I've been a happy Starlink customer since January 2021, when I reported on the installation of the first generation round dish that I was chosen to be a public beta tester for. I described my tale in "Our Starlink is working well on its Ridgeline Roof Mount."
Since, that Gen1 dish has worked flawlessly, though Starlink has had its reliability ups and downs, with recent experience being much more on the upside, probably due to the much larger number of Starlink satellites in orbit now.
But nothing lasts forever, and my wife and I are heavily dependent on the much faster broadband we enjoy with Starlink compared to the crappy 6-7 Mbps CenturyLink DSL brought to us via the non-cutting edge technology of copper phone wires.
So when Starlink sent me an email last year saying that as a beta customer I could purchase the new third generation dish, getting several months of service free if I bought it now, I decided to buy the Gen3 kit.
My plan was to use the Gen3 dish, router, and power supply, leaving the deactivated Gen1 dish up on our roof as backup if something went wrong with the Gen3 kit and we had to wait a while before replacement equipment could arrive.
I ordered the new version of the Ridgeline Mount, as I wanted to put the Gen3 dish next to the Gen1 dish.
Our roof has a mostly unobstructed view of the northern sky, with just a few tall fir trees and oaks in the way. For quite a while Starlink hasn't reported any obstructions, again probably because of the increased number of satellites in the sky.
Only problem was, the Gen3 dish doesn't come with an attached short pipe, as the Gen1 and Gen2 dishes did. So I ordered a pipe adapter that replaces the flipout legs that come with the Gen3 dish, legs that obviously would be useless for placing the dish on the ridge of our roof.
When the pipe adapter arrived, before the Gen3 kit did, I was hugely unimpressed.
It was very shallow with just a set screw to hold the pipe in place. The pipe adapter seemed sufficient for a 10-12 inch pipe that would fit in the new Ridgeline Mount, but I sure wouldn't trust it if the dish was twenty feet or more in the air, as some Starlink owners have to do to get a clear view of the sky.
Further, the Ridgeline Mount could only hold a pipe a bit over an inch in diameter at most, while the pipe adapter could hold a pipe about two inches in diameter. That meant the set screw would have to be tightened almost all the way to hold a one inch pipe.
My brilliant move was to call a neighbor who is much more mechanical than I am, and a blacksmith to boot. Frank came to our house and took a look at the pipe adapter. He agreed that it would be much better to fashion a pipe that had a "telescope" large end to fit in the pipe adapter, with the rest of it being able to fit into the Ridgeline Mount.
I had to wait for Starlink to send a replacement Gen3 pipe adapter after the original one was recalled. I was hoping that a major redesign would have been made for the screwy pipe adapter, but apparently all that was changed was the set screw. And even that seemed the same to me.
Anyway, I finally was able to take the Ridgeline Mount and pipe adapter up to Frank's shop so he could do his thing. It could Frank about a hour of measuring, cutting, and welding, but the end result was just what I needed.
A short pipe with a notch on the bottom that would fit over a plastic bulge in the Ridgeline Mount to prevent the pipe from rotating in strong wind, and a larger top that would fit nicely in the Gen3 pipe adapter. This photo taken from above shows how Frank welded two pieces of larger pipe to form the "telescope" feature.
Here's how well the pipe fits into the pipe adapter, which is on the back of the Gen3 dish. This allows the set screw to be tight with just a few turns.
I was able to successfully install the Gen3 dish today. It seems firmly in place. I'll report on how the installation went in another blog post, as I wanted to focus on the pipe needed to fit into the pipe adapter here.
What bothers me is that Starlink leaves it up to purchasers of the Gen3 kit, which is now the standard residential kit, to figure out how to best attach the dish using the poorly designed pipe adapter. I was fortunate to have a blacksmith as a friend. But what does a single woman, say, do?
Sure, she could go to her local hardware store and get a one inch pipe, hoping that it would be sturdy enough in the pipe adapter to hold the dish in windy/stormy conditions. It just seems to me, though, that Starlink should have made available a pipe similar to the one Frank made for me for customers who want to use the Ridgeline Mount to hold their Gen 3 dish.
Again, the Gen1 and Gen2 dishes came with an attached pipe. For some reason Starlink decided not to do this with the Gen3 dish. That's fine, but it seems strange that after paying $600 for the Gen3 kit, a customer then has to search for a pipe that fits well in the pipe adapter and Ridgeline Mount.