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Marine Electronics Journal Blog

Best Sat TV, VSAT and Internet, Phone & Data system

Antenna farms on top of cabin tops, arches and masts of all sorts have been the norm for several years—and they’re getting more crowded than ever. A lot of larger boats sport two or more domes, in addition to multiple VHF and other antennas to provide the boat’s owner, guests and crew with global communications and entertainment.

Below are three categories of satellite-linked systems. One delivers TV; the others offer Internet access, data and voice. The products are part of an exercise we do every year at MEJ that we call the Best & Brightest Boating Electronics. Last week we rolled out personal survival devices and EPIRBs. In preceding weeks we told you about the pick of the litter involving multi-function displays, radars, audio systems, underwater LEDs, fishfinders and electronic charts.

The Best & Brightest Boating Electronics lineup works this way—we ask manufacturers to name the one model in their product line of, say, fishfinders, MFDs or radars, that they consider to be their best. 

We’re not looking for the most expensive or even the most technologically advanced piece of equipment. In some cases, manufacturers name a rock-solid product that has earned the title of Best & Brightest by simply performing as advertised year after year. In other cases, the products harness innovations that are on the cutting edge of marine technology.

There are 18 categories of electronics in this year’s Best & Brightest roundup. In subsequent weeks we'll roll out the best vessel monitoring equipment and wireless accessory devices.



KVH TracVision TV3

With its single-cable design, compact 37 cm (14.5 inch) antenna, and device-friendly user interface, the TracVision TV3 is easy to install, set up and use. The DVB-S2-compatible TracVision TV3 is an excellent solution for single- or multiple-receiver installations. A great choice for powerboats or sailboats frequenting cruising areas located within 100 nautical miles offshore, the TracVision TV3 supports DIRECTV, DISH Network, Bell TV, and circular and linear Ku-band regional services worldwide. The IP-enabled TracVision TV-Hub includes built-in Ethernet and Wi-Fi for easy interface with smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers, giving you system information at your fingertips. Consistently a top seller, the TracVision TV3 is in particularly high demand now as sales of small and mid-size sportfishing and cruising boats keep increasing.


Intellian s6HD 

Intellian’s s6HD is a dual-band two-axis marine satellite antenna system capable of receiving three DIRECTV satellite signals simultaneously, enabling boaters to enjoy high-definition TV channels just like at home. Using a simple connection to the antenna, the Intellian s6HD uses a Single Wiring Multi-switch (SWM), which enables 16 receivers to view all DIRECTV channels with the possibility to upgrade to 32 SWM receivers or DVRs. The s6HD is also compatible with general Ku-band receivers such as DISH Network, Bell TV and DIRECTV local channel programming services. The antenna’s stylish polished radome design makes it an excellent fit for boats over 45 feet. See more for less, with Intellian's s6HD.


Sea Tel 120 TVHD

Cobham’s Sea Tel 120 TVHD (1.2 meter) antenna system is a dual-band solution that features an advanced three-port feed and LNB capable of simultaneously receiving all three of the main satellites on which DIRECTV broadcasts its high-definition and standard-definition programming. The Sea Tel 120 TVHD and 1 meter version, Sea Tel 100 TVHD, are also capable of receiving worldwide Ku-Band high-definition and standard-definition programming without having to make adjustments to the hardware. Both feature three-axis stabilization for reliable operation in all weather and sea conditions. They are rigorously tested on a unique maritime antenna testing platform, using motion and conditions encountered aboard a huge range of craft, ensuring reliability and longevity, even when used in extreme conditions and climates.


VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal)

Intellian v65

Intellian's v65 is a 60 cm class Ku/Ka convertible satellite communications system with exceptional RF performance. It is poised to drive adoption of new connectivity solutions in the mobility market by making access to both Ku- and Ka-band on the same antenna system simple and cost-effective. Built on the same pedestal as Intellian’s GX60 terminal, which is currently deployed on vessels using Inmarsat’s Ka-band Fleet Xpress service, v65 makes Intellian the only manufacturer to offer both 1 m and 65 cm Ku/Ka convertible antenna systems. Intellian says its 1 meter platform is the world’s most popular maritime VSAT system, currently in operation across both frequencies, including on Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) network. In its Ka-band configuration, the v65 is designed for use on GX as well. 


KVH TracPhone V7-HTS

Designed to take advantage of the newest high-throughput satellite (HTS) technology available, KVH’s new TracPhone V7-HTS is an advanced version of the award-winning TracPhone V-series satellite communications solution. In data speed, productivity, and affordability, KVH says its new HTS offering is a generation ahead of other products and services for bringing broadband onboard the yacht. The Ku-band TracPhone V7-HTS provides a compact solution for enjoying digital life at sea; the 60 cm (24 inch) diameter antenna is engineered to deliver Internet access at data speeds up to 10 Mbps shore-to-ship, 3 Mbps ship-to-shore. This solution offers easy connections to onboard networks, fully stabilized tracking, a remarkable reduction in the cost of hardware and installation, and includes the belowdecks iDirect Integrated CommBox Modem.



