Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-09-2012, 12:07   #1
Registered User
 
sbuckingham's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 13
Satellite Communications

I've been involved in maritime satellite communications manufacturing and service for close to 20 years and recently have started my own business hopping to provide cuisers a good, reliable, affordable option for satellite communications. I'm very interested in getting your feedback as well as answer any questions you might have. We have handhelds, with optional docking stations with outside antennas, that have both regional and global coverage as well as inexpensive fixed installed equipment that doesn't have the portability of the handheld but could be more reliable and less expensive then the handheld with docking station.

The airtime service is quite confusing: per month plans that are quite expensive; 1 year or multiple year contracts that have high monthly fees and lower per minute rates, but commited to monthly fees; Prepaid SIM cards.

Let me know your thoughts, experience, and what you'd like to see.
__________________

__________________
sbuckingham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 12:20   #2
Registered User
 
SV Demeter's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cruising Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Wauquiez Amphitrite 43- Demeter
Posts: 1,164
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbuckingham View Post
I've been involved in maritime satellite communications manufacturing and service for close to 20 years and recently have started my own business hopping to provide cuisers a good, reliable, affordable option for satellite communications. I'm very interested in getting your feedback as well as answer any questions you might have. We have handhelds, with optional docking stations with outside antennas, that have both regional and global coverage as well as inexpensive fixed installed equipment that doesn't have the portability of the handheld but could be more reliable and less expensive then the handheld with docking station. The airtime service is quite confusing: per month plans that are quite expensive; 1 year or multiple year contracts that have high monthly fees and lower per minute rates, but commited to monthly fees; Prepaid SIM cards.
Let me know your thoughts, experience, and what you'd like to see.
Welcome to the Cruisers Forum here are my questions:

1. I have an Iridium 9555 and looked at docking stations and the ones I saw cost as much or more than I paid for the phone. Are there affordable docks for this model? Say somthing $200 or less?
2. What in your professional opinion is the most affordable means for getting basic email through a sat phone?
3. My intended use for the phone is restricted to passages and as last resort while cruising when I cant find wifi or a local cell phone. I believe buying prepaid sim cards makes the most sense for me would you agree?
__________________

__________________
SV Demeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 12:29   #3
Registered User
 
LakeSuperior's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Boat: Teak Yawl, 37'
Posts: 1,581
Images: 7
Re: Satellite Communications

One of the problems with the prepaid sim cards is the 6 month or one year expiration dates.
__________________
LakeSuperior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 13:02   #4
Registered User
 
sbuckingham's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 13
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Demeter View Post
Welcome to the Cruisers Forum here are my questions:

1. I have an Iridium 9555 and looked at docking stations and the ones I saw cost as much or more than I paid for the phone. Are there affordable docks for this model? Say somthing $200 or less?
2. What in your professional opinion is the most affordable means for getting basic email through a sat phone?
3. My intended use for the phone is restricted to passages and as last resort while cruising when I cant find wifi or a local cell phone. I believe buying prepaid sim cards makes the most sense for me would you agree?
Your probably not going to find a dock for for much under $1k.
As far as e-mail, who do you get your airtime from? Quite often the service provider offers an email service.
I agree with you on the prepaid making the most sense for you.
__________________
sbuckingham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 13:41   #5
Registered User
 
SV Demeter's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cruising Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Wauquiez Amphitrite 43- Demeter
Posts: 1,164
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbuckingham View Post
Your probably not going to find a dock for for much under $1k.
As far as e-mail, who do you get your airtime from? Quite often the service provider offers an email service.
I agree with you on the prepaid making the most sense for you.

Thats pretty much what I saw on the docks. I only paid $600 for the phone so for me a little teak cradle with the cords hanging out will have to do.

I have not yet bought air time. Pretty much all the prepaid sims seemed about the same price. Plan was to get about 200 minutes for about $450 good for 6 months. That should be enough air time for my winter in the eastern caribbean and I can always add some time if I need it. Been looking at www.satphonestore.com so far.
__________________
SV Demeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 14:21   #6
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,871
Images: 4
Re: Satellite Communications

For pre-paid time you get better rates and roll-over terms at the 500-minute level. Of course you need to actually use the airtime for this to make sense.

