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Old 18-11-2010, 20:43   #31
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G'day, mates. Just logged in with the Pacific Seafarers Net using my Ham/SSB radio to make sure it didn't become absolete since yesterday. Nope, excellent reception from New Zealand to Hawaii and Australia this afternoon.

Used the same radio to talk on the local VHF net this morning, all for an original outlay of less than $500.

Don't take for granted that those satellites are always going to be operational. Money is getting a little tough to come by these days. After we get through our current currency wars, I figure a few of these will be the next target to take out.

Of coarse, I'm a firm believer in having backups, so if you can afford both, go for it. I'm willing to put $100 bucks that Ham/SSB radios will still be in active use in 10 years. Any takers? Cheers.
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Old 18-11-2010, 21:08   #32
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They will change the frequency used by sat phones (and/or the economy will crash leaving the only operational sat-phones military)before usage of the SSB will die
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Old 18-11-2010, 21:17   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
The SSB is free. I paid $1.30 per minute for Iridium connect time. You can get minutes for under $1.00 per minute in quantities of 3000 minutes.
Completely agree on the benefits of sat phones, ease of use, reliability, etc but $1.00/min in quantities of 3000 mins? I think that comes out to something like $3000.00.

Even minimizing usage, for a common boat bum like me the cost is a dent in my cruising budget. It comes down to HF is more cost effective.

Weighing all the other pros and cons HF still my first choice but as soon as I find that winning lottery ticket I'm getting me a really hot shot sat system.
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Old 18-11-2010, 21:25   #34
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Completely agree on the benefits of sat phones, ease of use, reliability, etc but $1.00/min in quantities of 3000 mins? I think that comes out to something like $3000.00.

Even minimizing usage, for a common boat bum like me the cost is a dent in my cruising budget. It comes down to HF is more cost effective.

Weighing all the other pros and cons HF still my first choice but as soon as I find that winning lottery ticket I'm getting me a really hot shot sat system.
One of those really hot satellite systems that allows for satellite internet tracking so you can sit there on the internet while anchored in some beautiful tropical lagoon (or receiving a phone call just as you had thought you had left "civilization" a couple of 1000 miles behind you).....sort of defeats the purpose of cruising
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Old 19-11-2010, 01:58   #35
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G'day, mates.
I'm willing to put $100 bucks that Ham/SSB radios will still be in active use in 10 years. Any takers? Cheers.
They are still riding horses here in the USA. Horses are actually used out west for hauling hunting gear into the mountains. And your point is?
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Old 19-11-2010, 02:42   #36
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When we did the Atlantic crossing in 2009 we had both SSB and sat phone. Had trouble getting Herb reliably but it was generally fine for calling boats around us. The sat phone was bullet proof and used for gribs, weather fax, text forecasts and email. We used X-gate software and I think I spent $400 in air-time over around 30 days.

I think a reasonable argument - if cost is a major consideration - is to rent a sat phone if you're doing an ocean crossing but maybe go without if/when you're simply coastal cruising.

Needless to say, because I invested in the sat phone to be sure we had as much up to date weather info as we could get, our biggest problem ended up being not enough wind.
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Old 19-11-2010, 03:07   #37
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Great thread. I have the same quandary.
The boat I am purchasing has weather fax and thrane and thrane fixed sat phone. But no ssb - wish it did.
Initially I will neither install an ssb, or activate the sat phone.
I would think the weather fax is more reliable than ssb/laptop for weather data. And is the most important for me, than chit chatting.
The sat phone would be too expensive and unnecessary for me while coastal USA and Caribbean. Different story for Ocean passages - which would occur maybe once per year for a few weeks for those cruisers.
A portable sat phone has more utility.
I am more likely to install an ssb in the future, and hopefully can use the same grounding plate.
Another option is Skymate - can do world wide text emails, weather, and position reports - $1500 for equipment, $7 to $70 per month fees.
However, for coastal nothing beats cell phone and wifi skype etc. My daughter showed me her first missing tooth and the bag of coins she received last night live video conference on skype - try that with ssb or sat phone...
I also discovered since my cell phone doesn't work here, you can buy telephone numbers from skype. I bought a new york number, and will buy a Melbourne number. then people can call that local number and it hooks thru to your skype - very awesome...
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Old 19-11-2010, 05:23   #38
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One of those really hot satellite systems that allows for satellite internet tracking so you can sit there on the internet while anchored in some beautiful tropical lagoon (or receiving a phone call just as you had thought you had left "civilization" a couple of 1000 miles behind you).....sort of defeats the purpose of cruising
True BUT for those of us still trying to top off the cruising kitty (and buy a new main, and new AP, and new engine, and new SSB / Sat phone, and ....) look at the options.

