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Old 12-02-2023, 07:11 PM   #1
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Starlink Satellite System

Interested to know how many are using the new Starlink RV system? I have been connecting by tethering with my cell phone but now that I am fulltime, ready to invest more in a better system.

For those using it....are you streaming TV also or just connected with phone and laptop?
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Old 12-02-2023, 07:46 PM   #2
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I am using it right now. Just watched the SEC championship game and currently enjoying the Big 10 Championship, with You-Tube TV, while I am typing this. We have also had video chats with family that are overseas. I am currently 4 states south of my home (purchased the mobile plan) and will be heading west in about 10 days.

Every time I move it takes about 10 minutes to set up and get a signal. Very user friendly.

Two problems I have had. Starlink will not work during heavy rain or heavy snowfall. This is really not a surprise. Second, I need to install a pole mount sometime in the near future to get "over" the tress I encounter in some campgrounds.

It has been great for us and I would do it again. IMO it is far superior to anything else on the market.
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Old 12-02-2023, 09:18 PM   #3
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We full timed about a year and then moved to a house in a remote area and used SL the entire time. Works great even for streaming 4k but you need a clear view of the sky. Has very little tolerance for branches and leaves overhead. Does pretty good with weather, it has to be absolutely pouring rain to affect it.
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Old 12-03-2023, 01:38 PM   #4
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Because my Airstream is a Class A vs trailer, it has a ladder on the rear for roof access. Recently spoke with a guy who modified an extending flag pole mounted to his ladder and it seems to be a quick way to get set up. He ran the cord from the Starlink through his frig roof vent and has the wireless unit set up on kitchen counter where it also draws power.

Overall this sounds like the best option for a fulltimer!! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-03-2023, 03:14 PM   #5
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If you are currently using your cell phone and usually have cell service where you go I'd get a dedicated cell router like a Peplink. Runs off 12 volts and you don't have to deploy it every time you stop. A roof cell antenna will also help.

I have both and I only setup the Starlink when I don't have cell service.

It just depends on where you go and if you really need the Internet 100% of the time.
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Old 12-04-2023, 07:45 AM   #6
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We waited to buy until we saw a real need and now we wished we hadn't waited as long!

I've done two blog posts about Starlink you may find helpful:

Purchasing and using... https://trekers.org/starlink-airstream/

Comparing the newest and previous packages... https://trekers.org/starlink-dishes/

Happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have. -Ari
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Old 12-09-2023, 09:25 PM   #7
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Trekers, thanks for your input and I have enjoyed reading your website too. I am full timing since selling the house and will be stuck in Denver till 4/1. Found another campground on the southside that's level and noticed several with Starlink antennas in the park. Its an investment but one I am ready to make. Probably gonna buy the system as a Xmas Gift to me from me
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Old 12-10-2023, 06:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1997 View Post
Probably gonna buy the system as a Xmas Gift to me from me
Sounds like a great gift. Merry Christmas! 😃
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Old 12-13-2023, 10:29 AM   #9
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Been using it for about a year. I work from the road, so decent internet is a must. Have used Airstream Connected (until the AT&T plan ran out) and cell phone as hotspot, but those were not reliable due to decent cell coverage or bad service. For me Starlink was a game changer. If you have a clear shot to the satellite it works pretty good. As others said, trees and such are a problem. Just keep that in mind when you pick your camping spot. I have the Roaming plan (used to be the RV plan), and start and pause it as needed.
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Old 12-13-2023, 11:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1997 View Post
Because my Airstream is a Class A vs trailer, it has a ladder on the rear for roof access. Recently spoke with a guy who modified an extending flag pole mounted to his ladder and it seems to be a quick way to get set up. He ran the cord from the Starlink through his frig roof vent and has the wireless unit set up on kitchen counter where it also draws power.

Overall this sounds like the best option for a fulltimer!! Thanks for sharing.
I also plan to run the cable trough the side wall of the fridge roof vent (as I did for the +- solar panel cables) with an RJ45 waterproof connector (you can find them on Amazon) and a banana connector for the ground wire (used to eliminate any electrostatic load). I will use a shortened Starlink cable for that.

