Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-06-2011, 04:00   #1
Registered User
 
GypsyHawk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Boat: Van De Stadt "Helena" 38
Posts: 56
Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

A current thread on another forum topic (purchase of airtime from Ocens) has made me think about this. When I bought our phone prior to last years trip to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, along with the many other decisions, was how much prepaid airtime would we need. We researched best deals from resellers and even though in Australia ended buying 500 minutes over 12 months from Global Marine Networks.

This expires tomorrow and I have about 250 minutes left which will lapse. If I had known this I would have saved a lot of money and only bought 250 minutes.

Pattern of use: over five months of sailing the phone was used on most days for downloading weather grib files. While in Vanuatu it was used each day to download the local met services weather reports. Both invaluable. Also the occasional phone call home from various locations when away from land-based cell phone services.
__________________

__________________
GypsyHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 04:28   #2
Registered User
 
felixqld66's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Phuket Thailand for the moment
Boat: Landfall 39 built 1982
Posts: 138
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

Thanks for posting this it gives a real world gauge to how much to buy...over 12mths the 500mins would have been close!

How much did the 500 mins cost?


You made the best choice you could at the time tho......you wont be able to reply for a while as you will be busy using up the other 250mins...

cheers Alex
__________________

__________________
felixqld66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 04:50   #3
Registered User
 
GypsyHawk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Boat: Van De Stadt "Helena" 38
Posts: 56
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

I can't remember how much it cost, which probably means it was more than I wanted to pay . I did work out that it would be around $1.50 a minute so maybe the 500 minutes was $750. That would have been U.S. which was more to me at the time. I do recall that 200 minutes over 6 months would have cost $500, so 500 minutes over a year was a much better deal. If I could have used it.
__________________
GypsyHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 05:41   #4
Registered User
 
GypsyHawk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Boat: Van De Stadt "Helena" 38
Posts: 56
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

How could I forget. The pattern of use also included sending and receiving emails via XGate on average 3-4 times per week over that five month period.
__________________
GypsyHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 05:59   #5
Eternal Member
 
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

How long did it take to get the grib files, and download them?.......i2f
__________________
SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
BORROWED..No single one of is as smart as all of us!
http://sailingwithcancer.blogspot.com/
imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 06:21   #6
Registered User
 
GypsyHawk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Boat: Van De Stadt "Helena" 38
Posts: 56
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

I can remember watching the timer on the phone (charging is in one minute intervals I think). Usually the downloads were within 60 secs, sometimes a little more. Also the advantage of the XGate email sofware was that if I got disconnected the downlaod would continue on reconnection, not start over again.

Sometimes I would download the grib files and send and receive two or three emails within 60 secs, usually a little more.
__________________
GypsyHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 07:07   #7
Eternal Member
 
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

Thanks,

That's good to know, we are contemplating purchasing a sat phone to get from Panma to S.F. via Hawaii. We are trying to figure out what kind of time to purchase........i2f
__________________
SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
BORROWED..No single one of is as smart as all of us!
http://sailingwithcancer.blogspot.com/
imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 07:43   #8
Registered User
 
funjohnson's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Currently Indiantown FL
Boat: 37' aluminum pilothouse "Elements"
Posts: 1,847
Re: Iridium phone - how much prepaid airtime to buy

Thanks for posting this great information. This will help me also determine the operating cost vs a SSB. Did you use an external antenna with your phone? How was coverage... any issues with connecting?
__________________
funjohnson is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 16:49   #9
Registered User
 
GypsyHawk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Boat: Van De Stadt "Helena" 38
Posts: 56
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

I am pleased the information has been helpful. We used the supplied puck antenna extension only - not the best option but it worked most of the time. We have a hard dodger so I could get the antenna outside without getting wet in big seas or rain, but this wasn't necessary all of the time. There were times when it couldn't get or couldn't sustain a connection, but thankfully they didn't last for long. Next trip would love to think about upgrading to a docking station and fixed external antenna, but we can't have everything we want at once (can we?)

I made a choice for the Iridium phone over a Pactor modem for the SSB (again because I couldn't have both). I don't regret the choice although a modem would be good as well.

As far as the SSB goes, it was invaluable on its own. Used mostly for cruising net scheds and staying in touch with great people we met on the way. And for listening to Radio Australia, Radio NZ and BBC World Service.
__________________
GypsyHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 17:12   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 393
Images: 2
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyHawk View Post
A current thread on another forum topic (purchase of airtime from Ocens) has made me think about this. When I bought our phone prior to last years trip to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, along with the many other decisions, was how much prepaid airtime would we need. We researched best deals from resellers and even though in Australia ended buying 500 minutes over 12 months from Global Marine Networks.

