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Old 12-05-2015, 18:13   #16
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

Quote:
Originally Posted by cofc View Post
You can send messages to a phone number (text) or to email addresses. Each message is limited to 140 (I think) characters. The Delorme will work anywhere in the Bahamas.

For what it's worth, the only place we didn't have Batelco coverage was in the Land and Sea park and at Conception Island.
So it says that the text recipient can respond and send a text back. What about the email recipient - can they reply as well? I am dealing with elderly parents - one of which only owns a landline, but I can get sis to keep in touch with them. The other does email, but not text. Both have phones, but may or may not hear them!

Re: Batelco, did you buy one of their phones there, and their SIM card. Or bring an unlocked GSM phone? Both of us currently use androids, so not compatible with Batelco system.
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Old 12-05-2015, 19:44   #17
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

+1 on the Delorme InReach. It also has an emergency buttom you can lock on which is monitored 24/7. They will text to determine the nature of the problem and contact the proper authorities where ever you are.
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Old 12-05-2015, 21:03   #18
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

The email user can also reply but NOT by replying to the email. They must click a link in the body of the email that takes them to a webpage where they can reply. My elderly mother figured it out without my help.

As to Android, it has the same support as iphones. You download the app (earthlink) and send texts from that. Its a fairly good program and works quite well.

As to coverage. The only place it has trouble is in the city or with tree cover. Both of those scenarios are not an issue on the water. We clip it under the bimini attached to the solar charger and send texts from inside via the bluetooth link. In the year that i have owned it, we have literally sent 10s of thousands of messages.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 12-05-2015, 23:06   #19
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

Quote:
Originally Posted by adlib2 View Post
VesselFinder : Free AIS Ship Tracking of Marine Traffic Free AIS Shipping.
Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions - AIS Marine Traffic

I use both, Marine Traffic shows good TRACK~

an EPIRB or Personal Beacon will also send an email to interested parties when configured to do so.
This is misleading:
AIS - works only at VHF ranges. Sometimes long VHF range whem shore antenna is involved, but never in mid-ocean
EPIRB - only for emergency activation, so cannot help as constant info sender.

Satphone, SSB or any dedicated device that uses satellites for communication (e.g. InReach that uses Iridium as a platform) will do.
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Old 12-05-2015, 23:33   #20
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
I'm interested in this too. We used a yellowbrick that worked ok. It was a loaner so I don't know what the cost and plan costs are. Would anyone with a spot, inreach, yellowbrick etc mind listing the price for the unit and basic plan with tracking?
Also, if anyone has a method for emailing or SMS a lat/long to a server, such as google earth, that will place a mark and comment I think that would be a ballbighter. Or an app that sends an email would work. Maybe something like travel pod. I think iridium go can track but it requires at least a $10/m subscription and tracks prob lay disappear after a year.
There is a NZ weather site that has this feature but it's pretty clunky and I think tracks also disappear after 1yr.
I purchased my Delorme InReach for about 280.00 US from the
"GPS Store" over the Internet
Pricing was if memory serves me correct about 40.00 per month for 40
Texts and 65.00 for unlimited. Each text sent includes position fix and time stamp. In addition you can register and make available to friends and
Family your track
On the Delorme Share website
Texting is bi-directional so you can receive also
Where it gets a bit interesting is where you buy and register the device
Apparently different home countries have different pricing schemes
Best to call Delorme, They have great customer service
It's a great piece of kit
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Old 12-05-2015, 23:40   #21
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

See my recent post elsewhere. After a year with the InReach it has become my primary offshore communication system and distress system. It's more important to me than my Ham radio, SSB, Satphone and even the EPIRB. I wouldn't even go offshore on someone else's boat without my InReach.

To make it easy on your parents, send them an email from the InReach before you leave. If you are local, send it standing on their patio. That email contains a link to send a reply. Save the email and show them how to click on the link in that email anytime they want to send you a message. Or you could save the link as a bookmark in the browser.

A great feature of the Inreach is that it can be set to beep when there is an unread received message. Mine is turned on all the time plugged in at the chart table (receives/transmits fine through the fiberglass overhead). Folks ashore know I can be reached anytime - like a phone call. So far my Inreach has always sent/received a message within 2 minutes. There's no "out of range", "bad propagation", "bad weather" or "dropped call" to make everyone worry. And it will start beeping on the boat in seconds.
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Old 13-05-2015, 12:53   #22
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

The SPOT communicator is $179.00 CDN and the plan is $100/yr and $50.00 for 500 outgoing txt. messages. It will not receive txt. messages however....
It will send out GPS location to SAR etc. so if a EPIRB is out of reach, this is worth considering....... Unless you want to be like that fool that apparently drifted off the east coast for 60+ days when he could have been rescued in a hour or two....OH, and it will transmit 1900 position reports/ txts on 2 AA lithium disposable batteries.
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:23   #23
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pirate Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

I have the Spot3Gen basic package.. with the SAR feature and Alls Good facility.. the track seems to keep folk happy on here..
Think it fades after a while.. never looked so not sure
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:34   #24
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

Thanks everybody for the responses and illuminating additional questions. I have looked at the in-reach and will order one as soon as I get an address to have it sent to. We will close on the boat Friday and will get a PO Box in St Pete then.