I have a pole for my cell signal booster but I don't think it is stable enough for a satellite dish, so I will use 3rd party Starlink antenna magnetic feet and place the antenna in an open spot on the roof right right next to the fridge vent to connect it.

I've been using a compact telescopic ladder for years for messing around on the AS roof (including setting up my solar system), so in a few minutes I can set up the antenna. I prefer having it on the roof than on the ground, especially if we need to leave the trailer for a bit.

Obviously you need to make sure you are parked in an open space. I was thinking of having an alternate cable to place the antenna in an open space on the camp site if I can't get a clear sky view.
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Old 12-13-2023, 11:54 AM   #11
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We do not full time but take several yearly trips around the west and frequently do not have cell service where we camp. Starlink has worked well for us in 50-60% of those locations where we have little or no cell service. Some places we camp just have too many trees to get reception.

You will need to consider how you will route the cable into the AS. We have a 28 RBQ and I routed the cable into the trailer thru the entry previously used to route 12V cables from the battery box (moved the Lithiums inside). The router sits on the deck under the front window, behind the L-shaped sofa. The cord is stored in the battery box when not in use. I also have a 25’ extendable aluminum flagpole with an under-tire base that I usually place under the tongue jack when I set up in a site. The “dishy” (starlink’s term) fits perfectly in the top of the flagpole and I did not have to purchase any adapter. I did purchase weatherproof caps to cover the ends of the cable when not in use.
This setup lets us use the flagpole to mount the dishy or use the included tripod base if I need to move the dishy for a better “clear sky” location, up to about a 35’ away.
Depending on your router location and trailer entry point you may want to purchase a longer cable. Starlink does not sell an extension cable, just longer (or shorter) versions.

One warning, the dishy does pull some power (50 – 75 watts for mine) which can affect your DC power plans. It also has a snow removal feature that pulls even more power. This feature can be disabled but is on by default. I discovered this when we were dry camping in Mammoth Lakes last summer with temps close to freezing and overcast days. The Snow melt feature put a strain on my batteries and solar could not recover. We had to end our stay a day earlier than planned.
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Old 12-13-2023, 12:31 PM   #12
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As I'm sure you're very aware Starlink is $150/mo. For our money when traveling it is our primary system. It works great, but as mentioned trees or obstructions are the biggest problem. Also, if you're in an oversold area then your bandwidth will be throttled down. I'm just using it for running a browser, so usually it's not a problem. We tend to camp where there are trees so as mentioned above, we also have a celluar router as backup since I work on the road sometimes and always need a good signal. Starlink is the primary with fall-over to cellular.

So, as long as you have a clear view it will be a huge improvement over a hotspot. If you need an always reliable signal no matter where you travel then there's a rabbit hole of a adding a celluar router and antenna, (eliminating the Starlink router). In our trailer this was a bit of work and another $1,000 or so for equipment. I think there's a 30-day Starlink return policy, so definitely worth evaluating.
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Old 12-14-2023, 04:39 AM   #13
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Data Limit with Star Link?

We currently have Dish TV and enjoy that. We also have a Verizon 5g HotSpot with a 100 gig plan. We can stream the same TV services as at Home. Therefore the Dish has become a duplicate, but even with 100 gig plan, with 2 of our 3 TVs on a fair amount, 100 gigs can run out before you know it since 1 TV = 1 gig per hour has been my experience, so 2 TV, etc. We readily admit we leave the TVs on and watch alot, so be it.

So, from what I read, StarLink can easily support 3 streaming TVs and 2 laptops working or surfing. Interested in hearing if anyone has experienced buffering or data limits while using StarLink? If not, I can discontinue Dish and have StarLink for approximately same monthly fee. Any other potential down sides?
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Old 12-14-2023, 06:45 AM   #14
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We tried Starlink at home and were not impressed. It was slower than the T-mobile hot spot. The app said I had good antenna placement but maybe I had high expectations. I got 150-250 mbps download and 11-38 upload. We sent it back.
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Old 12-14-2023, 08:04 AM   #15
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We have a Classic 33 which came with a SmartPlug combo port on the street side that allows for either coax cable or an ethernet cable plug in. I am trying to determine how to utilize the existing ethernet plug (female) with the Starlink cable for a nice, clean setup. Have looked at getting an ethernet male(RJ45) to USB-C female adaptor. However, am now being told Starlink has a proprietary USB style plug with doesn't fit a USB-C female. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-14-2023, 08:28 AM   #16
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Starlink is Great

I have been using SL at home for over a year and got a second SL for the Airstream. Without hesitation I give it 5 stars.

