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View Poll Results: HAM, Marine SSB, Other?
HAM only 21 10.66%
Marine SSB only 57 28.93%
Both 88 44.67%
Other (sat phone, etc. please specify) 33 16.75%
No long range communication device 25 12.69%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 197. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-12-2007, 11:51   #106
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Yep. Remember it well.

We should take this offline here. Shoot me an email: bill at wdsg dot com

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Old 07-06-2008, 20:48   #107
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SSB Marine Bands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspot Baby View Post
When cruising do you have and/or use Ham, Marine SSB, or other long range communication ability?

1. HAM only
2. Marine Single Side Band only
3. Both
4. Other (sat phone etc. please speicfy )
5. No long range communcation

George
First of all, I am new here. I was looking for the rules to operate marine SSB. I have a friend who says that he can operate with no license on his yacht. I have been an Amateur radio operator for nearly 30 years and am just not familiar with marine radio. Looking for some info here as to if #1, can I operate on the marine SSB bands and communicate with him? I really don't think so. Why are they using it and is it legal without a license. Does the FCC not care just like the illegal operation on CB? Just curious and actually confused. Thanks for any "accurate information"
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Old 07-06-2008, 21:29   #108
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"I have a friend who says that he can operate with no license on his yacht."
And indeed he can, that is true. As I recall, it is also a $5000 minimum penalty for intentional unlicensed operation and the FCC sends out "Notice of Violation" letters every month to earn their keep.

So, yes, he CAN operate without a license. And in a true emergency, that would even be legal. But day to day? He's risking a $5-10,000 fine and seizure of his equipment--and that's on a good day--versus the $170 or so for proper licensing in the US.

The FCC's licensing division answers a toll-free phone, as do their main offices, and they are quite willing to explain license requirements and mail out applications for them. Or, you can do it over the web,although their web site can sometimes be a bit much to explore.
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:37   #109
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Ham, there are lots of threads on the forum about licensing your SSB. Do a quick search.

Welcome aboard.

George
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:49   #110
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I'm trying out a BGAN Inmarsat tranceiver. It works very well and is almost competitive with GSM roaming charges in Europe.
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Old 08-06-2008, 13:30   #111
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Idiens,
Tell us more as you use it. It looks great but the price has been outside my budget. How much is it costing now?

George
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Old 08-06-2008, 14:33   #112
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I got the Sabre 1 Wideye terminal, about half the price of the next nearest but it works just fine so far. Voice is very clear, email works as fast as broadband and surfing the web needs to be avoided, it's tempting to ignore how many MB it swallows. Once the antenna is locked on, its seems fairly tolerant to boat movement, but I have only used it when moored, so I don't expect it would hang onto the signal at sea. Hence not really comparable with Globalstar or Iridium. It's big plus is its data rate over those systems.

I'll come back with a more knowledgeable opinion at the end of the season.
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:23   #113
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Are you paying by the MB or is it flat rate?

George
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:37   #114
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It's like pre-paid mobile phone. I pay for a 4 month validity 100 unit card that costs 185 US$ or to me 150 euro from the French service provider e-sat. The units buy either telephone time or data transfer, at 1.85 US$/1.5 euro a unit.

On the tariff that I am paying (different service providers have different tariffs).

Voice to another BGAN terminal 0.5 units/min = 0.95 US$/0.75 euro /min
Voice to fixed/cell phone 0.7 units/min = 1.3 US$/1.05 euro/min
SMS per message = 0.25 units = 0.46 US$/0.375 euro
Data per MB = 4.75 units/MB = 8.79 US$/7.125 euro/MB.

Motto:- Don't surf the web with it.

For comparison, my mobile phone service provider's rates are:

Voice to fixed/cell phone 0.4876 euro/min to 1.6529/min depending on destination and data at 3 euro/MB. However, these are not on a pay-as-you-go basis but a subscription. And I get my data at 1.5 euro/MB on a business mobile subscription.

So calling Australia from Norway (say) is cheaper with Inmarsat than with a mobile phone rate for me, (except I use Rebtel) but data is over four times the price.

I am still looking at alternatives to reduce rates and particularly ways to reduce data transfer.
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Old 17-02-2009, 11:53   #115
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Idiens,

have you had any experince offshore with your BGAN system since your last posting?

BGAN equipment is costing now from $ 1500, so it is a real bargain if it works well also afloat without stabilizing equipment.
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Old 17-02-2009, 12:11   #116
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Yes, it did stalwart service all the way up to Oslo last year.

However, the boat needs to be moored, or anchored in very still conditions. It can't handle the normal wave motion of a sailing yacht. For that, a stabilised antenna is needed and they cost a small fortune.

My experience so far is that a GSM/EDGE/GPRS/3G USB dongle is the most reliable around Europe, but not necessarily the cheapest. I get 50 MB a month roaming for 20 euros a month, which is really just not enough before the roaming charge leaps to 13 euro for 1 MB. So that's when I switch to Inmarsat BGAN.

In mid ocean, neither option will work, so that's where I'm eyeing Iridium, for voice anyway.
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Old 17-02-2009, 12:51   #117
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Thank you Idiens for a quick reply,

this is very valuable information that you are sharing with us since there is very little hands -on experience with BGAN in sailboats.

Is BGAN so sensitive for movement that you have had problems even in harbors?

How about trying to keep the antenna fixed to the satellite by hand in mild sea state?

Any experience with Iridium in data use?

Thanks
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Old 17-02-2009, 14:13   #118
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In harbours there is usually no problem with pointing the antenna, it can tolerate a few degrees of wandering. I have not managed to hold it on target by hand, for one thing, its quite heavy, for another, it only gives an audible signal strength tone while acquiring the satellite. After one is satisfied with the direction, a button is pushed to start the registering mode, and the audible steering tone is switched off. Like most antennas, one's own body influences the signal, so its best to set in on the deck and steer it from behind the antenna at arms length to get the best tone.

So it is not suitable for en-route communications.

Once it is working, the telephone is very high quality sound, as good as ISDN. the SMS service works as expected and the data rate is adequately fast for most applications. So to in harbour/moored and a lot of anchored situations, it is satisfactory. But no use on the move.

I read that Iridium is good for oceanic voice comms, but the data rate is very slow. I have no personal experience with it.
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Old 18-02-2009, 14:04   #119
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Does anybody else have practical experience with BGAN equipment on a sailboat?
Is it only usable in calm harbors or also under way?
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Old 19-02-2009, 20:52   #120
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Wow... a poll with 114% totals
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