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Alaska Bound

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Ex Member

Nov 13th, 2006 at 7:02am  
Hello, I am a new user and am planning on traveling via boat from Seattle to Alaska.  I am looking to find a system where upon I can get dependable internet and phone service through a satellite when I am tied up at a dock or calm anchor.  Has anyone had experience with this type of issue or opportunity.

Thank you

Will Garner II
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USN - Retired
Ex Member

Reply #1 - Nov 13th, 2006 at 2:08pm  
 I am looking to find a system where upon I can get dependable internet and phone service through a satellite when I am tied up at a dock or calm anchor.  

It's gonna come down to how much you prepared to spend Will. I say this, because the consumer grade offerings are extremely intolerant of dish movement of any kind. Depending upon the accuracy of the initial pointing, movement of as little as a quarter inch can noticeably degrade the signal level, as little as half an inch has caused complete signal loss. I don't see any way to obtain satisfactory service from one of these on either a "calm" deck OR a floating dock. There are land barge owners that set up consumer grade systems in RV parks - vehicle mounts and tripod mounts. But that's not the same as floating on a calm sea - or being tied up to a dock that can rise and fall with the tide.

Two way marine systems (as opposed to one way broadcasts like satellite TV) require an advanced tracking system to "stay on the bird" if/when it's platform is moving. There's no practical way for the operator to constantly compensate for motion - in real time anyway. But when you talk autotracking, the price tag goes up. Significantly. And even then, the ensuing price structure reflects speed (or lack of). Expect the entry level stuff to give you internet speeds somewhere between fax and dialup. The systems on http://www.cobham.com reflect this nicely; that speed equates to size equates to cost.

The other thing you have to consider on an Alaskan voyage, is the satellite footprint. The farther one travels from the orbital longitude (SSP) of the assigned satellite, the lower the elevation angle of your dish. This is an important consideration, because most directional satellite systems have lower elevation stops. When shopping for one of these systems, make sure that it's actually capable of providing you with TWO way connectivity - at your destination.
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« Last Edit: Nov 16th, 2014 at 8:35pm by Admin1 »  
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Reply #2 - Nov 13th, 2006 at 8:24pm  
I have a few customers that set up the system on land at the marina office or a friends house and then access the signal via wireless.

Keep in mind what USN says about heading to the fringes of the footprint.  In the links section of my website is a decent explanation of antenna size VS footprint for the 3 satellites that the starband service uses. Starting from the 4th link down, read the entire paragraph.
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« Last Edit: Nov 16th, 2014 at 8:36pm by Admin1 »  
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