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Old 07-02-2014, 11:11 PM   #1
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Unhappy Satellite TV and internet service

Hi All:
It has been ages since I posted on the forum. Good to be back. Last time I posted we were looking for insurance for our 44ft gulfstar. Months have passed insurance purchased thanks for all you help to those who gave us guidance on that issue.
Now that we are living aboard our Gulfstar Saltwater's Dream whcih took place the first of June. We are in Virginia at Severn Marina. The have WiFi but very weak to nil. I have a small business I run from the boat and internet service is imperative. Also we contacted Dish TV and they will not have anything to do with putting a satellite on board so we are stuck with about three channels on the TV. Ho-hum.........Upon doing some light research my husband Paul found a couple of ways to get Tv but it would be thousands of dollars. That isn't going to fly. Any help greatly appreciated.
Thank you
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:30 PM   #2
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I just bought a Track-It-Tv system from another TF member. It's a reasonably priced solution to have Dish or Directv while moving. I've been using a winegard dome that I set on the bow, it automatically finds the satellite but won't follow them if your moving.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:59 PM   #3
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It's not too difficult as long as you're close to land. For the television Direct TV is readily available with a moderately priced system. Internet is slightly more challenging and depends on cruising area. For your local marina you might try a signal booster and see if that strengthens the WIFI enough. Hughes, in various forms, is a satellite option. And as phone carriers are upping speed, wireless is an option depending on location.

It's offshore that the solutions become very costly.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:43 AM   #4
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Internet is easily solved using the cellular system.

Satellite tv can be had using a system like the ones KVH makes.
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:23 AM   #5
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Satellite tv is available on a boat. There are two different types of systems. Both use a normal household receiver but the antenna setup is different. For satellite tv to work the antenna must be focused at a particular spot in the sky and be fixed on that spot when the boat moves.

The first type involves a complicated antenna in a dome which fixes on the satellite signal and moves the antenna up and down and from side to side to keep the lock on the signal. In the eastern half of North American with an 18" antenna these systems are good as far south as the Abacos and as far north as just before Bra d'Or in Nova Scotia. These systems are fully automated. Expect to pay $4,000 US or more. KVH and Track TV are well known brands.

The second type has a compass system which keeps a normal household antenna pointing in the same direction as the boat moves from place to place. If the boat moves more than 50/100 miles or so the elevation of the antenna must be manually adjusted. Thus the fix of the antenna on the satellite system is based on the compass direction and the manual adjustment of the elevation. This system works in a marina and generally at anchor but is not reliable underway. Expect to pay less than $2,000. One brand of these systems is now known as Track-It TV, used to be Follow Me TV.

Getting the receiver is a interesting issue. Boats are not favored under current US law although nothing stops you from putting a receiver and an antenna on a boat. The problem is getting the national broadcast channels, ABC, CBS NBC etc. Here you have three options:

Give the satellite company a physical address of your home marina or anywhere you will be staying for a while as the service location and get the local broadcast channel (and the cable channels). When you move locations outside of the local area you will need to call the satellite company and change the service address to the new location to get the local channels.

Give the satellite company the physical address of a marina in the New York City area and receive the local NYC channels with the national broadcast channels. These are called national feeds and can be received (when authorized) throughout the US and Canada. You may be in Charleston but will be getting the NYC channels. You can do the same for Los Angeles if you choose a physical address there.

The third option is to obtain title to an RV, doesn't matter what type. I used a salvaged camper trailer. By act of Congress (no political comment) RVs are entitled to the national feeds so that with RV ownership you are able to get subscriptions to the NYC channels. Of course as soon as these are authorized you can dump your RV and just put the receiver on the boat.

Whatever you do in talking to the satellite company avoid the word "boat". You just want service at a address you give them and you will take care of your own installation.
If you already have service at home, get another receiver and add it to your monthly bill. In that case however you will be stuck with your local channels and won't be able to get the national feeds unless you call the cable company and tell them you have moved the service location for the period you will be on your boat. This works as there are subscribers with two homes that are able to do this regularly.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:16 AM   #6
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Dish or Direct TV can be set up with a land based system if your marina will allow the dish to be attached to a piling or dock. They can be lag bolted into wooden pilings or strapped on if preferred or metal/concrete pilings...we have quite a few here at this marina.

Usually the installer will NOT do the actual install without a note from the marina (or if there's other's already up" just won't or can't attach it to marina property....that's where you handle the lag bolts (or straps). Sometimes you also have to speak to a supervisor...I have seen that happen a few times as the installers are leery of "unusual" installs.

