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Old 05-06-2009, 16:56   #31
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Not a lot more substante comments I can add, the comments are well done on both side of the issue. But, installing our SSB was a fair amount of headache! Routing all the conterpoise, finding a place for the antenna (No, we don't have a backstay), finding a suitable antenna, mounting the head unit (ICOM m802), mounting the unit, finding a good place for the antenna tunner (AT-140), finding the proper antenna wire, finding the correct wire to route from the unit to the tunner...

Now, it was kind of cool to be able to check in with Cruiseheimers and all, but it really is more useful for folks that are REALLY out there. Now, once when we hit Turks and Caicos we checked in at Sapodilla Bay. If you know it, you know it is in the backside of nowhere! There's pretty much a commercial customs port and a few houses. VHF didn't raise anyone. Well, we wanted to get a rental car, but had no way to contact anyone!!! No phone boths, borrowing a phone at the customs office was out. We ran into a guy (Jerry from Laventura ?) He had a sat phone. We looked up a couple rental car places from the cruising guide, they came and picked us up!!! At that point, I was convinced that I wanted a sat phone, instead of a Pactor modem. If necessary, people can get ahold of you on the sat phone. Nobody ever tried to reach us via the net.

I would not however, use the satphone for surfing the net. Too expensive. I'd still find the internet cafe and do most of my uploading and downloading there. The problem with Winmail, the Ham, free version is. NO BUSINESS can be conducted. You shouldn't use it to even contact the office to ask the status. Okay, enough, there is lots of discussion available here and on other threads.

Fair winds,

Keith
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Old 05-06-2009, 17:11   #32
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Hi Keith,

AAAH! It is as I had thought...most places (even the very remote) have a phone somewhere to conduct a business...not everyone has radio or internet. This is reassuring to me about the phone communications. I take your point (and others have said as much too) that using satellite for internet is too expensive. We will just wait for a likely port to do that stuff. Many thanks,
Cheers,
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Old 07-06-2009, 14:16   #33
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My two cents. I have just done some sailing from NZ to Fiji and around the Fiji islands.

For the passage we got a second hand Iridium phone and used that with Xgate Email client to send messages. We could send out a whole bunch of emails in under 1 minute.

Around Fiji we found there was very good cellphone coverage, and used a cellular modem to send emails.

If you want any more info on our setup let me know. The Iridium was about $2US / min so each email transaction was costing us about that.

Regards

-Al
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Old 14-06-2009, 13:42   #34
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SSB vs Satellite.

What are the pros and cons of investing in SSB vs. a Satellite phone? Seems like the SSB is older technology. What experiences do members have with Satellite voice and data. Any recommendations?

Thnx
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Old 14-06-2009, 23:14   #35
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Good and informative reading in Cruiser forum at thread e-mail via Iridium Phone, w/o X-Gate and also at “requesting grib files from Saildocs” about limitation of Sailmail. Other forums have also good and informative reading.
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Old 15-06-2009, 04:50   #36
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Paul, Conachair,

Your findings are very different from mine.
I did say "where i was at the time" One day I may have enough cash to get a ssb setup for for now no. But the irrdium works, and it´s quite nice being able to update the website offshore, let people know where I am and what fish i´ve caught. Loosing interest in gribs, the danger is you believe them and get dissappointed when they´re wrong, weatherfax works fine for me.
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Old 15-06-2009, 21:41   #37
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Conachair,

I understand you, but do you realize that we update our blog while under way using Pactor? There's no need for a satphone to do that, just a smart web host that supports mobile clients.

This is almost a paradox: the dollars spent on satellite communications are draining the kitty so a SSB + pactor are out of reach. But the SSB/pactor combo save on communications costs but then you already have this kit so what do you save for... ah Cuba Libre's !! ;-)

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 25-06-2009, 15:44   #38
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nick just got in on your thread. Am leaving Canada in august to sail down the PNW to the Baja then Costa Rican and who knows where. Had my eyes on sat phone but it will break our budget. Please tell me more about Pactor
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:35   #39
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nick just got in on your thread. Am leaving Canada in august to sail down the PNW to the Baja then Costa Rican and who knows where. Had my eyes on sat phone but it will break our budget. Please tell me more about Pactor
There's so much to talk about when pactor is the subject but it all comes down to this:

- the modem costs $1,200.- or so (I love the SCS PTC-IIpro)
- if your SSB works good, the modem will work good
- check compatibility with your SSB model and which cables you need
- anyone can use it, but ask another pactor-cruiser to help you start

I know many cruisers who are on a tight budget and they all have a pactor modem. These people have choosen the most cost effective method so there must be logic to it even with the initial investment.

Search this forum or Google for heaps of detailed info on these SCS pactor modems.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:06   #40
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TerreStar

It will be interesting to see if this actually works:

Article - WSJ.com

Hybrid Satellite-Cell Pocket Phone May Arrive This Year - PC World

Hybrid cell/satellite phone. Uses cell system when in range, or satellite when not. Said to have 64K/sec data throughput, about 25 times faster than Iridium. It sure would be nice if it worked reliably, and was affordable. Coverage won't be worldwide, though -- only N. America and Caribbean, I think.
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Old 03-07-2009, 23:15   #41
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TerraStar, Iridium Open Port, INMARSAT FB150, etc....

Cormorant,
Perhaps you'd appreciate the discussion on SSCA Communications Discussion Board, regarding the probable lack of usefullness of TerraStar for cruisers, the usefullness of INMARSAT FB150 and the wonderfully versatile Iridium Open Port (broadband satellite network).......

(Iridium Open Port and INMARSAT FB150 are both current services, and both work well.....but are also both pricey)

See the complete discussion here:
SSCA Discussion Board • View topic - Satellite Internet Service?

This should give you all the info you need....

Fair winds...

John
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:09   #42
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Thanks -- very informative.

Sigh . . . maybe in fifty years when I'm dead and gone, there will be cheap, ubiquitous phone & data service. . . .
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Old 15-07-2009, 07:10   #43
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In the cost comparison make sure you factor in the $300 per year for Sailmail on the Pactor side. Also make sure your SSB, as installed, has good transmission range. This will assist you in finding suitable Sailmail servers.
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