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Old 04-04-2012, 12:18   #16
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

Chris,
You're welcome...it's nice to hear when some of my ramblings help!!!
(and, coincidently just last week I was looking thru old family photos of some of my early cruising life....starting in the 1960's as a kid....)

And as for the detailed info above, I forgot to include a couple links that are on-point....

a) Regarding the M-802 "working correctly"....check out my SSCA post discussing the "clipping issue" with older M-802.....
SSCA Forum • View topic - Icom M-802 "Clipping Issue" - Revisited....

b) Regarding Xgate.....here's their website....
Satellite Phone Email| Iridium 9555, Inmarsat, Globalstar via XGate | GMN

c) If contacting Atlantic Radiotelephone, understand that they do get busy, and you may wait a few days to get someone on-board....


Fair winds...

John
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Old 04-04-2012, 15:16   #17
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

As the OP is looking to "reduce the hassle", this is my advice:

Buy a Furuno weatherfax receiver with it's optional active antenna. If cruising in & around the USA, also buy a Furuno Sirius satellite weather receiver. Let a dealer install this for you incl. the software on your laptops et.

Next, ask a HAM-cruiser to explain you how to use the SSB to talk with other boats direct and on the daily net, how to call for help etc.

Next, program the numbers for SAR RCC's into the satphone. Find a cruiser with the same hardware to help you install & configure the email software. Use a compression service like UUplus etc.

Forget about email on SSB... it's a hassle.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:37   #18
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

1) While I AGREE with Nick, that a dedicated WeFax receiver is one of the best approaches (I have a Furuno FAX-408, which replaced my Alden MarineFaxIV a few years ago)......
This would require tulasg to buy a new piece of gear (and spend > $2000 for it), which he pointedly wrote he did not wish to do....
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
As the OP is looking to "reduce the hassle", this is my advice:
Buy a Furuno weatherfax receiver....




2) Assuming he has an M-802, in my opinion, he should verify that it is configured / wired correctly, AND that he has a new MMSI number programmed into it, as well as a reliable GPS (preferablly a separate dedicated GPS) sending NMEA position data to the M-802 at all times (and of course, his DSC-VHF radio as well), thereby allowing him to fully utilize the DSC Functions of the M-802, especially the Distress Signaling.....

And, very importantly, verify that the "clipping mod" has been done to this radio.....I still hear M-802's on the air, and the owners have no idea that their radio has a problem (most have just been told that this is just the way HF radio is).....
Tulsag, READ THIS THREAD.....
http://forum.ssca.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12547

Programming the relevant MRCC phone numbers into your satphone(s) is a good idea.....But, does not remove the responsibility for having a properly working (and properly set-up) MF/HF-DSC radio.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Next, program the numbers for SAR RCC's into the satphone.




3) But, unfortunately nowadays, here I must respectfully disagree....
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Next, ask a HAM-cruiser to explain you how to use the SSB to talk with other boats direct and on the daily net, how to call for help etc.
Yes, there are ham-cruisers that ARE experienced radio ops / techs, etc....But, they are rare thesedays!!!
Heck, even knowledgeable, experienced, and educated hams (on-shore or otherwise) are rare thesedays!!!

Since he and his boat are in S. Florida, where there are many marine electronics shops, and many experienced with HF-maritime comms, AND since tulsag wrote that he isn't opposed to spending a few $$, I'd recommend getting a trained professional on-board first, that can verify that things are working / configured correctly....and if they do not have the time to fully teach tulsag the specifics of HF radio operations, then having a seasoned maritime op / experienced "ham-cruiser" on-board to show him the ropes IS a good idea!!!






4) If choosing to go with OCENS or XGate, this step may be unnecessary....as they DO provide excellent customer support....(and if paying a "pro" to install / configure things, make sure they also show you how-to use everything!!!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Find a cruiser with the same hardware to help you install & configure the email software. Use a compression service like UUplus etc.





Hoping to hear back from you tulsag.....to see if any of this has helped???

John
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Old 05-04-2012, 13:14   #19
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

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Originally Posted by shabbab View Post
So weather emails cost you less than 30 EUR for a normal atlantic crossing. That is if you are eligible for a prepaid isatphone SIM (US customers can't get these, ask your Homeland Security for the reasons).
US customers can purchase prepaid SIM cards for Iridium satphones. I don't know anything about the Inmarsat system, but I've purchased a prepaid Iridium SIM within the past month.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:07   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shabbab

Why not use the iSatPhone as a modem to retrieve emails? Use saildocs.com to subscribe to free daily grib files so they send you a grib each day tailored to your needs. You can change this subscription while underway to adjust the area covered. We used onsatmail.com as a free ISP, providing a fast and reliable email compression.

Works like a charm, costs slightly above 1 airtime minute per day for retrieving the daily grib and sending / receiving the odd text email. Worked every day of our crossings.
So weather emails cost you less than 30 EUR for a normal atlantic crossing. That is if you are eligible for a prepaid isatphone SIM (US customers can't get these, ask your Homeland Security for the reasons). Regular postpaid plans are for some reason more expenive.

But one thing: If you don't know how to set it up, read all docs you can find. If you still can't figure out, ask someone in your marina who did it. If this is not enough then I'd say this stuff is too complex for you and you should not rely on it anyway because you won't be able to fix it if something is wrong.
I had a buddy to whom I explained it but for some reason or another he fell back to getting SMS from his brother because he could not figure out how to fix it.

