The Frog has StarLink!
When we bought the boat, it had a Satellite TV system. There was a KVH M5 Satellite antenna on the main mast, with a DirecTV receiver attached. This system worked pretty well for our first Loop and other travels. The only issue we had, was when we were doing the canals and had to drop our mast, we couldn’t get satellite TV.
The satellite antenna is over ten years old, and the gyroscope was starting to fail. KVH doesn’t do repairs on this model anymore, and they don’t sell parts. A new KVH antenna would be around $4,000 plus the $95 per month DirecTV fee.
We had trouble getting internet access when we were in the northern part of our loop (upstate New York, Canada, Michigan, and parts of the rivers). So, instead of replacing our KVH system, we decided to get a StarLink Internet antenna and then stream TV. This will give us reliable (we hope) internet anywhere we are likely to travel and streaming TV.
We installed the antenna on the back of the flybridge to give us the best-unobstructed view of the sky. Typically, the StarLink system uses its own WiFi router, which runs on 120 volts AC. I modified it to use our onboard WiFi router instead, and it runs off the 12-volt battery system. This will let us use it while underway and at anchor without running the generator or using the inverter.
We’ve had it installed for a couple of weeks now and have been testing it at our marina. So far, it’s been running excellently, with our speeds averaging between 100 and 150 Mbps.
We will see how it does when we start moving up the east coast. Watch for updates!
UPDATE: February 25th, 2023 – We used Starlink on our trip up to South Carolina, and it worked great. It didn’t like being left on when we were moving at speed. It lost signal and went into its flat search mode. But as soon as we slowed to around 8 knots, it synced back up. We don’t use it underway, so we’ve decided to turn it off while we are moving to avoid issues.