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Old 17-03-2013, 18:11   #46
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Originally Posted by kiltym View Post

I am ok with $1.50-2.00/day while underway. Still way cheaper than an SSB install, and more convenient for us. But $4-5 was way to much which is why I started looking into all this in more detail.

I know UUplus works with Iridium, so would be surprised if you can't dial any data # from their phones.

Please elaborate on the text service you are alluding to, would be interesting.
Well on one crossing the owner wanted a weather fax ( equivalent ) everyday, the bill came to 600 $ from iridium.

Reading through the UUplus documentation, it doesn't supplant the connection , this is still TCP/IP via whatever method is used , in fact UUplus seems to use pop and smtp as well ,its just a clever server as it compresses and batches.

In that its similar to several other mail forwarding systems.

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Old 18-03-2013, 07:32   #47
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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Well on one crossing the owner wanted a weather fax ( equivalent ) everyday, the bill came to 600 $ from iridium.
Wow, that is a lot. Dont see how that could happen getting Gribs though. We used it every day to Galapagos, was on avg $5 (5 minutes)/day, $35. Across the Pacific, would be $150, but with a faster service, should be about $65.

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Reading through the UUplus documentation, it doesn't supplant the connection , this is still TCP/IP via whatever method is used , in fact UUplus seems to use pop and smtp as well ,its just a clever server as it compresses and batches.

In that its similar to several other mail forwarding systems.
I don't think this is 100% right. If you use UUPlus on a regular LAN connection, yes, it simply goes out over the internet to connect. You are only getting compression and probably better protocol than POP/IMAP to retrieve emails. When you dial into their server, you get no IP address, and are not on the internet, unlike when you use the standard (28) Inmarsat Gateway.

Here is a quote from the support of UUPlus when I posed some questions to them:

"The techno babble: XGate, and all other satellite phone software besides UUPlus, use IP based connections. IP is designed for connections with under 340 ms Round Trip Time (RTT) and 64 kbps (64,000 baud) speeds. Iridium and Inmarsat are about 750 ms RTT, Iridium has a 2.7 kbps (2700 baud), the Isatphone is just 1.7 kbps (1700 baud)."

Based on speed to download emails, and a separate dial-in #, I assume AmosConnect is similar.

Maybe they do use some form of sockets, but not sure how that would work without IP addresses. I am sure that UUPlus is not using POP/SMTP to communicate, nor is AmosConnect.
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Old 18-03-2013, 15:47   #48
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

I'm not sure where all this discussion about IP connections is going, but based on my experience testing it a few times, UUPlus manages your connection to the email server so it bypasses your regular internet connection (which is great since regular internet will never work with handheld satphone speed). Worked really well for me.

For email, I'd also suggest looking at Vizada Skyfile Mail . Very similar to UUPlus, and free as well. I used it a lot and found it simple & great.

I would agree that 5min a day is all you need for GRIB download, it won't cost you much at all, and really changes the way you navigate... Well worth it!
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Old 18-03-2013, 21:45   #49
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

I've been very, very happy with UUPlus. It can take direct control of an Iridium (skipping the overhead of the TCP/IP stack) and be supremely efficient: we were often able to handle all of our daily mail with less than one minute of airtime.
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Old 18-03-2013, 22:19   #50
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UUplus utilizes the good old UUCP protocol, which beats TCP/IP over satellite hands down. Any satphone with datamodem that can call telephone numbers works with this service.

UUCP is like the old BBS systems; it is short for Unix to Unix CoPy. It copies a highly compressed file that contains emails over the modem. I wrote an UUCP implementation for PC's a long time ago.

I have used UUplus in the past and the savings they advertise with are for real.
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Old 19-03-2013, 00:21   #51
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I've been very, very happy with UUPlus. It can take direct control of an Iridium (skipping the overhead of the TCP/IP stack) and be supremely efficient: we were often able to handle all of our daily mail with less than one minute of airtime.
I agree that 1-2min per day is possible for
grib-only download (no wx charts), so yes relatively affordable vs. the misconceptions often quoted by HF Pactor fans.

I was quoting 5min in my post above assuming 2x day GRIBs download (2 files each time: narrow area med res + broad area low res) + occasional text forecasts. All with Iridium 9555.

