Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Installing Starlink: No more internet problems!

We are camp hosts for another 12 weeks in a heavily wooded area in Minnesota. We have never had issues with the office Wi-Fi before, nor with Verizon and AT&T cell service here, but this year is different. Even with our cell booster using the phone for Wi-Fi it is an almost everlasting spin before it connects. And the campground Wi-Fi? Remember dial-up? Last time I logged in I got 2.1 Mbps (Megabits per second). “Can’t connect to Server” was the last straw.

I have been reading with interest Randall Brink’s articles on Starlink for the last couple of years. I’ve been watching the prices, checking out reviews, and noting new satellite launches. But I just couldn’t justify the expense until I couldn’t get any cell or Wi-Fi service.

I interviewed folks at the campground, did more research, contacted other RV friends who have Starlink, and decided to take the plunge. In May, they were on special for $399, but are now back up to $599 for the standard unit. Yup, totally regret not buying it then, but couldn’t justify it until now. And yes, the monthly “Roam” rate of $150 is still too pricey. At least it is month-to-month and we can pause it when not needed.

There are two Roam units particularly suited for RVers. One is the portable standard unit at the current price of $599 that needs to be taken down and put away before traveling. The other is an in-motion, flat, high-performance unit that is permanently installed on the top of the RV. The current cost of the in-motion unit is $2,499.99. The current subscription cost is $110 a month.

While you can easily order units from the Starlink website, both Home Depot and Best Buy now sell the standard and the flat, high-performance units. I found a limited supply at Best Buy, ordered one, and picked it up. The standard unit is also available on Amazon.

I then set up service on the Starlink website. It was a little confusing finding out how to start service without ordering the unit from Starlink. I went through several links, ordered the monthly service, set up a password and entered my credit card info. Ready to go!

Installing Starlink was to be so, so easy…

  1. Install the Starlink app on iPhone or Android phone.
  2. Find the location on the app.
  3. Put Starlink dish in the best location.
  4. Insert the Starlink cable into the router.
  5. Plug router into 120v household outlet.

Starlink needs a clear view of the sky, particularly the northern sky. Some folks in the park had a clear view and could just put the Starlink with the included mount on the ground.

Now, the issue for us is that we are still in a heavily wooded area in the campground. So I went to the Starlink website, downloaded the Starlink app from their link, pointed the camera up and started looking for a location in the northern skies. Finding the location is a lot easier said than done in the woods. Hold up your phone to the sky and scan. View results. Nope, “Find a new location.” I got that multiple times—grrrrr!

On top of the motorhome looked to be the best spot, but the thought of having to lift the somewhat heavy unit, secure the tripod, and crawl up every time we moved was not appealing. Particularly when we leave in late October after the first snow to travel south.

Flag pole buddy

Our neighbors demonstrated the flag pole on their ladder. We were sold on the ease of installing, not needing to get on the ladder to set up. We ordered ours from the company, Flagpolebuddy.com so we could get an additional pole. The standard set comes with two poles and is available on Amazon.

I easily installed the mounts on the ladder, the Starlink unit on the flag pole, and hoisted it into position. We laid the 75 ft. cord on top of the motorhome, ran the cord in through a window to the router, plugged in the router and turned it on. It worked! It takes six to eight hours to fully get all data but we had internet in about 15 minutes.

The cord install is not pretty, but it works

We didn’t do a permanent install, we just ran the cord through the driver’s window and covered the opening with tape! People install the router in a number of places and do this same thing: the water bay, storage bays, countertops, and running the cord through vents, slide seals, and windows. I was so anxious to see if it worked I had no patience for a more permanent mount. Not pretty, but it works.

Starlink install

On the first speed test it went from 2.1 Mbps (felt like less than dial-up!) to 212 Mbps! Then to 127 Mbps. Still blazing fast! Yes, it does drop speeds when heavily congested close to an urban area. It also drops when there is an obstruction. I like that I can check speed, outages, obstructions, and performance right on the Starlink app!

Starlink App readings

We did get an in-ground flag pole mount for when the flagpole on the ladder just won’t work. It is heavier-duty than we anticipated and I’m not sure if many RV parks will allow it. We ordered it from Amazon.

Flag pole with ground screw

After checking for obstructions and finding the trees blowing to the side were cutting off some service, we asked the park supervisor if we could put the flag pole in the ground. He said no problem. It was relatively easy to install the auger-type ground screw into the ground. It holds the flag poles with Starlink attached solidly and doesn’t seem to budge even on windy days. Are the trees still obstructions? Yes, but not as much. I’m looking forward to the easy install on the ladder when we are in less forest!

