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Old 15-03-2013, 15:37   #16
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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Originally Posted by funjohnson View Post
Thanks for the info regarding the compression software. Have you tried Inmarsat's own software Amos connect? It's free as long as its for personal use, but I'm not sure how good it is compared to UUplus. I just received a new SIM card with minutes and will have to give it a shot. I really only need to send emails and GRIB files.... Surfing the net will wait until I arrive and have Wifi again.


Thanks,

Matt
Have not tried Amos Connect, but will download and check it out. Seems to be a bit more suited for bigger vessels, with more bandwidth than the ISatPhone will provide, but I will see. The biggest thing is this, if the service uses Inmarsat's internet gateway (dials "28"), you will be paying for 1 minute to connect to their service, and then over "normal" internet connecting to the email service servers to get email. With UUPlus, you dial direct into their servers and bypass a lot of overhead, which on the ISatPhone, turns into about 50% of your time.

Once I have Amos downloaded I will install and look at, and post what I find.

You can purchase minutes for the phone from certain resellers that will provide a free OnSatMail account, which is just UUPlus rebranded. Or you can pay on an as-needed basis direct to UUPlus.
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Old 17-03-2013, 12:01   #17
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

A quick update for now.

I have installed and tried AmosConnect.

Here are the basics, which I will write more about later.
1) It is free for "Basic", which is all that is needed for a single email account.
2) It does use a dedicated hub/server number to dial into, which is a good thing so it avoids the full blown Internet and the long delays through Inmarsat's internet gateway.
3) It was really meant for big vessels. It installs a full mail server on your PC, which you can then access from the same PC, or any other device on a local network onboard. Also integrates with any mail client, like Outlook, since it uses standard POP/IMAP for it's local mail server.
4) It was a little clunky to get set up and working (because it was meant for a bigger installation then a small boat), although if you are technical, it wont be an issue. If you are not technical, you may have issues and not sure how much support you will receive on a free account.

I was able to download a 30k grib in <2 minutes, which is good, and same as UUPlus basically.

So, we will try AmosConnect (thanks for bringing it up), over the next long trip we have across the Pacific, and see how it goes.

UUPlus does offer some nice features that might be more appealing to others, but I think as far as speed, they are similar. UUPlus has some nice weather grabbing, and web page grabbing abilities (although saildocs can do this too), is easier to install and setup, and allows fetching from external POP/IMAP accounts if that is something you need.

Hope this helps, and once I finish the trip, we will post some more results.

I think the main thing to look for is a service that does NOT use an internet gateway to access the email servers (which Xgate, SailMail, Mailasail, etc, all do). Find a solution that dials a dedicated number into the mail server.
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Old 19-03-2013, 16:45   #18
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Thanks for checking this out. We still haven't activated our minutes yet, but will before we head for Panama and the beginning of next month. I'll try setting up the Amos due to cost and see how that works out.... Just happy someone with more experience tried it out first.

Thanks again for all the great information.

Matt
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Old 19-03-2013, 17:47   #19
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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Originally Posted by kiltym View Post
(...) ISatPhone as I think their are better email compression services available.
Looking forward to see what ensues.

I have found that plain text emails go fine via Iridium and IsatPhone, while everything else really s...s, compressed or not.

Iridium OpenPort works fine for data and emails and Inmarsat Fleet broadband worked for us fine too.

Small format things are probably not worth developing for the major players.

b.
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Old 21-03-2013, 15:25   #20
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

Great thread, thank you all for sharing your experiences. Inmarsat seems to be a great satellite option for cruisers.
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Old 07-07-2013, 16:10   #21
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

I wanted to add my thoughts after using the ISatPhone for 21 days across the Pacific, mostly for email, and some since we have arrived in the Gambier.

We used AmosConnect for the entire trip for email. Overall I was happy with the performance. We could download 2 gribs (10k each), a txt forecast, a few personal emails, and send out a few personal emails and blog, on average, in a bit under 2 minutes each time. What I was hoping for, so I am happy with this email service.

That being said, about 20% of the time, the first call seemed to connect, but failed to download and the connection then dropped. This would chew through about 30-45 seconds of time, and am not sure if this was the fault of poor reception while the boat was moving in rough seas, or the AmosConnect service. After using it many times, my feeling is however it was reception. It is important that the antenna stays pointed to the satellite, and if the boat is moving a lot, this can prove challenging. We always got our calls through, but as stated, sometimes it took 2 calls for it to work.

I am sure UUPlus will work equally as well, but it is a pay service, and AmosConnect is free for 1 email account. It is a bit technical to get set up though since it was designed for larger yachts and commercial vessels.