I used it last year for five months in the Tetons w/o issue and now in San Diego, it's slower (more SL customers in this area) but still very good.

I had AT&T connect and SL is so much better, except the time it takes to set and take down each time you move (15 minutes). I also had DISH for TV. Now I get everything through SL and use YouTube TV and an Amazon Fire.

My current mounting is off the tongue with a HF telescoping flag pole and the House Tuning bar clamps (Amazon) others suggested here many months ago. I routed my cable through a gap at the end of the bed through the front compartment to the flag pole. I haven't cut cable ends or modified it any way. The router sits on the cabinet between the beds and provides WiFi throughout the trailer and around it on the outside.
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Old 12-14-2023, 08:28 AM   #17
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Has anyone solved the cable entry point issue? Can't there be a cable connection outlet produced similar to the cable TV connection box?
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Old 12-14-2023, 11:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale T View Post
We have a Classic 33 which came with a SmartPlug combo port on the street side that allows for either coax cable or an ethernet cable plug in. I am trying to determine how to utilize the existing ethernet plug (female) with the Starlink cable for a nice, clean setup. Have looked at getting an ethernet male(RJ45) to USB-C female adaptor. However, am now being told Starlink has a proprietary USB style plug with doesn't fit a USB-C female. Any thoughts?
I would guess with the 2024s offering this feature, this will become a common question. I was going to add a SmartPlug ethernet to our camper, but decided not to (fishing the wire would have been a chore), so I know a little bit. I don't have a specific answer but might be able to clarify a few things.

I'd guess that your Smartplug is connected to a straight ethernet cable that terminates somewhere inside. Starlink uses a standard shielded ethernet cable but several pairs of wires are switched, it is also powered (POE) to run the Dishy. My understanding to plug into the SmartPlug ethernet you will need to cut the Starlink cable (leaving a length to connect to the modem) and crimp on a RJ45 swizzling the wires to the Starlink configuration (google will help with that). Here is an example of someone who did that. On the other end to connect to the modem you need to add RJ45 male-female connectors (or a splicing kit) to splice the wire back together from the factory ethernet to the Starlink modem making sure you get the wires right (the plug wires go to the right modem wires).

Before any attempts, I'd first confirm that Airstream hasn't done anything special for Starlink and it's standard ethernet. If you look over the thread I reference (there are a few others as well), it will give you some idea what's going on. You can also PM someone on the thread as well who has some experience (usually people like to help).
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Old 12-14-2023, 11:41 AM   #19
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Has anyone solved the cable entry point issue? Can't there be a cable connection outlet produced similar to the cable TV connection box?
In my response to @Dale I referenced this thread, which talks about replacing the existing outside cable connection with a the SmartPlug ethernet connection and what's all involved (fishing wire and crimpling connectors mostly).

It's a clean, elegant solution but in the end I opted to stow our Starlink cable in the abandoned battery box and thread it through, originally to the Starlink modem which I replaced with a cellular modem.
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Old 12-19-2023, 03:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffKim View Post
In my response to @Dale I referenced this thread, which talks about replacing the existing outside cable connection with a the SmartPlug ethernet connection and what's all involved (fishing wire and crimpling connectors mostly).
We've had our SL for about 12 months, and the replacement SmartPlug is the route I'm going. Until now, I've actually just stowed our SL router in the bin we use to store it in (underneath our rig). The wifi signal is strong enough to penetrate our GT27, however I do want a cleaner solution. Replacing the satellite coax with the SL RJ45 SmartPlug is going to be one of my winter projects.

I can also highly recommend the GL-inet family of routers that Freely Roaming references in his video. Solid little travel routers. If you're moderately technical, you can also use them to connect to campground wifi when not using the SL.
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