Almost 5,000 satellites move across the sky and the Starlink dish tracks them with internal antennas, so once in a while the trees do get in the way. An obstruction warning appears on the app and I speed test again. Down to about 107 Mbps.

I like that I can check statistics, performance and run a speed test right from the app.

Starlink app readings

After having no or limited internet connection I can now work, email, stream movies and stream live TV. We canceled our Dish satellite subscription. I am once again a Happy Camper! And my husband? I can hear his internet games clicking away in the background as I type.

To stay up to date on Starlink and SpaceX, be sure to read Randall Brink’s frequent articles in Saturday issues of the RVtravel.com newsletter.

Sign up for a weekly digest of my articles here.


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


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Neal Davis
15 days ago

Thank you, Nanci! That was extremely informative; thank you! We cannot justify the expense currently. We don’t travel enough, and an internet connection is not a necessity when we do travel. Perhaps the cost will fall relative to cell data prices and we’ll reconsider. If so, then you have reduced my learning curve considerably. Thank you!

Jake H.
15 days ago

Your experience matches my camp host experience in Tahoe National Forest. My camp host site is just a few miles north of I-80 and cellular data service has become really bad the last couple years, when it was mostly fine in 2020-21. This applies to all 3 major providers. But if we get a little closer to I-80, it works fine. The cell carriers have no response when we call to report trouble, other than the standard “maybe it’s your phone” troubleshooting. It’s interesting that it’s happened to you too.

One theory in this area is that the cellular carriers are implementing 5G, which has a shorter distance range than 4G. So they build more towers in between the existing ones along the interstate. Then they have to throttle down the power (or range) of them all so the signal range extends to the nearby towers but not much past that, so the signals don’t clobber each other in the air. This means the radius of each tower’s range is smaller. It’s fine if you’re along the line of towers along the interstate, but that smaller range no longer reaches you when you’re a few miles perpendicular to that line. That would explain why many of us on the “edge” of cell phone service have gone from good to bad connection. I’m not sure if all this is technically true, but if so, it could mean bad luck for many of us campers/workampers on the edge of service in the future. Meaning more of us will need Starlink. Which won’t work for me because 6 months of the year, I’m under dense tree canopy in the forest.

16 days ago

If you run a cable (power, coax, ethernet, etc.) in to a RV, make sure to do a “drip loop” first. A drip loop is a part of the cable that is lower than the point it enters inside. This allows any water that is coming down the cable to drip off at the lower point. The way you show your cable going into the camper does not have a drip loop and the water will just follow the cable into the inside of the camper.
Drip loops are good for any cable or hose where you don’t want the water to follow a path somewhere it shouldn’t. Just remember that water does not go uphill.

Diane McGovern
16 days ago
Reply to  Bryan

Great tip, Bryan. Thanks! Have a good evening/night. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com

16 days ago

I know someone who used starlink to work as they RVed around the western part of the country for a couple years. Trees were a real issue. He also had to search the area for an open satellite area to hook up to. He was able to work using the internet, using starlink pretty well anywhere he was. But that dang stuff is pretty pricey.

16 days ago

I’m surprised no one is talking about Verizon home wifi. We found out about it in Colorado from a fellow RV’er in Sept of last year. The equipment is free and the service is $25 a month added to your Verizon account. While not blazing fast like Starlink it has been adequate and reliable every place we’ve been since (CO,NM,AZ,TX,LA,AL,FL,GA,SC,NC). We stream tv through Sling, Netflix and others on multiple tv’s and devices at the same time. We’re sitting in NC right now with overcast skies and light rain, and I just checked speed at 29.3mbps. Sufficient for our simple needs. I choose not to pay high equipment fees and rates while I can enjoy internet for $25 a month.

16 days ago

We’ve had Star for 3 years now with very little issues…..we live in N.Western Montana…this year we got an additional one to travel with…some campsites have trees in the way but just position a little differently and get it to work…put a r j 45 pass through in the back of our unit….cut the cord an put r j 45’s on the cord where we wanted them …..router stays in side plugged in and just take down the out side dish….simple……then winter time discontinue usage…..this works for us….for what we want….

Thomas D
16 days ago

It’s amazing how the internet has taken control of our lives.you can’t speak to someone about a billing problem or make a doctor’s appointment in person or even by phone anymore and if the service you try to call will answer you’ll get a foreign talking person that you can’t understand. You get automatic responses that they never respond to.pages of passwords and recently had to change many because a couple banks said they were not secure enough. Im getting tired of this and many of my friends are refusing to play this technology game.