One other thing to know, Inmarsat advertises free incoming Email to SMS messages to the phone. This is true, and works as advertised. The small print however, that is not displayed anywhere, is there is a maximum of 150 per month you can receive (this only applies to the Email to SMS service, I do not think direct SMS has this limitation). Once you go over this (which we did), the messages stop coming, and wont start again until Inmarsat resets somethng on their end after the month is over. A bit of a pain, but now we know.

Also made one phone call at sea during the crossing, and worked well.

If anyone has more specific questions, just ask.
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Old 07-07-2013, 17:19   #22
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Thanks for update. I tried to setup the Amos, and I'm typically pretty good with computers, but it was past my pay grade. The price is right to keep me coming back. While I'm sitting here in Guatemala I'll play with it again.... Now that I hear it works

Thanks again,

Matt
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Old 07-07-2013, 17:58   #23
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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Originally Posted by kiltym View Post
... It is important that the antenna stays pointed to the satellite ...
Means you did not use an external (optional) antenna?

THX,
b.
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Old 07-07-2013, 18:24   #24
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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Means you did not use an external (optional) antenna?

THX,
b.
Correct.

The dock and antenna (I think you need both) for the ISatPhone are priced way over the top (IMO), so we just use the phone and it's built in antenna.

We use a 15' USB Active Extension cable to connect the phone to the computer while using it so we can place the phone outside and in clear view of the sky.

But, the antenna on the phone is directional, from what I can tell, and in turn, relies on being pointed to the satellite. The screen on the phone even tells you this. So, on some days, when the trip was rough, keeping the phone stationary enough seemed to perhaps be an issue. This is as best as I can tell, as I have never had the disconnect/failed call issue while at anchor, or in calm seas, so I feel it needs to be attributed to that. But it is just a theory. The calls always worked on the 2nd attempt however, so perhaps it was just a bad connection at random times also.

Would be curious if the external antenna makes a difference or not, since we always had the phone outside and pointed in the direction of the satellite. Although, for the $5-$6 dollars in lost calls, it still would not justify the cost of the external antenna, again, my opinion.
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Old 07-07-2013, 18:45   #25
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

THX for replying.

I know that an external antenna on Iridium makes huge difference in data transfer. Also if it is only a puck type. Iridium is also directional, same issues there.

Too bad there are no after market manufacturers that would fill the niche for Inmarsat. Perhaps a good idea for a small cruising budget project ...

Cheers,
b.
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Old 07-07-2013, 21:26   #26
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post

Too bad there are no after market manufacturers that would fill the niche for Inmarsat. Perhaps a good idea for a small cruising budget project ...

Cheers,
b.
There is....runs about 350, but don't think it is "marine" waterproof.
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Old 08-07-2013, 00:20   #27
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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Thanks for update. I tried to setup the Amos, and I'm typically pretty good with computers, but it was past my pay grade. The price is right to keep me coming back. While I'm sitting here in Guatemala I'll play with it again.... Now that I hear it works

Thanks again,

Matt
Try Vizada's "Skyfile Mail" for your satphone emails. Similar functionality to UUPlus and others, but free. While it mostly appears to be used by commercial shipping, I found it easy to install and setup (i.e. sounds easier than what you describe for Amos Connect).
- Link: Vizada - SkyFile Mail by Astrium Services
- Registration page: https://webmail.skyfile.com/reg.htm

I just used Skyfile again last week with both Iridium 9555 and Isatphone handheld units - worked well for both (last summer I had trouble setting it up for Isatphone, but either I found the solution by chance, or the new Isatphone firmware + latest Skyfile Mail software version did it for me... Works pretty good now).

However I also had issues with Isatphone connections "hanging" and failing to complete longer downloads like GRIBs (needed to retry a couple of times). My sense is this is satellite connection related (it's hard to figure out where to point the Istaphone antenna into the sky - need at least 4/5 or 5/5 signal bars to work).
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Old 11-07-2013, 14:58   #28
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

Just a quick update regarding the article that posted to start this thread.

Google has announced that they are retiring Google Latitude(in about a month from now). This means that there is not an easy way to show the Google Maps anymore based on Mapme.at's location. For now, I will just display the Mapme.at map on our blog, although not ideal as I prefer the satellite map over a street map.

If I come up with a not-to-complicated solution, I will post more info.

In the meantime, Mapme.at still works perfect for tracking and the maps they let you embed certainly are adequate.
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Old 13-07-2013, 13:35   #29
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Re: Inmarsat ISatPhone Online Position Tracking

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