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Camelot 22-02-2011 03:17

SSB vs Iridium, or Both ?

Dear blue water sailors,

Almost everyone you speak to is found of the SSB for intership and flotilla communication for the ocean passages. “The SSB is a must” seems to be a well established fact. My challenge is however that I am not sure about this. I have crossed the Atlantic once. We used the SSB for that crossing but that is 15 years ago. Since then I have done several long distance sailings without the SSB. And to be frankly, who should I have talked to by SSB during these journeys? I am aware of the presents of nets that would function as communication hubs. But is the efficiency in this communication worth the huge investment to have a SSB in place? My main requirements for communication at see are as follows:
  • To get in contact with support in a mayday situation
  • Download GRIB files for weather forecast
  • Exchange emails
  • To get in contact with other identified boats outside the VHF range
These three requirements have to be fulfilled with 100% reliability of connection. The question is then: Both SSB and Iridium, only Iridium or only SSB?

I hope someone could share their actual experience regarding this issue.

Fair winds,

LakeSuperior 22-02-2011 04:24

Re: SSB versus Iridium or both?
This 90 post thread may answer your question.

Camelot 22-02-2011 04:48

Re: SSB versus Iridium or both?
Didn't find this thread at the first place. Thanks! That is exactly the discussion I was looking for.


Sheriff 23-02-2011 06:23

Re: SSB vs Iridium, or Both ?
lol rofl

Bill Burgette 23-02-2011 08:54

Re: SSB vs Iridium, or Both ?
I've decided to go with both because I'd like to keep in touch with fellow cruisers and gab a bit just to break the monotony. Sometimes I'd have a desire to talk instead of sand on teak. I've weighed the cost of a sat phone and the ease of use and a desire to keep my extended family free from worry is worth it to me. The best I can tell, 3000 minutes over a two year period would cost about a hundred dollars a month. 3 dollars a day for 4 minutes a day to hear a cheerful voice is worth it to me.

My friends could get a map and track my progress as well as inform me of any unfortunate weather patterns.
It appears that a SSB can be had for under a thousand dollars. and a HAM license would be no problem. Of course, that's just me. just drink one less beer per day and I'm talking. I drink good beer.

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