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Seafarer7 22-04-2022 16:37

Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Here are some results of my tests so far with Starlink on a sailboat underway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OblLo5t_cdk

Some conclusions/observations:

- a gimbaled mount is NOT needed. Dishy's phased-array antenna and the low earth altitude of the satellites appear to make high precision pointing unnecessary.

- Dishy has motors that can automatically adjust both the elevation and azimuth angles of the dish. It usually does this the first time Starlink is powered up, to point the dish northwards.

- In stationary usage (eg in a marina), that is all the motion you will observe: ie: that one-time adjustment to north on startup. However when underway, either under sail or engine, Dishy will periodically re-align itself to point to the north sky. Eg several minutes after a boat course change. (I had assumed I would have to re-align the dish manually, or reboot it - not so). This is great, as even though Starlink still works when not optimally aligned, that periodic automatic re-alignment maintains the strongest signal and performance.

- Wave action, swell, heeling, and short-term course changes produce no observable re-orientation of the antenna. The dish only reacts to changes of a longer duration. eg: after a tack, change course, heel angle, etc, only once the boat settles and stays on its new configuration for several minutes, would Dishy automatically re-orient.

- Obstruction-wise, being out at sea is a better environment for Starlink, than say a marina, where adjacent masts contribute to obstructing the sky view.

- More important, wave action, swell, heeling, and course changes did not produce any noticeable interruptions in service, from the limited testing done so far.

- I confirmed service up to 10 miles offshore (Pacific Ocean, off the California coast). My logging stopped beyond that, but I can't say for certain if service was lost due to being out of reach of Starlink/the continent, or for other unrelated reasons. The Starlink coverage map (https://www.starlink.com/map) seems to indicate 10 miles offshore is the current limit, in line with what I observed. However its nice to note that all recent and future starlink satellites are equipped with laser interconnect links, so sight-of-land should (soon?) no longer be a limit.

Other notes:
- The Starlink account used above has "roaming" enabled, and is therefore not geo-restricted to any 'home' cell.
- Dishy, its connecting POE cable (and even the router) are rated for outside use, and so theoretically don't need any further protection. In fact, that is how I use it when in protected waters
eg:see configuration for inside San Francisco Bay:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISCt2U5VKrc

For offshore use, I added a temporary extra layer of protection in the form of a garbage bag cover, for large waves which sometimes entirely cover the boat in strong weather.

redneckrob 22-04-2022 19:57

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Seafarer7 (Post 3611617)
Here are some results of my tests so far with Starlink on a sailboat underway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OblLo5t_cdk

Some conclusions/observations:

- a gimbaled mount is NOT needed. Dishy's phased-array antenna and the low earth altitude of the satellites appear to make high precision pointing unnecessary.

- Dishy has motors that can automatically adjust both the elevation and azimuth angles of the dish. It usually does this the first time Starlink is powered up, to point the dish northwards.

- In stationary usage (eg in a marina), that is all the motion you will observe: ie: that one-time adjustment to north on startup. However when underway, either under sail or engine, Dishy will periodically re-align itself to point to the north sky. Eg several minutes after a boat course change. (I had assumed I would have to re-align the dish manually, or reboot it - not so). This is great, as even though Starlink still works when not optimally aligned, that periodic automatic re-alignment maintains the strongest signal and performance.

- Wave action, swell, heeling, and short-term course changes produce no observable re-orientation of the antenna. The dish only reacts to changes of a longer duration. eg: after a tack, change course, heel angle, etc, only once the boat settles and stays on its new configuration for several minutes, would Dishy automatically re-orient.

- Obstruction-wise, being out at sea is a better environment for Starlink, than say a marina, where adjacent masts contribute to obstructing the sky view.

- More important, wave action, swell, heeling, and course changes did not produce any noticeable interruptions in service, from the limited testing done so far.

- I confirmed service up to 10 miles offshore (Pacific Ocean, off the California coast). My logging stopped beyond that, but I can't say for certain if service was lost due to being out of reach of Starlink/the continent, or for other unrelated reasons. The Starlink coverage map (https://www.starlink.com/map) seems to indicate 10 miles offshore is the current limit, in line with what I observed. However its nice to note that all recent and future starlink satellites are equipped with laser interconnect links, so sight-of-land should (soon?) no longer be a limit.