Dr. Mike
16 days ago


I’m not sure if your Phaeton is set up the same way as my older Allegro Bus, but in one of the bays on the driver’s side is a panel connected to a frame rail. Upon this panel is a switch (?) or distribution box for the coach video system. There was plenty of room on this panel for me to “mount” my Starlink router on its back with velcro…and a convenient outlet to plug it into. The outlet (labeled “Outside TV, Desk, and Basement”) is switched by a 110v breaker at the panel inside, so I can turn it on and off when needed.

Now, setup is quick and easy. Since the wires are always connected, I just pull the antenna out of the box (kept in the same bay), place it on the ground, and flip the switch. Voilà! Instant internet. The thin cord easily passed thru the compression seal between the door and the frame — no open window, and no drilling required to get service.

Some folks I’ve shown this to have said I will get slower speeds to my devices since the antenna is horizontal and below the floor. Hogwash — at least in my coach. I get great speeds everywhere.

To protect the cable, I invested in some small diameter wire loom and yellow zip ties. Now, it is pretty obvious to the casual person strolling through my campsite that there is something on the ground upon which they should not step — and the cable is protected from the occasional gnawing critter, too!

Patrick G
16 days ago

I was messing around on Facebook marketplace in Missoula MT last week and found a person who was renting out his Starlink for $35/day. Can’t be too hard to get it up and running. I didn’t try it however.

Gary A G
16 days ago

We have both home and mobile Starlink, we are retired so internet and streaming are the main uses. It works for us much better than cell services ever did. We can halt the mobile service when not traveling. There might be better, but we like Starlink, it simply works.

Jeff Dulany
16 days ago

Another option is TravlFi. Cell based internet that I read about on your website a few years ago. I have been using it for almost 3 years. Initial cost was $199.00 and buy the data you need on a monthly basis. I’m paying $89.00 for 100 gig per month and can be cancelled at any time. They also have great customer service.

Bill Semion
16 days ago

Starlink works, yes. However its support is the worst I have ever experienced. There is none. Or so inadequate that it seems there is none. Take a look at any of the 3 or 4 starlink Facebook pages. You’ll find complaint after complaint after complaint. We users have resorted to figuring out solutions ourselves. When I first unpacked mine, starlink had used my starlink name as my email. I had to go on to X, post a video to the starlink site that had asked users to send positive experiences of Starlilnk, to plead with someone to help me. They finally did. No we’re sorry. No sorry for taking a more than two weeks to answer. Nothing. I’ll use Starlink, but i dread what I have to do next: change my billing to a different credit union. I fully expect a mess, and hope I’m wrong.

16 days ago

Here’s an alternative to Star Link.

A week ago I purchased the “Poor Man’s’ Starlink”, a T-Mobile Home internet device.
$35.00 one time set up fee and after that a Grandfathered $50.00/month.

It’s a 5G stand alone portable cube , a little less than the size of a coffee maker. Takes the place of a modem and Wi-Fi router. Download varies, I’ve had as high as 580mbps but right now at 6:00am on a Sunday it’s 70mbps.

This will take the place of the separate internet services I was paying for at my Summer and Winter quarters as well RVing. You’re “supposed” to let them know if you move locations but most RVers that I read about don’t.

You have to have cell coverage and they have maps of where it’s supposed to work. It’s not a perfect solution but it’s a third the monthly price of Star Link and “0” equipment cost. Att and Verizon have these too but not the “Grandfathered”$50/month. You know what will happen with that.

Jim Johnson
16 days ago
Reply to  Ken

Likewise, I am a T-Mobile Home Internet user. First account was for the RV. $50/mo, but when we switched our phone service to T-Mobile the Internet cost was substantially reduced. The cable provider at our house was fine, but their customer service was getting worse (I’m watching what I type). I switched the house to a second T-Mobile Home Internet account – also at a discount. The down/up speeds have been as good or better than what our fellow RVers get for Starlink at far less cost.

That said, if you need solid internet and your stay is outside T-Mobile’s range, Starlink is the way to go.

Cheryl V Clark
16 days ago

We live in a wooded area so had few options for Internet. We’ve had Starlink at home about a year and have “obstructions” but rarely have problems. We pay less than we paid for DirecTV and stream all the TV we want. If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you have access to many more movies and programming.

15 days ago
Reply to  Cheryl V Clark

We’ve never had a problem using it. It takes a few minutes to set up, we’ve camped in woods, partial woods, clear open. Always works, we stream Netflix, Prime, YouTube tv. Plus since we’re not full time rv’ers, it always seems we’re camping close to the end of our billing cycle… I’ve only been paying $35 not the $150.

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