Starlink Dish Placement – Which Way Should It Face?

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When most people think of satellite communications, they think of satellite TV such as Dish Network. We’ve all seen those popular satellite TV dishes mounted on roofs, usually facing south. If you’ve ever had one yourself, you know it has to be pointed in a very specific direction in order to function.

If you are a potential Starlink satellite internet customer, you might be wondering about where you should place the dish, and which way it should point. 

In this article we are going to cover some best practices when it comes to placing your Starlink dish. We will also answer the concern about which way it should be pointing, and whether or not you even need to worry about it. 

Optimal Starlink Mounting Position

Other satellite communication services, such as Viasat or Dish Network, require a line-of-sight to their satellites, but aren’t nearly as sensitive as Starlink. With Starlink, the dish needs a completely unobstructed view of the sky. 

The optimal placement of the Starlink dish is somewhere near the peak of your roof, which is likely to be the highest mounting location available to you. The more trees and objects you have around your house, the higher the dish will need to be mounted. Those living in areas without tall trees can mount it lower on the roof, but must still be aware of other obstructions like chimney’s or buildings. 

Starlink Dish Placement

Fortunately, Starlink makes it easy to check potential mounting locations for suitability. Using the Starlink app, you can use your phone’s camera to check for obstructions before you attempt to install the dish in that location. 

For further details on mounting and installation, check out our guide covering all the Starlink mounting options

In general, we recommend J mounts for Starlink.

Which Way Does the Starlink Dish Point?

It depends on where you live in the world, but for people in the northern hemisphere, Starlink dishes point north. The angle of the dish is nearly vertical, but it has a very wide angled field of view. That is why Starlink needs a clear view of the sky all around it, even if the satellites are in more of a northern direction. 

The only way to tell which direction your dish will face is to use the Starlink app obstruction tool in the area you plan to mount it. When you use the obstruction tool, it will tell you which area of the sky needs to be completely clear for the Starlink to get a good signal.

How Can I Aim the Starlink Dish?

The Starlink satellite dish is motorized and self-aligning. The user does not need to aim the dish in any way once it is mounted according to the Starlink specifications. In fact, attempting to manually move the dish can damage the internal motors.

It is also important to make sure the dish can move freely. The dish can spin and tilt on it’s own, at any time. Some customers have run into issues when mounting the dish too close to chimney’s or other obstacles, resulting in an error message on the app when the dish isn’t free to move freely.

Does the Dish Move By Itself?

Yes, the Starlink dish will align itself by moving with its electric motors if necessary. Under typical usage, the dish does not need to regularly move. Once it is locked to the satellite constellation it shouldn’t need to readjust very often. During the initial booting period, Starlink automatically finds the best dish orientation.

Starlink satellites move across the sky regularly. The dish does not need to move in order to track a satellite. Starlink antennas are phased array, and they are able to adjust to the signal without physically moving the dish.

Users who take the dish on the road, such as on an RV or boat, will probably notice the dish moves on its own if they travel a far enough distance away. Starlink will seamlessly aim for the most optimal satellite, even on moving objects! It is important to note that using Starlink in motion is not supported at this time, and will void your warranty.

Will I Ever Have to Aim or Move the Dish?

You won’t ever have to aim or adjust the Starlink dish in order for it to align to the Starlink satellites. You might, however, need to change the mounting location if trees or buildings start to obstruct the view. We recommend checking for obstructions on a regular basis if you have tall trees, just to be sure your signal isn’t degrading over time due to obstructions.

The app has a handy tool that shows you if your dish is obstructed. If that is ever the case, you will need to use the app to find a more suitable mounting location away from the obstructions. 

Conclusion

The Starlink dish will face north for most customers in the US. But, depending on where you are in the world, it can point in different directions. The Starlink dish is self aligning, and doesn’t require you to aim it. It will automatically tilt and spin to achieve the maximum signal from the satellites.

The main concern for mounting the Starlink dish is obstructions. Using the Starlink app, you can check the mounting area for obstructions like trees. Starlink won’t operate properly without a clear view of the sky.

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Richard
Richard
4 days ago

In the past year we have traveled from FL to CA to MT to TN and now we are back in FL. At every spot dishy has pointed north. Now that we are back in FL (Palm Beaches) dishy has been pointing almost exactly NE in 3 different spots in the last 30 days.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

My Starlink is mounted with the long wall mount. It clears my eaves, but just barely, after it self adjusted to the satellites the top of the star link is only about a 1/4-inch from contacting my roof line. Should I work on getting a bigger space between start link and roofline? Or now that it is aligned with the satellites it’ll be stationary?

