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Old 18-12-2013, 15:51   #1
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Who is the Most Sailor-Friendly Iridium Service Provider?

Our "new" Iridium 9555 on the way.

Who is currently the most sailor friendly, Iridium service provider? What are the best value service plans? Our cruise now takes us through to the Bahamas then on to Panama and perhaps to the South Pacific.

We will be using the satellite phone to download weather information and make phone calls.
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Old 18-12-2013, 16:39   #2
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

I use Andy Cool at Explorer Satellite Communications. He'll give you the straight scoop and won't try to sell you something you don't need or that won't work for you.
866-662-2665. He's in Dania Florida
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Old 18-12-2013, 18:00   #3
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

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I use Andy Cool at Explorer Satellite Communications. He'll give you the straight scoop and won't try to sell you something you don't need or that won't work for you.
866-662-2665. He's in Dania Florida
Ditto
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Old 18-12-2013, 18:03   #4
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Don't minutes expire on most of these services? Not such a big deal for you shanedennis since you'll likely burn through some minutes steadily over the coming months. For a part timer though....
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Old 18-12-2013, 18:10   #5
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

That is from Iridium, not the vendor.
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Old 18-12-2013, 18:32   #6
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Ok but in the end, have to buy a big bundle that expires....?

I've only rented before. Would be nice to pay by the minute even if its a little more.
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Old 18-12-2013, 18:59   #7
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

Yeah, and they just changed the rules. I'm pissed at Iridium and trying not to remember it cause I just get repissed.
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Old 18-12-2013, 19:41   #8
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Yeah, and they just changed the rules. I'm pissed at Iridium and trying not to remember it cause I just get repissed.
Ya I don't like not being able to buy what I want, just what they want me to. Like cable tv. How about a buck a channel, and ill just pick ten or less. Ya, I get it.

SSB and HAM are better choices in this regard.

How many minutes to download a grib on a 9555? I think that's the model - cant scroll and see on iPhone.
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Old 18-12-2013, 19:43   #9
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

No-one has asked yet . . .but do you have a compression service?

If not, you should consider one. They will increase your effective data rate (and thus reduce your costs when doing weather/email) by a factor of about 4.
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Old 18-12-2013, 19:51   #10
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There are many resellers, but i don't think they make much of a difference, except to help guide you through the confusion of iridium's plans and rules.

I've bought online from satphonestore.com (also known as Atlantic Radio Telephone) and renewed via email, no problems either time. Spoke to them on the phone - professional outfit.

Also check out satellitephonestore.com (not the same as above). They offer plans & phones - I've only bought their gear, no problems as well.

Several other CF users have used the above too, you can search for comments.
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Old 18-12-2013, 20:06   #11
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

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There are many resellers, but i don't think they make much of a difference, except to help guide you through the confusion of iridium's plans and rules.

I've bought online from satphonestore.com (also known as Atlantic Radio Telephone) and renewed via email, no problems either time. Spoke to them on the phone - professional outfit.

Also check out satellitephonestore.com (not the same as above). They offer plans & phones - I've only bought their gear, no problems as well.

Several other CF users have used the above too, you can search for comments.
+1

What would a service provider provide? You can do most of the purchasing on line. But if your going to the Bahamas why not look at the new T-Mobile plans. Your not going to be far from land for very long.

I lost about 750 minutes in October from non-use and not wanting to reload. I've no reason to have a sat phone in the Med as my ATT plan is the same price and twice as nice. If your getting the phone for emergencies than maybe get the lowest minute plan available because you won't need it much.
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Old 18-12-2013, 20:18   #12
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How many minutes to download a grib on a 9555? I think that's the model - cant scroll and see on iPhone.
I'd say expect 3-5 min on Iridium 9555 for one sufficient GRIB per day, if you are careful to limit the request to only what you need for basic nav for 3-5 days. That's the minimum.

In practice, I like to do two GRIB requests which total probably 6-10min/day: one short term (local area, 0.5 deg resolution every 6H for 24-48H) and one long term (regional/large area, 1 deg resolution every 12-24H for 3-5 days).

I doubt you would use more than 10 min per day, but it certainly could happen if you are not cautious with the GRIB request specs (GRIBs via Iridium by necessity must be much smaller that GRIBs via wifi or 3G connections, given the difference in bandwidth), and/or have a connection that drops a lot (dependent on horizon line of sight + external antenna).
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Old 18-12-2013, 20:40   #13
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Thanks guys. I was leaning towards a postpaid monthly plan that charges $40-50/month plus $1-$1.50/minute.

I don't know how much we are going to use the thing, but I do know I want it working when I need it. 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.

Rebel Heart mentioned getting cut off mid-passage due to a billing mishap, that's the kind of thing I hope to avoid by posing this question.
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Old 18-12-2013, 21:16   #14
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

For email/grib service I have been using uuplus.net

For minutes I buy 500 minutes from OCENS and that lasts us a year, sending/receiving emails and requesting grib files sometimes a couple times a day when on passage. We will often send and receive emails a few times each day, so we are not being really careful with use. Also OCENS has our credit card and if we did use all our time while we are on passage they have our approval to renew it.
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Old 19-12-2013, 04:14   #15
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Re: Who is the most sailor-friendly Iridium service provider?

Before doing a trans Atlantic last year I purchased a 3000 minute / 2 year card. I was thinking we would need a lot of minutes for grips, updating the blog, and calling home. We used about 750 minutes over 40 days for the passage. During the summer my family used the phone to call friends and that burned up another 1000 minutes. This summer we put international plans on our cell phones and didn't need the sat phone so I told my son to use it for his nightly calls home to his girlfriend. And I still lost 750 minutes.

So my suggestion is to get the lowest package of minutes you can that have a two year expiration, then add on to it when needed. At first you may use the phone but after a while it will taper off. Gribs once per day when they show fair weather is all you need which equals about 8 minutes of time.
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