One pragmatic point: Whatever you do, make sure you fully test and debug your email system. Things like spam filters can be great, but they can also make it impossible for important mail to get through unless you configure them properly.

Also, be sure that you will be able to "reload" your pre-paid airtime while at sea. You will typically need a credit card authorization on file with your airtime provider, otherwise you might be out of luck should you need more airtime.
__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 14:28   #7
Registered User
 
SV Demeter's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cruising Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Wauquiez Amphitrite 43- Demeter
Posts: 1,164
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
For pre-paid time you get better rates and roll-over terms at the 500-minute level. Of course you need to actually use the airtime for this to make sense.

One pragmatic point: Whatever you do, make sure you fully test and debug your email system. Things like spam filters can be great, but they can also make it impossible for important mail to get through unless you configure them properly.

Also, be sure that you will be able to "reload" your pre-paid airtime while at sea. You will typically need a credit card authorization on file with your airtime provider, otherwise you might be out of luck should you need more airtime.
Thanks Paul. We are in the process of sorting all that out now with plans to head south at the end of Oct. Not likely to use email through the phone as I think we can live without it on passages but will certainly be set up to add time while at sea if need be. Thanks again for your comments.
__________________
SV Demeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 16:55   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 175
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Demeter View Post
Thats pretty much what I saw on the docks. I only paid $600 for the phone so for me a little teak cradle with the cords hanging out will have to do.

I have not yet bought air time. Pretty much all the prepaid sims seemed about the same price. Plan was to get about 200 minutes for about $450 good for 6 months. That should be enough air time for my winter in the eastern caribbean and I can always add some time if I need it. Been looking at www.satphonestore.com so far.

The 12 month prepaid sim is much cheaper per minute. My first prepaid was with satphonestore, my next with
www.remotesatellite.com

and I recharged with them. I found them cheaper, friendlier and easier to deal with. But airtime prices change, pays to spend a bit of time researching just before you buy, and to look on ebay.

Lee
__________________
banjoship is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 17:19   #9
Registered User
 
avb3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Florida/Alberta
Boat: Lippincott 30
Posts: 9,913
Images: 1
Re: Satellite Communications

Does anyone have any experience with Speedmail?
__________________
If your attitude resembles the south end of a bull heading north, it's time to turn around.
avb3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 17:58   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 264
Images: 1
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbuckingham View Post
I've been involved in maritime satellite communications manufacturing and service for close to 20 years and recently have started my own business hopping to provide cuisers a good, reliable, affordable option for satellite communications. I'm very interested in getting your feedback as well as answer any questions you might have. We have handhelds, with optional docking stations with outside antennas, that have both regional and global coverage as well as inexpensive fixed installed equipment that doesn't have the portability of the handheld but could be more reliable and less expensive then the handheld with docking station.

The airtime service is quite confusing: per month plans that are quite expensive; 1 year or multiple year contracts that have high monthly fees and lower per minute rates, but commited to monthly fees; Prepaid SIM cards.

Let me know your thoughts, experience, and what you'd like to see.
I'd be quite interested in Iridium Pilot (ex OpenPort). Does it really deliver the bandwidth as it is sold for (up to 134 kbps) ?

1. where do I get the best priced Piot in Europe ?

2. Can I get something like "prepaid" ? The issue is, in most coastal areas you have 3g coverage. Therefore I would use the Pilot in remote areas. So the use would vary quite a bit. Basically I would want to be charged per MB - are there any providers ?
__________________
Zonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-09-2012, 08:14   #11
Registered User
 
SV Demeter's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Cruising Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Wauquiez Amphitrite 43- Demeter
Posts: 1,164
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by banjoship View Post
The 12 month prepaid sim is much cheaper per minute. My first prepaid was with satphonestore, my next with
www.remotesatellite.com

and I recharged with them. I found them cheaper, friendlier and easier to deal with. But airtime prices change, pays to spend a bit of time researching just before you buy, and to look on ebay.

