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Old 17-01-2011, 09:07   #76
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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
For the sake of comparison, can anyone (or everyone) fill in the blanks for some of these specs for SAT phones and SSB:

1) Size and weight of unit, including accessories (modems, amps, boosters, etc.)

2) Current draw for standby and operational modes.

3) Durability in typical cruising environment (salt air, humidity, etc.)

4) Ability to transfer system components to ditch bag/lifeboat, and ability to use system effectively in such an environment.

5) Total system cost, initial and annually.

Some of us have small boats, small budgets, and don't plan to cross the Southern Ocean anytime soon. I'm thinkin' East Coast, Bahamas, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Central America.

Thanks,

John
Sorry too much work to fill all this out. However, you can easily find all the answers to your questions by surfing online or on this forum for about an hour. Use the search tools.

As far as annual cost, without consideration for depreciation and maintenance, SSB is free and Iridium sat phone usage is about $1.30 per minute.
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Old 17-01-2011, 14:50   #77
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Sat phones can be rented for short term use

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
....Some of us have small boats, small budgets, and don't plan to cross the Southern Ocean anytime soon. I'm thinkin' East Coast, Bahamas, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Central America.
Those planning shorter voyages of limited duration might consider renting a Sat Phone. For example, one outfit here in Anchorage rents Iridium phones, in a waterproof case with extra battery and charger, for $75 per week or $225 per month. Airtime is $1.75 per minute, only for time actually used. See Satellite Phone Rental Rates

I'm sure there are similar rentals available elsewhere besides Anchorage. This might be an option for those who want a safety back up for a specific voyage, but don't want the expense of buying one or buying/installing a SSB.
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Old 05-07-2011, 15:37   #78
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Reading this great thread as a relative novice, it has answered my question about what type of communications I should have on my boat.
I will be getting the inmarsat kit. I want something where I don't have to learn protocol, so at a moment of high stress, I don't blank and forget howto use it. I'll just make a satphone call, thanks, and so will my wife and/or kids if I get whacked on the head and can't talk.

As an aside, it sounds to me as if the whole pro-SSB/Ham thing is being written by a bunch of US citizens harking back to the days of Smokey and the Bandit...it never caught on on our side of the Atlantic anyway....
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Old 05-07-2011, 15:58   #79
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Yes Toby24b, we came to the same conclusion. A couple of things though. First of all, there is a learning curve on the satphone; its not as simple as dialing the cell. Secondly, if you're in a small harbor, you probably won't have service - they're not kidding about the 80% open sky. Thirdly, the weather service has a learning curve also, and we found that we had to upgrade service to get what we thought we were getting; That said, with a little patience and the user's manual, you can learn about the phone pretty quickly, and we're pretty happy with it so far. Also, once we got the weather service thing dialed (and there was a good bit of frustration and big cell phone bills with tech support) we were able to get weather reports frequently and inexpensively, which was one of our main goals. Good luck.
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Old 05-07-2011, 16:05   #80
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Also, regarding emergency service, the rub is that you have to have quick access to that number. It will vary depending on location and you have to either be able to find it quickly or have it programmed into the phone - neither is a big deal, but advance planning is necessary.
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Old 05-07-2011, 16:05   #81
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Thanks, Catmannie. Good points all. Of course if I'm in a small harbour, presumably I can go ashore if I need to get online, but the weather point is interesting - I would also be looking to get weather reports out of the service.
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Old 05-07-2011, 16:07   #82
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

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Originally Posted by toby24b View Post
........
As an aside, it sounds to me as if the whole pro-SSB/Ham thing is being written by a bunch of US citizens harking back to the days of Smokey and the Bandit...it never caught on on our side of the Atlantic anyway....
As a matter of fact, it DID! Maritime mobile operation with both marine and ham SSB has been lively on both sides of the Atlantic and, in fact, all over the world since at least the 60's. That's the LAST CENTURY to you, friend :-)

And, it's still active...both on the ham bands and the marine bands.

It may not be for you...it's not for everyone....but don't think it's not very much alive and a viable mode of communications from small boats.

BTW, an historical note: Smokey and the Bandit was CB radio...had nothing to do with ham radio or marine radio.

