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Old 20-08-2009, 14:35   #16
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FleetBroadband150 is now shipping. This is an ideal replacement for Inmarsat Mini-M service in that the equipment is similarly priced (around $4,500.00), and the antenna utilizes the same footprint. Using the new Inmarsat I-4 satellites, global coverage now exists except for polar regions. Circuit switched voice airtime is $0.95 per minute, while data connnectivity is available up to 150kbps and is billed at a per kb basis. Data transfer calculations comparing Iridium and Inmarsat Mini-M prove that it is still less expensive to use the new FleetBroadband service.
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Old 20-08-2009, 14:49   #17
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You cant take the mini M/Fleetbroadband into the liferaft!
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Old 20-08-2009, 15:19   #18
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No indeed. Heh. Yep..for that, the new Iridium 9555 handhelds are an ideal solution. There is also a new Iridium/GPS tracking modem that has not yet hit the market that operates on microamps, lasts months, and is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. We are getting one of these in the next few days to evaluate. It has an emergency switch and four i/o ports. Cant wait to get our hands on it.
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Old 20-08-2009, 16:20   #19
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Iridium uses polar orbiting sattelite "constallations" I think there are 12 in the constallation.

I have a few dropped calls with the marine antenna between Hawaii and California but never a data call.
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Old 20-08-2009, 16:39   #20
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Actually, Iridium has 66 satellites with a few spares.

Interestingly enough, while the constellation is aging, the FCC has approved a deal for it to be bought out by private equity company Greenhill & Co, in preparation for an injection of $500 million, a new generation of satellites and to go public.

For an independent study of how Iridium fares in comparison with Globalstar, Frost and Sullivan put out this report last year, which is pretty much still valid.

http://www.deltawavecomm.com/frostreport08.pdf

Globalstar did obtain funding for their next generation satellite, and I hope they stick around long enough to see the satellites acheive orbit. Their new constellation is supposed to be backwards compatible with the existing Globalstar equipment, so if you still have any, I'd hang on to it.

Meantime, on the portable handset side, Iridium is still currently the most reliable.

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Old 20-08-2009, 17:40   #21
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I was 'crew' on a delivery from Nova Scotia to British Columbia via Panama. We had a Globestar sat phone and it was virtually useless. For the most part of the trip if we could get a 15 min window once an hour we thought we were doing good. (Most of the time it was 5 min or less). It seemed the further south we went the worse the coverage. A box full of carrier pigeons would have been more use - at least we could have had a BBQ.
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Old 20-08-2009, 19:42   #22
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I've used Iridum from Calif to Australia, and New Zealand then from Florida to Hawaii, never a dropped call or any other problem. Of course I did move into the cockpit to make my calls so that the antenna had a clear view of the sky.
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Old 20-08-2009, 23:44   #23
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I've used Iridium between San Francisco and Hawaii numerous times, and in the South Pacific, and have had plenty of dropped calls -- with an external rail-mount antenna, the external "hockey-puck" antenna, and the phone-attached antenna.

Still, I consider Iridium to be extremely useful, and the best way to go for true "anywhere" satphone connectivity.
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Old 10-09-2009, 22:34   #24
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Iridium, Thuraya, and Globalstar...
These three are not equivalents. Only Iridium provides global coverage, two others are regional which may be fine if you do not leave region they cover.
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Old 23-10-2009, 13:10   #25
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Hi all,
first post here, just joined the forum. We are getting ready to take a passage from Tortolla, BVI to Cap Canaveral, FL about mid-November to mid-December. We don't know if we will be able to get Sail Mail to work (my buddy just bought the boat) so we want to make sure we can get data connections for the Off Shore portions to get weather, email, etc.

So I'm trying to figure out what service to get as this thread seems to have mixed opinions on Globalstar and Iridium. I also don't know how the data service works with these guys (getting ready to call a couple outfits who rent these and inquire on some of these questions but it's nice to get answers from people who are not the Sales Rep...)
So any feedback form experience as far as good outfits to consider renting from. Phone to look for or not to look for, or other wisdom as to what would work best for us. The data is the most important, not that we will do a lot but we want to be able to get it. We will use it for voice but not as much.
I also noticed some reasonable deals on ebay for prepaid voice cards of various amounts, any experience there that someone would share would also be welcome.
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Old 23-10-2009, 13:24   #26
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Iridium has worked for me and many cruising friends down in high Southern latitudes and across the Pacific. Gribs download has always been possible and personal weatherforcasters emails have always been downloadable. Never had a problem sending emails. Your mileage may, of course vary.

Paige
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Old 23-10-2009, 14:29   #27
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Paige,
thanks for your experience. It's sounding like Iridium is the way to go. One thing I'm trying to do is budget how much air time I should look at purchasing the way these rentals work. Any rules of thumb as to how much time it is going to take to download gribs and other related weatherforcast emails?
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Old 23-10-2009, 23:56   #28
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on our 27 day atlantic crossing we averaged a little under 10min per day - gribs, text forecasts, synoptic charts and email. i had purchased the 500min.
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Old 24-10-2009, 00:42   #29
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Forecasting your usage is a bit like the old 'how long is a piece of string' question but if you are sensible and use something like Ocens.net for email, 10 to 15 minutes a day will cover it. I buy 1000 minutes at a time and have a spare un-activated sim but that is perhaps overkill. The minutes are good for at least a year and some cases, for two years, so if you are planning to cruise for an extended time, the more you buy, the cheaper it gets

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Old 23-11-2009, 11:02   #30
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Get an Iridium phone

I just completed a passage from Va to Puerto Rico last week. The Iridium phone was invaluable in downloading forecast information (although dog slow and did drop quite a bit), as well as keeping in touch with family and others as required.
It allowed me to better manage my navigation plan though the constant barrage of Low pressure systems I endured on the way down and I really believe I'd have had a far worse trip without having it's capabilities.
Two thumbs up from me.
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