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Old 09-07-2009, 18:32   #1
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Internet Available?

I am planning to cruise the virgin islands. What is the best way to get online?
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Old 09-07-2009, 20:03   #2
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It's the world wide web. It's everywhere. Best bet is Internet café's. They have them every place. You go to the edge of the world and you have to walk a bit farther is all.
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Old 09-07-2009, 20:21   #3
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Internet access

Any way to get it on your boat?
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Old 09-07-2009, 20:30   #4
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You may want to get a high power WiFi device to plug into the USB port. I have tried 2 of them, the 200 mWatt Engenius available at http://www.embeddedworks.net/wlan/enduser_usb_80211g.html for $65.

And the 500 mWatt GSky available at http://www.techsunny.com/3234892/techsunny-wireless-ieee-802.11g-usb.html for $36.

With an optional 8db high gain antennae you will get solid connections up to 1/2 mile. The higher in the rigging you can place the antennae the better.
You can get a variety of directional high gain antennas at http://www.fab-corp.com/home.php?cat=276 The only problem is the reverse polarity connector on the units. They will build the connecting cable for you
You can build a super directional high gain antennae out of a tin can see http://www.saunalahti.fi/elepal/antenna2.html if you are so inclined.

Hope all of that helps.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:41   #5
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Hi, David.

There've been some very detailed discussions here on long-distance WiFi. Use the Google search feature in the small "Search" pull-down menu.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:56   #6
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A few from my last charter trip:

Without having to buy anything special: Free (unsecured) at the Moorings in Road Harbour. (Maybe on the boat, but probably not.) Free at Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda (Not out at anchor, can't say about the marina.) and I could pick up a U.S. AT&T signal for my Iphone in the whole western region of the BVIs - Jost Van Dyke south through Norman's. I'm sure there are many more options, but with just those, I was never more than two days without a connection.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:20   #7
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Several Locations in the BVI have recently improved their WIFI capabilities. You can often get free Internet from your boat's mooring. Paid WIFI access can be expensive. Most of the BVI INTERNET Café's charge an arm and leg ( $10.00) for connections... even if you have a large meal with several people. Some charge an initial fee then for each minute and it really makes no difference if you use your own or a supplied computer.

Generally good free WIFI is available at most Pussers locations and you have the option of some really good and inexpensive Rum!!

At Trellis Bay you have a great connection from your mooring via The Loose Mongoose... you should give them some business for the service and they are the best place to hang out and serve 3 meals a day and a great weekly BBQ.

Many other locations have in-house WIFI which has limited range unless you go for one of the booster systems.

The most practical is the cellular connection that LIME and the others offer but the cost is about $65.00 per month but you no longer have to set up a contract for a year... just the months you are going to be in the area. You do need to have a modem, but many lap tops now come with them and you can pick one up for under $100 if you need one.

HOWEVER, you are loosing one of the best reasons for going to the islands if you continue all your state side bad habits... such as the need for continuous Internet access. Get out and try a NEW Communication system. TALK to people directly face to face... even those you don't yet know. I assure you it is by far the best / most interesting communications you will have.

Believe it or not... a person, including YOU, CAN live with out INTERNET. After a few days of withdrawal... you probably will not miss it as all. That is when you have reached the Lim'n stage and your becoming a Caribbean sailor.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:23   #8
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The main problem with receiveing Wi-Fi while cruising is to find a Wi-Fi that is broadcasting at an acceptable price, and the key word is "find". Most marinas offer Wi-Fi that works most of the time, some free, some not.
Prices at St. Thomas range from $14 an hour at an internet cafe within the Crown Marina to free Wi-Fi at the Bad Ass Coffee shop (real name).
I didn't find any Wi-Fi in St. John, but then I like remote anchorages. Nor did I find any Wi-Fi at any of the mooring fields in the BVI's.

Which brings up another topic that we may need to explore in a separate thread: are we going cruising to remote third world countries to sample their lifestyle or are we going on an extended vacation only staying at marinas, with all of the toys of a first world country?
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Old 10-07-2009, 10:51   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post
Which brings up another topic that we may need to explore in a separate thread: are we going cruising to remote third world countries to sample their lifestyle or are we going on an extended vacation only staying at marinas, with all of the toys of a first world country?
Affirmative.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:36   #10
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Wifi is available just about everywhere in the Caribbean either free or paid. There are several multi-island wifi systems like HotHotSpot which is really nice as you can buy a month's subscription at a better price and use it in many islands as you work your way down island.
But specifically for the Virgins - US Virgins free and/or paid is available in all the "population centers" and rarely in the outlying anchorages/moorings areas. The key is to have a "powered" external antenna if you want to use it onboard your boat.
I have had great success with the MarineRV - ¤RadioLabs || WaveRV Marine - Wireless antenna antenna which is waterproof and comes with a 15ft cable. I added a 15ft "powered usb" extension cable to enable me to hoist the antenna up a flag halyard and then use my computer down in the main salon out of the weather.
Wifi is used first for getting good clear weather charts and forecasts from places like WindGURU: Weather forecasts for windsurfing, kitesurfing and other wind related sports (or .com); Windfinder - wind, wave & weather reports, forecasts & statistics / webcams, satellite images, isobar maps, tides ; NOAA fax charts at Radiofax Charts - New Orleans and finally NOAA weather satellites at: NWS Southern Region - Tropical Satellite Imagery
These allow you to plan your passages for safety and comfort and also to see if any nasty storms are heading towards you.
Then to use Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors to get the information of the next island destination.
And also to do email with friends and family and all the new cruising friends you met during your journey.
So having wifi available to your computer is a major safety factor when cruising. And it is available in just about all the Caribbean Islands.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:45   #11
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wifi is available just about everywhere--i used my sprint air card---works everywhere there is a cell tower
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:38   #12
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Which brings up another topic that we may need to explore in a separate thread: are we going cruising to remote third world countries to sample their lifestyle or are we going on an extended vacation only staying at marinas, with all of the toys of a first world country?
Sometimes being able to get online 10 minutes every other day and be able to experience the local environment the other 23:50 of the day is the difference between being able to experience that 23:50 and staying home. I hardly think the BVIs are third world and people there connect to the internet and phone all the time.

