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Old 02-11-2007, 11:43   #31
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We frequently visit Jamaica and bought a Nokia phone from Digicell of Jamaica for US $45, which included $12 worth of airtime. We have a local (Jamaican #), no monthly fees, and can buy minutes at any small store in Jamaica. It costs about 3 cents a minute to call within Jamaica and about 32 cents a minute to call the US. Coverage is quite good.
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Old 06-11-2007, 19:37   #32
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Well, I'm In Grenada now and got that Sim card for my Nokia GSM phone. It cost EC$45.00 including a credit of EC$10.00. That works out to about US$17.00. It gives me a local number and low cost roaming in all the Eastern Caribbean that uses Digicell. The cost of phoning North America is less than that of a phone card. The real clincher is that you do not pay for any incoming calls from any where.

The EnGenius WiFi amplifer wll have towait awhile. It seems to help here at the hotel, but the Jury is still out to lunch.
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Old 07-11-2007, 15:27   #33
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I'm really surprised that some forward thinking cell company has not jumped on the opportunity to clear up this island by island mess of cell interchangeability. If the local government regulations could be dealt with, a company first on the market could make a killing.... but again doing things on island time takes a bit longer.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:30   #34
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Well, you are actually dealing with separate countries and very few are about give up control of telecommunications.

Just for comparison, it is costing me about 25% to roam in the Eastern Caribbean compared to my Canadian Cell roaming in the U.S.
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Old 30-12-2007, 12:05   #35
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We came up from Tortola through Turks & Caicos, Muyaguana, Rum Key, Georgetown, etc to the US east coast in May - June. Regardless of claims from any US cell company, your cell phone is not gonna work - we had 3 premier US providers (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T). We had all made the "international" adaptation to no avail. Our Globalstart st phone worked well some places - between BVI and T&C, Sapadillo Bay, T&C, but was worthless elsewhere - Far Bahamas. When it did work, we had to do the "Boat dance" to find the best reception.

SKYPE, as mentioned is a god-send for anyplace you can find an internet connection. Although not universal, we found internet and even wi-fi at a lot of places (Rum Cay was a surprise!).
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Old 30-12-2007, 13:03   #36
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Regardless of claims from any US cell company, your cell phone is not gonna work - we had 3 premier US providers (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T).
!).
Thanks for that update.
I (we) are wondering how far we can go using Verizon card on laptop.

Not far...................
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Old 01-01-2008, 02:45   #37
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communication in the carib and elsewhere

we have discovered a program called "skymate" (website skymate.com) that is wonderful. it is a text only email, fax transmitter, weather reports worldwide, weblog, computer generated voice messages for folks without computers and weather in several formats. you do not have to have internet access to use the program - just a laptop. it's supported by 34 satellites. they're the same folks who create weather data for sirius.

the weather is spot on.

we just got the system and highly recommend it.

ladyhawk
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Old 01-01-2008, 03:24   #38
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we have discovered a program called "skymate" (website skymate.com)
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Gold Plan

Send or receive 20,000 characters per month for just $34.99. Additional data costs only $1.90 per 1000 characters.
Does that exclude or include the weather? A weather report twice a day could suck up your character limit quickly.

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Old 01-01-2008, 04:20   #39
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And does Skymate have GMDSS? One button emergency activation sending GPS position and mayday information? And ability to receive mayday info?
It doesnt say it does. But one would think it might?
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:25   #40
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I had my AT+T Razr phone un-locked, then got a Bahamian SIM card on the internet plus some additional minuttes. Also bolted a Cell Antenna to the aft railing of the boat and installed a cell phone "Booster".

Now I can talk for $0.51 per minutte as opposed to $3.00.
Not sure what kind of range I am getting with the above gizzmos, so far I have seen 25 NM, using the phone in the middle of the Gulfstream.
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Old 01-01-2008, 13:33   #41
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Skymate:
Amazing what $1200+ worth of satellite radio can do for communications at sea. How would that comapre to using a staphone at half the price and buying a minute plan for data?

(With memories of cell phones at $1/minute tp $4/minute, I may not think these new satphones are cheap--but can't call them unreasonable, nor expensive, in that perspective.)
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:40   #42
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Mark, Everything counts even spaces against the bytes used per month. You do get two free position reports per day to any email address that just tells them where you are with map. When selecting which weather report you get an idea of the byte range depending on report you are interested in and yes they are 200 plus. The reports we have used were about 297; graphics can be couple thousand bytes. Skymate works where cell phones and internet access does not otherwise the unlocked phone is a great option. Also, if you buy the system at a boat show they have special pricing. Happy sailing and stay in touch people worry about us you know. Dawn
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:34   #43
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In digital data there's no such thing as a space (a void) there's only the *character* or value that represents a space, or signal loss. So since the days when Western Union ran the bare-wire telegraph lines across Indian Country, they counted and charged for spaces just like every other character. (Five characters plus one space equals one "Western Union Word" and even in payments to authors today, they are paid by the character count divided by six--paying tribute back to the Western Union Word, which supposedly represents the average letter+space count in actual messaging.)

And now a moment of silence for the Telegram. WU shut down that service completely a couple of years ago, but the legacies live on.
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Old 02-01-2008, 17:07   #44
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Byte Counts

Hellosailor, Interesting stuff about WU. However, when we bought the system they said spaces count, so next email or blog I'll count it myself and compare to the auto counter.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:03   #45
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If your character count is off "just a little", there's something else most folks wouldn't consider. With electronic "text" each paragraph may be sent as one line--with no line wraps or breaks. That relies on the recipient's software to format it. With some other systems/software, it is sent with "line breaks" embedded in the code, which vary but consist of one OR TWO extra invisible characters at the end of each line "sent".

And, if you are using a messaging system like a standard web email program, those can be set to send "as text" or "as HTML" or with the combination of both. So one short message, that appears to be 200 characters on my screen, might be 200 characters of "vanilla text" aka "glass ASCII". Or, it might be 200 characters of text, give or take a dozen end-of-line and -line-feed characters, plus another thousand characters of formatted HTML code, or it might be 1200 characters in a combination message. (Yes, using HTML bloats messages about 5x in size.)

Of course that bloated HTML code won't carry the extra dozen characters from end-of-line coding, 500% overhead is all it needs.<G>

And an email message will be carrying overhead, the header and other identification information, might be 200 characters per message.

If that system shipped with its own messaging software, hopefully they offer you a "plain text" option, or at least a way to check characters for full messages, however they count the length of them. It certainly can be confusing, and I'm sure there's even MORE that might be involved.
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