All set up

Well, my brother is just awesome.

And determined.

We were perfectly willing to wait until spring before setting our new Starlink dish up permanently on the roof, but my brother wasn’t. Not at all!

Of course, it turned out to be more difficult than even he expected.

One of the first things he wanted to do – while it was still relatively warm and the sun was bright – was seal the ridiculously large hole we had to make to fit the widest part through (I still don’t know what it’s called) with caulk. He even used his heat gun on it to cure the surface a little bit, before continuing. It’ll take longer to cure because of the cold, but at least tomorrow, we’re supposed to get above freezing.

Then one of the satellites was removed (except the part you can see on the roof), leaving the stand, which we were expecting to be able to use to hold the Starlink dish.

Well, it turned out to be much larger than the support post on the dish. My brother thought he could squeeze it to fit, but the metal turned out to be way too strong. He struggled for nearly an hour up there, using tools I’ve never seen before, before finally giving up. We would have to use the stand it came with. Which meant removing the existing tripod, first. We really didn’t want to make new holes in the roof, but there was no option available for us at the time.

Removing the original support required removing ice and snow.

The ice dam was about six inches deep in places, and he had to clear it all the way to the edge on one side, first to remove the coax cable that was already there – and affixed to the roof in a couple of places – then to be able to run the new cable across. Which also required moving the ladder.

This would have been a LOT easier in the summer!

My brother put most of the screws he took out, back into the roof after, to make sure there were no open holes for water to get in. In the summer, we’ll have to remember to fill them.

Once everything was clear, it didn’t take long at all to install it.

I didn’t get a good picture of the completed job, but once the stand was secure, the cable was run across the roof, then across the side of the house, before running down to where it enters the house. There was a huge amount of excess cable – it comes with 150 feet – which was quickly wrapped and secured to the wall. In the spring, I’ll take it down and redo it neatly, but for now, he just needed to get it up and tucked away, where it’s protected.

By the time he was done, it was starting to get dark, and he just dashed off home – but not until after he made sure the parts of the satellite dish were tucked away into the old basement! There is still one piece of the support attached to the roof, but there was no need to remove it, for now.

The unexpected thing is just how much the new dish is pointing north. Those tree branches are actually an obstruction! According to the app, we should expect signal interruption every 17 minutes. The app actually tracks that stuff. Looking at the log now, the last time we had an outage, it was because there was “no signal received”, and it lasted for only 2 seconds. It was happened more than 3 hours ago. In fact, looking at the log, the outages happened pretty much only during the time it was being physically moved around and frankly, I’m amazed there was any signal at all during some of those times. While my brother was working on trying to fit on the existing support, I had to pass the dish up to him several times. I had the base on the shelf against the sun room window, so I could safely put it down in between tests. Several times, the dish started to move, looking for a signal. This was almost right up against the house, and partly under the eaves. How it managed to get any signal at all amazes me. Especially considering the dish is facing North, and the house itself would have been obstructing the signal!

I do have to say some positive things about our Xplornet dishes. They are rock solid, they were installed very well, and we usually had decent speed on it. If we got enough signal strength for it. And that was the problem. We just kept losing our signal. Even when they had tech guys coming out, according to their equipment, we should have had a good clear signal, and they never did figure out why we weren’t. That doesn’t even take into account the problems we would have in high winds, or if there was bad weather to the south of us. The problem just kept getting worse and worse, too.

That will be the big test with this system. How does it hold out in bad weather? So far, we’re expecting things to get colder, the closer we get to Christmas, but there are no storms on the horizon, or even high winds. It might be a while before that test finally happens.

I suspect it will be just fine.

The Re-Farmer

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