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Old 13-12-2010, 18:21   #1
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Cost-Effective Sat Comms ?

hi all,
currently using irridium sat phone on pay as you go,works out at about $ 100 dollars amonth for 75 minutes talk time.

sufficient whilst on deliveries,to check in with other half,give pos and get a brief weather forecast etc.

but next year plan on getting my adventure sailing school up and running again,so will need a more robust system,for up to 12 guests who will all want to check emails ,me weather and cf and them facebook!!!!!!etc.

since will be doing a full refit,and up grading all onboard systems would like to find the most cost effective system.
vessel is a 63 ft alloy expedition type sailing yacht.

any input greatly apperciated.
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Old 13-12-2010, 21:09   #2
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Was on a charter / research boat last winter that had satellite high speed internet. This was run into a wireless router that covered the ship. Everybody brought laptops with Skype on them. Awesome setup and service.

Service provider was probably Irridium or Inmarsat.

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Old 13-12-2010, 21:20   #3
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yes but with an awesome cost for commercial type of set up,am looking at minimalism,interested in the type of stuff journalists use.
but thanks for the post.
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Old 14-12-2010, 03:47   #4
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The most cost effective system at the moment is probably Inmarsat fleet broadband FB 150. With always on. 150kb/s and data throughput pricing. Equip pricing around the 4500dollar mark ( not installed). Price plans around 10-15 dollars a megabyte . Includes voice as well. Really there's nothing cheaper that offers anything near the throughput even iridium Openport

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Old 14-12-2010, 08:11   #5
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thanks dave,have looked at both systems and seems the way to go.
wondering about getting second units,any advice,sources?
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Old 14-12-2010, 08:40   #6
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just had a mail from a friend who uses the imarsat system,and does a similar thing to what we will be doing.
he is sending about 20 emails a day and reacons it costs him $1000-1500 a month!!!!
ouch! may have to rethink and go down thessb/ pactor route and old sat phone.
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Old 14-12-2010, 08:51   #7
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There is the new AT&T hybrid cell/sat service via the new Terrestar satellite. It only serves the US, Puerto Rico, and offshore to the Virgin Islands; perfect for east coast cruisers, but if you're ranging farther than that, not an option. The cost is:

"AT&Tís satellite tariff is a further $25 per month on top of your regular call plan, with voice calls charged at $0.65 per minute, data at $5 per megabyte, and messages at $0.40 apiece."
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Old 14-12-2010, 09:31   #8
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will probably be doing falmouth uk,west africa,azores uk triangle to start with.
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Old 14-12-2010, 10:33   #9
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As I said it's 10-15 dollars per megabyte. So a grand a month sounds right.

Outside that well iridium satphone is slow effectively around 2400 baud which is useful for text only emails yet the per minute cost of this is actually much more expensive then the same data over FB150

Pactor is even slower I get actual rates around 500 -700 baud despite what all the blurb says. It's free so you put up with it but it's not a great solution in reality. It works for the " hi I'm ok honey " types of email but for business or where you to rely on it hmmm......... There no good affordable solution out there yet.

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Old 14-12-2010, 10:47   #10
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If you're concerned mostly with getting emails out, someone in another thread mentioned that while Globalstar's voice service is just awful, their data service is better -- and you can time your transmission to when a satellite is passing over. If I recall correctly, that poster said you could get unlimited data service for $29.95 a month. Pair that with one of the data compression systems, and you could send and receive many emails a day. And apparently it goes faster than Iridium's data.

This is obviously not an ideal solution, but a possibly good "cheapskate" solution (which is what I'm always looking for) . . . .
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Old 14-12-2010, 11:46   #11
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Globalstar has launched its first batch of new satellites and more launches are scheduled. The older phone with the interface box is cheap and monthly charges for "unlimited" use is currently about $40/month. The voice communication stinks at this moment but will improve as the new birds go active. Don't know what will happen with the rates then. We use our phone for email and gribs not for voice communication.
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Old 14-12-2010, 11:46   #12
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globalstar duplex data doesnt reach down the west coast of Africa to teh Verdes

Also The unlimited airtime plan is only available to North Amercian users and in the carribean, its a special promotion. Europe/Africa Wast Atlantic users calls use the French Gateway and pricing is much higher with no unlimited airtime options.

ALso the current Globalstar sats are having major problems with duplex data at the moment due to degradation.

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Old 14-12-2010, 11:49   #13
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thanks dave and cormarant, will look into the global star option,though may have to stick with the old system of handheld satphone,wifi in marinas and internet cafes and ssb.

whilst i still have a land based office,and route all the bookings/advertising through that and the crew will have to forego facebook whilst on passage..... un less i can find a way to make my victims pay!!!!!
this may be difficult with backpacker types who are used to paying $2-5 an hour at internet cafes.
though thought i saw a system on iridium of pre pay cards for crew on ships though this may only work on larger systems.....
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Old 14-12-2010, 12:01   #14
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All the iriidium pre-pay are wastes of time, as they are relatively expensive and all time limited, ie you loose if you dont pay. The crew card works against an existing contract and is Ok, but again it needs to be used up or its lost money. ( good for large crew, bad for small ones)

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Old 01-01-2011, 19:55   #15
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Can anyone tell me what are the good iridium handsets and where is the best place to buy one?
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