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Old 03-08-2018, 08:21   #1
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What's your communications strategy?

Share your approach to communications while cruising away from home.


Roaming plan on your cell phone? Buy a sim card locally? HF? Satellite? Internet cafes? Phone booths? Seems like everyone uses a combination.


Posts on what you've done to your boat to facilitate your chosen means of communications are particularly welcome. (Do you have a cellular booster? Is your satellite phone permanently installed on your boat?)


Posts on the major benefits or frustrations of your approach also welcome (cost, billing hassles, availability of service, etc)


If you use HF, comments on how you make it work for you welcome (mainly amateur or marine bands? voice, data, both? primarily rx or do you also transmit with some regularity?)


It's 2018, focus on what works now and has worked in the very recent past...
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:33   #2
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Re: What's your communications strategy?

We use local SIM cards purchased on arrival in each country. Offshore we use HF/SSB over Sailmail to get GRIBs, other weather, any email we care about and to listen to passage nets. All current.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:37   #3
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Re: What's your communications strategy?

Mosly local sim if in one country for while, great deal for all the youtube you can watch for a euro a day in portugal at the moment. Otherwise varies, internet cafes, used to be anchor in line of sight to the big hotel and find the password from somewhere but nowadays they mostly log on with room numbers so not so easy. Offshore ham radio and winlink. I'd happily go for weeks offshore without contact but seems a bit selfish as aging parents would worry. Not tried the ham setup too much yet offshore in anger but seems to work ok, and was (still is) fun learning to get the full UK ham license. Ditched sat phone as the sim card line rental just never stops.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:37   #4
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Re: What's your communications strategy?

Paul L, conachair, Thanks for the replies.


Really? Nobody else? When there's 100 replies when someone asks what kind of glue to use to patch a leaky propane line?
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:33   #5
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Re: What's your communications strategy?

We have an Iridium Go but we seldom purchase a SIM for it (when we were crossing the Indian Ocean, Sail Mail and Winlink were almost impossible to connect to). When offshore, we use an Icom 802 and Pactor modem for email and weather forecasts. If we’re coastal cruising or in port, we have iPhones that can accept a SIM (not all iPhones can).

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 06-08-2018, 09:47   #6
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Re: What's your communications strategy?

Ours is simple, based on need. Most of our time, 95%+, is at anchor, well within cell phone range. Cell towers are everywhere. We use Google Project Fi as it works in 170+ countries. Offshore, it's SSB. Where I go, SSB coverage is very good. The SSB came with the boat. If I didn't have SSB, I might use Inreach. Iridium GO is great, but more expensive to run. Depends on how much offshore time you intend to have and you pocketbook.
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