I finished installing dishy on the camper van! The stock dish isn’t well-suited for for vehicle installations and it is annoying to set up and tear down with each use. The best solution for van dwellers is a flat mount conversion. In fact, Starlink recently launched a high performance flat mount dish, but it has a higher price tag, larger service fee, and twice the power consumption. You can enjoy similar results by converting a standard dish to flat mount.
The stock dish has bulky motors to orient it in the direction of more satellites; typically a bit north at my latitude. However, SpaceX has launched so many satellites that dishy also works fine when pointed straight up. The flat mount conversion involves removing the motors and pole mount so that dishy may be compactly mounted on top of the vehicle. Don’t worry, because it uses a phased array antenna, not the motors, to track satellites within it’s field of view. It works nearly as well after the flat mount conversion.
I used a flat mount kit from Star Mount Systems. I was very happy with the kit, but it is worth noting that other products have also entered the market lately. There are also options to replace the stock 120V router with 12V POE.
Flat mount conversion was simple, but tedious. Simply cut open the rear case of the dish, remove the motors and pole mount, and install in a billet starboard case. It only takes a few hours, with most of that spent cutting/sanding the rear case for a perfect fit.
I also fabricated a simple slotted mount on the roof rack. A lock prevents theft, but dishy may be easily moved up to 75ft away from the van if I happen to park under trees or obstructions. However, in most cases, Starlink internet is ready to go at the flick of a switch!