For local weather in the Med you will never be outside cell range for longer periods except for a few hours on a passage between the islands. In fact we even had permanent 3g cell coverage from Mallorca to Ibiza without disruption.

You can get a decent prepaid 3g data plan for next to nothing. E.g. Spain Carrefour costs 1 EUR per day you use it, free if you don't use it. Yoigo gives you a one month / 500 MB prepaid data plan for 8 EUR.
My first crossing I used 800 $ of iridium airtime downloading weather. I've learned to be much more economical since.

I agree with nick, HF weather fax is very useful.

Dave
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:31   #21
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsag View Post
I am going to be sailing in Europe next year and I want to learn the best way to have weather and E-mail services to a laptop from the best combination of the above assets.
I do not intend to debate, but we are in Europe and 3/4ths through our circumnavigation, and I think you should simply buy an unlocked 3G modem and buy Pre-Paid SIM cards for the area you are sailing in. The Internet will provide you the best information that you are looking for. Pre-paid SIM cards are common in Europe and the Internet time is very cheap...as low as $20/month.

You will also use the Internet access for other things. You will never be far from an Internet connection. I would also add an external WiFi solution with an amplifier.

Sorry that I added a variable, but I am giving you real-time and real-life experience.

SSB and Sat phones are good to have when Ocean crossing...each for a different reason, but I will not say more, because that will likely start a debate of another nature.

Bill
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:55   #22
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

tulsag,
It's been 10 days since we posted the answers to your questions, and offered you referals to those locally......
But we haven't heard back from you if you read thru the answers....

Please let us know!!!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 12-04-2012, 17:49   #23
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
tulsag,
It's been 10 days since we posted the answers to your questions, and offered you referals to those locally......
But we haven't heard back from you if you read thru the answers....
probably sold the info to his customer...


Nick.
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Old 19-04-2012, 09:36   #24
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

tulsag,
Well another week has passed since we gave you great detailed answers, and we're now 2 1/2 weeks into this....but still have heard nothing back from you????
(I even sent you a private message, with no response)
I do hope that all is well???

Perhaps Nick is corrrect....and I'm wondering how foolish do I look spending my time attempting to help someone who cannot even repsond.....
(maybe next time, I'll just not bother???)


Still wishing you good luck and fair winds....

John
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Old 19-04-2012, 10:42   #25
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

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Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
(maybe next time, I'll just not bother???)
They got the info and don't bother to send thanks or come back with follow-up until the next time they need you, use you and dispose of you

This is the new way I guess as I see it happen more and more. It's like a prelude to Waterworld I'll better stop or the mods find more reason to bash me

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 25-04-2012, 18:37   #26
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
tulsag,
Well another week has passed since we gave you great detailed answers, and we're now 2 1/2 weeks into this....but still have heard nothing back from you????
(I even sent you a private message, with no response)
I do hope that all is well???

Perhaps Nick is corrrect....and I'm wondering how foolish do I look spending my time attempting to help someone who cannot even repsond.....
(maybe next time, I'll just not bother???)


Still wishing you good luck and fair winds....

John
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No, please bother!! I am probably just one of many who, though I haven't posted (until now) I have been watching and learning nevertheless. Thank you for your excellent response to the OP which has answered some things for me and confirmed others.

Many thanks
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Old 25-04-2012, 19:44   #27
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

From two summers' experience cruising from Exumas to Maine:

1) I quickly sold the SSB since I found I never used it.
2) 95% or more of my data communications has been via cell phone. On rare occasions, I use a long-range Wifi antenna- almost always having to pay for a connection. I use the cell phone connection so regularly that I'm usually looking for the next anchorage online as I sail.
3) I carry a satellite phone with data connection possibilities, but I've never actually used it at sea. I've been rehearsing a bit with it in anticipation of an offshore passage from the Carolinas to the Far Bahamas next month, but I wonder how much I'll actually use it.
4) Since I do some online work while I cruise (teach online college courses), I have to stay in touch every weekday. The first summer I did this, there was a lot of stress trying to find a way to connect to the net regularly. I learned rehearsal, rehearsal, and rehearsal was the key. None of these technologies works out of the box without glitches. Plus the network capabilities, coverage, compatibility, and billing schemes vary as you move. Since the cellphone route is likely to be the most used by far, you should put more time and effort into researching and rehearsing that in advance.

If the O.P. isn't paying attention, other new cruisers will, so this thread is not a waste, IMHO.
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Old 26-04-2012, 07:15   #28
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

Greg and Tia Bu,
Thanks for the kind words!!!

And, yes I agree that this thread should be helpful to many....
But...
But, since my responses to the original poster's query were VERY specific to his particular set-up (as he emphatically stated that he did not wish to add/change things, but rather just use what he had), I hope that others reading this will understand that, and NOT believe that these recommendations apply to every application.....
(not to mention the time which I wasted answering his specific questions


I am glad that it has helped others!!!

Fair winds...

John
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Old 26-04-2012, 07:42   #29
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

Ka4wja
I'm in the Miami region, based at DKM until June and will move to marathon in June
We intend to cruise the Bahamas next winter.
I have an SSB Icom 710 and a Practor modem recently installed
I have used it to listen to some channel so far but nothing more
I'll be glad to have somebody guiding me and teaching me how to use the SSB and modem.
Can you recommend somebody?
Thanks
Alec
PS: I always answer and I thank people giving their advices... :-)
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Old 26-04-2012, 08:28   #30
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Re: Optimum SSB/satphone combo setup

John (Ka4wja), just another thanks for taking the time to write up your informative post. Very useful.
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