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Old 03-11-2013, 11:11   #1
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Satellite data service

We are planning on cruising in the Bahamas and would like to set up satellite data service. We have used AT&T in other locations. Does anyone have any suggestions. We were told you can buy a sim card and put it into our Ipad . Is that a reasonable solution.
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Old 03-11-2013, 20:57   #2
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Re: Satellite data service

Satellite? No, a sim card will not convert an iPad to a satellite phone-- completely different frequencies, protocols, etc.

Look at Iridium and ISatphone-Pro phones. You will also need a data service provider. I use the XGate system, but there are many others.
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Old 03-11-2013, 21:10   #3
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Satellite? No, a sim card will not convert an iPad to a satellite phone-- completely different frequencies, protocols, etc.

Look at Iridium and ISatphone-Pro phones. You will also need a data service provider. I use the XGate system, but there are many others.
And a big bank account

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Old 03-11-2013, 21:33   #4
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Re: Satellite data service

What options are there for an Iridium owner who only wants to have the phone available for passages??
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Old 03-11-2013, 22:49   #5
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Re: Satellite data service

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What options are there for an Iridium owner who only wants to have the phone available for passages??
Rental is one way. Or you can buy just the right amount of pre-paid airtime (being aware of the expiration and rollover issues). Or you can I suppose sign up for a pay-as-you go plan, with a small (?) monthly charge.

For data service, XGate will let you put your account "on hold" at a reduced rate, which means you don't lose your email address, and you don't have to pay the setup fee again when you want to resume service.

I would love to hear of any other options!
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:48   #6
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Re: Satellite data service

robert sailor, talk to your service provider and see if they will allow you to suspend and restart your bill pay service, it means you get a new sat number each time, but thats rarely an issue as very few people ring in to sat phones.

thats
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:58   #7
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Re: Satellite data service

I use Iridium and average 100-500 minutes a month; costs about $200/month, it's for my job so it's ultimately worth it. That's just using uuplus for emails and downloading some weather info; all super compressed and no normal web browsing.

The no-kidding data services are, when I last checked and excluding hardware, about $30k/year. A little outside my bracket.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:05   #8
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Re: Satellite data service

I have the Sat phone and I have zero experience with them. I thought it might be nice to have on passages...maybe even for weather although I have a SSB and I recently picked up a Pactor modem. I have never owned or used one before.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:07   #9
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Re: Satellite data service

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
I have the Sat phone and I have zero experience with them. I thought it might be nice to have on passages...maybe even for weather although I have a SSB and I recently picked up a Pactor modem. I have never owned or used one before.
With the SSB and Pactor you might not find it that useful. I use my SSB for talking to other boats/nets, but the satellite phone is for data and "internet". Check on a service like uuplus for your satellite phone. It's cheap, you can pay for just the time you're out of cellular range (a couple of months, as an example), and it will really lower the cost and frustration of your satellite phone.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:15   #10
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Re: Satellite data service

So Uuplus allows you to pay for just a couple of months service in a stop and go sort of program? What sort of fees can I expect just for some data use over a month or two?
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:33   #11
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Re: Satellite data service

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So Uuplus allows you to pay for just a couple of months service in a stop and go sort of program? What sort of fees can I expect just for some data use over a month or two?
Yeah, I think my last purchase was a three month block. I have nothing but great things to say about uuplus.

The data depends largely on, go figure, the amount you're transmitting. Text emails are super quick, text weather is quick, but .tif and .jpg weather charts are beefy. I think on average barring voice calls I burn about 5 minutes a day on airtime getting weather and cycling email. That's one upload/download cycle per evening.

Without uuplus (or equivalent compression) it would probably take 20-30 minutes, just to contrast.

This summer we were in a cyclone area so we were grabbing weather forecasts 2-3 times a day (so 10-15 minutes) sometimes to pick up current storm tracks.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:38   #12
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Re: Satellite data service

Thanks for that info...much appreciated. I'll go and find their website and see what kind of trouble I can get in to.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:39   #13
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Re: Satellite data service

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Yeah, I think my last purchase was a three month block. I have nothing but great things to say about uuplus.

The data depends largely on, go figure, the amount you're transmitting. Text emails are super quick, text weather is quick, but .tif and .jpg weather charts are beefy. I think on average barring voice calls I burn about 5 minutes a day on airtime getting weather and cycling email. That's one upload/download cycle per evening.

Without uuplus (or equivalent compression) it would probably take 20-30 minutes, just to contrast.

This summer we were in a cyclone area so we were grabbing weather forecasts 2-3 times a day (so 10-15 minutes) sometimes to pick up current storm tracks.
Rebel - Why don't you just grab the GRIBs instead of the charts?? We were picking up wide area GRIBs for about 5 min or less. They had all the info we needed so I am curious.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:48   #14
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Re: Satellite data service

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Rebel - Why don't you just grab the GRIBs instead of the charts?? We were picking up wide area GRIBs for about 5 min or less. They had all the info we needed so I am curious.
It was cyclone season so I wanted the storm track models. In the Sea of Cortez here even the localized stuff (passageweather, sailflow) is fairly obtuse so we try to get as small detail as possible.

When we head into the Pacific I imagine we'll go back to the wider area gribs.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:51   #15
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I have an Iridium phone and what I have realized is that whether you buy prepaid minutes (with an expiration of 1 yr) or pay a monthly fee and get a certain number of minutes included, it works out the same - or very close to it. it's not like you can buy 100 minutes of airtime and use them whenever there's an emergency in a couple of years or more,
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