We had both Iridium 9555 and Isatphone Pro last summer and I strongly, strongly recommend the Iridium. The Isatphone's cheaper cost is an illusion - it takes much longer to connect (charges you for it), seems more liable to disconnect, is slower for data (lag time due to high altitude orbit), doesn't come with a dock for external antenna connection (very expensive to buy dock on its own), and requires a more expensive active antenna (due to geostationary satellite) vs cheap passive antenna on Iridium (small one comes standard with Iridium but better to buy a real one). Do the full system math for total cost + ease of use and Iridium feels like a hands-down winner. Various satcom retailers confirmed when I asked them last summer - they were getting lots of Isatphone returns from dissatisfied Isatphone data customers, no such issue with Iridium handhelds.

I don't think you need Xgate software, on the other hand. Well marketed and probably useful if you want wifi capability, but for pure satphone Vizada Skyfile Mail or UUplus seems very practical, also offer some compression, and are free.
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Old 19-03-2013, 09:43   #52
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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Originally Posted by galacticair View Post
We had both Iridium 9555 and Isatphone Pro last summer and I strongly, strongly recommend the Iridium. The Isatphone's cheaper cost is an illusion - it takes much longer to connect (charges you for it), seems more liable to disconnect, is slower for data (lag time due to high altitude orbit)
I don't agree. Yes, Iridium is faster, but the phone is about $1200 vs $550. Thats a lot of minutes.

Longer to connect, this only applies if you use Inmarsat Internet Gateway, not true if you use UUPlus or AmosConnect.

We have used it about 10 times so far, not one disconnect experienced.

Yes, it is slower for data, so about 1 minute on Iridium will take a bit < 2 on Inmarsat (assuming you use a services with direct-dial, not the Inmarsat Gateway). Dont forget about your minimum billing increment as well,as this can make this less of an issue. I have 15 sec increments on my IsatPhone, not sure what it is on the Iridium. Also, direct email from phone costs $.50 vs $1.00 on Iridium, which we used quite a bit.

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, doesn't come with a dock for external antenna connection (very expensive to buy dock on its own), and requires a more expensive active antenna (due to geostationary satellite) vs cheap passive antenna on Iridium (small one comes standard with Iridium but better to buy a real one). Do the full system math for total cost + ease of use and Iridium feels like a hands-down winner. Various satcom retailers confirmed when I asked them last summer - they were getting lots of Isatphone returns from dissatisfied Isatphone data customers, no such issue with Iridium handhelds.
I have never needed an external antenna, just put the phone outside if needed, and most of the time it works from inside the boat near a window always with 4-5 bars.

Not sure why you think this is needed, as it should not be considered part of your cost as it's an accessory that most people will not need.

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I don't think you need Xgate software, on the other hand. Well marketed and probably useful if you want wifi capability, but for pure satphone Vizada Skyfile Mail or UUplus seems very practical, also offer some compression, and are free.
UUPlus is not free. You can get a slightly cheaper account with www.SPSMail.net and if you purchase minutes through AST they will provide a free OnSatMail account (which is UUPlus). AmosConnect (does not use Inmarsat Gateway) and SkyFile (which I do not know if it uses Inmarsat Gateway or a seperate dial-in #), are both free for basic email.
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Old 19-03-2013, 10:08   #53
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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I don't agree. Yes, Iridium is faster, but the phone is about $1200 vs $550. Thats a lot of minutes.

(...)

I have never needed an external antenna, just put the phone outside if needed, and most of the time it works from inside the boat near a window always with 4-5 bars.

Not sure why you think this is needed, as it should not be considered part of your cost as it's an accessory that most people will not need.
Fair enough - I can see if you don't need an external antenna, the Isatphone Pro starts from a much lower cost base than an Iridium handheld.

However, I personally don't agree that an external antenna is unnecessary. It does likely depend on the boat and usage scenario, but my sense is that sitting in the cockpit pointing the antenna south (if you're in N hemisphere), hooked up to a laptop, is not something that is viable on many boats offshore. I can see it work on a cruising cat with a large centerpod, flat work areas and windows (can then use the phone indoors from the pod), but in few other scenarios.

As an other example of the helpfulness of an external antenna, we tried doing a voice call from the cockpit with the Isatphone in the middle of the English channel, antenna pointing clear south, and it didn't connect. So we went down below and used the Iridium hooked up to external antenna - worked right on, plus with less wind, less spray to deal with.

