I know, I know – it’s been absolutely forever since we made a post to our YouTube and website – although the Instagram and Facebook pages have been a much more reliable way to stay connected with our homestead journey. As much as I would like to make excuses – we have been busy and I haven’t prioritized sharing the experience as much as I should. More to come soon!
Starting with – we are getting Starlink internet service from the crazy tech people at SpaceX. Some of the satellite launches have been amazing – literally fire a rocket into the air, launch 60+ satellites, land the first stage of the thing on a computer-driven ship in the middle of the ocean. And then if all goes well, hundreds of satellites will provide internet to help rural areas like ours cross the digital divide.
The start to our experience has been hardly smooth with delay after delay from Fedex, and a lack of engineering detail in the available mounts meaning that the supply chain issues are keeping us from making it a “real” part of our internet setup.
Supply Chain Woes
Sadly, if you are a human on planet earth right now – you know its just generally harder to buy stuff. It doesn’t matter what stuff. You are paying more, or waiting longer, or there is less selection, or whatever. It’s harder. That’s true of the metal for our garden boxes which has gone up nearly 50% since May and nearly 150% in price since we first priced it all out in late 2020. That’s true of cars where used car prices are still near record levels. And apparently that’s true for satellite bits, mounts, and even the connectors for these things.
The lack of roof mount availability means receiving a “ground terminal” for the Starlink service but not having the roof mount to make this thing operational at our house for more than a month! The question of, “which other mount will work?” appears simple yet to have no simple answer!
The instruction booklets turn out to be the only source of any kind of planning diagram – and they don’t actually have a single engineering diagram! No dimensions. No offsets. No spacing. Nothing that could be used to figure out the answer to a question as simple as: “Do I need the short wall mount or the long wall mount?” No idea. Order one and hope.
The Truth is….
The truth is, though, that I am still super excited. I use prosumer level gear – Ubiquiti network gear – way overkill for most people but provides me the level of control and inspection to do a lot of home stuff because I am not “most people.” I can tell you that the overall availability in recent months is near 100%. Most months are around 99% and the worst months I have had around 95% or 96%. These sound like great numbers but losing internet for 5-10 minutes at a time in the middle of the work day can be really tough. Or if you are half way through an upload – it doesn’t matter if you lost the internet for 1 minute or 10 – you lost the video upload.
Having Starlink as a possible backup or even primary link is an interesting proposition – the next step is to get the bits we need if FedEx can get their game back together, and do an unboxing!