E S
E S
2 months ago

I just got my residential Starlink set up at 64degN latitude in Alaska on a lot with a lot of tree obstructions. I set it up on a pole from the top north end of our three story house so it would be near the treetop level and have the most clear sky view to the south, since I figured the majority of the satellites launched so far are in lower inclination orbits than 64 degrees and therefore the dish would want to point south. Now I read in the comments that the dish must point north by law to prevent interference with equatorial orbit satellites (guessing geosync or geostat orbits). Does this still apply to places this far north? The dish does seem to spend most of the time pointing about 45 degrees off the vertical toward the north away from the open sky and right toward the most obstructed direction. However the visibility view in the app shows the compass directions reversed relative to the obstructions and shows the dish pointing south. Does the visibility direction in the app matter and can I calibrate it? It only says obstructions every 4 minutes, but it cuts out for minutes at a time and is almost unusable. Will there be more near-polar orbit satellites launched soon for better service to high latitudes?

Azrael907
Azrael907
1 month ago
Reply to  E S

I am up in the interior and was noticing the dish facing north and the app was reporting that it was facing south. A friend in Talkeetna said the same was happening to him so i am guessing it was a network issue. It has since then been resolved. Noah, do you know if they are going to be moving more satellites over Alaska? During the transition to the next set of sats it always cuts out. We need better coverage.

Martin
Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  E S

I live in Norway and I have the same problem, I have been using starlink since October and until last week the antenna was set to south, short interruptions in internet access were about 10-20 times a day. A week ago starlink stated that I am in Egypt 🙂 … I wrote a support ticket and a day later the antenna turned north and then the breaks began (breaks last from a few seconds to several dozen minutes) in Internet access every 1-4 minutes non-stop. Visibility for the antenna towards the south is 100% towards the north 95% (in the application the antenna is directed mainly to the south despite the visibility indicating north) the antenna is on the roof and the nearest growing trees are no closer than 20m from the house. I don’t see how this could interfere with the merger. I checked the “https://satellitemap.space/?constellation=starlink” and saw that I live far north of the farthest satellites and yet the antenna points north. No one from the support responded to the ticket.

R M
R M
3 months ago

You say the dish points north, but that seems ridiculous. Every satellite is either directly above me, or to the south. The dish natural position would be towards the equator, where the most satellites will be in sight, surely. Am I misunderstanding you?

Harry Suchlandt
Harry Suchlandt
3 months ago

Does the starlink dish move to any position to pick up the best view from the sky.
I mounted it with the long extension to siding and it adjusted North following the roof line.
I was thinking it would go facing away from the house but that would be south facing.

Tony P
Tony P
4 months ago

My Starlink is in the backwoods with 400 trees on our property
Against all advice including the app I set up using a 16 ft post
The obstruction readings are all doom and gloom with interruptions every 24 seconds
But Alas ! The system works just fine I get some slowdown from time to time but it still blows away the 4 MB we get from TDS
I see speeds from 25 to 130 MB
I have yet to see any service interruptions
I think that the obstruction warnings are way overblown

Branan Edgens
Branan Edgens
4 months ago
Reply to  Tony P

Thanks Tony, this eases my mind as I’m about to set up my dish in what sounds like a similar spot to yours. We have almost no other choices, the cell boosting antenna barely gives us any service at all so we’re really counting on the Starlink to connect our off-grid cabin.

Dan
Dan
4 months ago

my Starlink is a beta. It points nnw 330 degrees the are tall trees to the west. So I get some obstruction but still get 250 down. No buffering when streaming 4k. My problem is dropped calls from obstruction. My Nextdoor neighbor just got an rv system and it points 27 degrees and no obstruction. Rv systems must use different satellites.

TrongNguyen
TrongNguyen
7 months ago

I ordered a RV Starlink dish, only 5 days I got it ,then installed it on top of my home, took about 2 hrs done.
I have internet with 50 mbps to 120 mbps ( on the cloudy time, speed drops). Happy with it since I live in nowhere in small town in Texas.

rc12345
rc12345
6 months ago
Reply to  TrongNguyen

Hello. Quick question. Where you live in Texas is it on Starlink’s Map of wailisted areas. I am on the same boat in NC, and wondering if i purchase the RV option if it will work on waitlisted areas.

David
David
9 months ago

Need to purchase a 150 foot cable to dish.