Ralph gets TV, the amazing KVH M3

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Aug 14, 2006

Ralph KVH M3 at speed Panbo

It doesn’t even look as silly as I thought it would (bigger here ) on my 25’ Ralph (still for sale, people!). The KVH M3 Satellite TV dome is some svelte at less than 18” high and 16” in diameter, supposedly the world’s smallest fully stabilized antenna system. But, think about it, it takes more than small size to succeed on a smaller boat; staying locked onto, say, a DirectTV satellite (the only service so far supported) is harder when a boat’s motion is quicker. Yet I did donuts in Ralph, even got sideways in a wake that snap rolled me so badly I almost fell down… and the M3 retained lock. It was also incredibly easy to install. I’ll have more on this impressive (if somewhat pricey) unit soon, but for now will close with an image of how the M3 output looks on the E-120. It’s bigger here, but do note that a still picture of video never does it complete justice. This was very sharp, saturated, and smooth moving TV.

Ralph KVH M3 Raymarine E120 Panbo


Looks like a super system, but way beyond the price range of most yachtspeople. KVH does great stuff.

How about a test of the FollowMeTV which is about 15% the cost. This seems affordable and something I would like to hear your review of. I suspect it is not as good as holding the signal... but for most situations.. at anchor or at a dock.. it would seem to be more than adequate. Who is watching TV us sloppy seas pounding to windward or surfing off following seas??

What say you?

sv Shiva
Contest 36s

Posted by: DefJef at August 15, 2006 7:08 AM | Reply

uhhhhh, does Ralph come with the kvh?

Posted by: Eli at August 15, 2006 8:15 AM | Reply

Almost anything is possible, Eli (though a reasonable surcharge may apply).

Posted by: Ben at August 15, 2006 8:24 AM | Reply

Have had a "Follow Me TV" antenna pointer for the past three years. The unit is marginal in performance. Tracks in horizontal-azimuth, elevation is manually adjusted. We are on a 43 foot powerboat, any movement that rocks or shifts the antenna in elevation will cause signal loss. We cruise the coast from Key West to the Chesapeake, adjusting the elevation and then finding the signal can be frustrating. We have replaced the "Follow Me TV" with a KVH unit. Was worth the $$$.

Posted by: Jim Chaney at August 15, 2007 12:58 PM | Reply

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