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Old 06-06-2016, 10:51   #1
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Complete Com and Weather with inReach

I think I have solved our weather and communications system. Use an inReach. DeLorme inReach - Two-way satellite text messaging, tracking and SOS anywhere in the world now they have weather.
The expedition plan is $65 a month which you can purchased by the month. Each weather download is a dollar. I have not confirmed that this is the Premium Marine Plan which we would have.
The inReach Explorer device is $380. Plugging it into a pad or laptop would give you the weather with wind and waves.
You can communicate with unlimited 114 character messages.
Combine this with a AIS VHF receiver to see ships broadcasting.
A chart plotter like GPS Navigator may complete the system.
Plus it would be easy on the batteries.

Maybe we could avoid getting radar which is hell on the battery.

Thanks for a great group, I'd buy you all a beer if I could find the link.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:01   #2
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

We are using the inreach SE. Cheaper than the explorer model. Getting the weather forecasts direct from OCENS subscription. $10 per month. Might be a better deal than thru delorme at $1 per forecast.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:04   #3
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

I have the equipment but wonder what their source is for weather. Anyone know?
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:25   #4
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

We would be using this system for sailing from Newfoundland to the Gulf
of Finland in 2019. Probably by then the system will have the bugs worked out or more features added.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:52   #5
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

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I have the equipment but wonder what their source is for weather. Anyone know?
The premium marine forecast is also provided by OCENS.

Look at the announcement. They said the source for each forecast type. I don't have in front of me. Sitting in a marina in ft Myers beach watching the rain cells come thru.

We used ocens and inreach for the past almost three months going from Texas to Bahamas and now on way back. Been pretty good, especially regarding wind strength and direction. Wave forecast has been OK for most of it, but sometimes low vs actual.
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Old 06-06-2016, 13:47   #6
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

Are GRIB file format or display available on this service?
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Old 06-06-2016, 15:01   #7
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

Quote:
We are using the inreach SE. Cheaper than the explorer model. Getting the weather forecasts direct from OCENS subscription. $10 per month. Might be a better deal than thru delorme at $1 per forecast.
sailjumanji - looking at the Delorme annual plans, I see the Recreation plan has 40 texts per month. Then looking at the Ocens plan, they are sending 1 (24 hr) or 2 (48 hr) texts...is this per day? resulting in 30 or 60 texts just for weather? Or can you just select how often you want an update? I guess you would use another text to request the weather? Or are you forced up into the Expedition plan for double the monthly cost? I have been thru both web sites and it is not yet clear to me.
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Old 06-06-2016, 15:26   #8
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

We use the heck out of our inReach, this pass winter in the Bahamas. We did the annual plan and just move to the lower "safety" plan when back in the states. You can pair it up with any smart phone (one at a time) and it's as easy as texting on our digital data plan. The OCENS is one of the better weather forecast for winds, they were one of the few that forecast the blow in mid Jan. Great to have the inReach during crossings, plus people get to follow your location.
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Old 06-06-2016, 15:35   #9
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

If you have an Inreach and need weather then this site WX2InReach - Home might be of interest to you. The developer manages to squeeze a 5 days forecast into 140 characters by some creative shorthand. Also, it is completely free minus a small donation.

I used it to get me from the windward islands through the Bahamas. Minus some small outages it worked great.
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Old 06-06-2016, 15:55   #10
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach



Is a frame grab of what I think the weather information is displayed as.
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Old 06-06-2016, 16:58   #11
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

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Is a frame grab of what I think the weather information is displayed as.
That looks like an interpretation of a single location on a GRIB over a few hours. I would want more than that to predict weather while on passage.
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Old 06-06-2016, 17:23   #12
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

Let me see if I can cover them all. We have the unlimited texting plan for inreach. I think that is $65 per month, plus taxes. So the frequency of weather requests thru ocens does not matter to us.

We have the 72 hour weather forecast thru ocens. We send a test request, and get back 72 hour forecast in six hour increments. Temperature, wind speed, direction, barometric pressure, cloud cover, precipitation. We also get a separate forecast of wave height, direction, and period, and swell height, direction and period. No grip files. The info coves over as lines of data. We have it linked to an iPad, so it is easier to read.

You can get a forecast at any lat-long you request. When we are move planning, we get several forecasts along the route. It is a forecast for a location, although we have moved the location around a bit to see if there are any anomalies and haven't found any issues.

The real beauty of the inreach is that you also get ten minute tracking plotted on a web page for family to follow. Or anyone else you want to provide link to. It is a delorme web page. There is also an SOS and emergency response monitoring.

We also pinged the free wx2 service that someone mentioned. That gets you a week forecast, but much less detail. And the weather in Bahamas always changed more frequent than that. Also the wx2 predicted rain a lot of times that we never saw. Wind forecasts were typically same as ocens, but as it was only daily or twice per day, it didn't have the detail of shifts that usually occurs. We sailed a lot in the exumas, and was nice to have wind direction and speed forecasts for each six hours rather than two per day or daily. You can identify patterns that way as well.

Looks like the new delorme weather service has prettier display than the ocens lines of data. I decided to stick with the separate ocens forecast, also because we use it more than ten times per month which makes the ocens subscription cheaper.