Different people choose to cruise in different fashions and I don't think one can say any are right or wrong. I recently returned from 3 weeks in the BVIs. I accessed the internet briefly every few days, for which I never paid a local access fee. However, with the exception of the charter base, I never stayed at a marina, never picked up an overnight mooring and on several occasions had an anchorage to myself. There are different ways to define escape. There are different way to enjoy a new cruising area.
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Old 12-07-2009, 13:40   #13
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Zeehag,
Nearly everybody means wireless Internet connection using 2.4 gHz when they say "WiFi". The signal for WiFi comes from a wireless router that is connected to the Internet by some wired means. It is usually very short range. (Less than a mile)
The Sprint aircard that you and I are using is a different technology. It uses the cell phone network to access the Internet. It is a lower frequency and generally has a longer range than WiFi. It is also slower. When I am on the coast of Texas I get good and fast 3g (third generation) coverage. After South Africa ADSL service it seems very fast. When I am inland a long from major metro areas it falls back to 1g (first generation) coverage which is like the old dial-up modem speeds.
I do not think that will get any amplifiers and/or high gain 2.4 gHz antennas as long as I have the Sprint aircard. I may really get tired of paying $60 a month to use it! I could get a lot of paid WiFi connections or buy a lot of WiFi range-extending equipment for what Sprint charges over a two year contract.
How far offshore can you use your Sprint aircard? I have yet to be offshore with my my new aircard. BTW the first month's bill for my $59.99 air card was $148! Does it get better later?
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Old 12-07-2009, 13:56   #14
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Zeehag,
Nearly everybody means wireless Internet connection using 2.4 gHz when they say "WiFi". The signal for WiFi comes from a wireless router that is connected to the Internet by some wired means. It is usually very short range. (Less than a mile)The Sprint aircard that you and I are using is a different technology. It uses the cell phone network to access the Internet. It is a lower frequency and generally has a longer range than WiFi. It is also slower. When I am on the coast of Texas I get good and fast 3g (third generation) coverage. After South Africa ADSL service it seems very fast. When I am inland a long from major metro areas it falls back to 1g (first generation) coverage which is like the old dial-up modem speeds.
I do not think that will get any amplifiers and/or high gain 2.4 gHz antennas as long as I have the Sprint aircard. I may really get tired of paying $60 a month to use it! I could get a lot of paid WiFi connections or buy a lot of WiFi range-extending equipment for what Sprint charges over a two year contract.
How far offshore can you use your Sprint aircard? I have yet to be offshore with my my new aircard. BTW the first month's bill for my $59.99 air card was $148! Does it get better later?
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i was able to successfully use my aircard up to 6-8 mi from shore in the gulf of mexico---in usvi was easier than in san diego----anywhere there is a cell tower it works ....there has been a recent change in service with the sprint card----they are now charging for data usage--i had them return my service to unlimited use---i didnt like the high fee for using it the new way---70 dollars now i believe is the unlimited usage feee---60 for having a data usage limit....a kind of hidden fee--like verizon used to do--i donot know if they still do it that way--measuring the data usage---but my sprint card is in use when i take pix---i do that a lot..is slow but i can upload and download pix using it with fairly decent reliability factor....wifi seems too flaky for what i really want to do when i am online--i donot trust my pix to be loaded when i use it for some reason.... have a wifi antenna---i can use it if i feel like it--not often, as i am not able to receive wifi in my moorage in san diego--but i have the option for cruising---
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Old 12-07-2009, 14:19   #15
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Oh no! I am locked into a two-year contract! I have fallen victim to the "There is a sucker born every minute." marketing plan of Sprint. I feel so used. I feel so ashamed! What is a recent returnee from South Africa to do? Up until now I was so very proud of my new air card.
Oh, woe is me, I think that I will go eat a worm!
Gloom, dispair, and agony on me!
Jerry, the naive. (Welcome back to the USA, sucker!)
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