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Old 11-12-2004, 17:10   #1
JB
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Caribbean Cell/Sat Phone Service

I may need phone service aboard this season, and was wondering if anyone could recommend options for cost and reliability. My cruising area will be from Trinidad to Guadeloupe and back. I already have email, both Winlink and Sailmail. I will only need it for 3 months or so. I'm looking at Globalstar, Iridium and local island cell service. Can anyone here point me in the right direction?
Thanks!
JB s/v Dulcinea
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Old 12-12-2004, 04:06   #2
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Not Cell but rather Sat service...

...may well be your best option. The island nations thru-out the Caribbean have been going thru a deregulation process for some years now but, at least in 2000-2002, were not integrating their newly privatized systems, island nation to island nation. So if you go cell, you'll be reregistering (add'l fees) and dealing with multiple vendors as you move upisland. Ugh.

You imply you are moving FROM Trinidad towards the French Is. If that's true, I'd recommend you do your Sat Comm shopping in Chaguaramas. A German ex-pat there had a good shop with all the handheld sat systems available. His prices were quite impressive, at least in late 2001. I remember him walking me thru a typical full-season sat vs. cell fee schedule and, presuming reasonable call levels, the sat system was comparable without all the hassles. As I recall, his firm's name is Electropics (you'll find that phone number and many another vendor at the Boca website - http://www.boatersenterprise.com/the_boca/) but I can't be certain.

Were I you, I would call the YSATT folks (their email, web and phone numbers are at http://www.boatersenterprise.com/whitepages/ysatt.htm) and ask them for referrals to the correct vendors. You can begin shopping right away, if time is an issue for you.

Jack
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Old 12-12-2004, 04:54   #3
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I've never been there; but I've seen his excellent work:

Electropics Marine Services Ltd
Rainer Dobring, Manager
106 Western Main Rd, Chaguaramas, Trinidad & Tobago
Phone: (868) 634-2232
Fax: (868) 634-2237
E-mail: electrop@tstt.net.tt
Web-site (under construction): http://www.electropics.com/
The company is a full service and retail store for marine electronics and is factory-authorised by Simrad, Garmin, Stratos, Mastervolt, Sitex, Interphase, Nobeltec, Sea-Me, and many others. It is also the Caribbean manufacturing representative for SKYMATE, an email/monitoring/weather information service, working with Orbcomm satellites. The business is based in Chaguaramas (Trinidad).
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Old 12-12-2004, 09:11   #4
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Last time I did the maths, the Global sat system was the cheapest option provided you were happy about lack of coverage when on long distance cruising. Middle of pacific/Atlantic, then Iridium is the best.

But by far the cheapest system is always cybercafe on the islands.
Will you use anything else sufficiently to justify the additional cost. IMHO I would rather have an Epirb for raising alerts, an SSB for inter-cruiser chat, and a laptop/cybercafe for email.
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