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Old 08-12-2018, 05:12   #1
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Satellite Comms

Hi - I'm planning to join a Trans Atlantic Rally next May (West - East to Europe) - looking for recommendations for Satellite communication - the Rally requires the ability to receive/send emails and weather information. What is going to be the most reasonable cost equipment for reliable Internet when at sea - and not have exorbitant subscription fees!
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:47   #2
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Re: Satellite Comms

i just use my irridium handheld with or without the ext.antenna aprox 75 a month with 50 mins talk time and data
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:34   #3
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Re: Satellite Comms

Thanks - 75 is pretty hefty - can you elect to pay for one month at a time?
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Old 08-12-2018, 07:54   #4
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Re: Satellite Comms

Quote:
Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
Thanks - 75 is pretty hefty - can you elect to pay for one month at a time?
You might need to manage your expectations a bit. In your original post you used the phrase, "internet at sea." On a small boat that is not (yet) practical. You can slowly send and receive files--forget about webpages! If you are old enough to remember 300 baud dialup... think that!

We use have been using Iridium Go! for email, weather, and text messages for 5 years. Our weather vender has been PredictWind, and we have been very happy with them. The whole system works great. The key is shopping around until you find a reseller who has a connection plan that matches your needs. Some have annual only plans, some have plans you can start and stop as needed.
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:22   #5
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Re: Satellite Comms

Does it have to be "email capable" or will "texting" suffice? I used a Inreach
on Atlantic circle last year with much success at nominal cost. I paired with
a tablet to do messaging and used Ocens thru the Inreach for weather (less expensive than Inreach's weather.) . The inreach uses Iridium and we always easily connected It's 2 way messaging and includes a "emergency feature also. It provides a tracking feature for friends and family to stay in touch.
Lookup Garmin Inreach for various plans that include "freedom" plans that can be suspended at any time. Much less expensive if it will serve your needs.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:08   #6
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Re: Satellite Comms

There is a price to be paid for satellite coms. Bandwidth is very expensive.

If text will suffice look at the Garmin/Delorme InReach or Spot X Messenger products. However the functionality is very limited. You can get minimal offshore info (what you can receive by text, no graphics) if you work with a weather router or have friends/family that can look at the weather and text you appropriate info regularly. If you are just trying to check a box on the rally requirement sheet this might be an option, but it doesn't give you much functionality.

I have the Iridium Go and use it with PredictWind Offshore and a data plan also from PredictWind. It does not provide a normal internet experience, but you can get grib files, send and receive emails (with limited graphics), and make phone calls. Several vendors offer unlimited data plans that include unlimited data and texts and a good chunk of voice time for $125-$140 per month. You can save a little money with a lesser plan, but I like to be able to pull weather as often as I like without worrying about how much time I have left.

If you want a "normal" internet experience, akin to what you might get on a poor marina wifi system, while offshore, expect to pay $$$$.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:57   #7
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Re: Satellite Comms

The specification is for a Satellite phone and a computer capable of sending & receiving files - do the InReach and Iridium Go! fulfil these requirements?
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:44   #8
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Re: Satellite Comms

Quote:
Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
Thanks - 75 is pretty hefty - can you elect to pay for one month at a time?
that is the cheapest basic plan ,you can top up during the month if you run out of minutes,but it only lasts for a month,then you have to buy another 75 for the next month,a bit like pay as you go.

alternatively you can get a contract which i think is 12 months min where you pay a~25 monthly subscription fee plus any minutes you use.

what ever you do allow enough time for your sim card to arrive before you leave as it has to be sent by post,this has the sim card for your phone and your new phone number and activation code,once you have this then the phone can be topped up monthly,or when extra minutes are needed .
your number and sim remains valid untill you fail to top up.

this was from Airtime.Support@selex-comms.com

pease see the below prepaid costs. These are still the same....

With a pre-paid account you do not pay a monthly fee, and payment is required in advance:

Pre Paid 500:
Supply/activation of SIM card: no charge
500 minutes' talk time, valid for 12 months: US$846.00

Pre Paid 200:
Supply/activation of SIM card: no charge
200 minutes' talk time, valid for 6 months: US$425.00

Pre Paid 75:
Supply/activation of SIM card: no charge
75 minutes' talk time, valid for 30 days: US$150.50

There are two building blocks you can add to either of these options to tailor them more to your needs:

Extended Minutes
50 minutes, no extra validity: US$75.00

Extended Expiry
30 days validity, no extra minutes: US$38.00

Please see the below prepaid costs. These are still the same....