We are currently waiting in fort Meyers beach for this tropical whatever to pass. Hoping to hop into the gulf on Thursday and make the crossing to Texas. If we have to motor much, will be detouring to grand isle for fuel. Will be checking NWS and ocens weather for the crossing. When far from shore, only ocens available.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:58   #13
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

Quote:
Originally Posted by artisthos View Post
I think I have solved our weather and communications system. Use an inReach. DeLorme inReach - Two-way satellite text messaging, tracking and SOS anywhere in the world now they have weather.
The expedition plan is $65 a month which you can purchased by the month. Each weather download is a dollar. I have not confirmed that this is the Premium Marine Plan which we would have.
The inReach Explorer device is $380. Plugging it into a pad or laptop would give you the weather with wind and waves.
You can communicate with unlimited 114 character messages.
Combine this with a AIS VHF receiver to see ships broadcasting.
A chart plotter like GPS Navigator may complete the system.
Plus it would be easy on the batteries.

Maybe we could avoid getting radar which is hell on the battery.

Thanks for a great group, I'd buy you all a beer if I could find the link.
Hi Tom,

What a fun adventure you have planned.

As a fellow high latitude sailor [but on the other coast...] I would encourage you to gain a deeper understanding of the marine weather [and Wx forecasting] in the areas you plan to travel before concluding that the automated products currently available via SMS only [Delorme, etc.] are adequate for your needs.

My statement has nothing to do with whether the DeLorme, Yellowbrick, and similar two way SMS devices are useful. They are, but within limits with regards to weather products.

Expanding on what I mean about Marine Wx, I believe there is a difference between understanding the Wx, and understanding the Wx products available for diagnosing/predicting/confirming the Wx where you are. [For more details, here is a related blog post which links back to another somewhat related discussion on this forum, and contains links to some of the excellent marine Wx resources we rely upon...]

What are some of the Wx products I cannot do without when traversing higher latitudes that are not all available via SMS?
  • Weather Fax [surface forecasts and 500mb charts]
  • Forecaster's Discussion [What were 'they' thinking?...]
  • Detailed Marine Forecasts
  • NAVTEX
  • GRIB files of my choosing [variable data as needed; one download feeds several applications onboard]
  • Etc.

Very recently I assisted some fellow sailors on a crossing they made by aggregating [and sometimes interpreting...] and sending Wx info they could not find/receive through other resources on their DeLorme InReach, so I have some recent experience with this.

It looks like the recently released DeLorme Wx offering is a nice interface rendering GRIB data. But I constantly remind myself GRIB data is computer generated and not interpreted by a human- except you and I when we receive it. WeFax charts contain those interpretations, as well as illustrate fronts...

Another point I would like to make is, after a quick cost analysis I would argue that doing all this via sat phone costs about the same, and yields far more usable results and capabilities.

e.g., A used Iridium Sat phone costs the same [for older phones- scroll down to the 9505] as a new InReach. [For the sake of discussion, newer used sat phones cost twice as much. Scroll to 9555 on above link...]

Your annual unlimited SMS service with DeLorme is US$65/mo or $820/yr; 500 Int'l sat phone minutes are US$730/yr. We use about 400 minutes/year downloading Wx data twice daily, and send/receive email and SMS messages as well. And we can make voice calls in an emergency.

DeLorme forecasts are US$1/each, so that would be US$2/day for us. For US$1/day we subscribe to UUplus service so we can download any Wx products we need [all free via SailDocs] and send/receive email with anyone. Of course it uses sat phone minutes, but that is already accounted for above.

We can also do all of the above on our Marine SSB/MF/HF radio, but we choose to use the sat phone for reliability and expediency.

[Here is my detailed write-up about our Sat phone and costs, which includes more specifics (and hopefully clarity) with links to much of what I mentioned above.]

In closing, please don't take my comments as discouragement regarding your adventure. Please accept them as encouragement to further your depth of understanding of marine weather- especially for the complicated weather areas you plan to explore.

There are many Wx prediction products, and several somewhat cost effective methods for receiving them while on the water. I hope this provides more food for thought as you work through what might be best for you.

Best wishes with your impending adventure!

Cheers!

Bill

PS: As a side note, I would also strongly advise RADAR capability for your trip [Dense Fog...] The newer digital units (3G, 4G, etc.) are very easy on the batteries... [We have a 4G and speak from experience...]
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:21   #14
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

I will second the recommendation for radar. We have the newer 4G version. Invaluable in the fog, and on the night crossings. Plus we used it during the day to determine which way that big thunderstorm in front of us was heading.

As for the delorme, not sure of the advantages of the explorer vs the SE model. We got the SE on sale for $200 at Rei. At the time delorme did not offer the weather forecasts, but we subscribed direct to ocens for them. $10 per month, unlimited requests. We requested weather forecast every day, and sometime for several locations. Much more economical vs the $1 per request thru delorme.

When we get home, this will all get turned off until the next trip. Activation is around $25 if I remember. If I was doing this full time, would certainly consider ssb transceiver (we have deceiver only) or Sat phone or other way to get more elaborate weather data. Weather is everything.
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:25   #15
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Re: Complete Com and Weather with inReach

Oh, and delorme annual contracts are much cheaper than by the month. If you are only using it for a few months though, better to do with the monthly plan (unlimited texts $65 per month)
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