This expires tomorrow and I have about 250 minutes left which will lapse. If I had known this I would have saved a lot of money and only bought 250 minutes.

Pattern of use: over five months of sailing the phone was used on most days for downloading weather grib files. While in Vanuatu it was used each day to download the local met services weather reports. Both invaluable. Also the occasional phone call home from various locations when away from land-based cell phone services.

You can EXTEND your time for 30 days for 59$.

other deals also... so quickly.. before the day is out...
__________________
h20man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 17:50   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ocean Grove Aus
Boat: adams 40
Posts: 70
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

GH Thanks also.

I have also been pondering the satfone/SSB question for transceiving limited digital info such as grib files, short cryptic emails to friends.

I have the SSB gear already both a ham and marine sets and was a ham Op so no worries there except for the overpriced closed proprietary pactor3 modems and possibly limited airtime if using sailmail for instance. Pactor 1/2 is cheaper but probably not worth it.. I will try out the robustness of the alternative ham winlink system ( at basic only needs a soundcard) but Im not sure of how reliable it is now and suspect stations may be sparse and possibly diminishing inn umber as time passes???. SSB also needs quite a few amps using the pactor 3 protocol. Good to know SSB voice is still usefull.

Since the sat phone capital cost is similar to pactor3 price its only a question of paying for air time. Big advantage is you can take the phone to the liferaft,emergency phone when on land, and overall probably more reliable than SSB.

For those in Oz -perhaps the Northern half and not NZ - the Dubai based Thurahah satellite might be more cost effective as its directed to asia where fixed services are not as extensive- it seemed to be cheaper than Iridium last time I checked (update- I think MarkJ had something to say on this but memory dim). I understand its better to arrange a deal outside of Oz but with the govt. remote area phone subsidy available ($1000?) this might affect this.

Will have to check out Xgate but I was thinking of having a personal server located at a friends place to log into in a similar fashion. This would be customised to code/compress only the actual data required at the time. Something to do for those fong days at sea when we do set sail. Probably a year off needing it so in that time sat prices might come down further Ha ha.
__________________
otya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 18:32   #12
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

I purchase 30-day prepaid sim cards for my phone when I'll be needing it. That way I'm not paying for the phone when I'm in places where I can use wireless.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 23:03   #13
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,871
Images: 4
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by otya View Post
Will have to check out Xgate but I was thinking of having a personal server located at a friends place to log into in a similar fashion. This would be customised to code/compress only the actual data required at the time.
Do be aware that compression is only part of the process. XGate (and other satphone-specific servers) use a different protocol, not your basic TCP/IP. The sat-aware protocol is optimized for the long latency and not-infrequent signal dropouts seen in satellite comms. This involves the handshake, timeout, and restart protocols and makes a huge difference in real-world throughput.
__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 23:53   #14
Registered User
 
Misiu's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bocas del Toro, Panama
Boat: Catalina 30 "Niunia"
Posts: 180
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

Excellent thread - thank you. Will get much less minutes than I initially wanted.
I am still trying to decide if I want Iridium or Isatphone. As far as I can judge from the limited unbiased info available they are comparable.
__________________
Michał
"The acquisition of the knowledge of navigation has a strange effect on the minds of men." /Jack London/
Misiu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2011, 01:53   #15
Registered User
 
GypsyHawk's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Boat: Van De Stadt "Helena" 38
Posts: 56
Re: Iridium Phone - How Much Prepaid Airtime to Buy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I purchase 30-day prepaid sim cards for my phone when I'll be needing it. That way I'm not paying for the phone when I'm in places where I can use wireless.
Thanks, a good idea which I will check out. I won't extend my current account because I am currently in port, phone not needed. Al
__________________

__________________
GypsyHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
iridium

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sat Phone Data / Airtime Questions SV Demeter Marine Electronics 41 08-12-2011 10:51
Minimising Iridium Airtime Costs riddon Marine Electronics 3 11-02-2011 05:21
Which Iridium Phone ? Moondance38 Marine Electronics 2 10-07-2010 23:03
Best price/place to buy Iridium 9555+airtime jens_elsborg Marine Electronics 2 02-09-2009 02:38



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:56.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.