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Old 27-07-2014, 13:02   #1
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Sat-fi vs. SSB

Besides cost, what are the pros and cons of Sat-fi vs. SSB?
I am considering purchasing an SSB as a way to get weather and email when offshore but have always wanted broadband internet so I could work while traveling. Satellite data subscription costs have been coming down & recent Sat-fi equipment such as the Inmarsat IsatHub iSavi bring broadband within reach.
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Old 27-07-2014, 13:27   #2
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Last time I checked satellite broadband internet connections it was $25-$30/MB. That sounds expensive to me. Plus a few thousand for the hardware.

SSB is cheaper but much slower.
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Old 27-07-2014, 18:19   #3
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

If you are OK with the data costs I would go satellite. The Iridium Go is intriguing.

I am a tentative SSB fan - I am waiting for someone to post a thread that says - "Bought Radio Model XYZ, plugged it in and it works."

You still have to be somewhat of a rocket scientist to make HF work. I will eventually have, it, will learn to make it work but it is a skill to be learned.

I think Satphone data costs are gonna be a killer if you are truly expecting Broadband capability.
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Old 27-07-2014, 18:32   #4
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Sat-fi just way too spendy for me.SSB gets the job done for life protection and occasional converstaion.Within 40 miles of coast amplified extender cell mi-fi way to go cost effectively.With addition of a wi-fi set up also,I suppose.
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Old 27-07-2014, 18:51   #5
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

There is a long thread already on this topic with all sides represented:
SSB or SatPhone ?

Let's not reinvent the wheel.
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Old 27-07-2014, 20:08   #6
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Not an either / or question; every well found yacht should have VHF and HF comms; Sat Comms are a luxury that can come in handy but I like to be independent of shore side services for mission critical items....
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Old 27-07-2014, 22:19   #7
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
There is a long thread already on this topic with all sides represented:
SSB or SatPhone ?

Let's not reinvent the wheel.
I think OP is specifically talking about data communications. That other thread - while valid - seems to have the same protagonists arguing about voice comms and safety, etc...
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Old 27-07-2014, 22:56   #8
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

There are many, many more companies than those that advertise in USA. Countries have different licensing laws to protect local companies, but that means USA get to pay USA prices. And once you are signed up, its a global service. Some are cheaper than cell phone roaming.

But consider that wifi is free and pervasive almost worldwide outside USA. Maybe just suck it up and unplug while underway. Most any bar has wifi today.
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Old 28-07-2014, 06:41   #9
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigIdea View Post
...such as the Inmarsat IsatHub iSavi bring broadband within reach.
They are not offering what, I think, most people would consider "broadband." Service rates up to a maximum of 384 kbps. My home service right now--the slowest and cheapest that my provider offers--is 15 mbps, or 40 times that fast.

Still, 384 kbps is pretty good for a satellite. It's a lot better than what you'll get via SSB. It would be very good speed for plain text e-mails, and you can even send and receive reasonably-sized binary files at that speed. Websites that are designed for slow-speed connections would work. Some other websites would probably be okay, too, assuming they don't have too much in the way of graphics.

Just don't expect to be surfin' the web like you do at home, or when connected to a wifi service at someplace like Starbucks or McDonalds. This is way, way slower than that.

And, of course, the website gives no indication of what this is going to cost you. Don't expect it to be cheap.
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Old 28-07-2014, 07:30   #10
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

you're right about the HF. I've been trying for three days to get a weather fax from a SSB receiver and a tablet. If I had been dependent upon this actually working out of the box, or even with some help, I'd be up the proverbial creek.

For weather and emergencies, I think it's pretty obvious that if you can call someone ashore with a sat phone, they can look up and read you everything you need with no hassle whatsoever. Plus you get to speak with someone of your choice, whom you know.

And if it's an emergency and you need help, your shore support can call the appropriate authorities and do a much better job of bugging them than you'll ever do sitting there for hours trying to fine tune a SSB and then hope you can decipher what actually comes out of the speaker.

Hearing impaired? Forget SSB.
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Old 28-07-2014, 08:17   #11
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

A properly installed SSB radio, antenna, ground system is extremely reliable. There is never a time when I cannot talk with someone. You do need a basic understanding of what frequency to use depending on time of day and your location....there is software available to help with this. If you are not technically skilled to do the installation, pay a professional to do it correctly. You will enjoy a properly installed SSB radio for email, Wefax, life & safety, ship to shore phone, general conversation on the area nets.
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Old 28-07-2014, 08:25   #12
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

I do agree with the reliability of a SSB as I was always able to get daily weather,email or weather faxes but it has to be set up properly and I had certain times of the day that I would use. It does take more skill/knowledge to operate a SSB compared to a sat phone but its not that much.
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Old 28-07-2014, 08:32   #13
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

I understand that for many it's a hobby. A very useful hobby. But for someone looking for simple and reliable and who is not looking for a new hobby, SSB is dated. I'm sure it was the cat's meow back in the day, but that day is gone. The stereotype of the HAM operator sitting in a quiet basement with his headphones surrounded by boxes with knobs and switches and dials and cables running everywhere is a stereotype for a reason. It's typical. I'm not knocking SSB for those that like it. But for those who just want to open a box, read the instruction manual once, and start using it, SSB is not that kind of thing at all. It's not simple, nor easy unless you plan to immerse yourself in it.

As for the advice to "hire a professional", well, that's useless to me, personally. There are none here to hire. And this brings up another point, if I have to hire a professional to make something on the boat work because it's beyond me, well, I really don't want that equipment on the boat. It needs to be something I can operate and repair. Or cheap enough to carry a spare. This, too, is not SSB.
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Old 28-07-2014, 08:45   #14
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Number one, SSB is far from dated....the HMS Bounty crew was saved because the only comm working was SSB Winlink,
SAT phone was useless. FEMA has a redundant SSB network in place which I am a participant.
That said, It does not take a professional to install properly if one has basic skills and takes the time to understand and get good advice on how to install. This is not intended as a debate just good advice from a boating communications professional.
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Old 28-07-2014, 08:59   #15
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Re: Sat-fi vs. SSB

Canibul..
A modern SSB comes completely set up for a plug and play modem that receives and transmits email and also receives both grib files as well as weather faxes. Todays modems are very sensitive and can receive weather and email when voice can't even be heard, all for a fixed fee of $250 per year and you can use them every day. The high seas operators are back on the air with powerful direction antennas that allow you to make phone calls for a buck a minute without having to prebuy a package of minutes like is offered on a Sat phone. All in all a pretty nice system. I also have a Sat phone onboard but it is used strictly as back up however I know there are many out there that prefer this system, its just more expensive and has certain limitations.
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