Other notes:
- The Starlink account used above has "roaming" enabled, and is therefore not geo-restricted to any 'home' cell.
- Dishy, its connecting POE cable (and even the router) are rated for outside use, and so theoretically don't need any further protection. In fact, that is how I use it when in protected waters
eg:see configuration for inside San Francisco Bay:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISCt2U5VKrc

For offshore use, I added a temporary extra layer of protection in the form of a garbage bag cover, for large waves which sometimes entirely cover the boat in strong weather.

How did you get "roaming" enabled, if you don't mind me asking?

Seafarer7 22-04-2022 20:01

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by redneckrob (Post 3611690)
How did you get "roaming" enabled, if you don't mind me asking?



It’s not something I control - it just came on, after some hours of trying to connect in a non-home cell. It appears SpaceX has been enabling roaming in a good number of US accounts.

Celestialsailor 22-04-2022 21:12

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
I'm hoping in a few years the system is in full swing for cruisers, including crossing oceans.

Hermia II 23-04-2022 00:52

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Celestialsailor (Post 3611707)
I'm hoping in a few years the system is in full swing for cruisers, including crossing oceans.

So do I, it will bring down the prices of Iridium and Inmarsat too :smitten:

WhiteHill 23-04-2022 01:25

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Great and encouraging information, thanks.

Pole 23-04-2022 01:59

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermia II (Post 3611749)
So do I, it will bring down the prices of Iridium and Inmarsat too :smitten:

Iridium and Inmarsat should be getting nervous. Either of those products will be like being a Video Store owner when streaming arrived. Or more accurately owning a taxi company when Uber arrived. Surely they will become obsolete almost immediately. Unless protective rules are applied who is going to buy a dedicated expensive service that basically allows only small messages, when the opposition lets you surf the net in the middle of a crossing?

Thanks to the OP. I for one have been wondering if Starlink will work on a sailing yacht. Now we can see every ship, even trains, airliners and cars will be connected.

Welcome to the 21st century.

SeeMonstrEd 23-04-2022 04:25

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
I got my Dishy a few days ago and have yet to make a permanent mount but I am seeing similar results. In my initial tests I saw 270mbps. I an in the USVI where the fastest internet you can get is about 50mbps even wired. If we can go 10 miles offshore I can travel all the way to Puerto Rico without losing the signal.

Like someone else said I can see every boat and ship on this as soon as they open it up globally. It will be the end of other satellite services.:popcorn:

Scorpius 23-04-2022 09:07

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
I would think that the ten mile offshore restriction is not physical - but logical in the software. The satellites are whizzing everywhere and would not naturally cut off ten miles from shore. I would think, for the US, for licensing reasons, it is being limited to the 12 mile territorial limit. Just MHO.

Otherwise, this is GREAT news!

contrail 23-04-2022 10:09

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
What is the current cost for Dishy and service?

Celestialsailor 23-04-2022 11:36

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
From what I hear, it is around $110@month and $600 for the hardware.

czarkbrooks 23-04-2022 14:25

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Current cost is about 600 USD, plus 110 USD/month. I sprang for the pipe mount, but don't use it right now. Dishy has worked great at a variety of non-Santa Barbara marinas and moorages.
Eg: Portland, Cathlamet, fort Bragg, Santa Cruz, Avalon.
SpaceX says it'll work at smugglers cove, but we haven't tried that yet. I'm a bit baffled how they supply service on these channel islands before the space lasers are running, . Once you establish connection to a satellite a couple hundred miles overhead, it can bounce your data to any ground station within a few hundred miles

toddster8 23-04-2022 17:39

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Very interesting! In use, at what sort of angles does the dish point, from the horizontal?

I am wondering if a standard J-mount (in aluminum or ss) bolted to the side of the solar arch would suffice, if the dish didn't have to be elevated much above the level of the panels.

Asking because the arch is home in the shop now and it would be easy to make any (speculative) mods. But difficult in a month or two after I move on board.