The SAILOR 600 VSAT Ku offers an excellent balance between form and performance, enabling high throughput, global maritime broadband for more vessels. It is a super-light yet rugged solution that can be installed without a crane, but is capable of delivering the reliability, stability and high throughput usually only possible with larger antennas. Sporting a lightweight carbon fiber composites/aluminium design, the new SAILOR 600 VSAT Ku antenna system provides high-quality performance on Ku-band wide beam satellites and forthcoming Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) constellations, such as Intelsat’s Epic and others. Unique aspects make it fast and cost-effective to install, including one cable between antenna and below-deck unit, automatic line-up and remote monitoring, which increases service reliability.



Small-boat satcom


SAILOR Fleet One

With its compact, lightweight antenna and simple installation, SAILOR Fleet One from Cobham is a low-cost entry point to the world of maritime satcom. It enables reliable voice calling and Internet connectivity on the Fleet One service, which harnesses the power of the established Inmarsat-4 satellite constellation for global coverage. The system itself is built to the same high-quality standards as SAILOR FleetBroadband, ensuring high reliability of the full 100 Kbps connection for email, web browsing, social media, electronic documents/reporting and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications. With low-cost hardware combined with competitively priced airtime, SAILOR Fleet One an excellent introduction to satcom for small craft.


Intellian GX60

The GX60 is a compact, stabilized maritime communications terminal, ready-to-use on Inmarsat’s high-speed, Fleet Xpress (FX) broadband service. Supplied with a built-in GX modem, the GX60 is an easy path to high-speed global connectivity. The terminal’s small size, integrated design, and intuitive interface simplify installation and operation, including one-touch commissioning to eliminate complex activation. Unlike other products requiring up to five or more independent rack units, the GX60’s integrated design condenses multiple components into a single rack unit, freeing up valuable space on board. The Below Deck Terminal (BDT) includes the antenna controller, integrated GX modem, an eight-port Ethernet switch, AC power supply and WiFi. 


KVH TracPhone Fleet One

Enjoy the benefit of satellite Internet and phone connections while on the water even from small boats with KVH’s most basic satellite communications antenna system: the TracPhone Fleet One, with Inmarsat airtime service. Measuring just 28 cm (11 inches) in diameter and weighing only 4 kg (9 pounds), the TracPhone Fleet One will fit where larger systems never could. Providing data speeds up to 100 Kbps, the TracPhone Fleet One is a great choice for connectivity when cruising outside of cellular service. Pick from two service plans: Fleet One Coastal (for coastal data and global voice), and Fleet One Global (for global data and global voice). Both plans supply email, web access, and voice coverage at flexible pricing for recreational and fishing vessels.




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Comments | Leave a Comment
Page 1 of 2 ( 9 comments)

Darryl:(3/27/2017 10:17:15 PM) "Putting the MSRP with each unit reviewed would have been helpful. If each unit was actually tested, the reports on each unit would have been helpful too.

Thanks Darryl---we generally don't mention prices due to confusion over so many variations---MSRP (mfg. suggested retail price), MAP (min. advertised price), MRP (min. resale price) and then there are internet prices on some websites that go their own way. But your point is well taken--buyers need to know if something is in their price range. We'll work on it.
There is independent testing of some of these products on sites like but the information we receive from manufacturers rarely cites the results of any shootouts they may conduct against the competition's products. "
Laurie Seibert:(2/16/2017 2:00:20 AM) "Thanks EV Collier for sharing this informative blog. It is important to know the causes of EMI filters. We use these parts in our daily life in the electronic products so we should know that what are the causes are cures of EMI Filters.

Great job and keep updating!

Laurie Seibert"
Yes:(2/10/2017 7:22:40 AM) "EMI/RFI filter causes and cure. There are very few people who share such information with everyone. I was looking to read such informative blog!

Great job!

Lisa Wilson
hugo:(1/30/2016 2:00:32 AM) "Why is no integrated ais transceiver available? Only recivers.


Each AIS system consists of one VHF transmitter, two VHF TDMA receivers, one VHF DSC receiver, and standard marine electronic communications links (IEC 61162/NMEA 0183) to shipboard display and sensor systems (AIS Schematic). Position and timing information is normally derived from an integral or external global navigation satellite system (e.g. GPS) receiver, including a medium frequency differential GNSS receiver for precise position in coastal and inland waters. Other information broadcast by the AIS, if available, is electronically obtained from shipboard equipment through standard marine data connections. Heading information and course and speed over ground would normally be provided by all AIS-equipped ships. Other information, such as rate of turn, angle of heel, pitch and roll, and destination and ETA could also be provided. Check out:"
Islander Sailboat Info:(12/4/2015 9:49:32 AM) "Great post!! This is the missing introduction I've been looking for. Thank you for taking a complicated subject and making it very easy to understand."
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