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Old 06-02-2023, 03:12 PM   #1
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Starlink reception in Alaska

So I installed Starlink on the boat this spring. Put a standard dishy on the radar arch. We just got back from our first trip of the year, from Juneau to Fordís Terror. For anyone whoís not familiar, Fordís Terror is a narrow fjord about 60 miles south of Juneau, surrounded by towering steep sided mountains rising thousands of feet out of the water, with a narrow entrance that you can only cross at high slack water. Itís a stunningly beautiful place.

Much to my surprise, we had almost perfect reception on the Starlink inside Fordís Terror. The app reported obstructed view, but there were only occasional interruptions, maybe twice an hour for a few seconds at a time. Needless to say, there is no cell service and almost no VHF radio reception inside Fordís Terror.

For anyone who works from their boat, or needs to stay in touch with anyone on land, or just needs a weather forecast, this is a total game changer, particularly when compared to the cost of satellite internet or satphones. Service north of 57 degrees latitude has improved dramatically this year with new satellite launches.
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Old 06-03-2023, 02:15 PM   #2
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One thing to note about Starlink as you travel north of Ketchikan is that a majority of Starlink satellites are in orbits that only get as far north as 53 degrees. The ideal pointing for an antenna is tilted to the south to improve access to satellites to south at lower elevation angles. My experience seems to indicate if you are transiting or anchored in a location that is blocked to the south, service availability will be lower. For example in Wrangell, we saw very few outages .1sec or greater, not many more than I saw at my home in Idaho. In Gambier Bay we saw between 4 and 12 per hour due to trees east and west of us. In Juneau at Douglas Harbor it was comparable. East of Juneau in Swanson Harbor, it better as there were no obstructions at any compass bearing. In Dundas Bay, anchored on the south side of the passage between the north and west arms, with a mountain to the south, I had multiple pages of interruptions, some as long as 3 or 4 minutes. Video was not usable and streaming Sirius radio had a few problems.

Service should improve over the summer as more satellites in the 70 degree inclination get to their final positions.

Tom
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Old 06-04-2023, 10:22 AM   #3
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I appreciate the reports, I am planning a Starlink installation in the near future and this is encouraging.
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Old 06-05-2023, 09:09 AM   #4
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Just bare in mind that Starlink, like seafood, is proving to be "Market Price", and the trimmings you get with it are subject to constant (and undesirable) changes at a moments notice . . .
SOOOO looking forward to Amazon, or ANYONE coming out with a competing system . . .
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Old 06-05-2023, 11:12 AM   #5
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Amazon's Kuiper system will be in a 51 degree orbital inclination meaning serving anything other than the most southern portions of southeast won't be possible. South of that things should work fine. The rest of Alaska will only have Starlink, a couple of GEO birds, One Web, and possibly one other LEO network. For mobile/RV consumers Starlink will be about the only game in town.

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