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Old 22-01-2018, 09:21   #1
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Sat Phones

Thinking about visiting some very remote areas this summer, so I'm thinking again about sat comms.

I have a nice fixed installed Globalstar phone, but I'll be above the Arctic Circle, where Globalstar doesn't work.

I have HF radio and a Pactor modem, and a ham license, so sat comms are not strictly required at all, but might be nice to have, at least for text messaging.

And so I think about a Delorme or Yellow Brick device. But is there an Iridium plan, say, that would give me similar messaging ability, plus the chance to make the occasional voice call?

Grateful as always for any tips.
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Old 22-01-2018, 10:04   #2
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Re: Sat Phones

... no voice on inReach or Yellow Brick. If you need voice (+ data / SMS) the GO! is your best bet (but price for the plan will roughly double compared to inReach).

Very happy with my inReach for my kind of sailing / messaging needs.

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Old 22-01-2018, 10:14   #3
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Re: Sat Phones

Garmin InReach uses the Iridium network and is text only. Very reasonably priced for what it is. I would suggest starting there, though it does not have voice call capability.

There have been a number of reviews of Iridium Go that do not paint it in a favorable light for marine use.
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Old 22-01-2018, 10:16   #4
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Re: Sat Phones

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Originally Posted by CarstenWL View Post
... no voice on inReach or Yellow Brick. If you need voice (+ data / SMS) the GO! is your best bet (but price for the plan will roughly double compared to inReach).

Very happy with my inReach for my kind of sailing / messaging needs.

Regards,

Carsten
Can't beat the Delorme / Yellow Brick unlimited messaging plans. I just thought maybe Iridium or someone might be offering a competing SMS plan...
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Old 22-01-2018, 10:43   #5
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Re: Sat Phones

Well, Iridium Go actually looks pretty good. Unlimited data and SMS and 150 voice minutes for only $125, and apparently only month to month commitment.
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Old 22-01-2018, 10:54   #6
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Re: Sat Phones

I have a inreach. If I was to do it again I would purchase the iridium go, less limitations and not a great deal more per mth.
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Old 22-01-2018, 12:16   #7
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Re: Sat Phones

We got our Iridium Go in 2015 and successfully used it across the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Instead of the unlimited data plan, we chose the 1,000 minutes/year plan and that worked out fine for us. It allowed us to make voice calls if needed but more than enough time for all the emails we needed to send/receive plus weather information. Our connections were reliable and quick. Even though we do have a Pactor modem connected to our SSB, I doubt that we'd ever go back to that method of communications.

By the way, I know of quite a few cruisers who use the Iridium Go in marine applications and I know of no complaints other than costs to operate. Granted, that's anecdotal at best.

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Old 23-01-2018, 06:09   #8
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Re: Sat Phones

The question is now solved for me -- as a condition to getting a Greenland expedition permit, we are OBLIGATED to carry a satellite phone.

I suppose Iridium Go qualifies as a phone, since it does voice, so that looks like the ticket. But I like this device more and more, anyway -- it's true that it's more expensive than DeLorme, but you get unlimited data besides unlimited text messages! And 150 minutes of voice calls! I think $120 a month is very reasonable for all of that, even though I understand that the data is extremely slow and not practical for doing very much you can't do with a pactor modem. But still, it would be great to have also this means of data comms in a very remote place.
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Old 23-01-2018, 07:05   #9
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Re: Sat Phones

We too are leaning towards an Irridium Go. We have had an Irridium 9555 satphone for years and it has been great for email, including getting weather and GRIBS from Saildocs. However, connections can be tenuous, texting is very difficult and texts are sometimes broken up or lost. Voice has been variable in our experience. Sometimes great, sometimes extremely frustrating. Plus we had a "Rebel Heart" episode in which we were cut off for 8 days while crossing the North Pacific.
The Inreach looks like a good product, especially the interactive SOS function, however, it does not appear to be able to send and receive emails and the weather feature appears very limited.
The Irridium Go combines some of the best features of the satphone and Inreach, providing voice, email and text, but lacks the interactive SOS capabilities of the Inreach. Maybe one day they will incorporate this. Are you listening Irridium?
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Old 23-01-2018, 08:03   #10
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Re: Sat Phones

We opted for Iridium Extreme 9575 from Ocens. Has the advantage over Go of being a self contained phone you can take with you, and possible to get fantastic GRIB files, weather reports, your Gmail, texts and send automated position updates to your Guardian Angels. It has negated the usefulness of our SSB and is a great tool to have offshore. We had heard bad things about GO functionality so opted to get the more expensive Extreme. The guys at Ocens are very helpful getting you set up. We did our own install. Easy apart from getting the wire threaded from the external antenna to the phone dock at the nav station.

https://www.ocens.com/9575
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Old 23-01-2018, 08:39   #11
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Re: Sat Phones

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We opted for Iridium Extreme 9575 from Ocens. Has the advantage over Go of being a self contained phone you can take with you, and possible to get fantastic GRIB files, weather reports, your Gmail, texts and send automated position updates to your Guardian Angels. It has negated the usefulness of our SSB and is a great tool to have offshore. We had heard bad things about GO functionality so opted to get the more expensive Extreme. The guys at Ocens are very helpful getting you set up. We did our own install. Easy apart from getting the wire threaded from the external antenna to the phone dock at the nav station.

https://www.ocens.com/9575
Looks like an excellent device, but totally different airtime plans from the Go!, correct? Looks like you pay $1.55 per minute for data and $0.49 per SMS in or out, no matter what, vs. unlimited data and SMS and 150 minutes per month for $129 for the Go!. It's the plan which makes the Go! attractive.
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Old 23-01-2018, 08:42   #12
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Re: Sat Phones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

I have HF radio and a Pactor modem, and a ham license
Just as an aside, HF radio does not work as well above the arctic circle. Something to do with atmospheric structure in the polar regions.
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Old 23-01-2018, 08:48   #13
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Re: Sat Phones

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Just as an aside, HF radio does not work as well above the arctic circle. Something to do with atmospheric structure in the polar regions.
Good to know. Thanks very much. Then sat phone becomes all the more important.
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Old 24-01-2018, 07:19   #14
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Re: Sat Phones

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The Irridium Go combines some of the best features of the satphone and Inreach, providing voice, email and text, but lacks the interactive SOS capabilities of the Inreach.
Looks like I was wrong about this. Apparently the Irridium Go does have an SOS function that uses the same GEOS system that the Inreach does.
http://www.groundcontrol.com/iridium...S_Brochure.pdf
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Old 24-01-2018, 07:44   #15
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Re: Sat Phones

We have an Iridium satphone, but we bought it in 2010. It is handy to be able to make a real telephone call whenever you want. But, there are a lot of cheaper alternatives these days.
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