VuQube, for dockside satellite TV
The neat thing about putting satellite TV on your boat is that if you already have the service at home, most companies will let you put it on the boat for just the monthly cost of another receiver. The problem, though, is that the stabilized antennas start around $3,000 and even the small 14” ones can spoil a handsome boat’s profile. Enter the VuQube, which King Controls was showing at the Fort Lauderdale and NMEA shows.
That 17.5” high fiberglass box was originally designed to bolt onto the back of a long-haul truck cab, for use when parked. On a boat, it would live in a locker until you docked and put it on a stable spot with a good view of the southern sky. Then there’s a pretty simple-sounding on-screen routine whereby you put in your location—zip code or lat/long—and the Qube tells you what elevation to set with the remote. Finally you rotate until you’ve found max signal strength, as shown below. King doesn’t have its marine version on its site yet, but the VuQube is available at lots of trucker—and tailgater!—sites, retailing at $849.
Kind of a deal breaker since it can only be used when the boat is totally static.
FollowMeTv which has a new name is an inexpensive alternative that requires YOU supply the standard dish antenna and it will TRACK the satellites on a moving vessel, certainly at anchor.
You have to supply some basic data as you move south (I believe), but the claim is you can have sat TV with this device which has many different install approaches.
Thanks, DefJef. “Follow Me TV” is now for some reason “Track It TV” (www.track-it-tv.com). It does do automatic horizontal tracking, for use in a flat anchorage, but some folks don’t like having the gear hose clamped to their railing.
For TV at the dock, why not use a regular dish? We have one attached to a rail with the brackets you use to mount a barbecue. I can’t speak to Direct TV, but Dish network receivers have a built in function for aiming the dish based on zip code, with audio and video feedback. I’m not seeing what this adds that our setup doesn’t provide.
Yikes! It’s retailing for $1600! Would you recommend this over a “Track-It-TV” unit?
There are now several VuCube models. The one described here — manually aimed and only usable on a dock — seems to cost around $650 now. New models can automatically acquire and switch satellites, and compensate for some degree of motion. Portability is one of the main features; use it on a boat cruise and then on a camping trip.
Track-it-TV does automatic horizontal tracking only, which could work well when swinging to an anchor, and thus is not directly comparable to any VuCube model. I haven’t tried either.
What is the beam width of these antennas? In other words, how accurate does the tracking need to be? If it listened to an Airmar PB200 on the N2K bus and used that info to keep the antenna aimed as the boat moved, would that be a cheaper way to do tracking?
$650?? yikes!!! STILL a lot of money.
Right now I’m looking at my back cockpit that has my $75 bell expressvue dish mounted on a slab of plywood doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING FOR $575 LESS.
Norse,I’ve been thinking the same thing,maybe using the autopilot to control the dish while at anchor. Using a simple swivel(lazy susan) and a small 12v motor.switch for autopilot or tv dish