Airstream Basecamp and Starlink--First Time Out and Impressed
Starlink for RV
I'm sitting and writing in the shade of a large oak tree, early afternoon, lakeside, and about twenty-five feet from my Airstream Basecamp. My new lounge chair is comfortable, the south wind is keeping the gnats away, and I can't think of a more comfortable or satisfying spot to be writing about my first camping experience with the Starlink RV satellite internet system. Lake Darling State Park in Iowa is a darling lake, with campsites right on the lake. It's a challenge for me as a writer, though, and for my wife with her consulting business which is almost completely managed by phone and via the internet because Lake Darling's signal strength is almost completely nil--and is sometimes non-existent--and, therefore, the perfect spot to test our new satellite internet service. I'll deliver our first impression right now--my wife and I are newly pledged Elon Muskateers!
At the office
The view certainly is perfect for composing this article about Starlink RV; as I finished the first half of this sentence, a gray heron flapped up the lake in front of me. I don't have to compose this post, just write down my observations! Because I'm about twenty-five feet outside my RV, the wifi signal strength is "medium," according to my Samsung Chomebook; taking the Chromebook inside the camper, it reads "strong." This Starlink RV unit is a real game changer. Prior to using it, I'd have to walk to a high point in the campground in order to send the text "Arrived" to my wife. Now I'm composing this blog post, including downloading photos to Google Drive and then uploading them to this post. Even with the medium-strength wifi signal, the speed is entirely acceptable--almost as fast as the fiber optics at home. Maybe a shade below normal. After listening to a couple of YouTube music videos, I could discern no lagging.
The router inside
Outside the window
I found the unit easy to set up, although there was a bit of learning involved but nothing difficult. It took me a while to realize I had to turn the unit on and then give it time to do its think setting up. What I've done the last couple of times plugging it in was to plug it in and then do something else for a few minutes--and by few I mean no more than three minutes. I've run the outside wire to the dish (which is a Gen2 flat one) through the side window latch port. The window closes easily on the wire. (I used this same system with our WeBoost signal booster.) The unit comes with seventy-five feel of cable. I've set the extra cable on top of the Basecamp's tire. The router I've set on the inside counter top that locks. The flat satellite dish I secured to the ground with a couple of smaller metal tent stakes.
Stats while writing
The unit does run on 120v power, so if I want to boondock, I'll have to figure that out. The power outtage is 74-250 watts, depending on if the unit is rotating and zeroing in on the closest satellite or just capturing the signal. Perhaps a battery power station with solar panels would do the job of keep me online while off the power grid. I've uploaded a screenshot of my network time while writing this article. However, I'm not going to interpret it for you since I'm so new at this sort of thing. All I can say is that the unit at Lake Darling is doing a fine job for me. The final test won't be this trip but will be how Starlink here works for my wife, who up- and downloads much larger files for her work. So far, though, Starlink allows me to be connected even while camping. My wife and I want to be able to get out together more, and Starlink might be that last "link" that allows up to camp more together.