What’s the solution for long satellite runs on a boat?

Look closely… there’s something a little different about this SWM-30 multiswitch. It’s the reddish-orange weather boots. This is the only multiswitch you’ll find that has them. I’ll admit it makes it look a little like a toy gun with an orange tip, but there’ is something special here.

The SWM-30HP multiswitch

This is the SWM-30HP. It’s visually identical to the normal SWM-30, except for those weather boots. The visual difference may be minor but the inside difference… ooh la la.

The SWM-30HP has an output level of about -5dBm, compared to the regular SWM-30’s -26dBm. That means it has about 100 times the signal power of a traditional SWM, and that means potentially 200-300 more feet of run length depending on how it’s configured. That’s just what you need if you’re snaking through the long and confusing conduits on a boat.

Here’s why it’s important

You might be ready to upgrade your marine system from the old-school standard definition version you put in back in the mid-’00s. It’s time, because a lot of that SD programming’s disappearing soon. Even if you don’t care about 4K or high definition you’ll want to make the change if possible.

Unfortunately there is one benefit to the old system that isn’t possible with the new one. With older multiswitch technology, you could use amplifiers along the way to extend a run. With the new system you can’t. You get the output level coming out of the multiswitch, and you can’t amplify it. That means you may need to plan carefully. With the SWM-30HP you have a lot better chance of being able to deliver a strong signal to the receiver no matter where on the boat it is.

Can I get it online?

We don’t actually list the SWM30-HP for sale online, and here’s why: if you install it wrong, it’s going to fry your receiver. The average hobbyist is going to want to get this multiswitch because they just think more power is better. But, this is a dangerous multiswitch if not used properly. So we do sell it, just you have to call in to get it. The number is 888-233-7563 and we’ll be happy to help

The other part you’ll need

If any of the runs coming off your SWM-30 have a signal level of -15dBm or greater at the receiver, you’ll want to put in this attenuator before the receiver to drop the signal level down so there will be no damage to the receiver. It won’t interfere with the satellite signals and it’s not that expensive. That way, the nearby receivers get the signal they need but you’re not sacrificing the distant ones.

Tools like the SWM-30HP are great for professional installers. If you’re a DIYer, we’re here to help with resources like our Ultimate Guide to Upgrading. It will help you figure out whether you’re going to want to do your own wiring or if this is one of those times when you just have to hire a professional. Either way, you (or that pro) is going to find everything you need just by going to SolidSignal.com or calling 888-233-7563.

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.