Dishy (Starlink) Custom Mount on Standing Seam Metal Roof

The new house we’re nearly done building has a shallow pitch standing steam metal roof upon which I needed to mount Dishy for my Starlink backup Internet service.

TLDR: I ended up with something like this one.

To get started, I found a video How To Install A Satellite Dish On A Metal Roof on YouTube. That provided the inspiration for our mount.

After that I needed to figure out which style clamps best matched our roof. Since we recently had solar panels installed, I asked our solar installer what they used for it and the told me they were S-5-N Mini Clamps, so I ordered up a dozen of those and some 36″ 1/8″ aluminum angle stock off Amazon.

Then I measured the distance between roof seams and found it to be exactly 16″ (just like wall studs) so that meant I could span 3 seams with each angle to provide some extra strength and durability. It also meant there’d be extra room for “other stuff” on the mount.

When I ordered our Starlink dish, I also ordered the Volcano Roof Mount to the base that I could secure to the aluminum angle. I then took all that to a friend who has nearly every tool in the world and is very good at metal working, showed him what I needed, and let him do some measuring and drilling. He also provided two more aluminum plates with a footprint similar to that of the volcano mount.

It turns out that the holes in the base of the Volcano mount accommodate M8 bolts, so we used stainless bolts with self-locking washers to attach it.

Once the raw materials were cut and drilled, I used the Starlink dish box as the backdrop so I could paint them with a matte black spay paint.

After that all dried, installation time was upon us.

Installation in progress…

Everything had been loosely assembled on the ground so that up on the roof we could first attach and secure the S-5-N Mini clamps. The torque wench you see in the picture above is the GEARDRIVE 1/4 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench that I bought on Amazon and worked great for this task.

Before long everything was attached!

Dishy, mounted securely but not yet powered up…

The other dish you see is an airMAX PowerBeamM 2.4 GHz, 400 mm Bridge that I’m using for an experimental project. It is mounted to the farthest plate.

The entry to the house isn’t pictured, but due to the large ferrite chokes on both ends of the supplied outdoor rated ethernet cable, I needed to put a good size hole in the side of the house (in the attic) to connect it to the rest of my network gear.

A 3/4″ hole probably would have worked, but I oped for a full 1″ so that I’d have some wiggle room and space for an outdoor rated Cat-7 cable to use on that PowerBeam.

Once inside, I connected the PoE injector, their wifi/router box, and plugged it into a port on my managed switch that I’d already configured with a Starlink VLAN. Then I connected with my my phone, configured the WiFi network credentials, and accepted its invitation to run an initial speed test.

Here were the results:

First speed test on Starlink

All in all, not bad at all. I was particularly impressed with the low latency. 26ms is very, very good. Also, at nearly 30 Mbit/sec, the upload speed is fantastic!

To put the installation in context, here’s what it looks like from the street.

Dishy up above Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland, California

For a bit more context, since people often report latitude with the installation write-ups, the house is located at 37°51’27.3″N 120°11’55.4″W which you can see on Google Maps here.

A more recent speed test showed that download performance is improving…

A more recent speed test.

So far I haven’t seen any of the firmware updates that I’ve read about, nor have I seen the hundreds of megabits of download speed either–but it’s early. I’ll give it a week or two and post again if there are significant changes.

Meantime, it’s already more bandwidth and lower latency than one of the popular local WISPs offers at a much lower price too.

About Jeremy Zawodny

I'm a software engineer and pilot. I work at craigslist by day, hacking on various bits of back-end software and data systems. As a pilot, I fly Glastar N97BM, Just AirCraft SuperSTOL N119AM, Bonanza N200TE, and high performance gliders in the northern California and Nevada area. I'm also the original author of "High Performance MySQL" published by O'Reilly Media. I still speak at conferences and user groups on occasion.
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4 Responses to Dishy (Starlink) Custom Mount on Standing Seam Metal Roof

  1. John E Kienitz says:

    Have you checked the power usage for this?

    • I haven’t verified this myself yet, but from what I read it should bein the 90-100 watt range.

      • John E Kienitz says:

        Thanks. I am think about switching to this for more reliable service.
        I have cable internet now, and it works will except when PGE does a power shutoff. The distribution boxes on the cable line have only have enough battery backup for about 2 hours

  2. Pingback: Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For April 30th, 2021 – THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL

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