Bill
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Old 05-07-2011, 17:22   #83
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

I bought a second hand Thuraya sat phone($300.00) a new prepaid sim card ($70.00) as i am heading for Indonesia and the Phillipines.
However I have still not worked out how to get low cost weather reports via the data cable/laptop.
Can anyone help.
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Old 06-07-2011, 00:04   #84
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
As a matter of fact, it DID! Maritime mobile operation with both marine and ham SSB has been lively on both sides of the Atlantic and, in fact, all over the world since at least the 60's. That's the LAST CENTURY to you, friend :-)

And, it's still active...both on the ham bands and the marine bands.

It may not be for you...it's not for everyone....but don't think it's not very much alive and a viable mode of communications from small boats.

BTW, an historical note: Smokey and the Bandit was CB radio...had nothing to do with ham radio or marine radio.

Bill
I guess I was on the wrong side of the Pacific and Indian Ocean! But the radio nets used to work great in Asia in Africa in the last century. I do not think phone service will ever replace all we gained from radio nets. But I do feel satphones are killing the radio nets. I do think satphones are easier and I do think that there is more grief by not knowing the people who are cruising around, around you. Nice info knowing you can talk to some one about clearance procedures, anchoring spots etc before you even get in to harbour. But I uess I am still a dinasaur. After all I still sail and on a monohull at that!

Cheers

Mark
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Old 06-07-2011, 05:24   #85
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Hi Bill

"BTW, an historical note: Smokey and the Bandit was CB radio...had nothing to do with ham radio or marine radio."

Thanks, you make my point nicely that SSB not for me as I don't know (or care) about the difference! The benefit of having a communal net for anchorages, local weather & regs, gossip., etc., is clear but budget dictates it's an 'either/or' thing for us and thus it's going to be 'or', in this case.

Satphones not 'killing' the nets; it's just that if the majority find what they see as more useful technology, then the old one gets used less. It's not SSB that's valuable in this case, it's the nets. They are so obviously valuable though that I guess they'll soon find a way of having a satphone platform for contacting those in your vicinity on a virtual local net....?
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:19   #86
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

OOOOH MY GOODNESS, another anchor, gun war. We just recieved a inmarsat pro yesterday, and will activate it tomorrow. It's just technology moving forward. The combustion motor replaced the horse, GPS replaced the sextant, and so forth. When we get plugged in with the phone I will drop a note here about it's usage.

I must be an art to make the ssb work. We can sometimes get through, and sometimes not. Our weather fax comes in blurred, and we are in Panama. No time to learn, or willing to look for someone to explore the problem. It's cane season, and it's our wish the sat phone will give us information to avoid weather. We're out of here in a week. Hey, those cell phones use to be the size of a breifcase!.......i2f
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:26   #87
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by beau View Post
I bought a second hand Thuraya sat phone($300.00) a new prepaid sim card ($70.00) as i am heading for Indonesia and the Phillipines.
However I have still not worked out how to get low cost weather reports via the data cable/laptop.
Can anyone help.
A cheap ssb reciever like the degen 1103 from ebay should get you weatherfax if plugged into a laptop. Not sure of reception down there though. Iridium recieves txt messages for free, if thuraya can do the same then a helpful soul ashore could txt you weather reports if you are offshore.

Otherwise nothing is cheap with sat phones!
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Old 06-07-2011, 18:18   #88
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

Very helpful thanks
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Old 06-07-2011, 21:32   #89
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

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I have still not worked out how to get low cost weather reports via the data cable/laptop.
If you are able to do e-mail over your sat phone, then you can use a service called saildocs to send you gribs and other weather files. NOAA also has an ftp-email gateway that you can use to get all kinds of weather data sent to you via e-mail, including WeFax charts (if you can't grab those off the radio broadcasts...).

I recently used Global Marine Networks XGate compression service to simplify handling of e-mail, and was quite happy with it, although it is not exactly what I would call inexpensive.
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Old 06-07-2011, 22:15   #90
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Re: SSB or Sat-Phone

The beauty of the SSB and ham nets are you can get realtime weather from the sailors in your area. This is really beneficial in the tradewinds of the So Pac where there are bands of greater and lesser tradewinds. If it's blowing too hard or not hard enough some times you can slip up or down a degree or 2 and get some better wind. I don't know about the other areas but I really liked getting the weather from the boats strung out from Mexico to Tahiti.

Of course if everybody has a sat phone instead of a radio you'll have to depend on the FIB files.
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