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Old 20-04-2019, 17:17   #1
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HF Radio V Sat Phone

Hi

We are planning a trip from Queensland to Solomon Islands later this year. My yacht has a old HF unit a Codan , not suitable for upgrading and thinking about replacing the Radio and tuner.

The marine Tech has asked us to consider another path Iridium Go.
It will turn your I Phone into a sat phone.

Cost is a factor as a new Hf , tuner, pactor modem, subscriptions for service and mail, is adding up

The Iridium Go unit is less than the HF Radio but data and calls extra costs.

It would be nice to have both but practicalities are one or the other.

If any one has any of Xperience or preferences your views would be appreciated
Thanks
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Old 20-04-2019, 18:34   #2
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

We use an older Iridium 5500 phone connected to a laptop for email and messaging on our passages between NZ and the islands.

Our boat came with an ICOM IC-M802 SSB but the installation was poor so calling out was not very good and reception OK but not great. We used the sat phone instead. It recently developed a fault and now needs to be replaced at a cost of NZD3500 and then another NZD1000 for a Pactor modem so we can get gribs and do emails. Weíre not going to replace it so if anyone wants an 18 foot whip and an ICOM IC-140 antenna tuner let me know.

Thereís lots of threads out there regarding the relative merits of either solution. In a nutshell:
- SSB allows you to chat on cruiser nets and in an emergency make an all stations distress call with DSC which anyone within 1000 miles should hear. One to many calling. Time of day constrains when you can reliably call and listen. Expensive to buy and install and requires training and dedication, but relatively cheap to run and no ongoing costs other than email client. You canít do any business messaging on SSB.
- Sat phone allows you to call or message anyone, one to one. Any time of day or night. No group calls with cruisers or cruiser nets. In an emergency you can call your home search and rescue centre (in addition to your EPIRB if appropriate) and they will make the all stations call to anyone in your area. Relatively cheap equipment but requires prepay (thatís what we use for the 3-4 months weíre offshore) or subscription to use. Depending on who you get your airtime with you may also need to pay for an email client. With the Go you can use the included mail app.
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Old 20-04-2019, 18:40   #3
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Both.

I have HF forever, not only for a trip.
You can buy second hand ones. You need read some manuals.
Is better if you get a amatheur ham license.

I have iridium in my long trips only for emergency use.

HF is not only a equipment, is a lot of knows you need to learn for use it. (frequencyes, propagation, band to use in day or night, places and distances from the repeater centers in your trips).

I have make a map for Spanish zone some time ago.
We need this for the rest of the world, maybe is clear info what we need for use more HF intensive.

You can download the map here:

https://mega.nz/#!nVt1mKDA!bw9VJ3F2F...B2ybwvV-h3JU8Y
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Old 20-04-2019, 18:54   #4
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

I think you’ll find it’s just fine to do business on SSB but not ok on a HAM radio
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Old 21-04-2019, 06:18   #5
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

You might find an opinion or two on this subject in one or a hundred previous threads
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Old 21-04-2019, 08:18   #6
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Take a look at this www.satcase.com. Built around Irridium.
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Old 21-04-2019, 08:26   #7
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
I think youíll find itís just fine to do business on SSB but not ok on a HAM radio
as long as you understand your not having a private conversation on HF. Anyone can listen in.
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Old 21-04-2019, 09:23   #8
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

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Originally Posted by ohgary View Post
as long as you understand your not having a private conversation on HF. Anyone can listen in.
Private enough on Sailmail ......
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Old 21-04-2019, 09:39   #9
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

My Iridium phone is for emergency use only. The rest of the time I use sailmail or airmail on ham radio. The HF radio has worked well for us - it has never failed us so far. I hope our good fortune continues.

Having both sailmail and airmail (ham) gives me a good chance of making a solid connection for downloading grib files and other weather information.

It would be nice to have Iridium Go, but I find that communicating with other cruisers when we are on passage is a great help. I use the HF radio to keep in contact with boats around us on morning and afternoon radio nets , and they can be a good source of weather information if for some reason the grib files cannot be pulled down on our pactor system.
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Old 21-04-2019, 10:26   #10
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

I have used sat phones a couple of times offshore and near coastal. Reception can be very hit and miss and a lot of airtime gets used asking what they just said.