Seafarer7 23-04-2022 18:02

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by toddster8 (Post 3612049)
Very interesting! In use, at what sort of angles does the dish point, from the horizontal?



I am wondering if a standard J-mount (in aluminum or ss) bolted to the side of the solar arch would suffice, if the dish didn't have to be elevated much above the level of the panels.



Asking because the arch is home in the shop now and it would be easy to make any (speculative) mods. But difficult in a month or two after I move on board.


Pointing angles were about 15 to 20 degrees off vertical. My guess is this is latitude dependent, ie the closer you are to lat 53 (Starlink satellite cluster) the smaller the offset. When the boat is sailing heeled those angles become deeper (as shown in first video), to compensate for the heel. I’m using a standard j mount as you described above, and the Starlink dish is about the same height as the solar panels, and so no obstruction to/from the solar panels.

Donnybrook 23-04-2022 20:28

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Seafarer--What's your observed power consumption? Do you consider it low enough to leave on all the time like a fridge or do you turn it on only when you need to access the internet?

Seafarer7 23-04-2022 23:54

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Donnybrook (Post 3612096)
Seafarer--What's your observed power consumption? Do you consider it low enough to leave on all the time like a fridge or do you turn it on only when you need to access the internet?



It draws about 40 watts or 3.5 amps on the 12v DC circuit. Relatively this is low enough to leave on all the time, but that depends on how it’s connected. When connected via the main 3000watt “whole boat” inverter (which itself has a 40 watt “standby” overhead), total draw is considerable = 7 - 8 amps total. However when powered by one of the mini (150 - 300w) inverters, the overhead is low (extra 4 watts), total draw is only 4 amps, which is no problem for all day using with the 1.3KW solar array + 1500 Ah battery bank. I would leave it on all day/night with the mini inverter.

Simi 60 24-04-2022 03:17

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Exciting stuff

toddster8 24-04-2022 10:49

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Well rats. I passed up my chance to get in on the Starlink "beta," as I couldn't really justify the cost at the time. But now that I'm imminently moving aboard, there appears to be quite a waitlist. I tried inputting several likely addresses around PNW and get:

"Starlink is currently at capacity in your area, so your order may not be fulfilled until 2023 or later."

Currently costs $99 to get on the waitlist. Pays to plan ahead, I guess.

Simi 60 24-04-2022 12:22

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
2 Attachment(s)
I'm a bit confused
I just looked at a map "coverage in your area " and it seems there is none, I am in the black zone.
But looking at the satellite page they are buzzing around everywhere.

Seafarer7 24-04-2022 12:35

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Simi60:
The reasons for the large swarths of no coverage areas, I would guess, include regulatory & licensing requirements (ie country specific licensing), and the need for establishing ground stations in those areas : given the set of satellites that don’t have or yet use laser interconnects.

Simi 60 24-04-2022 13:09

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Seafarer7 (Post 3612309)
Simi60:
The reasons for the large swarths of no coverage areas, I would guess, include regulatory & licensing requirements (ie country specific licensing), and the need for establishing ground stations in those areas : given the set of satellites that don’t have or yet use laser interconnects.

But how does ground stations help at sea?
Real sea, not 10klm off the coast, might as well stick with mobile like we use now if it's only a coastal thing.

Interesting or worrying that that actual map does not show sea coverage either.

Simi 60 24-04-2022 13:21

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Google's madly for information, finds this
Oh goody


Quote:


Replying to
@elonmusk

@SpaceX
and 6 others
My parents are about to travel the earth by boat and it would be great if they could use Starlink for their voyage!

Elon Musk
@elonmusk
·
Nov 13, 2021
Replying to
@SpaceIntellige3

@SpaceX
and 6 others
Should work everywhere for global maritime by roughly middle of next year (enough sats with laser links launched). Until then, it will be patchy when far from land


https://www.tesmanian.com/blogs/tesm...FfecqoERd766IM

toddster8 24-04-2022 13:32

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
As the network grows, they'll still need to add a proportional number of ground stations (or capacity) to maintain service. Though you may be able to skip from satellite to satellite to reach one from mid-ocean, the latency will increase. And they will have to turn off geofencing of course.

