Satlink Installation Complete
22 October 2013 | Myrtle Beach, SC
I have added an Intellian FB150 to Aria. This satellite broadband system gives Aria a worldwide satlink for internet, email and phone. Coverage is pretty much everywhere but Antarctica. Cost is based on usage ($13/MB), so the device is used sparingly. I have configured a laptop especially for low-bandwidth consumption. In fact, we're using many of the apps built for SSB to access weather GRIBs and to send/receive email at very low cost. Setting up this satlink laptop was a fascinating project, I must say. I'll probably do a post about it once I've worked out the kinks.
As for the hardware, I mounted the antenna on the dinghy davits. I had a local welding shop build a custom, stainless steel plate that mounts on the corner of the davits. Onto this, attaches a Scanstrut Power Tower. Atop that goes the antenna radome. It looks bulky, but the entire structure weighs just 16 lbs.
An RF cable connects the antenna to Intellian's belowdecks unit, which is roughly the size of a laptop. I mounted it on the underside of the shelf behind the navstation cushion. The handset/phone is mounted under the navstation desk. I installed an ethernet plug beside the navstation drawer, so all I have to do is plug in the computer, turn on the antenna and, once it acquires the satellite, presto, we're online!
We plan to use it for for weather reports, satphone, email and, of course, internet-access when work summons. We will use it whenever WiFi via the Rogue Wave is not available, such as offshore or in remote anchorages. The upcoming trip to the Exumas will be the device's shakeout cruise, so in short order I should know a lot more about how the device will earn its keep aboard Aria.