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Old 19-02-2010, 18:10   #1
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Iridium Sat Phone - Any Tips, Please

I am looking to buy an iridium ph in USA for ph communications and primarily weather grib-file access on a Pacific crossing through the Panama canal and through to NZ this year. Have read that access through the equatorial regions of the Pacific is not as good as elsewhere. Also, beyond signing up with a provider and buying prepaid minutes how do you connect with a laptop to weather sites eg Passagemaker.com, is any extra software required. At this stage could do with some pointers. Comments on a good model to buy would be appreciated. Cheers
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Old 19-02-2010, 18:56   #2
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Buy the newest model because it has the modem build in. Fewer cables, less hassle.

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Old 20-02-2010, 15:45   #3
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Just be aware that at 2400 baud ( or compressed 9600) charges can mount up. On a transatlantic run I used it to download weather faxs once a day, run up a 900 dollar bill.!. I also found that sometimes i had to redial several times and that the connection didit hold from time to time, all this increased the charges

Forget about web browsing or anything like that, infatc you need to sign up with an email filter compnay , like mailasail or some such service.

I am using the older 9500 handset , that I got on ebay for 400 dollars, you need a software upgrade for these to work, with iridium direct IP. The neweer phones will be fine. The latest has usb for direct connection to a PC, the older used serial.
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Old 20-02-2010, 19:34   #4
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My experience is that Iridium is OK for voice, great for sms, and just marginal for data. Their Open Port might be better for data though.

So why not get the weather via a SSB receiver/laptop and use the Iridium for voice only (if at all)?

Alternative - get someone onshore to sms you the weather - I did this for many of my friends during their passages.

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Old 24-02-2010, 02:48   #5
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I agree primarily with Barnakiel. In my experience the Iridium is only REALLY of use in this situation for voice and sms. Depending on your budget you could look at FleetBroadband 150. Although it has a higher cost at first, the terminal will get you a full service of voice, sms and from 150kbps for e-mail / internet for general surfing, weather information etc. Also, apart from the extreme poles it covers you globally so you’ll never be stuck without data.

Hope that helps
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Old 24-02-2010, 02:57   #6
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I got the new 9555 handset and that works well for voice calls, but my data transmission rates are abyssmally low.
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Old 24-02-2010, 04:55   #7
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I found it faster to download via FTP rather than email. You end up with a much larger area than if you used, say, mailasail but it was quicker than logging on to email (thunderbird) and downloading there. Though if you are logging on anyway to check email there isnīt much to be gained. Uploading direct to a website seemed faster via ftp as well. My airtime ran out so I just use weatherfax now. Canīt remember the website i used to download from, might have been noaa??
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Old 24-02-2010, 10:43   #8
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Using OCENSMail or similar software makes using the Iridium for email and weather downloads relatively fast, convenient and inexpensive.
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:26   #9
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anybody know what sat phone and internet weather options are out there for use around the png and soloman isl regions..is tharaya an option?
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skimbo View Post
anybody know what sat phone and internet weather options are out there for use around the png and soloman isl regions..is tharaya an option?
They say they are

It's what I had been sniffing at on this thread
Wanted: Satellite Phone

Thuraya Handsets - Applied Satelite Technology AST Australia
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:07   #11
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Used iridium across Tasman and Coral Seas, no problem until I hit the Australian coastline. But that's typical for any comms here. Weather updates I had texted daily. If you don't reply to the text it costs you nothing. The more soft ware/hardware whatever, the more problems. Keen advocate of KISS. Even weather reports get it wrong. Weather router and daily updates were mostly inaccurate. But I had fun getting here. Currently at Innisfail just south of Cairns in Queensland OZ.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:22   #12
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i second gosstyla's remarks. we used a 9555 on our recent trip from South Africa to the Caribbean. OCENS software was great for e-mail and the weather products great similar in style to passagemaker.com. stuck the antenna out a hatch and one usb cable to the computer and we were good to go. one person onboard was using the ssb/laptop setup which seemed to be more work. would not recommend iridium 9555 for surfing the internet.
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