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Old 05-05-2006, 05:34 PM   #1
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Internet satellite system

Hi,

I need a dependable, fast internet connection for my job and I am strongly considering a Datastorm satellite system. I would like to find out what folks are using for a high-speed, easy to use internet connection. I am between a Motsat roof mounted system or a portable tripod unit. I plan to do a lot of boondocking, stopping at Travel Centers for one nighters and have some concern about setting up in that environment (time, space, safety). So I am leaning toward the Motosat system, although I may choke on the cost with installation. If that is the best solution I am concerned about the installation. The AS dealer has suggested that it is not a good idea to have holes drilled into the roof of the Airstream. One Motosat dealer as indicated that it is possible to mount on an Airstream but requires extra time and effort, and of course additional cost.

I ordered my 30' Classic and will be able to see it next week and check for roof space requirements. I'm planning to take delivery in mid-June and hit the fulltiming road.

What experiences do you have with either tripod or roof mounted satellite systems? What are your recommendations and suggestions? Any advice you can offer regarding equipment, systems, installation, pricing, or dealers would be a great help. Are there other systems that I should consider?

Thanks!

Paul
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:20 PM   #2
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tripod tripod tripod

Don't mount it!!!!!

The tripod isn't that bad once you do it a few times. If you roof mount it, you can't park under trees, and I think you'll find it limiting. You can also use the tripod setup at your house when you aren't travelling.

We've been moving ours weekly for almost a year.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RVInternetBySatellite/
was very helpful in our decision making process.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
need a dependable, fast internet connection for my job
That's a tall order without a land line.

What about a cellular modem card? Many people seem to have good coverage and reasonable bandwidth for surfing & uploads/downloads. Do you need to transfer large amounts of files, or mostly surfing, checking email, occasional uploads?

There are some pictures in the photos section of the Motosat on a motorhome. Also think one was mounted on the trailer used to promote the movie Sahara. They look really big and heavy - maybe too heavy for a tripod.

If you need sat TV then a smaller (lighter) DSS dish on the roof or tripod would work and you can use a cellular card or available WiFi for internet.
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Old 05-06-2006, 10:13 AM   #4
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I have both the Verizon card and the satellite dish - because my job depends on my being connected. The card is a great backup, and great for when you're only stopping somewhere for the night - but wayyyyy slow.

PS: if you need sat TV then you can get the "bird on a wire" attachment to your internet satellite dish.
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:11 PM   #5
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I have had my Datastorm unit about 6 months, you can park under trees somewhat, you are just looking for one high shot at the SE sky. You will have plenty of roof space.
Prices are continuing to drop, another $500 since I bought mine. If internet access is as important to you as it is to me you will not regret the investment. Check out the Datastorm User Group if haven't already
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:41 PM   #6
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We've had a Direcway (now HughesNet) tripod-mounted system for nearly 2 years now, and would not be without it! While I'd love to have the Motosat automatic system, at $5,000+ for the installation and $100 per month for the service, it's a bit pricey for my pocketbook. The tripod-mounted system has the advantage, too, of being able to be moved around to find that hole in the trees...which we've used on several different occasions. It's not something, however, that I would set up if overnighting at a rest area, WalMart, or truck stop (none of where we stay, anyway, mainly because we're off the road by 2 or 3 PM, and who wants to spend the afternoon and early evening in a parking lot?).

The Datastorm automatic roof-mounted system weighs in at between 120 to 150 pounds. While I don't know the exact weight of the tripod-mounted system, it is NOT too heavy for a tripod (as someone here stated). We use a professional DeWalt tripod, and there is a special offset bracket to mount the dish and LNB arm to. Our setup comes in 4 separate pieces: the tripod, the offset bracket, the dish, and the LNB arm, none of which are very heavy. We got our setup from Maxwell Satellite...you can go to their website to see pictures.

One thing you must keep in mind with the tripod system: Direcway (now HughesNet) does not support moving this system. Therefore, it is very important that you buy your equipment from a reliable installer that will give you great after-purchase service. If you have problems pointing the dish, for example, you can't call HughesNet for trouble shooting help...you must call your installer. While you can get all the pieces-parts on the cheap from places like E-Bay, if you run into trouble, you have no one to call.

As for using a cell phone, or an air card, those work OK -- IF you're in an area where there is a digital cell phone tower. However, if, like us, you camp out in the boonies far, far away from any kind of cell tower, it's not going to work. That's why we finally went the satellite Internet route...it's the only way we can get consistent Internet service.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:51 PM   #7
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elh3946,

Thanks for the info on Hughes as it looks to be the most interesting and affordable for our needs. We currently use our Cingular Wireless card and it works fine for us in about 75% of our travels as long as we're fairly close to a cell tower. It is slow but we're on vacation trips for the most part so the speed isn't necessarily the overriding factor, rather the availability. We figure with a modest initial expense for the Hughes hardware we're in. Our wireless card runs us almost $90 a month so once we sign up with Hughes, it starts paying for itself. I may email you with more detailed questions about your experiences if you don't mind. Thanks again for the post.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
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You might try Internet In Motion.
Rich Luhr (The VAP) uses it. He seems to really like it.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:27 PM   #9
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ZoominC6...I'd be happy to answer any questions I can about our HughesNet system. Please feel free to email or PM me.

Cowcreek7: The Internet In Motion uses cell phone towers. Again, depending on where you travel, it may work just fine for you. However, if you're far from a digital cell tower, it's not going to work.

Here is a blurb from Internet In Motion's website:

Internet In Motion is fast. It's up to four times faster than dial-up, and faster and more versatile than an Aircard, and unlike Satellite systems, which need to be stationary, Internet In Motion keeps you connected with our powerful cellular router and high gain antenna which is capable of interoperating with existing wireless infrastructure that is far removed. Twenty to thirty miles is possible with a quality high gain antenna installation. Internet In Motion is fast. It's up to four times faster than dial-up, and faster and more versatile than an Aircard, and unlike Satellite systems, which need to be stationary, Internet In Motion keeps you connected with our powerful cellular router and high gain antenna which is capable of interoperating with existing wireless infrastructure that is far removed. Twenty to thirty miles is possible with a quality high gain antenna installation.

They claim 20 to 30 miles range using their "powerful cellular router and high gain antenna." That's great...if you're within 20 to 30 miles of a digital cell tower. There are vast areas of the West where there are NO towers of any kind within a 20 to 30 mile range (we travel much of it ). With satellite Internet, while it is not in-motion, you can get online anywhere in the U.S. (and Canada, Mexico, and Alaska, depending on which satellite you are assigned to) as long as you have a clear shot to the southern sky where your satellite is located.

I didn't peruse their website further to see what the initial cost is for equipment or what their monthly fee is.
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