Useful information on installing a STARLINK satellite internet dish on a longer pole
This page is purely about the installing of a Starlink dish, particularly installing it on to a longer pole and/or avoiding the use of its "sprung pins". It is not about the system's technical specifications or effectiveness and we do not sell the Starlink system. However, we do stock an extensive range of components to install Starlinks and we can ship many of them worldwide (though there is always a carriage surcharge for non UK orders).
Installing your own Starlink really is pretty easy, it is easier than installing a conventional satellite dish, or even a TV aerial, because the Starlink dish aligns itself !
Subject list :
- Field of view required for Starlink
- Dimensions of Starlink Mk II dish & pole
- - Dimensions of Starlink "High Performance" dish & pole
- Starlink pole adapter mount for longer poles
- - The superior alternative to the Starlink pole adapter
- - Extra long pole for a Starlink
- Pole & brackets recommendations for Starlink
- Mounting Starlink on a flat roof
- Size of hole needed for Starlink cable
- Lightning and Starlink
- Starlink installation kits
- 1.5" pole coupler (fits Starlink)
Starlink requires a 100 degree cone unobstructed view of the sky. This figure should improve (i.e. the requirement may well drop to less than 100 degrees) as more satellites are put into orbit. Apparently Starlink do an "app" to check this but we have had reports it is "unreliable and doesn't give repeatable results".
To be frank it's not exactly difficult to check is it? If you haven't already got one I'd just buy a protractor... A refinement is to take a photo of the potential site (for the Starlink install) from as high as possible and/or as far away as possible, then use that to check out the angles and dimensions. The latter by taking relative measurements to something of known size (e.g. a window) in the picture at approx the same distance from the camera as the proposed installation.
If mounting the Starlink next to a pitched roof obviously the pitch of that roof is critical as to how long the install's pole needs to be to give the 100 degree cone. If the pitch of the roof (from the horizontal) is 40 degrees or less then theoretically the Starlink does not need to be any higher than the gutter level. Remember that it's easier to check the pitch of your roof in the loft rather than climbing up to roof height !
Starlink recommend installing the dish in the highest elevation possible consistent with safety, but not neglecting the rigidity of the install as one should be aiming for minimum movement in the mounting. Longer poles have more flex in them, though that can be countered by using masts of increased diameter and/or wall thickness (see pole tests), or using guy wires. It makes sense to try and install Starlink in a sheltered spot if possible, but that may be incompatible with getting the required unobstructed view of the sky! Just like aerials and satellites generally we recommend keeping Starlink out of any smoke as far as possible.
It will be noted that the and "spigot" on the MkII dish is a smaller diameter (approx 34.0mm) than that of the MkI (approx 36.0mm). Since the internal diameter of a 1.5" x 1.6 mm (wall thickness) pole is 34.7mm one can actually sleeve the spigot section straight into the pole. But because that spigot section is only about 2" long I personally would not be relying on just doing that (i.e. without using a pole coupler as well), particularly with an expensive Starlink dish.....
In late 2022 Starlink bought out a "Business High Performace" dish. Apparently it has a significantly enhanced performance though on this page we are soley concerned with issues affecting its installation.
The dish size has increased from 19" x 12" to 22" x 20", i.e. its surface area has gone up from about 228 squre inches to 440, and that's a whopping 93% increase. Of most concern is the resulting increase in the wind loading which, when combined with its increased weight (from 9lbs to 16lbs), means an even more rugged mounting is to be advised. What this means is any poles we recommend for the standard dish may not necessarily be suitable for the bigger dish, depending on the exposure of the site. We are, however, confident our 4ft x 1.5" poles (either straight or cranked) would be fine. If a longer pole than that is necessary then stay wiring would be advised, particularly in exposed locations. If that is not practical please contact us for advice.
The cable cannot be routed down the inside of the pole, which limits the length of the latter that can be clamped to and thus the install's strength. By far the best solution we have heard of comes from Steve at Fastdog (see picture). He drilled a 32mm hole in one half of the 1.5" pole coupler using a standard multi-material holesaw. The cable can then be routed through said hole and hey presto, a seriously strong install of a Starlink High Performance dish!
The man's a genius......
Make sure the cable is kept well away from the edge of the hole as you do not want it rubbing on it in any winds.
Of additional interest in the picture is that Steve needed to install the dish on a longish pole, i.e. too long for a pole of only 1.5" diameter. So he sleeved a section of 1.5" diameter pole into a scaffold pole, then clamped the dish onto that.
Illustrated is the "genuine" Starlink pole adapter, though some people call it a Starlink pipe adapter (for reasons that escape me). Anyway, I have to say it is a poor piece of design, in fact I'm told it is often criticised on Starlink forum groups, and if that is the case it would not surprise me. The manufacturers appear to be more concerned with it being compact and light (for cheaper carriage) and able to adapt to more than one pole diameter which it does by using bolts to take up the slack. The latter would be a poor idea at the best of times but considering the sets of bolts are only about one and a half inches apart the idea is an absolute joke. I thought all those geeky scientists at Starlink were supposed to be super clever ? At electronics and orbits maybe.....
A superior alternative to the Starlink pole adapter.....
NOTE : When installing an aerial or a satellite dish on pole you would almost always install the item on the pole then install the pole on the bracket, unless the top of the pole was very easily accessible (which it isn't usually).