But I plan to mostly be coastal for the next couple of years so it seems like a reasonable thing to try.

I saw a news article last week saying that they've signed up some airlines for in-flight use. Not necessarily intercontinental though.

Simi 60 24-04-2022 14:20

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Joined a FB site, starlink on boats.
Seems to be geofenced
Users on commercial vessels reckon it works fine until they cross a line 12nm out then it's gone.

I can pretty much get 12nm out on mobile in Oz

czarkbrooks 24-04-2022 19:41

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
I'm seeing 8-10 amps (via renogy inverter).
I have one of the early beta dishy units.
That's too much for me to leave on all night >_<

redneckrob 25-04-2022 05:28

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simi 60 (Post 3612358)
Joined a FB site, starlink on boats.
Seems to be geofenced
Users on commercial vessels reckon it works fine until they cross a line 12nm out then it's gone.

I can pretty much get 12nm out on mobile in Oz

What kind of mobile setup do you have to get that? I would love to get any mobile at all out to 12 nm, let alone reliable high speed internet!

rslifkin 25-04-2022 05:39

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by redneckrob (Post 3612650)
What kind of mobile setup do you have to get that? I would love to get any mobile at all out to 12 nm, let alone reliable high speed internet!


It'll depend on the cell coverage in your area, but I've had no problem getting good enough signal for good performance 6 - 8 nm out with the Pepwave Max Transit LTE router I've got on my boat. And that's just with it mounted in an upper corner of the salon using the included antennas (which are still a lot bigger than the antennas in a cell phone).


With higher gain external antennas mounted outside, 12nm isn't surprising at all (and even my setup might make 12nm in a good signal area, I haven't had the boat that far out since I put the router in). I've heard mentions of the practical limit being somewhere around 18 - 20nm offshore (of course it'll be less in areas with poor cell coverage near the shoreline).

sailorboy1 25-04-2022 06:45

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
This Starlink type system is going to be the model soon.

5.5 years ago I was mostly using a wifi booster system to get crappy internet. If you had told me then that 2 years later I wouldn't even turn on that booster and instead use my cell phone and it would be faster etc. I would have thought you crazy.

So the faster the early adopters get the systems to drive down the cost the sooner the rest of us benefit.

Hermia II 25-04-2022 06:55

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
I wonder if we have missed something here. Starlinks satellites are not like Iridium or Inmarsat. They are dumb, meaning they must see the user AND a land station at the same time (traffic is only "bounced off" the satellite. They are also low orbit, so chances at this point in time are that the system is not for ocean sailing.

rslifkin 25-04-2022 06:59

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermia II (Post 3612695)
I wonder if we have missed something here. Starlinks satellites are not like Iridium or Inmarsat. They are dumb, meaning they must see the user AND a land station at the same time (traffic is only "bounced off" the satellite. They are also low orbit, so chances at this point in time are that the system is not for ocean sailing.

They've started launching satellites with laser interconnects to eliminate that limitation. Not every Starlink satellite up there has that yet though (and they don't have the full complement of satellites up either), hence why there are still significant geographic limitations.

shimari 25-04-2022 07:06

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by redneckrob (Post 3611690)
How did you get "roaming" enabled, if you don't mind me asking?

Roaming is enabled for just about everyone now. My dish arrived a few weeks ago and I set it in the marina, and then took it home (50 miles away). It worked fine at home and roaming was marked enabled.

shimari 25-04-2022 07:09

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpius (Post 3611896)
I would think that the ten mile offshore restriction is not physical - but logical in the software. The satellites are whizzing everywhere and would not naturally cut off ten miles from shore. I would think, for the US, for licensing reasons, it is being limited to the 12 mile territorial limit. Just MHO.

Otherwise, this is GREAT news!

The restriction is due to the lack of a nearby ground station. The latest gen satellites can act as relays. The first gen versions could not. If the satellite can't see a ground station, there's no service.

goboatingnow 25-04-2022 07:14

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
It will be interesting to see how starlink deals with the national regulatory situations. This aspect nearly killed iridium , which has a “ bent” pipe option from the start.

s/v Jedi 25-04-2022 07:29

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hermia II (Post 3612695)
I wonder if we have missed something here. Starlinks satellites are not like Iridium or Inmarsat. They are dumb, meaning they must see the user AND a land station at the same time (traffic is only "bounced off" the satellite. They are also low orbit, so chances at this point in time are that the system is not for ocean sailing.

