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Old 02-04-2013, 09:48   #1
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T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

My wife and I do a fair amount of coastal cruising along the Gulf Coast and are always looking for better ways to keep ahead of the weather. Does anyone have experence with the T-Mobile 4G mobile hot spot as a way to download weather information over the internet? We would use one of the no-contract plans sold through Wallmart, which appear to extend the usual 30-day expiration limit to 60 days.

Are there different hot spots that will work with the T-Mobile plans, and which appear to be most effective? How close do you have to be to the tower to get decent reception? I have heard that some cruisers hoist the hot spot up the mast to extend the range. Does this work very well? If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you still go this route to get weather info?

Any and all help greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:16   #2
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

I use a t-mobile 4G unit for all internet. So much easier when moving about then hunting for a free wifi signal. It depends on where you are as some places are not covered so well. But most of the time I have enough signal to pull in weather and email.. I find that the $35 month to month plan (3.5 gig no contract) is more then enough for email, weather and surfing. I got mine direct from Tmoble.

The 60 day expiration limit is related to refill cards, I think. I have mine on auto renew which for me works pretty well. I think the month to month plans can be a better deal as there are no extra taxes or fees added. Just have to watch usage and avoid watching any video.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:09   #3
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

What about plans other than T-MOBILE or receivers other than the T-MOBILE 4G Hotspot? Does anybody have any experience they can share? I want to get some system up and running before we take off for a month-long cruise, but I want to make sure to get the best system. Also, I am still uncertain about the reasonable range. I don't just want a system that works in a marina. Is it reasonable to expect a decent connection 5 - 7 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico?
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Old 03-04-2013, 16:34   #4
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

We have been using T-Mobile wifi for a few months and find the service absolutely horrible in the Florida area. We sat in Boot Key harbor surrounded by cell towers and could not connect using our T-Mobile device. I would suggest you look at AT&T, not my favorite, or Verizon. Chuck
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Old 04-04-2013, 18:59   #5
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

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Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
We have been using T-Mobile wifi for a few months and find the service absolutely horrible in the Florida area. We sat in Boot Key harbor surrounded by cell towers and could not connect using our T-Mobile device.
We had the opposite experence with a T-Mobile Nokia Lumina 810 smart phone. It has worked almost without fail sharing its internet connection via "internet sharing" with our PC this year from New Bern, NC to Stuart to Ft Myers to Key West to Marathon (ball S10 March 19-23) to South Beach Miami. Now, it did not work at Ft Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas or some spots in the Georgia marshes... Ft Jefferson was the only spot where I had to use Winlink/RMS Express to send notes to our children. Even there I had NOAA weather via VHF.

On the internet I daily check the SW Atlantic Briefing and the NOAA forecast text.

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/swatlanticbrief.shtml
and
NWS National Weather Service Marine Forecasts
or
Gulf of Mexico Marine Text Forecasts by Zone

Bill Murdoch
www.irish-eyes-to-the-bahamas.blogspot.com
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Old 04-04-2013, 19:07   #6
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

the question wasn't ask about a phone but about a data device and this has been our experience with T-Mobile. In trying to sort it out, their tech support was one of the worst we have encountered and their website was not user friendly for us. Chuck
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Old 04-04-2013, 19:25   #7
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

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Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
the question wasn't ask about a phone but about a data device
Oops, my bad. I thought that 4G, 5Gb/month on a T-Mobile cell phone shared via WiFi was the same as 4G, 5Gb on a T-Mobile mobile hotspot. I assumed that they used the same towers and frequencies. I'm glad we got the one that works.

Bill
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Old 08-04-2013, 18:12   #8
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Re: T-MOBILE 4G hot spot for weather

I have had good luck with the Tmoblie hot spot in southern New England area.
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