Starlink terminal visual camouflage tests vs improvised fabric materials

Eric Kuhnke eric.kuhnke at
Thu Mar 3 01:24:20 UTC 2022

I have just completed some very unscientific tests of DIY camouflage
materials vs a starlink terminal.

Obviously there is a lot of possible discussion that is possible about
spectrum analyzers, direction finding, jammers, etc within the context of
what's going on in Ukraine right now. All very valid concerns.

That said, there's also some DIY possibilities for making a starlink
terminal much less noticeable from the air or casual observation, such as
if installed on top of a mid rise apartment building in any Ukrainian city.
I would wager that the ratio of portable Ku/Ka-band spectrum analyzers with
horn antennas to invasion foot soldiers/armored vehicle soldiers is rather
low at present.

Terminal is the same as the following RIPE atlas probe location:

Terminal is a v1 from Jan. 2021.

Fabrics have been draped flat over the Starlink terminal. What effect this
will have vs. suspended in the air a meter or so above it on some sort of
improvised framework is a question I can't really answer right now (if we
have any inflatable or fabric radome specialists here, please chime in).

Average of multiple CLI runs to server ID 11329 in Seattle.
In general any of the well-peered servers in Seattle have the
same results, the bottleneck is the starlink last-mile performance at any
given point in time, and not any terrestrial network factors.

*Baseline terminal with no material above it. I do have a slight tree
obstruction in 1/12th of its field of view to the northeast.*
152.48 Mbps down x 8.23 Mbps up, 3.17% loss
(note this averages more like 0.43% loss over 3 to 10 hour periods to its
gateway in Seattle, I believe the loss during the particular time period
this data was gathered to be an aberration).

*Tent rain fly, synthetic nylon material, dry*
162.02 Mbps down x 7.14 Mbps up, 1.43% loss

*Two layers cotton bed sheet, doubled over on itself, thoroughly soaked in
tap water*
55.79 Mbps down x 3.70 Mbps up, 0.77% loss

*One layer cotton bed sheet, dry*
158.78 Mbps down x 7.16 Mbps up, 0.9% loss

*Two layers thin polypropylene tarpaulin, doubled over on itself,
approximately simulating the thickness of a single layer heavy duty tarp.*
152.77 Mbps down x 9.70 Mbps up, 1.41% loss
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