With a pre-paid account you do not pay a monthly fee, and payment is required in advance:

Pre Paid 500:
Supply/activation of SIM card: no charge
500 minutes' talk time, valid for 12 months: US$846.00

Pre Paid 200:
Supply/activation of SIM card: no charge
200 minutes' talk time, valid for 6 months: US$425.00

Pre Paid 75:
Supply/activation of SIM card: no charge
75 minutes' talk time, valid for 30 days: US$150.50

There are two building blocks you can add to either of these options to tailor them more to your needs:

Extended Minutes
50 minutes, no extra validity: US$75.00

Extended Expiry
30 days validity, no extra minutes: US$38.00

this was a few years back so prices might have changed a bit,
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:36   #9
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Re: Satellite Comms

Quote:
Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
Hi - I'm planning to join a Trans Atlantic Rally next May (West - East to Europe) - looking for recommendations for Satellite communication - the Rally requires the ability to receive/send emails and weather information. What is going to be the most reasonable cost equipment for reliable Internet when at sea - and not have exorbitant subscription fees!
Your desires [in red] are mutually exclusive when it comes to sat comms today.

Since you need sat, email, data [Wx], etc. from my experience the Iridium SBD devices like InReach, etc. are not a consideration because they won't meet the requirement for email and weather file downloads.

Since you desire keeping expenses as reasonable as possible, you are likely limited to either a sat phone and separate sat email service, or a sat IP ['hotspot'] device like an Iridium GO [which comes with an email service.]

We still use an Iridium Sat phone [with separate email service] because it is still cheaper [for how we use it] than unlimited data on a GO. [We are full time users, so no pausing of service...] In the future, a device like the GO may become a better choice for us as our needs change.

There are lots of variables to consider. Because of this, I maintain a page of our sat comm considerations and choices in case it is useful to others [and so we can re-evaluate our decisions as new products/choices become available.]

Best wishes sorting out what will suit your needs.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:59   #10
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Re: Satellite Comms

In case it was not obvious from Atol and Denali's responses, the Iridium Go will satisfy the requirements. Denali has a pretty optimized setup using an Iridium Satphone and points out some technical differences between using an Iridium Go and an Iridium Satphone on his linked page, but for those of us who cannot use the inexpensive Alaska/Canada airtime packages, and I'm not familiar with anything similar for say the Caribbean, many of those differences don't matter too much. There are some initial cost differences. The Go's wifi connectivity model is nice - I use two laptops, two tablets and a phone with my Go but the connection speed is very slow so you are not going to be using more than one device with it at a time. For this reason I don't see the Go's wifi connectivity as a big advantage so long as you can connect your devices to your satphone via a cable.

The Go also has a mounting kit for permanent installation, but there are a few functionality issues. If you wanted the Go on 24/7 then the permanent install looks great, but you cannot turn the Go on/off conveniently just by applying/removing usb power - something to consider.
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Old 08-12-2018, 17:29   #11
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Re: Satellite Comms

We used InReach Garmin service last year. Very good price/value ratio.


It gives you two way text communication and weather. Plus gps and rescue emergency (two way) in one small lithium powered package size of a big smartphone.


Pretty basic but works fine.


b.
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Old 08-12-2018, 17:50   #12
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Re: Satellite Comms

Defining "downloading weather" can be varied too. Yes, with the InReach tracker and like can receive weather texts or have people send you weather routing advice via texts but if you want to see the bigger picture and make your own decisions then you need to be able to receive Gribs and/or weather fax.

For the first four years of full time cruising we used our SSB/Pactor and for the last two we have used our Iridium Go with a Predictwind subscription and Predictwind Offshore. We have kept the SSB/Pactor operational as a backup but we love the functionality of the Go/Predictwind combo.
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Old 08-12-2018, 18:15   #13
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Re: Satellite Comms

Thanks for your info - very comprehensive! Brian says hi back ��
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Old 09-12-2018, 14:53   #14
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Re: Satellite Comms

Quote:
Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
Thanks - 75 is pretty hefty - can you elect to pay for one month at a time?
To put it in prospective.
Proper sat internet at sea for a small vessel is a kvh tracphone v3ip. About $20,000 usd installed and $1000 usd a month subscription.


75 is cheap.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:19   #15
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Re: Satellite Comms

Yes, unrealistic expectations.

Think of the three levels of "internet service"

A at home land-based broadband

B mobile based off cellphone provider

C satellite for when no cell service available

Between each is a whole order of magnitude difference, in round numbers can say

to go down one step,

you pay 10x the money, for 1/10th the bandwidth & range of uses available
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