Satellite operation in the far north?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


I've been reading (hours upon hours) as much of the information as I can in all the forums here.? Great stuff!! and it's obvious you folks enjoy sharing your experience and knowledge.? Thanks to all, I'm hooked.? Like I said in my introductory post,? I'm new to this motorized RV world (bought a used 34.5' Bounder) and am planning an Alaska trip in June, 06.? As I proceed past the basic stages of my plan I seem to have more questions than answers.? I promise to keep a good log, and hopefully post it here, so you can see what I did and didn't listen to from your advice.? Todays Question?? ?Do the satelllite systems we use here in the lower 48 work well in Alaska?? I've only been convinced that the world is round for a short time, but I hear that the satellites are in the southern sky here so would only be lower there.? Am I worried about a non-problem?

?thanks again, Lou
I can't speak for as far north as Alaska.

I know both my Direcway Internet Sat worked fine on satellite 83 AMC9 and my Direct TV worked fine on Sat 101(a) as far north as Chester Mountain, just a few miles below the Canadian border.
As you get farther north, the problem becomes one of getting a clear line of sight.  The elevation decreases as you go north until you will be looking almost at the horizon.  Also, as the distance increases and you're looking through more atmosphere and weather, you will find the signal strength falling off.  Some have found that larger dishes work ok in AK, but it's questionable if the standard 18" will work well, if at all.  There are several members here that have made the trip to AK and hopefully will add their experiences with satellite reception.

Ask again this time next year and I should have my own experience to relate :)
Chet, are you sure you were on G4R (99W)?  The 46db line (minimum ss for a .74m dish) is only about half way up to AK.  Up until recently, only Horizons 1 had usable coverage all the way to AK.  The new IA8 satellite seems to be usable to southern AK with a .74m dish.

We lost our Direct signal just north of the US border heading toward Calgary. We have a dome, but I have heard that if you have a dish (not Dish service), you can get reception farther north, but not sure. Can't speak for internet.

Cell phone service is spotty thruout Canada and Alaska. I got good SprintPCS coverage in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Not sure if you have read the various trip reports that are posted in the library. Read those.
Thanks guys,

I intend to add satellite capability both for TV and Internet as time passes, but some of these goodies can wait.? Especially if the coverage is questionable for this northern trip.? I don't expect to be traveling to these extremes all the time.? I can work that in later.?
Yes, I have devoured all the trip reports in the library and enjoyed each one.? Made many notes and have already implemented some of those in, and on, the old Bounder.? I think, at least for my first big trip, I'll concentrate on safety and survival issues/improvements rather than the luxury and convenience items.?

Being a retired Engineer (38 years with IBM, I didn't do much with the other 30 years of my life either) I have really been intrigued with the posts concerning the value and flexibility of the 2/6volt golf cart batteries v/s 1/12volt battery (and multiples there of).? I will spend this weekend measuring spaces for this conversion.? Can any one of you remember far enough back to give me some ideas where to squeeze these into an old Bounder?? Also, would a few small capacity portable inverters (70W plugin, for the PC and maybe 750W for an occasional pot of coffee or some TV viewing, etc...) be a reasonable idea until I get back and can make a decision on a complete Inverter/charger installation?? Just thinkin'..? ?I can't do everything on my wish list and save for this trip at the same time.? Being independently worthless and on a fixed income is the pits.
Thanks again guys,

? ?lou?
Newbee said:
Also, would a few small capacity portable inverters (70W plugin, for the PC and maybe 750W for an occasional pot of coffee or some TV viewing, etc...) be a reasonable idea

Hi Lou,

For sure, the small inverter will work just fine for the TV. One caveat - if there's any distance involved, keep the 12V wire short and use a longer cord for the 110V ac between the inverter and the TV. Doing it the other way around can result in sufficient voltage drop to prevent the inverter from working.

Obviously you'll need to check the power consumption of the coffee pot before choosing an inverter for that.
Thanks Tom, 

I was thinking about that, and it fits with my plans as I would prefer to keep the inverter out of site (near the batteries) and I can always run some temporary heavy wire to the appliance being used.    lou

Don't know how old your Bounder is but our 98 Pace Arrow on a Ford chassis had two six volt coach and one 12 volt chassis battery up front. I was able to build a rack out of 11/2'x11/2' angle for two more 6 volt golf cart batteries under the hood and far enough to the side to keep the radiators open.
Thanks Jeff,  that's the info I was looking for.  My Bounder is a '97 with one 12v battery for each.  Even if I can't get 4-6V batteries under the hood, I think I would be well served to at least change out the one 12v coach battery for 2-6vs, don't you?. 

Yes, I do. If I remember correctly two T106''s are 220Amp hours while one 12v is 180-190?
Jeff, My mistake.? The Bounder does have two 6 volt batteries in series for the house battery bank and a single 12v for the engine.? I must have been recalling my old Class C.? I think I have room to squeeze in two more 6Vs as long as they are of similar physical size. I'll have to do some steel work beforehand to support and restrain them. The batteries in there now are Interstate u2200.? Haven't had the old girl long enough to know how good they are.? May be time to put a little test together to assess their strength or weakness.? lou? ?
Top Bottom