1. Dress up, drive through rush hour traffic, sit in office staring at blank walls while talking on phone and sending emails. Repeat daily for X more years and maybe go cruising before I'm senile, lame or dead.

2. Go now. In the morning put on shorts, fix coffee, sit in cockpit looking at some beautiful tropical lagoon while talking on the phone and sending email.

Think I will choose door number 2.
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Old 19-11-2010, 06:38   #39
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SSB vs. Satphone ?

Telus, whom supply service SSB, want out.....that's something to consider. They have link on Lulu island

SSB radios are expensive, depend on ionosphere, and can be tricky.

Sat phones work good and are easy to use, occupy little space.

For safety and calling features, it's a no-brainer.

SSB days may be numbered, unless constant communication from some
desolate area of planet is required.
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Old 19-11-2010, 06:51   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
True BUT for those of us still trying to top off the cruising kitty (and buy a new main, and new AP, and new engine, and new SSB / Sat phone, and ....) look at the options.

1. Dress up, drive through rush hour traffic, sit in office staring at blank walls while talking on phone and sending emails. Repeat daily for X more years and maybe go cruising before I'm senile, lame or dead.

2. Go now. In the morning put on shorts, fix coffee, sit in cockpit looking at some beautiful tropical lagoon while talking on the phone and sending email.

Think I will choose door number 2.
I'll choose door number 3.....
Go now. In the morning, fix coffee, sit in cockpit looking at some beautiful anchorage/lagoon and revell in the uninterupted peace and quiet Knowing I cannot be reached....
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Old 19-11-2010, 07:29   #41
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I'll choose door number 3.....
Go now. In the morning, fix coffee, sit in cockpit looking at some beautiful anchorage/lagoon and revell in the uninterupted peace and quiet Knowing I cannot be reached....
Would if I could but I'm not (yet) rich and famous and do like my luxuries, like breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Know anyone that wants to pay me to sit around in the cockpit and look at the scenery?
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Old 19-11-2010, 07:31   #42
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Has anyone tried the new Isatphone Pro yet? It has very attractive pricing both for the handset and airtime (offering both prepay and postpay options).

I currently have a ham installation but am thinking of switching over to satphone for all the reasons discussed above.
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Old 19-11-2010, 07:39   #43
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Having owned 7 vessels over the years, built two, and have pals in Central america.
I'm not rich but once towed a 260 ton barge (Vansort 25) from Vancouver to Ucluelet with a 45 hp troller (Varholm), got 10-1 odds I'd not make it.....Ha !

So with 35 years in hot and cold climates, but very little dough, maybe time to sail into the sunset by building another....I see a 45 ft. sloop rigged with me at the helm....sliding into sunset, maybe Costa Rica....Hhmmmm?????

Oops, there goes the phone .....crap !
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Old 19-11-2010, 08:01   #44
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They are still riding horses here in the USA. Horses are actually used out west for hauling hunting gear into the mountains. And your point is?
I think you have made the point yourself. Horses are not obsolete and neither are marine/ham ssb radio communications.

Eric
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Old 19-11-2010, 08:03   #45
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Thumbs up Comms Gear Choices

Very objectively and well stated, Bill! Comms gear, like so many choices on sailboats, depends upon your cruising area, budget and personal risk tolerance. I found our SSB and the cruisers nets to be of huge value when cruising the coast of Central America for the past couple of years. With a SatPhone, we could make expensive PERSONAL calls, but for completely different purposes. As far as ultimate emergency use, our EPRIB and SPOT (yes, both - not either) will be with my second handheld VHF in my ditch bag if I ever abandon ship.
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These are complementary technologies. As someone said above, if you can afford both, by all means do so. If not, and depending on your cruising style and plans, many will find that HF radio is the more useful device -- and more often actually used -- than are satphones.

Bottom line: it's not about old and new technologies competing. Rather, it's about choosing the correct tool for the job(s) at hand.

Bill
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