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Old 13-03-2009, 21:43   #1
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Sat Phone w/ Data Transfer - Oz to New Cal

The conversations about this topic have left me reeling with my ignorance. I have no idea of most of the jargon. I am looking for some advice regarding our best options for a satellite phone with data transfer. I have basic computer skills and Dave has way less than that! I have checked out a few options, and it seems that the CDMA with data is the cheapest, but I thought CDMA was no longer operating. The iridium phones are priced way over $2K, and the Next G network doesn't cover far enough off shore. Has anyone from Australia had a look at these options and got any advice? I have requested some info from a company in Rocky Qld. that has an intersting motorola, but I don't have the details yet.
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Old 13-03-2009, 22:20   #2
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I have done some research in this area as well, since the internet is my main source of income.

I have determined that, essentially, Iridium is the only reliable way to go if you plan on going away from Cell coverage.

Like you mentioned the handsets are expensive, and the service is slow and expensive.

There are many satellite broadband carriers but they are like satellite tv, they must be pointed at a Geosynchronous satellite which means VERY precise pointing, the normal wave motion, probably even in a marina, would be too much.

The only other option there used to be was Globalstar, but most of their sattelites have burned out and it is no longer a reliable option. Plus no worldwide coverage. If you look at the coverage maps it WILL work, but only near land. Not suitable if you plan on passage making.

Then again if you are planning on being near the USA, there are many 'unlimited' data plans available using a cellular data card for your laptop. This is by far the cheapest option if the USA coastal cruising (or other developed countries) is your stomping grounds.

Good luck!
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Old 13-03-2009, 22:35   #3
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Hi Anathema,
Thanks for this reply. We probably will never get to the US and we are aware of the data options along the coast as you mentioned, but are looking for something that we can use wherever we go. Most of the time we would be perhaps a couple of hundred nm off the coast, and a lot of services will venture that far, but that is the limit. WE do intend to venture a fair bit further, and some of the countries willnot have that kind of service available. So iridium seems to be the go. Many thanks
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Old 05-05-2009, 15:50   #4
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Hi Osagie, Many thanks. I just hope that by the time we manage to organise our cruise (not for a couple of years yet) that the technology will have improved and gotten more affordable. Cheers,
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Old 05-05-2009, 22:30   #5
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Weird, wonder if I should report that as a bug....the person you're replying to is not showing up for me, but I did get a subscription email showing me this thread has been updated and what he said, but it still is not showing up, very odd!
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Old 05-05-2009, 22:58   #6
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Hi how are you? I see what you mean...I opened up this page from my email and see you but not Osagie this time, yet he was there before. It may be only you who cannot "see" him? I am not techno minded enough to understand waht happens in the ether of internet world...it is all a mystery to me.
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Old 05-05-2009, 23:19   #7
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I'm good shell (shelly?).

Hey as another response to your question, inmarsat now seems to have something called fleet broadband. Not sure of what the costs are at all, but it seems much faster than irridium(though maybe higher latency) and is also usable on sail boats.

1500-5000$ equipment costs though.
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Old 06-05-2009, 00:49   #8
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Yeah It's Shell or Shelley (either way). Fleet broadband eh? That almost sounds like a flotilla of telecommunications moving around the 7 seas! Lets hope the equipment charges come down in a couple of years. Thanks for the info.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:28   #9
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Inmarsat Fleet has small receivers and near world-wide coverage. It appears you can get broadband speed at 6 USD per MB.
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Old 04-06-2009, 16:10   #10
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Hi there idpnd - what is 6 usd? This is foreign language to me. I understand kb/s as such and that's about all!
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Old 04-06-2009, 16:20   #11
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Sounds like he meant six US dollars per megabyte. 1 megabyte is 1000 kilobytes. (In data transfer its base ten not base two.)
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Old 04-06-2009, 16:36   #12
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Oh thanks for that anathema...I thought he meant speed like kb's per second. The cost is not of a great interest to me, because it will be expensive either way and I will just have to be very miserly in my usage. Just really want to be able to download good weather info wherever and whenever. Also we have the Raymarine gear that links to their weather image stuff on the internet. Don't have a clue how to use that side of thinkgs...we'll worry about that when we go cruising..as I said this won't be for a couple of years yet...jsut cruising up the Qld. coast in a couple of weeks heading up north for the winter, and our local nextG network will suffice for that. Many thanks to all you knowledgable nerds out there! LOL Just kidding!
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Old 04-06-2009, 19:55   #13
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You are on the wrong track. You need to forget a satphone and put your sights on a SSB transceiver with Pactor modem and use either Sailmail ("fixed" yearly subscription fee) or Winlink (free but you need a HAM license). Now you get email and all the weather info you need for free (Winlink) or almost free (Sailmail, think a couple of hundred US$ per year).

You need a satellite link when you want to do web-browsing.

cheers,
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Old 04-06-2009, 20:07   #14
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Gosh! That sounds complicated. I have heard of sail-mail, but when reading how to use these technologies, my eyes glaze over and I seem to have trouble finishing the article. I really need someone to come along, set it up and show me how. Maybe we will just rely on radio after all! LOL!

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Old 04-06-2009, 20:48   #15
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Most cruisers with Pactor will be glad to show you how and some even help to set it up... but the shop where you buy the modem will supply you with the cables you need and how to connect those (ask them) so that part should be easy. The only big difference with satellite is that you need to know about propagation (selecting a station and frequency that works best) and this is where the computer will help you out with a demo by another cruiser using it.

cheers,
Nick.
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