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Old 19-12-2013, 06:00   #16
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Iridium very recently changed their rollover policy, post active, so I lost a bunch of minutes.

It will change how I buy in the future for sure.

But that's Iridium, not the provider.

Andy Cool does have tech support service free of charge should you need it. Explorer Satellite.
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Old 19-12-2013, 12:22   #17
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Get an InReach with a 120 sms plan for $50 a month and a receiver>laptop for your weather info.
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Old 31-12-2013, 08:49   #18
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I ended up buying a 500 minute/1 year prepaid SIM card from satphonestore.com for my Iridium 9555. About $800 including shipping. (Ouch)

Your comments and others in other threads edged me away from a monthly plan to a prepaid SIM. It was a toss up between Explorer and SatPhoneStore. I ended up going with SatPhoneStore because prices were a little lower and their web site seemed more user friendly. I figure a more user friendly web site will reduce the need for me to call for help.
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Old 31-12-2013, 09:48   #19
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Shane,
When you are setting up your phone to download gribs you will have to assign a USB port to it. I can't remember exactly how it is done, something with a DOT and number after it, but what I found is you always have to plug the phone into the same USB port after you assign it.

Also, you can use outlook to send messages but need to send them as plain text. There are settings on outlook which will basically dumb it down to a simple text message. I also didn't receive messages as they took way to long to receive. If I was going to do it again and wanted to receive them I'd create a separate e-mail address which would be difficult enough so no spam would be sent to it, then advise the 4 people who may need to contact me to send simple text messages to it.
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Old 31-12-2013, 13:01   #20
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Palaran, thanks so much for your advicere email. I do not plan on receiving emails. Reliable GRIB downloads, voice and SMS are what I hope for.

Thanks also for the tip regarding USB setup.
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Old 31-12-2013, 13:19   #21
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
Palaran, thanks so much for your advicere email. I do not plan on receiving emails. Reliable GRIB downloads, voice and SMS are what I hope for.

Thanks also for the tip regarding USB setup.
While you can sign up with someone like OCENS or Global Marine Networks to directly download GRIBS, you many find that you will want email for GRIBs anyway. For example, Saildocs.com provides free GRIBs, WFAX charts, and text forecasts via email.
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Old 31-12-2013, 13:24   #22
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
I am a bit of a weather geek and want to be able to download gribs, forecasts and talk to a weather man if needed. Also want to be able to SMS my older kids.
If you are a weather geek I hope you have weather fax in your plans. There is lots of data on the synoptic charts not available on gribs.

You won't have many options other than gribs in the South Pacific, but for the rest of the world the synoptics make you much more self-sufficient.
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Old 31-12-2013, 13:44   #23
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
If you are a weather geek I hope you have weather fax in your plans. There is lots of data on the synoptic charts not available on gribs.

You won't have many options other than gribs in the South Pacific, but for the rest of the world the synoptics make you much more self-sufficient.
You can get many/most synoptic charts (free) from Saildocs.com as email attachments. These are compressed graphics files, reasonable for satphone but still larger than you might prefer if you were using SSB email.
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Old 31-12-2013, 13:56   #24
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Evans advice about a compression service such as global marine net is spot on.
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Old 31-12-2013, 14:24   #25
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I'be been trying ZyGrib. (Previously useduGrib) See
http://weather.mailasail.com/Franks-...p-Grib-Service

Will see how it goes via Iridium and will see what is working for others "out there". I might need to bend on email yet!
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Old 31-12-2013, 18:11   #26
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

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Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
I'be been trying ZyGrib. (Previously useduGrib) See
The ZyGrib Service for Linux, MacOS or Windows/ Franks-Weather | The Weather Window

Will see how it goes via Iridium and will see what is working for others "out there". I might need to bend on email yet!
I use ZyGrib for GRIB viewing as well and frequently use its GRIB download feature ashore, but I wouldn't recommend using the GRIB download feature while on handheld satphone using Iridium's internet connection utility (Direct Internet 3.0), which sounds like your your plan.

Iridum's Direct Internet 3.0 works pretty poorly for several reasons:
- Low bandwidth with handheld satphones: forget about trying to load any internet page (even google.com), even if you adjust your browser settings for text-only
- No firewall to limit your computer's bandwith use: unless you've manually turned updating off on all your software, your software will hog the limited Iridium bandwidth available to check for updates, new anti-virus definitions, etc.

I have in fact used DI 3.0 once to download GRIBs offshore via ZyGrib, just to test that it works (it does), but because of the constraints above I wouldn't recommend it.

Instead, as the previous posters have mentioned, email is your best bet for GRIB downloads (via Saildocs's automated email server), and it is also nice as it allows some occasional communication with friends/family ashore, emails to marinas, etc.

The reason email works better is that satphone-dedicated email software maximizes bandwidth via compression, and also establishes a firewalled connection to the email server (meaning no other internet traffic takes place).

If you search past threads, you'll find lots of discussion on satphone email software options. Here's a non-comprehensive list, in my best-guess order of popularity (based on forum discussions):
- Global Marine Networks (GMN): XGate
- UUplus/SpsMail
- MailaSail: Teleport-it / Express Mail (maybe more popular in UK)
- Vizada: Skyfile Mail

I personally like Vizada's Skyfile Mail because it's free + simple, and UUplus because it's pretty affordable and equally simple. The other options tend to be more expensive as they have more functionality on top of basic email (e.g. blog updating, etc), and more tech support (e.g. GMN).

Keep us posted with as you continue your research, as it sounds like you may end up with a different compromise vs. most users, which is always interesting.
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Old 31-12-2013, 18:26   #27
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

These "compression" services do a lot more than compression and firewall. Your regular email uses a protocol that is optimized for fast connections, low latency, and high reliability. None of these assumptions are appropriate for a satphone connection. The satphone-aware protocol reduce the number of "handshakes" needed to establish a connection, and if a connection is dropped in the middle of a download will reconnect and continue where it left off. The standard email protocol will discard the uncompleted message and start from scratch when you reconnect.

These features and optimizations make a huge difference in the usability of satphone digital services. It's not snake-oil.
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Old 31-12-2013, 19:08   #28
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Re: Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Yes and I like the feature where you can dictate the size limit of an downloaded email. So for instance if someone sends you something larger than the limit you have set, you will receive a message telling you the subject line and sender. At that point you can instruct it to download using your sat phone if you need it or wait till port and download it over wi-fi.
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Old 31-12-2013, 20:03   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanedennis View Post
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I ended up buying a 500 minute/1 year prepaid SIM card from satphonestore.com for my Iridium 9555. About $800 including shipping. (Ouch)

Your comments and others in other threads edged me away from a monthly plan to a prepaid SIM. It was a toss up between Explorer and SatPhoneStore. I ended up going with SatPhoneStore because prices were a little lower and their web site seemed more user friendly. I figure a more user friendly web site will reduce the need for me to call for help.
Can you elucidate the reasons for your prepaid over bill pay decision, as you see it , I'm a bill pay iridium and could never see the economy of pre pay , my annual usage bill is under that $800 cost

Dave
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Old 31-12-2013, 23:05   #30
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I wouldn't recommend using the GRIB download feature while on handheld satphone
Maybe I'm a little more "tech" than most, but I have my laptop bandwidth use to 0 kb/s and have a bandwidth monitor to audit usage.

Will let you know how it goes.
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