I have recently purchased an Delorme Inreach to augment the satphone but am now considering getting rid of the satphone.
Costs $300 and $15/month for service (and the $15 can be turned on or off as desired online). There is no SIM. The $15 gets you 10 monthly messages and $0.50 for each additional ($69 gets you unlimited messages)
It sends 160 character messages to any email address (and recipients can send messages back). Longer messages are combined into one email. But as any teenager knows, you can say a lot in 160 characters
Ocens offers a limited weather service that gives you 72 hour weather for $80/yr but I just have a shoreside friend send me a 160 character forecast
It uses the Iridium network, has a staffed emergency center, and confirms both satellite
availability and message successfully sent (messages seem to go in less than 60 seconds). It is "always on", you don't have to check for messages and it beeps when one arrives. There's no screwing around with USB or computer connections or even a login.
It connects by bluetooth to my iphone
. I leave the Inreach under the dodger
(seems to work through the dodger
fine and it goes four days on a charge) and then use the iphone
from inside the cabin
. The Inreach is waterproof and could go in a liferaft
I really think it's the biggest step forward in offshore
safety/communications since the EPIRB.