I have a HAM radio on board now. License is easy to get now, no code needed. Learning to use it like anything else will take time.

If sat phones were more reliable I'd probably look hard at them but for the money IMHO it isn't worth it right now as I have a limited budget to work with.

I do have an In-Reach device that tracks my position and allows texting as well as a 406 Epirb. With what I have I should have enough communications offshore to suit mt needs, maybe not desires but def needs.
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Old 21-04-2019, 11:02   #11
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antipodean2 View Post
Hi

We are planning a trip from Queensland to Solomon Islands later this year. My yacht has a old HF unit a Codan , not suitable for upgrading and thinking about replacing the Radio and tuner.

The marine Tech has asked us to consider another path Iridium Go.
It will turn your I Phone into a sat phone.

Cost is a factor as a new Hf , tuner, pactor modem, subscriptions for service and mail, is adding up

The Iridium Go unit is less tha the HF Radio but data and calls extra costs.

It would be nice to have both but practicalities are one or the other.

If any one has any of Xperience or preferences your views would be appreciated
Thanks
You don't say if the old HF (Codan) is operational, just old. I am not familiar with the make but if the manufacturer or good repair facility is near-by and reasonable I would recommend a reconditioning...I did that with my old SEA 2250 SSB and had excellent results during my roundtrip to Hawaii. It could still be useful to get weather reports, time-hacks, position reports, etc. Old, in and of itself, is not a reason to replace/throw something away. There are many old systems out there that are still getting the job done...they just don't have all the glitz, bells, and whistles of the new expensive stuff.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 21-04-2019, 15:12   #12
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Ive just joined a HF radio group called Austravel. They have set up a network in Australia that can link HF to the 4G mobile network. You can send and receive text messages, make 1/1 mobile phone calls in addition to the normal HF functionality.
In addition, your family can download an app called Out n About which they can use to track your position and communicate text. You do need a GPS puck to encode long and lat into the DSC calls. The network, with 4 or 5 base stations around Australia also redirects emergency calls.
It works so long as youíre in SSB range of the base stations. That covers a lot of water.
Codan and Barrett radios seem to be the preferred units but perhaps others can work too.
There is a AUD100 annual subscription but no charge for SMS or mobile calls.
The Austravel peole have historically been a terrestrial HF 4x4 club until they recently decided to reach out to marine cruisers too. They are very friendly enthusiasts who have bent over backwards to help me get connected.
Rgb
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Old 21-04-2019, 16:30   #13
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

We have both, SSB is for nets.
Iridium Go for Email gribs, voice calls, etc
We used to just use SSB/pactor until obtained Go, the Go works almost flawlessly.
I recommend both. We are into our fifth year cruising Pacific.

Cheers
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Old 21-04-2019, 16:44   #14
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Private enough on Sailmail ......
Sailmail isnt encrypted on HF, Anyone with a pactor modem can listen in.
Now that limits who can do it, but doesnt make it private.
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Old 21-04-2019, 17:03   #15
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Re: HF Radio V Sat Phone

Apparantly no one listens on HF anymore. If you're a have-a-chat or are buddy boating, a HF transceiver is probably still useful. We had an old Codan unit that was invaluable for listening to the automated weather broadcast service, but I never once transmitted on it. Purchased a refurbished Icom M710 to replace it a few years back, but when I finally decided to install it, decided it really wasn't worth the effort so sold it off to a mate who's going to install it in his boat.


Decided a sat phone and HF receiver is the best option. Ended up going with Thuraya because of the cheaper pricing for casual use. The coverage is a little more limited in some areas (possibly the Solomons?) because the satellite sits atop singapore, iirc. In a SHTF situation, there's always the EPIRB and the HF money can best be invested in a liferaft, probably with some cash left over, too.



As for a HF receiver, I've got an SDR setup that can pick up HF frequencies essentially for weather reports. Yet to get serious with it, but if it works, all good, and if not I'll get a dedicated HF receiver.
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