear view of the sky. Users who live in areas with lots of tall trees, buildings, etc. may not be good candidates for early use of Starlink. However as more satellites are launched, the field of view constraints will decrease, enabling a wider variety of users.

Most people do not accurately assess their Starlink's field of view. To ensure the best possible service, download the Starlink app to assess field of view in your desired install location before installing.

SO

If you stay in your cell, and your movement is less than 100 deg cone and 25 Deg elevation, the current system will serve you.
Find your cell from the address search at the starlink site.

Of course the current antenna will work until wind or corrosion combine to degrade it.
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Old 27-09-2021, 03:07   #13
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

Lots and lots of useful information. Thx.
In conclusion:
a) The dish is o.k., but smaller and more ruggedized is always better.
b) Basically it works (also after a nice swim), but too much and too fast rolling might be a problem due to the wider angle needed.
c) Locked to a certain cell is an issue that needs to be overcome.
d) The mast might interrupt the connection (depends on direct view to the sat).
e) The "new" satellites will have laser-connection to bridge large distances to the next ground station.
f) It's a matter of time when we will have internet on high seas. (2025 would be fine for me.)

Did I forget something important?

Cheers
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Old 27-09-2021, 07:09   #14
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

I spoke with a friend at PredictWind about when they would support StarLink. I was told two-three years in their opinion before StarLink would be ready for cruising boats.
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Old 27-09-2021, 07:12   #15
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Re: Can you use Starlink on a boat?

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I spoke with a friend at PredictWind about when they would support StarLink. I was told two-three years in their opinion before StarLink would be ready for cruising boats.
That's awesome to hear!
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