Not sure who missed things…. Inmarsat are geostationary satellites so they always have a link with a ground station. Iridium is low orbit.

Starlink has satellites with laser-based interconnects up but not yet enough for ocean service. Elon Musk said we’ll have that in a year from now.

goboatingnow 25-04-2022 07:33

Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by s/v Jedi (Post 3612742)
Not sure who missed things…. Inmarsat are geostationary satellites so they always have a link with a ground station. Iridium is low orbit.



Starlink has satellites with laser-based interconnects up but not yet enough for ocean service. Elon Musk said we’ll have that in a year from now.



What’s strange is that starlink initially launched with non connected satellites to begin with. Surely Iridiums technically superior concept of sat to sat handoff was clear to say starlinks engineers

toddster8 25-04-2022 10:12

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Today they announced a deal with Hawaiian Airlines to provide trans-Pacific service starting next year.

s/v Jedi 25-04-2022 10:32

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by goboatingnow (Post 3612750)
What’s strange is that starlink initially launched with non connected satellites to begin with. Surely Iridiums technically superior concept of sat to sat handoff was clear to say starlinks engineers

Iridium constellation is only 72 satellites iirc. This is very different from 12,000 satellites, which shear number is required to create the needed bandwidth.

Most of the required bandwidth is in direct view of ground stations so it’s much better to use dedicated satellites for that bulk.

What I really like about Iridium: for two Iridium terminals to communicate with each other, no ground stations are needed. I wish Starlink would be a constellation based Ethernet bridge.

Seafarer7 25-04-2022 10:38

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by s/v Jedi (Post 3612948)
What I really like about Iridium: for two Iridium terminals to communicate with each other, no ground stations are needed. I wish Starlink would be a constellation based Ethernet bridge.


Starlink should have that same feature. According to Elon Musk (in the article referenced by Simi60 abject):

“Over time, some amount of communication can simply be from one user terminal to another without touching the Internet.”

From same article (per Elon) we should expect to have full ocean coverage this summer - 2022

Seafarer7 25-04-2022 11:12

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
The Hawaiian Airlines - Starlink press release signals some important mode and timeline indicators for global / transoceanic coverage.

Both airlines that have signed up for Starlink intend to offer it free to all passengers - which indicates Starlink pricing and service level could make current competition obsolete. Implementation timeline confirms imminent global coverage.

Excerpts from the article:

Hawaiian Airlines today became the first major airline to announce an agreement with Starlink to provide complimentary high-speed, low-latency broadband internet access to every guest onboard flights between the islands and the continental U.S, Asia and Oceania.
….
Hawaiian Airlines is ensuring its passengers will experience high-speed internet the way we expect it in the 21st century, making hassles like downloading movies before takeoff a relic of the past
….
In Starlink‘s low-Earth orbit constellation of advanced satellites, the latest of which utilize a revolutionary laser mesh network, Hawaiian found an ideal solution to ensure reliable, high-speed, low-latency connectivity on transpacific flights. Guests will be able to stream content, play games live with friends on the ground, work and collaborate in real-time, plan their Hawai‘i vacation, or share their special island moments on social media. Connecting to the internet will be seamless when guests walk on board, without registration pages or payment portals.

Hawaiian and Starlink are in the initial stages of implementation and expect to begin installing the product on select aircraft next year. Hawaiian is not currently planning to deploy the service on its Boeing 717 aircraft that operate short flights between the Hawaiian Islands.




Full article here:

https://newsroom.hawaiianairlines.co...spacific-fleet

WhiteHill 25-04-2022 11:35

Re: Test Results: Starlink on a Sailboat Underway
 
The Starlink website information here isn't very clear about the 99 euros monthly subscription; is there a minimum number of obligatory months, and can one stop and restart the service, as is possible for Iridium users?
Also, how well will the dish tolerate the marine environment over time with or without plastic sheet coverings?


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