THANKS AGAIN!smile:
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:44   #25
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

fwiw - My wife used our InReach to keep in touch while she was on safari in deepest Africa with our son and a college friend. It was also great fun to see where they were on DeLorme's site or Google Maps - down to the tent cabin they were staying at.
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Old 13-05-2015, 13:56   #26
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

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Originally Posted by sher9016 View Post
Thanks everybody for the responses and illuminating additional questions. I have looked at the in-reach and will order one as soon as I get an address to have it sent to. We will close on the boat Friday and will get a PO Box in St Pete then.

THANKS AGAIN!smile:
Or consider doing all your mail services through St Brendans Isle in Green Cove Springs FL, up near Jacksonville. Many cruisers do.

www.sbimailservice.com

For phone service in the Bahamas you can buy a phone at a Batelco office for $30 and use pay as you go phone time. You also get a phone number which should present no problem to non-techies calling you.

We use Spot to let 10 people know where we are once a day - more often when crossing the Gulf Stream - and Skype to make phone calls back home.
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Old 13-05-2015, 14:07   #27
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

SMS messaging was the original way to send text messages over cell phones. "Short Message Service" (SMS) is not the only form of text messaging. Real SMS sends one data packet, 256 bits, over a cellular system's "command channels" which are largely unused except for command messages like "switch to channel 22, tower 568, now" that the caller never knows about. Since the channels are mainly idle, phone companies got this clever idea to use the idle time for sending free messages TO phones. (Originally, no way to send responses.)
Almost any phone system (2G, 3G, 4G, 4G-LTE) can send real SMS messages. However, most phones and phone carriers now sell you "text messaging" which is NOT SMS. The text messages become digital data, which is the same as a digitized (normal) voice call on any 3G or later network, and all GSM networks. So they set up internal "gateways" to transfer the text messages out of the data stream, and charge and bill them as test messages.
Real SMS messages may be sent through a different gateway, or a carrier may simply not provide for them. Roaming agreements between carriers and countries also may not provide for SMS, or for text.


So when a company says "may vary by country" that's what they are not mentioning. The supporting technology is not always present, the gateways between the services are not always offered, and the rates and roaming agreements are not always made. A matter of changing technologies, operating preferences, and government inertia.


Even on the best networks, be aware that SMS or text messaging is NOT RELIABLE. Messages are sometimes delayed one to ten days, and simply lost. The Obama campaign got a surprise when some 10,000 fundraising texts got delayed for 48 hours. Any unacknowledged or missing text should simply be presumed to be a smoke signal that was sent on a cloudy, windy, night.
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Old 20-05-2015, 15:28   #28
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

REI is running a sale on some of their gear, including the Delorme InReach SE and the Explorer. I already have a backup GPS, so passed on getting the Explorer with the added features. The SE price was around $225, and the Explorer $285 (if I remember correctly). Stock was pretty low, but delivery was free to my house. Also got to use my dividend racked up from previous years. Won't need it until next year, but these are generally not discounted, and never to this level - so I purchased one now. I suspect this is going to be much easier to install than the watermaker now sitting on the garage floor!

Oh, and the usual disclaimers that I have no connection to REI, etc.
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Old 28-05-2015, 09:17   #29
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

Hey, anyone using this to get weather forecasts over the Explorer SE? Can get 24 hour weather forecasts - in six-hour increments - for only $6 per month plus an activation fee. Wonder how accurate?

inReach SE
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Old 31-05-2015, 18:59   #30
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Re: Keeping The Folks Back Home Informed

I just came across this app which is interesting
http://www.yachtie.co.uk
It's almost what I'm after, a simple way to put a location on a map for family and friends to track. Unfortunately it's only available for other app users, so embedding on a web page isn't an option yet. It will send a position report via email though. So reports can be sent via sat phone, HF etc. it also has some interesting features, like adding friends yachts and messaging.
I'm still looking for a decent way to put a position report on an embedded map on a web page (without ongoing subscriptions) though if anyone has any suggestions.
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