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Old 28-12-2013, 17:59   #31
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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
scarlet -

if your primary concern is that the old folks will have to reach you then there is only one service you need to consider. Iridium.

The phone will cost you about $1500. then you buy airtime cards. but since you won't be making any (or many) calls you can easily control the cost of airtime cards. What you really want is a phone number the old folks can call in an emergency, and that's what an iridium phone really gives you. you will have to keep the phone on 24/7 but that doesn't cost anything except electricity. you can also carry it around with you while you're touring the islands (try that with immarsat or an ssb!) so you really are always in reach. because iridium covers the entire globe - thanks to the good old u.s. government - there is really no place on earth you can't be reached except maybe in a cave somewhere.

no contest. for being able to be reached and hold a conversation anywhere on this planet, iridium is the answer.

as for calling the old folks, we use Skype. unless you need to call them every day you are nearly always somewhere where internet access is available. we have Skype on our laptop and also on our smartphones. you can carry your smartphone around with you when you're touring and make Skype calls where you can find free or cheap internet access. the cost of getting Skype is FREE. you will have to deposit some money upfront in your accouint with them, but calls are very inexpensive. we call Bahamas to u.s.a. for nine cents a minute.

we also keep in touch with the kids and family using spot. every day we send a spot message which sends an email to up to ten recipients. they know we are still alive and exactly where we are. costs about $150 for the unit and $100 a year for service. the only downside is that the message is pretty much fixed, that is, you can't easily change the message every day, although it is possible if you have internet access.

finally there are cellphones. every country on earth - except the u.s.a. - uses the gsm system. there are now several gsm systems in the u.s.a., notably at&t, but their phones are not suitable because they are locked on to at&t and can't be used with any other company or country without being unlocked. probably not worth the hassle. here's my solution.

when you get to another country, buy a cellphone. get the cheapest one. they are all unlocked. you can now use this phone in any other country on earth by simply buying the local sim card with talk time on it. when you get to another island, get the local sim card with time. in the Bahamas the cheapest phone is $30, and with sim card setup and time the minimum is about $60. air time to the u.s.a. from the Bahamas was fifty cents a minute. but once you own the phone It can be used everywhere on earth - including the u.s.a. go figure.

and just to remind you, one of the reasons to go cruising is to leave all that stuff behind you.....
My iridium phone cost me 300 dollars on eBay. ! And in some situations is still cheaper then a GSM phone to phone home.

Dave
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Old 28-12-2013, 21:03   #32
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My iridium phone cost me 300 dollars on eBay. ! And in some situations is still cheaper then a GSM phone to phone home.

Dave
Dave, which model did you get? Was it in good condition? Can you get a new battery for it?

I'm curious about your experience because I've thought of doing the same....
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Old 29-12-2013, 08:49   #33
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Re: Staying Connected?

I'm still following along, and taking lots of notes... will go out and research some of the options listed... please continue discussing...
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Old 29-12-2013, 09:14   #34
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Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
I'm still following along, and taking lots of notes... will go out and research some of the options listed... please continue discussing...
Go for the Sat Phone for emergency contact and sending text updates of your movements/progress at sea... for the rest you'll find just about any coastal bar with sense has WiFi these days... you can tell which ones.. they've usually the most customers..
My cell phone keeps friends in touch with my movements via my FB page up to 15miles off shore in Europe..
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Old 29-12-2013, 10:34   #35
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Re: Staying Connected?

Quote:
Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
Dave, which model did you get? Was it in good condition? Can you get a new battery for it?

I'm curious about your experience because I've thought of doing the same....
I got a pristine 9500, with all sorts of spare batteries, chargers, even a solar panel, from a guy in Arizona. I bought a second one for a friend from a guy in the Bahamas,

Both are working fine, but were flashed to latest software ( at the time) to support data. Im a happy bunny.

Batteries still good, if a bit down on Ah, but its always connected into the boats batteries anyway.

I brought it on an anniversary trip, recently on the Queen Mary 2 ( best way to go west east Atlantic by the way LOL!!) , was way cheaper then using the ships comms.!.


im a Ham radio operator, but I still rate sat phones over SSB , especially for emergencies.

dave
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Old 29-12-2013, 10:49   #36
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Re: staying connected?

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when you get to another country, buy a cellphone. get the cheapest one. they are all unlocked.
This has not been true in our experience for any country in the Caribbean. They are all locked to the carrier you buy them from. However, most of them are easily unlocked for $5 by buying an unlock code off the internet.

So far we haven't worried much about it because the phones only cost $12, so we just have a couple from each carrier and swap phones or SIM cards as needed.

The best way to access cellular data is through a mifi modem/router. Slip in a SIM card and have wireless connectivity throughout the boat. We have one that I soldered a coax pigtail into the antenna circuit and connected a 9db cell antenna. Up a flag halyard, that one is usable in locations where others cannot connect to a tower at all - phone or data.

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