Our Iridium antenna was a very affordable $195 (aviation antenna with suction cap that we just stick on a window with ~270degree + horizon view). In contrast, hooking up the Isatphone to one costs >$850-1000 if I recall (dock + antenna). At that point the cost/efficiency advantage starts to favor the Iridium in my opinion...
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Old 19-03-2013, 13:29   #54
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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It does likely depend on the boat and usage scenario, but my sense is that sitting in the cockpit pointing the antenna south (if you're in N hemisphere), hooked up to a laptop, is not something that is viable on many boats offshore. I can see it work on a cruising cat with a large centerpod, flat work areas and windows (can then use the phone indoors from the pod), but in few other scenarios.
We use a USB extension cable so the phone was outside with good signal, and work is done inside at the nav table, basically an external antenna.

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As an other example of the helpfulness of an external antenna, we tried doing a voice call from the cockpit with the Isatphone in the middle of the English channel, antenna pointing clear south, and it didn't connect. So we went down below and used the Iridium hooked up to external antenna - worked right on, plus with less wind, less spray to deal with.
Connection issue aside as not sure why you did not connect, a solution for this with the IsatPhone is use a bluetooth headset (since the Isatphone supports bluetooth) and leave the phone outside.

Both cheap solutions for the external antenna concerns. No doubt that Iridium is probably the better service, but for a pretty significant price difference. I think the IsatPhone is a much more cost effective option, and with a good non-internet based email service, email is a very viable and also cost effective way to get weather on both platforms.
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Old 19-03-2013, 13:36   #55
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

So, how is the talk quality with the IsatPhone and how does it compare to the Iridium phone?
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Old 19-03-2013, 14:31   #56
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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So, how is the talk quality with the IsatPhone and how does it compare to the Iridium phone?
I have limited experience using voice on IsatPhone Pro/Iridium 9555, but from what I've seen call quality seems comparable. I once did voice calls (satphone to mobile) testing both units back-to-back for ~5min each, and didn't think any one was markedly better or worse. Both worked well.

However, one satphone vendor told me IsatPhone Pro and geostationary orbit is better for voice quality...

Would love to hear if anyone has a view on this.
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Old 19-03-2013, 14:47   #57
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

I have an older, fixed install Inmarsat phone and find the delay is long due to the greater distance to the satellites. The Isatphone uses the same geostationary satellites so I guess it performs similar under good conditions. My phone has a dish antenna so I'm a bit worried about the small Isatphone antenna...
I never used an Iridium phone so I can't compare it.

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I have limited experience using voice on IsatPhone Pro/Iridium 9555, but from what I've seen call quality seems comparable. I once did voice calls (satphone to mobile) testing both units back-to-back for ~5min each, and didn't think any one was markedly better or worse. Both worked well.

However, one satphone vendor told me IsatPhone Pro and geostationary orbit is better for voice quality...

Would love to hear if anyone has a view on this.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:03   #58
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

Through a Fleet terminal, at least, Inmarsat usually sounds clearer than Iridium. But Inmarsat has a slight delay that is just long enough to throw off my sense of conversational timing and make me feel a little awkward. If both people are used to high tempo back and forth conversations, they have to consciously moderate that and wait a few beats for the other person to talk -- otherwise you get collisions where you both start talking at once, or what seems like a thoughtful and pregnant pause is really just a normal pause.

Both systems work great, but I prefer Iridium since the delay is below that threshold, it sounds more like a cell phone, and so my conversations feel more natural.
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Old 12-01-2014, 01:49   #59
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

I know this is an old thread but I've just ordered an Iridium 9555 and really want to know the best way to download grib files whilst at sea. My main concern is background internet activity costing me money and bandwith. What does everyone use as a firewall. Also what are the best programs to use to download gribs. I can use Opencpn to view them but where does everyone else go to download them? Whats the file size etc to make sure it's keeping connection time to a minimum?

Thanks

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Old 12-01-2014, 03:22   #60
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

If you use the search function on CF you will find a wealth of answers to your questions.

We kept it simple and used XGATE compression software on a laptop to download email and the GRIBs via Home Page This was efficient and cost effective. Vary the GRIB resolution and size based on situation and requirements.

If the connection is dropped XGATE picks up where it left off on the reconnect. We did not have dropped calls on our crossings as the signal was strong.

Other folks have reported good experiences with other compression software for the Iridium.
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