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Old 02-07-2016, 13:51   #1
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satellite system

Can anyone recommend a satellite system for internet, tv, and phone at sea?

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Old 02-07-2016, 15:43   #2
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Re: satellite system

I avoid Inmarsat. In the past they have discontinued service for some terminals on a faster cycle than I like, and dramatically raised rates for others.

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Old 02-07-2016, 16:29   #3
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satellite system

I have had KVH for TV through Dish Network for 14 years. This spring had to buy a new antenna as my Trackvision 4 was made obsolete by Dish. It ran with absolute minimal maintenance for 13 years. We had continuous coverage in the NE Gulf crossing, sometimes in 4 foot waves without interruption. We watched the Tennessee-Alabama football game in the Northern Gulf near Destin and my wife got her daily dose of the Today show. At night, it helped pass the time when not on watch. Of course, Weathernation and the Weather Channel are excellent AIDS on it as well and keep you up to date on the big picture.

I just changed out to the TV3 which I have had about 2 months. Have had no issues with it, but we are on Kentucky Lake. It should perform well as did the Trackvision 4 when we eventually return to SW Florida for wintering. It is supposed to be good about 100 miles offshore. That's the limit of my insurance coverage, and I have no plans to venture out further. They make antennas that have different coverage areas and setups depending on where you are going and the provider you use.

The Dish service is just buying a receiver matching up with the antenna you select and adding that receiver to your existing home plan. It works like adding another tv to your home and the cost is just the box connection. Your local channels - major networks - have to be switched to the area you are sailing in. From Kentucky Lake to Punta Gorda, Fl. We just called them when we got out of various areas and gave them a new address of a marina. We work off the Nashville, TN home channels even at Kentucky Lake as we are from Clarksville, TN. Nashville locals lasted until just south of Pickwick on the Tenn-Tom waterway (first 3 days) then we switched to Columbus, MS, Mobile, AL, Destin, Fl, Panama City, Fl and used Globalstar to call in the switch halfway to Clearwater (Tampa locals) on the crossing, then Punta Gorda which used the Ft Myers locals. It is a five minute procedure to switch places and a phone call.

I use a Globalstar 1700 phone with data service through a Redport optimizer that allows connections via my IPad and laptops using XGate. It is 38,800 baud which is like going back to the 80's, but does work, albeit very slowly. Iridium is much slower. Other systems are available at higher speeds, but at much higher costs. Voice is available with the Globalstar as well as data. I have had one since late 90's so was grandfathered on a very good data plan, so cost for me is not much of an issue. It is not good for any web intensive work as it will take a long time to download a graphic website. It does work extremely well downloading Gribs using my INavX IPad app. You can also use email with it.

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Old 05-07-2016, 12:09   #4
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Re: satellite system

Well, the short answer is KVH, or Seatel...either will get you what you need...
But, be prepared to PAY!!! And PAY A LOT!!!
Originally Posted by bnb View Post
Can anyone recommend a satellite system for internet, tv, and phone at sea?
Now, the long answer is pretty long....

1) If you can get by like most cruisers / sailors / voyagers can, with internet, TV, and phone service while in port and within a couple miles of the developed well as decent phone service ($0.99/min, ship-to-shore calls) when at sea and in far remote areas....
Well, then you will save a LOT of money!!!

--- A masthead TV antenna (< $100) and a digital TV (preferably a multi-standard digital TV, at ~ $250), will give you TV when within 50 - 75 miles of civilization....
Shakespeare 3015 Seawatch Dome Marine TV Antenna - 15" Diameter

--- A long-range Wi-Fi system (~ $200 - $250) and a cellular amp/booster/antenna ($250 - $500), will allow excellent internet service and phone service, within a few miles of just about any civilization...for just the cost of your "cellular phone or data plan" and/or subscription Wi-Fi service in some locales (< ~ $25/month)
Marine WiFi Systems

Wilson Electronics & weBoost Cell Phone Signal Boosters, Repeaters & Antennas

--- A marine SSB radio (such as an Icom M-802, at about $2800 all-in) will allow you worldwide Voice and DSC communications, from/to anywhere, for FREE....and allow ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship telephone calls, at about $0.99/min, when you are further away from shore than your cellular or Wi-Fi system can connect...

Icom SSB Radio Kits & Components

2) Hi-speed internet and excellent phone service via sat comm, as well as satellite TV when well offshore, is quite expensive...and most cruisers can never hope to afford it!!

How expensive you ask??

--- Well, if you want reliable "broadband" always-on, with 1.5Mb+ speeds, you'll need a VSAT terminal....and they start out at $15,000 to $20,000...and go up to $75, data usage (which will depend on your application, typically figure about $1000 per month.....but if you stream movies, I've heard of some that have had bills of $5000 to $10,000!!!!!)

Mini VSAT Broadband

Sea Tel Cobham Satellite TVRO and VSAT communication systems

--- If you can get by with lower speeds, of 150kb to 250kb....then "Iridium Pilot" or "IMARSAT FleetBroadband" can be used....
They start out about $4000 to $5000, up to $15, data usage (monthly data rates are MUCH higher than for VSAT's....but since most of these customer use much less data, typical monthly charges are about $1000/mon)

Iridium OpenPort New Airtime Plans for Iridium Pilot!

Iridium Openport - Equipment & Service

FleetBroadband - Inmarsat

Inmarsat FleetBroadband


3) Now, bnb, I have no idea where you are at, where you are planning on sailing, cruising, voyaging, etc., what size boat you have, what your budget is, nor even the most important part of this whole discussion:
What is your exact application for internet, TV, and phone, at sea???
So, nobody can give you anything but general answers....

BTW, this question comes up a couple times a year....and this has all been discussed a lot...
So, here are some other threads, where you'll see more detail...
Whats the best offshore internet connection?

Internet over seas

20 gig a month?

Bahamas in summer...& internet access options.

Internet from Anywhere

Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Best options for internet.

Sat-fi vs. SSB

satellite phones

Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Sat Phone or SSB, if you had to pick one?

Ham, $$B, Iridium ?

Internet on Sailboat

Internet at Sea

I hope this helps...

Fair winds...

John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
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Old 05-07-2016, 13:36   #5
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Re: satellite system

Thank you for the valuable information. It is well appreciated and helpful.
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Old 08-07-2016, 17:41   #6
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Re: satellite system

you'd need 2 systems. they are totally different.

the TV domes are affordable. like a KVH TV3 or TV5 couple grand.

for voice / internet it's a 2nd dome and much less afordable. like a KVH v3 IP. they are ~$15,000 just the dome + monthly fees.

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