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Old 13-03-2009, 13:51   #16
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I'm sitting in St. Maarten in Simpson Bay Lagoon using a Five Mile Wifi antenna. It is mounted on my dodger frame but if I raised it higher I would get longer range. I've found free or subscription connections throughout the Caribbean with this setup.
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Old 13-03-2009, 14:41   #17
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. CDMA2000/G3 and GSM/G3 are totally incompatible, for example.

.
Mine switches automatically and seamlessly in between the two, just flashing green or blue lights.

Its a sim card so each new country we go to will have a cheap sim card to buy if they offer the service.
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Old 13-03-2009, 17:04   #18
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I suppose it's just a matter of time before the world goes to one system with coverage everywhere. It sounds like now there is a land network and a satellite network for ocean passages.
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Old 13-03-2009, 19:09   #19
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No, you need a cell # data account to activate it.I want to get an Iridium for long range email and emerg. phone calls.I use a usb wifi booster set into the center of some "parabolic cookware",(which greatly increases range) ,to get free internet when in range of unsecured signals at the dock or anchorage,up to a mile or more.
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Old 13-03-2009, 19:46   #20
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Mark-
"Mine switches automatically and seamlessly in between the two," One cell phone with two radios in it?? For two systems?? That's unheard of in the US, where carriers simply wouldn't provide service to it, even if you brought one in yourself. I didn't think anyone was making them that way, usually the phones are manufactured with one radio module and no provision for a second. What phone is that?

Celestial-
"I suppose it's just a matter of time before the world goes to one system with coverage everywhere." In the US, it won't happen until and unless someone literally forces the cell phone companies to change their business model. The term "looting" is being used now, to reflect the "steal what you can when you can" business mentality here. As in, the phone business may be regulated--but if you can use proprietary technology (incompatible systems) to extort customers into not being able to use the competition...you can steal extra money out of their pockets, they have no free market choices. The only chance of that changing is if some of the new frequency allocations and auctions happen the way that Google and a few other players have asked--with some bandwidth set aside only for shared use rather than exclusive. So far I don't think they've been able to get a lot of interest in it.
But if Google's Voice takes off, they might be big enough to start a ruckuss with it.
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Old 13-03-2009, 20:13   #21
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HelloSailor;
Motorola v325i for one.
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Old 13-03-2009, 20:51   #22
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Or even better

The Motorola Extreme™ VA76r mobile phone
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Old 13-03-2009, 21:39   #23
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DeepFrz:
Yeah, no. According to Motorola's own web site that phone is CDMA only
"NETWORKS1
"CDMA 1X 800/1900/800A"
according to other reviews, it may also support Amps (analog cellular) but analog service is no longer supported in most of the US, since 2007, and carriers that do support it charge a bloody fortune to do so.

OTOH the VA76r seems to be one of the rare few new phones that does support two different network types:
"NETWORKS2
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
WCDMA 1900/850, 3G HSDPA, 3.6Mbps, EDGE Class 10 / GPRS Class 10"
Apparently Rogers supports it in Canada, but WCDMA isn't supported by any major US carrier AFAIK. Verizon is the big CDMA player here, and they use CDMA2000, which they still refer to as CDMA. (They won't provide new service to a plain older-style CDMA phone, either.)
AT&T *may* offer it in limited parts of the US, where they bought out older CDMA networks and are trying to convert them to GSM. (Part of the Cingular legacy, which included lots of different systems.) It is not generally available from AT&T though, and AT&T has a habit of installed lock software which forces the phone into the mode they prefer--and can't be overridden without reflashing the phones. That's on all their phones.
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Old 13-03-2009, 22:49   #24
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It sounds like things get easier after leaving the U.S.
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Old 14-03-2009, 05:59   #25
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Quote:
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Mark-
"Mine switches automatically and seamlessly in between the two," One cell phone with two radios in it?? For two systems?? That's unheard of in the US, . What phone is that?

.
Its NOT a phone! Its a modem with a SIM card that uses the mobile phone (cell phone) systems. It plugs into the USB port of the laptop
Its just brand new here, less than 6 months old.
It flicks between GPRS and WCDMA

The mob that supplies them is HUAWEI.com I think to all our telcos.

Hope this helps


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Old 14-03-2009, 08:03   #26
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I am at home, less than 30 miles from London. We can't get 3G here! But we can get it about 3 miles down the road. Very frustrating, but it kinda indicates the patchyness.

Offshore, you have a couple of options. Either Satellite or MF(SSB). To get perfect everywhere coverage costs an arm and a leg, Inmarsat Fleet being the most expensive, but also best. If you are a HAM, surely SSB would be the most economical solution for you?

You can also boost coverage from GSM PCN and the like, by using a beam antenna. Not sure how it works for 3G as never tried it, but on GSM we had some amazing results - some days - on others it was poor. Things have moved on from when we used it (like the internet was called skynet then) (age showing). We also used to use bursting on SSB then, as it cut the transmission size down, but it was only OK if the party at the other end could unpack. Sure there must be more on this nowadays. Wish I knew more about the subject. Hope someone on here does, as I want to move my office aboard the boat soon.
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Old 14-03-2009, 16:13   #27
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It flicks between GPRS and WCDMA
It flicks between GPRS, WCDMA and HSDPA

Look in the bottom left corner of these screen captures
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Old 14-03-2009, 16:38   #28
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Down the West Coast of WA

I utilised the 3G network whilst sailing down the West Australian coast from Darwin to Mandurah. The first signal I had was Cape Leveque, which was after some 4 weeks of sailing, from there on down I was able to pick up the signal some way off the major towns. I utilised the extended antenna up a halyard, an extra 4 meters of hight. I used the USB device as previously posted by MarkJ.

I still had some problems, after climbing the mast one windy evening (I was some 30 miles out) to call my wife she asked me to call back in 5 minutes as the dinner was just being prepared, my response was somewhat short!!!
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Old 14-03-2009, 16:50   #29
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[quote=Tim88;264440] sailing down the West Australian coast from Darwin to Mandurah. [quote]

Thats a wild a wooly coast! Must have been a great trip One of the most remote coasts in the world.
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Old 14-03-2009, 17:40   #30
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Mark, they've got you confused between protocols, and services.

WCDMA is your service type. Like Sprint in the US, Optus is using a non-standard band (frequency) for a special flavor of CDMA (WCDMA). Their older data system uses the GPRS protocol and that is widely deployed, being older. Since it is also slower--it is being replaced by HSDPA (High Speed Data Protocol).

You are not getting service on GSM at all. GSM, TDMA, AMPS, and CDMA, and CDMA2000 and WCDMA, are all service types. The lights on your USB cellular data modem (we have them in the US too, they range in size from PCMCIA cards to USB "flash drive" size) are just telling you that you have an older low-speed connection, or a newer high-speed connection. We call them WWAN (wireless wide area network) cards, a number of laptops offer them internally now.

We've got that same problem in the US as well, the carriers charge the same thing for cellular data regardless of the phone or WWAN capabilities. Oddly enough the carriers here also charge the same thing without any real competition, about $60/month for "unlimited" data that may be capped at 5GB per month. A couple of smaller players, like Boost (prepaid division of Sprint/Nextel using their oddball equipment) offer cheaper plans, but the reviews seem to indicate they're barely able to hold dial-up speeds.

I'd be surprised if your WCDMA equipment could be used out of Oz waters at all. It might work on the Sprint system in the US--but I'd be stunned if they didn't charge you an international roaming rate as well. Apparently Oz, like most of the US, hasn't bothered with the need for globally transparent cellular service.
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