How big should your marine satellite dome be?

If you want the best entertainment on your boat, you want satellite. Sure, the sunsets are great. The ocean air is fantastic. But let’s be honest, you want the same entertainment options that you have at home. You don’t have to compromise. You can get satellite television and satellite internet at the same time using the latest technology.

Giant white gumball

A lot of people worry that in order to get satellite, they’ll need to put a giant white gumball up on their boat. Some folks think this doesn’t look very good. Others like the look but worry that the satellite domes are too big for the boat that they have.

Satellite domes are measured by the size of the satellite dish inside. To make things more confusing, they are measured in centimeters. Unfortunately, US customers still haven’t clued into the metric system which is used in literally every other country but the US and a few others.

Typically, satellite dishes for marine are at least 45cm, similar to an 18″ dish as used at home. Multi-satellite dishes, like those needed for DIRECTV and DISH multi-receiver installs, tend to be 60cm, which is about 24.” This makes them smaller than home dishes which are about 35″ in one dimension. Once you put the plastic radomes on, the smaller dish ends up being about 24″ while the larger one is about 36″.

Sizes go up from there

Satellite dishes can get bigger, going all the way up to 2-meter (80″) models that are used on cruise ships. Larger dishes allow these ships to be further out to sea and still get reception. It also means better reception in bad weather. You, as a regular person, might not sail when it’s stormy. Cruise ships soldier on no matter what.

The key is to figure out which system is best for you. Pleasure craft really don’t tend to need dishes larger than the 60cm model, but if you’re operating a larger commercial vessel you might want to opt for something bigger in order to get more reliability.

Satellite internet

When you’re looking at satellite internet for a pleasure craft, your choice of equipment has a lot to do with the plan you choose. Signal Connect, the commercial and activation arm of Solid Signal, has several different internet plans to offer. Some use Intellian’s smaller v45C dish, similar in size to the smaller satellite TV dome. Others use the V60E dish, which is larger and is similar to the multi-satellite dome used for DIRECTV and DISH. Your choice of plan is going to determine your choice of equipment. It depends on the speed you want to get. Generally the v60E is capable of getting faster speeds, but you may find the v45C meets your needs perfectly.

Don’t make the choice alone

You don’t need to make this choice by yourself. You don’t have to rely on a boat dealer who doesn’t know too much about the technology. Call the experts at Signal Connect! They’ll take care of you and make sure that you have the right equipment for your needs. If you need installation service, they can send someone to your location, of course. We know that few people will sail to Detroit for service on their boats.

Call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours, or fill out the form below. We’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.