Updated: Mar 15, 2022
One of the most remarkable features of the Starlink system is its ability to self-align. You plug in the system and follow the prompts on the app and usually the signal is found within minutes. Now this sounds like a fool proof plan, but there are still some very important steps that must be taken and now that human judgement is involved there is a margin of error that can occur. This is going to come down to proper installation techniques for every system. Following these steps can help guarantee a good connection and keep outages down to a minimum.
The most important step is Dishy location, if you set up Dishy and your line of sight is marginalized for any reason, tree, bush, wall, it will affect your connection adversely and not give you a true reading. If you set up poorly you risk the same effect. So mounting correctly with a clear line of sight will give you the best results.
1st step is to download the Starlink app, follow the prompts for view obstruction finder and then get the results. This isn't foolproof but it is perhaps the next best thing to having a professional sight it out. Also think about the future and what might be coming down the road like seasonal changes. These are all things you should think about before mounting the Dish concretely in place.
An example is where we live where there is a moderate amount of snowfall and some very extreme cold snaps as cold as -50 degrees Celsius. The wind mostly comes from the north in winter causing large drifts to form on south side roofline drops. In the winter your Dishy can be immersed in snow and put a massive strain on the dish motors. This would cause trips up the roof just to clear up snow, nice walking on ice high or low doesn't sound like something I would want to do when I’m just sitting down to watch your fav TV show. Now this is just an example of one scenario as there are many as everyone has unique conditions. So using your best judgement where you should place the dish?
Let's consider you’ve passed the APP sequence standing on your front lawn...Are you going to place it there? Probably not as this is usually a high traffic area. The Dish should be in a shelter area from things knocking into it, don’t place it where children play or lawnmowers run. If it needs to be the place some sort of marking system around it to be protected. Not to mention theft for these Dishes I’m sure will happen on occasion. The story here is to make sure to use the obstruction finder exactly in the place you're going to install, now you need to fasten the dish.
Fastening the dish is done through any of Starlinks optional mounts as well as it comes with a base mount that is better designed for flat surfaces, but you're definitely able to do more with it if you need to get it mounted quickly. The other option can potentially be using existing mounts from older equipment or old towers. The options really are endless so it really comes down to what works best and the budget. Roof mounting I’m sure roof mounts will be the majority of installations as it is very practical, especially if you have limited places to enter the premises, which is our next step to think about.
Next up is your line run, now you can extend the Starlink network with network switches and cabling. But the majority of users will be using the 100ft cable that comes attached to the dish.
So considering you have mapped out a good area and you have the correct mount figured out now where do you fashion the mount. Into as much surface as possible and make sure it's not in a water channel or spout run. Water running over the mount is very different from water melting off the mount. If you mount anything where water will be running over it in large amounts you can basically expect to get a large repair bill from water damage. The best of sealing attempts will never last as long as you hope, so just avoiding these areas altogether is best practice.
So knowing that you have a good bite into some wood that is at least an inch or more thick, if you can’t get this then you will need to build some back bracing for strength. The dish weighs almost 30 pounds and wind will definitely put pressure on it. A well mounted dish should be able to withstand extreme wind gusts as much as 100 kilometers an hour at least, that means it better be solid and rigid. With all this being said this now leads to you having to do yearly maintenance on your dish mount just like every other seasonal chore that comes along, you do well to check and adjust as necessary and apply sealant as required.
So there are a few steps needed to be considered before mounting the dish. We can break them down in 3 steps.
Obstruction Viewer, no interference now and the future
Place to mount, rigid and protected
Cable run, concealing and entrance
Just as the old carpenter saying goes “cut once measure twice” so it is with Dishy. Make Sure to really think about the mounting area and you should hopefully be only mounting once.