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Old 17-05-2014, 08:14   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: San Diego
Boat: Passport 43
Posts: 9
Satellite Phone

I just returned home from a Mexico cruise and the boat I was on had a KVH sat phone set up using the iridium satellite system. The phone was invaluable for staying in touch with a weather router but I think expensive (the owner paid the bill). I would like to hear about your experience with Sat phones including:
Global Star
Spot Global Phone
and others...
Thanks Jeff

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Old 17-05-2014, 08:35   #2
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Location: Usually South Florida these days
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Re: Satellite Phone

I did a delivery up to the OBX area a couple of weeks ago. We lost Sat reception about 40 or 50 miles off the coast of north Florida. A buddy of mine tells me that parts of the south Pacific have no coverage at all, despite Iridium's claims to have 100% global coverage.

I don't know the brand of phone we were using. It was an older one. It had an antenna on the back of it that was about a foot long & also an external antenna that we connected to it. The external antenna worked better.

I am considering getting a Sat text device like a Spot Connect or a Delorme In Reach. I'm wondering how they do for reception. For that matter, I'm wondering how 100% global the sat coverage really is.

I'll be watching this thread with interest.

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Old 17-05-2014, 08:39   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: ALASKA
Boat: BAYLINER 4788
Posts: 129
Re: Satellite Phone

We have a KVH mini vsat terminal on our boat.

The outdoor unit is a pod about 18" in diameter and the same tall that sits on the radar arch.

The indoor units use a standard 19" wide equipment rack space X about 6" tall.

The service we get is 2mbps internet and voice calls.

The telephone part is actually a standard phone jack. You can choose any phone you want. We have a dedicated 360 area code phone number for the telephone and the service costs $0.49 per minute for calls anywhere in the USA. The quality is crystal clear.

The data connection is as I indicated 2mbps download, and I do not remember the upload speed but I think its less. This provides a real internet experience at sea. Its great to for example be able to download real weather maps, but we use it for everything.

The internet service costs 0.99 per MB so you have to monitor your usage to avoid a large bill. Like many services you have to buy a "plan" with KVH. Plans start at $50 per month for 50mb. The only thing that changes is the overage fees. For the lower price plans the overage fees are $1.99 per mb so you have to choose your plan carefully. KVH does allow you to change your plan at any time with boundaries at the calendar month, so if you have a period where you are leaving the boat for example you can save some money. They do charge $100 to change your plan though.

All in all we have found the service to be extremely reliable. The cost of the equipment was the big hurdle to overcome. We're into our system something in the 12K range as the initial purchase price.

KVH's customer service is top notch. Any time 24X7X365 I can call their network center, give my boats name and they can log into my terminal and check it out. If theres an issue they are happy to help, and they do not charge for this service.
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
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Old 17-05-2014, 08:56   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Florida
Boat: Seawind 1000xl
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Re: Satellite Phone

Have a friend with an inReach system, not sure which one. Get plenty of updates, especially position. They are only cruising in BVI and such so far but no problems.

My only experience is from the receiving end.
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