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Old 23-11-2009, 16:42   #31
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I think an Iridium is better than a SSB. Still, both technologies are from the previous century. The Inmarsat seems to work OK, but is expensive.

All other factors equal, I would recommend an Iridium before an SSB, because:
1) can be taken to the life-raft,
2) works off built-in batteries,
3) requires no license and marginal skills,
4) no propagation, antenna, grounding, etc. issues.

Some data functionality is also there. So I would go Inmarsat and if no such cash then Iridium.

b.
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Old 23-11-2009, 16:45   #32
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Originally Posted by rdcleveland View Post
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.
If you don't mind me asking what was the total cost of your use during that trip? Did you have the phone hooked to the computer like a modem?

Jim
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Old 23-11-2009, 16:56   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I think an Iridium is better than a SSB. Still, both technologies are from the previous century. The Inmarsat seems to work OK, but is expensive.

All other factors equal, I would recommend an Iridium before an SSB, because:
1) can be taken to the life-raft,
2) works off built-in batteries,
3) requires no license and marginal skills,
4) no propagation, antenna, grounding, etc. issues.

Some data functionality is also there. So I would go Inmarsat and if no such cash then Iridium.

b.
On the other hand, with Iridium you can't...

1. participate the regional cruisers' nets
2. participate in the various weather/hurricane nets
3. make a call for assistance to any stations listening, including USCG
4. use Herb Hilgenberg for weather routing
5. or Chris Parker, if you so desire
6. talk to cruising friends hundreds or thousands of mile away
6. listen to AM radio stations from all over the world
7. etc.

all with no charges for minutes used.
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Old 23-11-2009, 18:05   #34
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FWIW, every week on Ebay there's at least one used Iridium 9500 selling for around $400-500. Hook that up with a $200 puck antenna, and a $100 data connector, buy a spare battery ($25) or two, and you're in business. This is the cheap route into Iridium. Of course brand new 9555s are available, too, for $1500+.
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Old 24-11-2009, 14:20   #35
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On the other hand, with Iridium you can't...

1. participate the regional cruisers' nets
2. ....
(...)
....
7. etc.

all with no charges for minutes used.
All true.

But mind the initial cost of the SSB! And it is not only the tranceiver unit but also the antenna, the ground, the tuner and, if you want data, the most inexpensive pactor type modem, PLUS you need pretty decent batteries AND a way to charge them.

AND by many maritime authorities, a license is required (both for the ship station AND the operator).

I think SSB is cool if you already have one in place. For all new installations I would always place the sat before the SSB, except when the boat's owner is an SSB hugger.

It is such a pity the Inmarsat is so expensive. The new solution from Iridium (Open Port) is cheaper (but not cheap) - but given the problems I have seen with Iridium plain data service I would not go for the new thing either.

PS I do recommend an SSB receiver to anybody - inexpensive and gives us the weather forecast via voice and the radiofax! Way cool to me while my crew can listen to shore news from all over the world.

b.
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