As far as weak internet...there's been a couple threads lately on boosters and Active Captain has ongoing "advice" in their newsletters if you go to their site (sign up and they come to you).
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:02 AM   #7
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A cheap TV solution is an antenna from Walmart if broadcast stations are nearby. A better solution is an amplified multidirectional boat antenna.
A possible Internet solution is a Rouge Wave antenna signal booster. I called them yesterday, very helpful, $350.
I have a MIFI that works well but can be expensive if you use a lot of bandwidth.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:07 AM   #8
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You should be able to increase your WiFi coverage and quality by purchasing one of the numerous external antennas and bridge units available to the boat and RV crowd.
In addition I would suggest supplementing a cellular plan with an external antenna and USB/ router similar to the Cradlepoint units with a Samsung cellular USB stick (one example). For TV there are numerous Direct TV options look for a used KVH M1 or M3. As long as your within the US coastal or loop areas all of these should increase your quality of TV viewing and internet use. Use WiFi when and if you can use your cellular data when no WiFi is available.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:18 AM   #9
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Our neighbors have one of these. It sits on the dock box.

DISH Tailgater Satellite Antenna - King Controls VQ2500 - Satellite Antennas - Camping World
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:21 AM   #10
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So many marinas have good wi-fi and cable TV any other nearby you might move to?
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:41 AM   #11
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Using these at a fixed location these work well. It sure beats over the air TV.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:27 PM   #12
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This is what I've been using while at the dock, it's worked while I've been anchored if the boat doesn't dance around. A little movement and it would drop the signal otherwise a great unit.
http://www.winegard.com/carryout/
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:21 PM   #13
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When you see what a sharp picture you'll get from a HD Antenna that they sell at Costco (comes with an extra cable for more channels) of Home Depot or Lowes for $30.00 your going to be pissed at the cable companies for what they call HD! It allows you to pick up channels that used to be free (remember pre-digital days?) FOR free.
No subscriptions, nothing but a antenna that picks up the networks It's paper thin and you just use Scotch tape to place it.
Also recommend using your cell phone to tether wireless to your computers. I have T-Mobile with a true unlimited data plan, and it's faster than Comcast high speed ever thought about. I bought a house outside area where cable company will install,(also under Oaks) and was thwarted until my son said "dad, just download the free tether app from the playstore" Genius! I'm now uploading photos way faster than when on Cable in Miami. T-Mobile mailed me a signal amplified and a booster for free solely because I mentioned "Verizon".
Other son downloads shows (like HBO and movies)s to a laptop which we then hook up to the big screen while waiting for Direct TV to come around.
Oh, and the Magic Jack is the bomb for long distance, especially in hotels.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:25 PM   #14
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PHK, you and I suffer with the same cheap bastard gene. The very thought of dropping 4 grand to pick up the signal of a service I pay a monthly fee for makes me vomit.

Digital tv(anything bought in the last ten years) and an antenna is all I use. Hook the laptop to the big screen and watch Netflix, darewall, or any of the major networks online.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:32 PM   #15
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hang or just place a regular dish on something solid and ot moving...pay the basic cable fee for whatever you want...take the whole rig with you when you cruise.

No local channels unless you jump through hoops...

Not sure how far you can travel before it's an issue...but then it's the dumb RV versus boat issue that can be worked round.

Usually everything is free except the monthly service...just dicker.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:01 PM   #16
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PHK, you and I suffer with the same cheap bastard gene. The very thought of dropping 4 grand to pick up the signal of a service I pay a monthly fee for makes me vomit.
Well, yeah, I've been "cruising" via motorhomes, boats, and now Priceline since I was 15 and hitch hiked off to California.. I could write a book. In fact as I travel now and see places where I used to "anchor" for months at a time with signs now posted forbidding it, I have to say "gee, I hope I didn't cause that". I mean I saw Elvis do it in several movies, why not me was my philosophy. and of course Netflix via tablet is the way to go.
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:54 PM   #17
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My vote goes for KVH, we're currently in the exumas and recently installed and M-5 while no cheap feat it's great. We tracked the tropical depression that's now a hurricane from the safety of our salon.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:55 AM   #18
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Thank you everyone. You have been so helpful. While paul has researched some of the features talked about here. Their are others we will be researching more. We are currently waiting to hear if satellite dish will be allowed on pier or piling..
Thank you again.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:23 AM   #19
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If it's not allowed consider a used Track-Me dish mount they work well while at anchor and at the dock.
Also Active Captain has a good newsletter about alternatives I suggest possibly signing up and reading Jeff;s comments. There are many options for TV but all internet TV options require a decent WiFi connection.
Also look on boat site classifieds and E-Bay for KVH products you will find they sell for about 30 to 40% of their original asking price. I bought my last KVH M3ST here on this board from a member. I paid about 40% of the cost of a new unit. It works well...
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:10 PM   #20
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the KVH m1 set alight system is closer to 2000 dollars it works very well. I am based in Fort Lauderdale and have satellite TV all the way to Nassau. After now so successful I dropped out. I was told it would only work in us so I was happy with that. Shop ebay or amazon for the best prices, I've seen new systems go for less than 2000
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