If I was attaching a Starlink to a pole it would depend on the length of the pole I needed :
* The following poles would do this job perfectly :
33" x 1.5" x 1.6mm straight pole
6ft x 1.5" x 1.6mm straight pole
4ft x 1.5" x 1.6mm cranked pole
6ft 6in (or 4ft 1in) cranked pole
The cranked poles (or the straight pole if less stand off is required) combined with a pair of low profile brackets makes a particularly neat install, a further advantage (if used with a cranked pole) is that the low profiles even have saddle type clamps.
Our Starlink install kits (straight pole kit / cranked pole kit) are based on the 6ft x 1.5in (or 4ft 1in) cranked poles or the 6ft x 1.5in straight pole. Low Profile brackets are available with either kit, as well as brackets with more stand off.
If I was using 1.5" x 1.6mm (wall thickness) steel masting I would go up to around 7ft unsupported length. The problem is that's a non standard size steel pole and the standard wall thickness for 1.5" steel poles is only 1.2mm which is not significantly stronger than a 1.6mm wall alloy pole.
Steel rusts of course so pretty much all steel masting is galvanised, but pre galv (which is by far the most common) has very much thinner protection than hot dip galvanising, in fact they're like chalk and cheese, see pre galv v hot dip galv corrosion resistance. The problem is it is very difficult to get hold of hot dip galv steel poles because they are a lot more expensive to manufacture and it is therefore a specialist product. We have our hot dip galv steel 1.5" cranks specially made for us, hence their relatively high price. Anyway, bolt the Starlink to the 1.5" pole as per the instructions in the paragraph above.
See our Starlink cranked pole install kits.
Note : our 1.5" pole coupler will actually clamp down to the 35.8mm diameter of the (thinner) lower section of the MkI Starlink pole and even just using that end 60mm of the pole will still be far stronger than Starlink's pole adapter. However, if it was me, I'd definitely be going further up the pole (to maximise the strength of the install), up to just before the point where the cable exits and then packing the thinner end out to match the diameter of the wider section, see above.
As mentioned above, on the MkII route the cable inside the pole and slide as much of the Starlink pole into the coupler as possible, then clamp up.
1 - Mount the Starlink directly onto the 2" pole using a 2" to 1.5" pole coupler (the coupler's bolts can put small indents in the Starlink's pole but these are just superficial). Note the Starlink cable MUST be routed inside the pole. This would give a very strong sturdy install, or :
2 - Use the 2" to 1.5" pole couple to install a shorter length of slimmer 1.5″ pole to the top of a longer section of 2″ pole (think Eiffel tower ! ), then use a 1.5" pole coupler to clamp the Starlink onto the top of that. Our WSXL and WSXXL Starlink installation kits utilise this method. Both kits use a 4ft x 1.5″ top pole but installed on to a bottom pole of either 6ft (WSXL kit) or 10ft (WSXXL kit)
Fairly early on you need to decide the length of the pole (upon which you will install your Starlink) required to give you the necessary 100 degree clearance. Remember the Starlink's stub pole (approx 10 to 12") will be in addition to that height. You also need to ascertain how far out from the wall the pole needs to be in order to clear any fascia, this is the "stand off". The latter should include a 2 inch gap (or larger) to avoid any chance of the pole banging against the fascia and to facilitate any future maintenance of the latter. We recommend you get up there and check exactly what stand off you need before ordering your bracket (or kit) !
Will the install be on the wall or the chimney (as different brackets should be used for each) ?
Bear in mind that the Starlink, like any satellite dish, should be mounted as rigidly as possible, to minimise any movement caused by the wind. Thus the pole's brackets should be of the heavy duty type and/or spaced appropriately, plus the pole should be of sufficient diameter and wall thickness to minimise any flexing, see article on "satellite poles".
Remember ! : When using pairs of brackets the farther apart they are mounted the stronger the install will be.
An alternative to brackets with a large stand off is, of course, the cranked pole, and they can look neater.
However, in order to minimise movement of the Starlink installation, we would only recommend three cranked poles for it
If using a Supercrank pole or a Right Angle crank consideration should be given to using saddles with the V bolts due to the higher twisting forces that would be imposed on the install (not required with low profiles brackets as they have saddle type clamps).
Obviously, all things being the same, the shorter the pole the less flex you will get in it. However, we are told, a small amount of movement does not affect the operation of the Starlink unduly. Shortening any pole will lessen flex, though it is always possible, if your luck is bad, your install might be at the resonant frequency pole !
The right angle crank will give most flex though even that is fine in the vast majority of instances. What you have to remember is that the only other option to get 32″ of stand off would be to use a straight pole with a pair of 36″ T&Ks, which are huge, unsightly and expensive......
Pull the cable through the hole by feeding a welding rod (or similar) through it and taping the Starlink cable to that, then pull it through as gently as possible. Whatever the size of the hole don't forget to install a "drip loop" then, once the cable has been passed through, we recommend filling it with silicone to keep out the weather.
The size of the ethernet plug is also of relevance if sleeving a 1.5" pole (or the Starlink itself) into a scaffold pole : the securing bolt should be offset sufficiently to allow the plug to pass it !
The Starlink cable is about 100ft long.
Our thanks to R Holden for some of the information in this article.
See more tips when running cables. [Link]
The fact is that the risk of lightning striking your house really is quite remote. More to the point, if your house does actually get struck by lightning it probably won't have been due to the Starlink being there, and the chances are that half your roof would get blown off anyway, so under those circumstances whether your Starlink has been damaged really would be the least of your worries…..
I would not have thought the lightning threat with Starlink is much different to that with TV aerials, so see lightning risk with TV aerials.