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Old 16-06-2010, 16:06   #16
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There are actually a zillion other threads about it
Sometimes I find the google custom search doesnt work very well, so its understandable not to find the threads.

We use a USB modem and have broadband intoernet in every country and Skype as a phone system.

With an unlocked (or Vodaphone) USB modem you just buy a new sim card in each new country. Its cheap, easy and fast



Mark

So you open that up and put in a sim card?
Someone sells you the card?
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Old 17-06-2010, 00:06   #17
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So you open that up and put in a sim card?
Someone sells you the card?

Yes, every second shop up the main street of any town. In some countries even supermarkets. Most mobile phone shops do it, but some countries its a special shop.
The phone company that does more countries we've found is Vodaphone, but they are usually more expensive than the countries main national provider.

Its really so bizarrely easy.... even the Help services are often in English. But I get the people in the shop to do the connection and the top ups. I just take my passport and the laptop into the shop, show them the USB modem and wave money about. They quickly understand

Here in Turkey which is pretty representative I suppose, its US$25 for 4GB to be used in one month. The carrier is Avea. Vodaphone is about that much for 1 GB. So you need to shop arround.

The SIM card slides in a port at the top of the USB modem.
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Old 17-06-2010, 02:33   #18
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Beth Leonard ( of Beth and Evans) did a good article on this subject for the March 2010 issue of Cruising World. It seemed very up to date.
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Old 17-06-2010, 02:46   #19
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Beth Leonard ( of Beth and Evans) did a good article on this subject for the March 2010 issue of Cruising World. It seemed very up to date.
I don't have the mag, of course. My latest one is some time last year... will someone come visit us with the current mags????????!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't find the article on the website but forund this on
My Bad: EnGenius EOC-2610 vs. Wave WiFi Comet - Cruising World

Beth and Evans are cruising the USA now so they will probably have the most current 'oil' for there

But there must be a huge gap between the systems in countires I am talking about and the systems in the USA because folks still seem to talk up the wifi bit instead of the speed and coverage of a USB modem (and security too).
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Old 17-06-2010, 03:30   #20
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For research on prepaid sim cards, internet services and pricing worldwide try this site:

PrePaidGSM.net
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Old 18-06-2010, 04:23   #21
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If you do not want the expense of HAM/SSB installation, Skymate is a fraction of the installation cost and works well for email and weather and worked for me in a trip from California to Maine via Panama. Globalstar has been promising more satellites for about 5 years and, having tried to use them (useless on a trip through Central America) I would recommend anything else. I used Skype in port and others seemed to have good luck with Iridium.
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Old 18-06-2010, 07:33   #22
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If you already have the ssb then a pactor modem makes it possible to do email from your boat without any additional cost which is kind of nice - no need to go find a vendor and also gives something to do if you are boat bound because of weather.

I like the email capability at sea because then I can get weather reports anywhere anytime. For me it was a safety issue. Yes, I am paranoid but it is nice to know what is coming and where.

And what you need for the Ham email system (winlink) is a General class license. (No morse code requirement any more). It is a little more finicky than sailmail but doesnt have the weekly limits that sailmail does. No business related traffic allowed though.

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Old 18-06-2010, 10:04   #23
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Yes, every second shop up the main street of any town. In some countries even supermarkets. Most mobile phone shops do it, but some countries its a special shop.
The phone company that does more countries we've found is Vodaphone, but they are usually more expensive than the countries main national provider.

Its really so bizarrely easy.... even the Help services are often in English. But I get the people in the shop to do the connection and the top ups. I just take my passport and the laptop into the shop, show them the USB modem and wave money about. They quickly understand

Here in Turkey which is pretty representative I suppose, its US$25 for 4GB to be used in one month. The carrier is Avea. Vodaphone is about that much for 1 GB. So you need to shop arround.

The SIM card slides in a port at the top of the USB modem.
Thanks Mark.
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Old 19-06-2010, 02:58   #24
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Here in Turkey which is pretty representative I suppose, its US$25 for 4GB to be used in one month. The carrier is Avea. Vodaphone is about that much for 1 GB. So you need to shop arround.
We have same system in Middle East, but we put our SIM card into a wireless networking box. That unit cost about $200 dollars, as opposed to $50 for a USB modem, but worth it. Also, the internet packages here are for unlimited use - although they will slow your system down massively after you have reached the 4GB limit.
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Old 21-06-2010, 09:30   #25
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In most of the EU, if you go to the service providers website, you will find they send sim cards for free, so saving £5-£20 a time. I have 3 main sim cards that i use, 02, orange uk, and vodapone.
just an idea.
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Old 23-06-2010, 09:10   #26
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Keep in mind anything that works on cell networks has extremely limited range and is not recognized by the CG as an emergency device. That said they work nicely in marinas as I can tell you right now I'm using one on a 3G network. However, if you want to stay connected past the 3 mile limit, there are only two options. Radio (in various configurations) and satellite radio/modems. There is only one sat system I know of that actually has "world" coverage and that's Iridium; all of the rest have blacked out spots where they don't have contact with satellites. As noted before me, the equipment is getting cheaper, however, data transfer fees are about $1.00 per minute and have a capped upload based on your purchased package.
I still believe that SSB is still the best option even though the equipment is more expensive than satellite phone (with the exception of KVH or Thrane self trackers). Not only can you get decent email coverage for a reasonable rate, you get weatherfax, DSC and great ship to ship communication that's based on MARINE protocols.
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Old 23-06-2010, 10:18   #27
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is not recognized by the CG as an emergency device. .
I think you may be meaning the USA Coast Guard here.
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Old 23-06-2010, 11:03   #28
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I think you may be meaning the USA Coast Guard here.
Canadian (CCG) or US (USCG) or Australia (AMSA) do NOT recognize cell phones as emergency communication devices, however in Canada *16 can be dialed from any phone and is relayed to VHF. If you consider that in the very near future VHF 16 will not be monitored anymore and all distress calls will be made/monitored using DSC then the issue of using a cell phone is mute. That said, the best all round long distance communication system for emergency, email or weather is a DSC SSB VHF or HAM radio.
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