Lee

Thanks Lee, yes I agree the per minute rate is lower with a 12 month card but Im sort of doubtfull I would need 500 minutes. Im looking at a 1500 mile passage I expect to do in 10-14 days. Assuming I used 5 minutes every day thats less than 100 minutes. Im then spending the next 6 months or so island hopping through the eastern caribbean where I dont expect to use the phone much at all. I guess if I thought I was going to use it more often than the full 500 min for a year would make sense.
__________________
SV Demeter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-09-2012, 18:41   #12
Registered User
 
sbuckingham's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonker

I'd be quite interested in Iridium Pilot (ex OpenPort). Does it really deliver the bandwidth as it is sold for (up to 134 kbps) ?

1. where do I get the best priced Piot in Europe ?

2. Can I get something like "prepaid" ? The issue is, in most coastal areas you have 3g coverage. Therefore I would use the Pilot in remote areas. So the use would vary quite a bit. Basically I would want to be charged per MB - are there any providers ?
The Pilot hasn't been out long and not much history on it. I'd be hesitant to get one of the first since there were a lot of problems with the OpenPort. My understanding is it will give you up to 128 kbps, but it is not cheap and it cheaper to use less bandwidth. What do you want to be able to do? Any idea how much data, MB/month, you would be using?
I'll look into the airtime plans available and get back to you tomorrow. Where about in Europe are you located? Buck
__________________
sbuckingham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-09-2012, 18:59   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 264
Images: 1
Re: Satellite Communications

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbuckingham View Post
The Pilot hasn't been out long and not much history on it. I'd be hesitant to get one of the first since there were a lot of problems with the OpenPort. My understanding is it will give you up to 128 kbps, but it is not cheap and it cheaper to use less bandwidth. What do you want to be able to do? Any idea how much data, MB/month, you would be using?
I'll look into the airtime plans available and get back to you tomorrow. Where about in Europe are you located? Buck
OpenPort is out of question due to end of service sometime in 2016. And hearing from you that the Pilot had / is having issues doesn't sound very comfortable either.

I would like to have a Pilot as a backup if 3G is not available. And also for emergency calls (in and out). Since it's supposed to be backup, can't say how much data / mo it would be. And that is why I am interested in having a pay-by-use abo and not these monthly rates since every MB not used is wasted money !

I would like to consider a mini-VSAT but the hardware price is nuts. $1/MB is acceptable - but to pay at least 15k for a dish is insane.

PS : location ... intended use in north sea, baltic sea
__________________
Zonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-09-2012, 04:31   #14
Registered User
 
sbuckingham's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonker

OpenPort is out of question due to end of service sometime in 2016. And hearing from you that the Pilot had / is having issues doesn't sound very comfortable either.

I would like to have a Pilot as a backup if 3G is not available. And also for emergency calls (in and out). Since it's supposed to be backup, can't say how much data / mo it would be. And that is why I am interested in having a pay-by-use abo and not these monthly rates since every MB not used is wasted money !

I would like to consider a mini-VSAT but the hardware price is nuts. $1/MB is acceptable - but to pay at least 15k for a dish is insane.

PS : location ... intended use in north sea, baltic sea
I haven't heard anything negative about the Pilot, but it is a new product using the existing OpenPort Network and due to the issues Iridium had with OpenPort I'd be hesitant to rely on the Pilot until it has proven itself. I was not able to find a Prepay plan for the Open Port, but I'll keep looking into it. Buck
__________________
sbuckingham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-09-2012, 04:50   #15
Registered User
 
sbuckingham's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by avb3
Does anyone have any experience with Speedmail?
I assume your asking about GMPCS's Speedmail email service. I'm not familiar with it specifically but most of the larger Service Providers offer a email solution for their customers and they all give you enhanced functions over your normal email providers such as compression, being able to limit incoming file size, being able to view subject and attachment size before you open so you can determine if you want to wait until you have a less expensive connection. Inmarsat offer's AmosConnect and Vizada offers SkyMail. Some providers require you connect through the satellite for it to work; I'd want to confirm you could still retrieve your email using cellular or a WiFi connection so you have the option to wait until you have a less expensive connection to download larger attachments if you choose. Buck
__________________

__________________
sbuckingham is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
communications, satellite

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 14:35.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.