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Old 27-06-2011, 13:59   #1
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Sat Phone vs SSB

Just purchased a new yacht (39 ft ketch) and now getting her ready for a world cruise and thinking of communication budget. I don't believe I need both (?) but would love to hear the pro's and con's about them both.

Cheers..... Matt
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:08   #2
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

Unfortunately, no time for a full response (my wife just called for a pickup at the Metro).

Here's the short version:

Yes, you could very well use both. They are very DIFFERENT...they cannot be directly compared.

Think about both SSB and satphone and, while you're at it, think about getting a General Class ham license for the SSB. VERY, VERY useful....worldwide.

Bill
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:11   #3
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

And do a search of the forums here, since there have been some very good discussions on the subject. Of course we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:21   #4
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

Cheers... will have a search, once I figure out this site (very new to these sites, lots to take in). We shall see......
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:45   #5
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

Here are some of the more recent discussions:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...t=satphone+ssb

Sat Phone Data / Airtime Questions

SSB radio or satellite phone?

Get Another SSB or Go for a Sat Phone ?

The second one is about satphone airtime costs. There are some strong opinions, and while these discussions cover a lot of the same ground, they do outline the pros and cons. There is no incorrect answer -- both SSB or satphone can be very useful.
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Old 27-06-2011, 15:58   #6
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

Satphone - less energy required, less gear required, fewer things to go wrong, way easier interface and procedures.

SSB - nice to have, should the satphone fail.

b.
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:34   #7
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

A few more things to contemplate...

Satphone:
  • one-to-one communication (point-to-point is how we refer to it)
  • need to know the number of the called party
  • usually charged by the minute
  • usually very reliable (INMARSAT), reliable (Iridium) or less reliable (Globalstar)
  • subscription required for voice, messaging and e-mail
  • no installation required for Iridium or Globalstar
  • full Internet access possible with INMARSAT FleetBroadband

Marine SSB:
  • one-to-many (broadcast - a mayday goes to everyone in range), but everyone can hear "private" conversations
  • non-recurring charges are for purchase and install only
  • subscription only required for e-mail if you don't have an amateur radio license
  • unusable for full Internet access
  • can be unreliable - requires some knowledge to determine which frequencies to use and when
  • more subject to interference
  • can be used for weather reports, news, etc.
  • installation required

IOW - pluses and minuses for each...

FWIW, I ran the numbers for the US Air Force a few years ago when they were looking at HF IP data access. There's more bandwidth available in a single Wi-Fi channel (20MHz) in the 2.4GHz band than there is allocated in the entire HF band allocated for government use (all US-gov't, not just DoD). You can have telemetry data, but you ain't gonna be browsin' no Internet!
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Old 29-06-2011, 15:58   #8
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

My vote, SSB is a must for remote email and safety. Iridium sat-phone is a good adder. High gain WIFI access point for traveling in populated areas to have full access to INet.
Happy Cruising
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:18   #9
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Satphone - less energy required, less gear required, fewer things to go wrong, way easier interface and procedures.

SSB - nice to have, should the satphone fail.

b.
Satphone continued -Can take the satphone with you in the life raft, ready for immediate use at any time day or night, don't have to wait for the right atmospheric conditions.
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Old 30-06-2011, 10:41   #10
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

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Satphone continued -Can take the satphone with you in the life raft, ready for immediate use at any time day or night, don't have to wait for the right atmospheric conditions.
Be careful with blanket statements like that. You can't take an Inmarsat phone with you on a liferaft, unless you have the suitcase travel version. You can take an Iridium or Globalstar phone with you, but there are areas in the world with spotty coverage, with Iridium have the better of the two.

You can't use Globalstar at any time of day or night. They are in the midst of replacing their satellite constellation, and coverage is spotty - even if you're in their coverage area, you sometimes have to wait for one of their birds to come into range. They have launched new satellites, but I don't know how many have made it to their operational orbits, finished testing and brought online.
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Old 30-06-2011, 13:06   #11
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

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Originally Posted by Beausoleil View Post
Be careful with blanket statements like that. You can't take an Inmarsat phone with you on a liferaft, .
I tried to connect an HF radio to the dinghy and had a problem.




To the original poster, Matt: When we were in the Gulf of Aden we witnessed a pirate attack and we needed to call the Brittish navy on our Sat phone and the call went through virtually instantanously. The quality was crystal clear.

I would never ever go without a sat phone if I ever had the option. That phone is out of range now as it was on an Asian service, but I still get a GPS readout so its another nav backup.

With the thoughts of the earlier posts, if I was in the liferaft and the EPIRB bleating away doing its thing, I would really appreciate having a handheld sat phone to just pop a quick call through to the Coast Guard and tell them to pack a few burgers, Supersize Me, and Fries with that.



Another place where a sat phone can be handy is when the liferaft is in the teritorial waters of some 3rd world country who doesn't give a stuff about you. Then you can ring your own countries service and get them on the case.


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Old 01-07-2011, 02:38   #12
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The other comment is that now under GMDSS you're supposed to alert the Rescue centre. Then they do the broadcast alert. This system actually suits satphones.

Dave
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Old 01-07-2011, 13:41   #13
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Re: Sat Phone vs SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beausoleil View Post
Be careful with blanket statements like that. You can't take an Inmarsat phone with you on a liferaft, unless you have the suitcase travel version. You can take an Iridium or Globalstar phone with you, but there are areas in the world with spotty coverage, with Iridium have the better of the two.

You can't use Globalstar at any time of day or night. They are in the midst of replacing their satellite constellation, and coverage is spotty - even if you're in their coverage area, you sometimes have to wait for one of their birds to come into range. They have launched new satellites, but I don't know how many have made it to their operational orbits, finished testing and brought online.
My bad!! Was thinking Iridium and using the words "sat phone".
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