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Old 25-07-2011, 20:33   #1
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SAT Phone - Yes or No?

We're finally getting the boat ready to get off the hard and in the water. It's been heavily suggested that we get a SAT phone. Looking through the miriad of what's out there, INMARSAT & Iridium phones are the most popular. Anyone have one and if so, how's the coverage? We're leaving Seattle in Sept heading to Mexico with the Baja Ha-ha, then continuing on for 5 - 7 years in a circumnav. I'm thinking spend the $$ for an air conditioner - any suggestions?

Thanks Much!!
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Old 25-07-2011, 22:00   #2
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

I have a handheld iridium phone. It's far less expensive than air conditioning.
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Old 25-07-2011, 23:19   #3
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

INMARSAT was originally designed for large ships. It required a fairly large antenna and a terminal. The terminals have come down in size over the years along with the antenna, especially the mini M, but it's still a lot of hardware. Basically If you have this system it remains on the boat. Another system is the ISAT phone.

Iridium is a handheld, like a large cell phone. You can take it ashore with you with no problems. There is world wide coverage. Rates for both are about the same, and both offer data, fax, voice and very slow internet. Speeds are equivalent except you can get higher speeds from INMARSAT at tremendous cost. You pay by the amount of service you use, which is very pricey for both systems.

Some cruisers own Iridium phones and also ssb radios. They do their email over the radio for free but call back to suppliers and family on the phone. There used to be a service that you could "rent" one for long passages, almost free if you didn't actually make a call. Many crossing over from California to Hawaii would do this in case of emergency.
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Old 27-07-2011, 14:35   #4
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

GSP-1700 Satellte Phone for $499
with unlimited airtime voice plan at $19.99 per month.

Globalstar, Inc. :: Worldwide Satellite Voice and Data Products and Services for Customers Around the Globe

This is a special that runs out August 31st.
Coverage is spotty over the water, but covers most land areas.
Anyone use this?
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Old 27-07-2011, 14:45   #5
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

I've considered Globalstar too. The rates look good and I travel a lot too so it's tempting to look into more.
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Old 27-07-2011, 15:24   #6
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

You will never get the value of installing an air conditioner back - first, you can't run them while underway or at anchor (unless you have a LOT of fuel for generators). Some marinas meter the amount of electricity you use, so for a summer of immobility you could install a 6000 Btu window-mounted unit (out of WalMart or Sears for less than $200)...
You don't mention whether you have an HF system or not, so I suspect you don't. They are a fair amount of money up front, and a learning curve, but there are many nets for info and conversation, and Winlink is free for email and weather for Hams. Iridium is less expensive up front but has continuing (monthly-ish) expenses for use, even just for enrollment with no use. But there is almost no learning curve and they are very handy in an emergency. HF radios let you talk on "party lines", sat phones are just one-on-one. There really isn't a clear choice, it depends on how you expect to use them, the resources of the people you want to contact, your budget, your willingness to get involved in electronic systems or cruising communities...

Michael
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Old 27-07-2011, 17:14   #7
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don1500 View Post
GSP-1700 Satellte Phone for $499
with unlimited airtime voice plan at $19.99 per month.
I wonder how much it would cost to replace the batteries
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Old 27-07-2011, 17:40   #8
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don1500 View Post
GSP-1700 Satellte Phone for $499
with unlimited airtime voice plan at $19.99 per month.

Globalstar, Inc. :: Worldwide Satellite Voice and Data Products and Services for Customers Around the Globe

This is a special that runs out August 31st.
Coverage is spotty over the water, but covers most land areas.
Anyone use this?
BEWARE!
if its too good to be true it probably is.

I have purchased this phone and returned it promptly after finding out about their restricted call schedules. they change daily and depend upon your geographical location. you basically get between 1 min. and 15 min windows every hour or two.

save yourself the trouble.

check this IMPORTANT INFORMATION Concerning the Globalstar Satellite Constellation

And this!!! http://calltimes.globalstar.com/
Enter your location and see when you can make a phone call......you wont be happy to see the schedule.
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Old 28-07-2011, 08:10   #9
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

We got an Iridium setup for about 3k just for weather, had a really hard time getting it to work with Mac, but all is fine now. VHF and SSB are not that reliable. When you need the weather you want it now. Coverage with Iridium is good but sometimes in a harbor you have problems. Is it worth 3k to avoid a nasty storm? You bet.
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Old 28-07-2011, 08:54   #10
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

SAT phone is awsome to have aboard. Would not go far offshore without one.

Make sure you have the local emergency numbers written down in your ditch bag so that you can call them with the SAT phone in an emergency. The best SAT phone does you no good when the boat is sinking, if you dont have a phone number to call for help
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Old 28-07-2011, 10:00   #11
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Re: SAT Phone - Yes or No?

We asked Iridium that exact question, they said dial 911.
We said, what if we are in the middle of the ocean?
Dial 911
The SAT phone goes to a central switchboard and gives your lat and long, they figure out who to contact.
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