I agree with many contributors on this thread, that SSB
is worth the money
(if you can afford it). In some parts
of the world (e.g., offshore
and in remote
places like the San Blas Islands of Panama) SSB
is the only way to stay connected to fellow cruisers. And of course you can use it for Pactor
, at a very low cost.
However, let me make a pitch
phones (Iridium or Inmarsat, in particular): They are the best safety equipment money
can buy. When your boat is taking on water
and you need to send out a Mayday, how much use is your SSB, really? The emergency
frequencies may or may not be monitored by people within propagation range of you, and even if you get someone on the line, it's not clear how diligent they will be in helping you.
On the other hand, with our Inmarsat Mini-M I can call my daughter in California
, give our lat/lon and tell her the conditions on board. I absolutely guarantee that she will then involve the Coast Guard, the Navy
, and anybody else who might be of assistance to us. More than that, I know that she will not give up on getting us help -- if one source of assistance doesn't pan out, she'll try another, and another, until we get what we need.
A cool thing about our Inmarsat contract
is that our service
provider only charges us for minutes used; there is no monthly fee. So, while we almost never use the system for calls (except periodic checks to be sure it's still working), we also almost never pay anything for it, either.