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Old 15-10-2017, 04:28   #1
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What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

hi all,

we have a sat phone that we use when passage-making. But the antenna serivce is not good. The phone is an Iridium Extreme and we have the normal internal antenna and the "hockey puck".

We're considering adding an external antenna, mounted on our solar targa bar. These things seem to cost >$500,

so the big question is:

Can anyone recommend a good antenna that is less expensive or will we end up forking over the big bucks?

thanks in advance

carsten
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Old 24-10-2017, 11:24   #2
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Re: What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

HI guys (and gals)

Is there really noone out there who has an opinion on this?


thanks in advance

carsten
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Old 24-10-2017, 12:10   #3
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Re: What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

I've purchased external rail-mounted Iridium antennas from Global Marine Networks (Iridium External Antenna, $250).

Here's one for $200 from BlueCosmo (AeroAntenna AT1621-73 Fixed Mast Antenna | BlueCosmo). This one actually looks more like the one I currently have.

Coax cable is extra. You obviously want good coax, since the frequency is around 1.6 GHz.
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Old 24-10-2017, 13:43   #4
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Re: What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

As Paul said, the cable quality (signal loss) is critical. It is VERY easy to buy an external antenna with "just a few yards" of cable, and wind up with a weaker signal than the internal antenna (with zero cable losses) provides.

Any reputable vendor should be able to tell you "this antenna has a gain of ## decibels (db) and this cable has a loss of ## decibels per hundred feet."

Figure out the loss for the cable length you will need, subtract that from the antenna gain, and you'll know if it will accomplish anything. And again, a good vendor (as opposed to a discount clerk) should be offering to do that for you.
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Old 24-10-2017, 14:21   #5
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Re: What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

Got this one with my iridium go

https://www.ast.systems/unitedkingdo...ssive-antenna/

When I tested it appeared to have the same signal strength as the internal antenna, which means I can have it at the nav station and reception is as good as if the go is on deck.
However don't expect fantastic signal strength in a marina with buildings close by.

And the download speed is no where near the advertised 2.4 Kbps , a 160kb grib file takes around 8 minutes.

Regards

Ab
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Old 24-10-2017, 16:00   #6
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Re: What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

I used the Iridium GO with the external antenna, and it worked GREAT!
Just check the charges, they charged me $10 a minute for calling a land line in the USA, claiming it is a call to another sat phone. After placing a complaint with MBNA (master card) I got my money back.
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Old 24-10-2017, 16:06   #7
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Re: What is a Good Sat Phone External Antenna?

I ended up with this one:

https://www.northernaxcess.com/iridi...assive-antenna

connected to an ICHU1000 via LMR400 cable.

Cheers,
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