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Sometimes, I wind up doing RV mods a second time. Case in point right here:
If you’re thinking I just did a Starlink install not too long ago… You’re right! Just a few weeks ago, we posted a video on our Starlink install. And then, literally just days after we posted that, Starlink and Winegard announced their Flat High Performance Dish for RVs. This is a dish that’s meant to be permanently mounted on your RV’s roof, and frankly, it’s what I would have installed in the first place had it been available. It’s about four times more expensive than the original dish that I had installed, so why did we opt for this one?
- Well first, it stays mounted on the roof. I’ll be honest, even though I never really had to do it much, I was dreading the deploy-and-stow process for putting out the older dish. I know us, and often times, we roll in someplace late at night… too late for me to go outside and start messing with poles and cables in the dark. Not only that, but if we needed to use the internet at a highway rest area or on the side of the road or something, there was a zero percent chance I would have ever deployed the dish in that scenario.
- Second, it’s got a wider field of view than the regular dish. If we were to park in trees or something, this dish has a better chance of getting a view of the sky than the smaller dish on the pole. Granted, I could always move the smaller dish around, but that requires motivation…
- Third (and perhaps most importantly), it’s approved for actual in-motion use. Basically, this gives me a good shot at getting service while I’m working and Stef is driving.
Our previous Starlink install was removable, so I removed it, and sent it back for a refund. A few days later, the Starlink Flat High Performance Dish for RVs arrived from Winegard. You’ll see the process I went through to install it in the video. But a few notes here bear repeating.
While I was initially impressed with the intricate cable entry gland provided, I wound up wishing I hadn’t used it. Just using some ManusBond and a grommet would have been far quicker and ultimately just as effective. I kind of go off on this in the video, but the plastic parts are finicky and easy to break (I know, I broke both of them). And asking people to drill a large hole in a rubber stopper with a piece of brass tubing just seemed rude. I think most people (like – anyone without a drill press) are likely to injure themselves while trying to get that done.
Similarly, I didn’t totally love the stands and mounts provided for both the power brick and the router. The router stand was particularly puzzling. It was meant to mount to a wall… but the cables exit out the back… literally into the wall. Either that, or you really have to bend them kind of too much. And the power brick stand was something that you have to slide the brick into from above, so the clearance needed to mount it was more than I could spare. I wound up using neither of the mounts.
Finally, the setup process needs some work. I realize I was one of the first to get one of these, and that the process will likely get better. But there is no way to add a dish purchased through a third party (Winegard) to an existing Starlink account. The process to activate a third-party purchased dish works only one way, and that’s through setting up a new Starlink account. So now I have two. They’ll probably fix this in the future, but that’s how it was on the day I activated.
But even with all these minor gripes, we’re actually digging the dish. A few observations from our “dish shakedown” trip.
- It’s been our experience that the tree thing isn’t as big of a deal as we had been led to believe. At least for western trees that’s the case. I guess if I went into a swamp or something the trees could be more of a problem. But we’re not really swamp people. We’re desert/mountain/canyon people.
- Speaking of canyons, even parked up against our house with 180 degrees blocked off, our dish has no issues maintaining service.
- We’ve already driven ourselves into a situation where we had no cell service and needed to use Starlink to find an alternative campsite, so not having to set up the dish is already coming in handy!
- I’ve been told by Starlink that our dish software is due for an update, so things should get even rosier soon.
We’ll have more details as we get more experience with our Flat High Performance Dish, but for now, we’re giving it a thumbs up.
Any more questions, ask away in the comments!