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Old 07-08-2020, 01:34   #1
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Anyone using a Cobham Explorer 710 or 510, 2nd hand cheap /fast as alternative to GO

Hi all,
Who of you is using a Cobham Explorer 710 or 510 on a boat?
I am preping my boat for a world circum on the barefoot route and searching for a reasonable priced way to get sat internet on the boat but with more then the 1993 internet speed iridium Go. Mainly for weather On ocean passages but occasionally I need to send some emails with bigger attachments.
I met a sailor who used the Cobham Explorer 710 on a 50ft Mono from europe to Brasil and back without any issue. He showed it to me, locked in in seconds and worked like a charm. A 710 can be purchased for around 2000 bucks 2nd hand or the 510 for less then 1000 bucks. Seems to be reasonably money for good sat speed plus good BGAN prepaid plans like 50mb for 180 days.
That’s also the price range I am willing to invest into the hardware. Not looking for 5000 euro sailor ones.
Looking for experience on this 2 devices from other sailors.
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Old 14-08-2020, 08:34   #2
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Re: Anyone using a Cobham Explorer 710 or 510, 2nd hand cheap /fast as alternative to

No one has any first hand experience using the 510 or 710 BGAN on the ocean for getting the weather and send emails plus occasionally some browser use?
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Old 14-08-2020, 08:57   #3
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Re: Anyone using a Cobham Explorer 710 or 510, 2nd hand cheap /fast as alternative to

They seem more popular with people rowing or otherwise crossing oceans. I seen/heard of a few used those type of races. They are more directional than the iridium, but night and day faster. The cost of data is off putting. Just 50mb is a few hundred $, and due to the speed, that could be used up in a minute or two.
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Old 14-08-2020, 12:32   #4
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Re: Anyone using a Cobham Explorer 710 or 510, 2nd hand cheap /fast as alternative to

CaptainRivet,

Sorry I missed your query, earlier
But, I see it now...

And, while your specific question on BGAN is rare, the topic of internet access at sea comes up quite often by those new to offshore sailing....

{and, please note that while technology has gotten better, and that has made things smaller/lighter, and allowed for higher speeds/more bandwidth, the simple fact of life is: sat comm for offshore use (or in remote locales) is still very expensive (both hardware and airtime costs)....and this is simply not likely to change much in the near future, no matter what the "marketeers" may wish to tout....}

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainRivet View Post
Hi all,
Who of you is using a Cobham Explorer 710 or 510 on a boat?
I've only ever heard of two people doing this, and it was quite a few years ago, for a couple short passages....but INMARSAT specifically precludes it now...(as well as there being some technical difficulties involved, see below for details)

I am preping my boat for a world circum on the barefoot route and searching for a reasonable priced way to get sat internet on the boat
"satellite internet" on a boat at sea, and "reasonably priced" are two things that simply do NOT go together!
They're oxymoronic...
(see below for details)


but with more then the 1993 internet speed iridium Go.
IridiumGO is NOT internet access...


Mainly for weather On ocean passages
There is no need for internet access just obtain good weather info/forecasts when at sea / on passage...
(see below for details)


but occasionally I need to send some emails with bigger attachments.
If you do have a requirement for email connectivity at sea / on passage, with attachments, etc....you do have a few choices that ae reasonably-priced...
Sailmail is very good!
FYI, Sailmail via a PACTOR modem (~ $1500) connected to your HF-SSB Radio will work well, and be 3 - 4 times faster than IridiumGO or Iridium sat-phone...(but, if could also use Sailmail thru the Iridium network, too.)
(see some more below)


I met a sailor who used the Cobham Explorer 710 on a 50ft Mono from europe to Brasil and back without any issue. He showed it to me, locked in in seconds and worked like a charm.
Yes, BGAN does work....but assume you were not actually at sea when he showed you this?
A 710 can be purchased for around 2000 bucks 2nd hand or the 510 for less then 1000 bucks. Seems to be reasonably money for good sat speed
Those are very good prices....about half of what I see here....but..
But, there are limitations....primarily that they will most probably not work for your application (see below for details)


plus good BGAN prepaid plans like 50mb for 180 days.
That’s also the price range I am willing to invest into the hardware.
Not looking for 5000 euro sailor ones.
I assume you're referring to FleetBraodband systems?
Because either INMARSAT-FB or Iridium Certus, are about those prices....and they are designed to be used on-board / at sea...
(see more below)

Looking for experience on this 2 devices from other sailors.
Please read the details below!
So, onto the highlights:


1) IridiumGo is not an internet access terminal....not even close...(not sure who/where told you that it was)...nor is an Iridium sat-phone...


The IridiumGO is a VERY LOW-SPEED data terminal.....about 2.4kb....and that's a lot slower than even early '90's dial-up speed!
(BTW, I had 14.4k dial-up in 1992, 28.8k just a couple years later....so, the best you can get from IridiumGO is about what you got back in the mid-1980's....2.4kb)



2) Most doing ocean passages and circumnavigations, do not have a need for internet access, when at sea, away from port (away from cellular/mobile, wi-fi, etc.)!

And, many/most don't even have a need for email access / low-speed two-way data comms, when at sea!


When offshore / at sea (away from cellular/mobile, wi-fi, etc.), most access offshore / hi-seas weather via WeFax, Voice, RTTY/SITOR, broadcasts...

{Fyi, some do use low-speed data comms, such as Iridium sat-phone, or IridiumGO....or more usually Sailmail / PACTOR (which is 3 to 4 times faster than Iridium sat-phone and GO), to send/rec e-mail, etc. and/or access saildocs (or access WeFax charts, etc.)...}

Check out Sailmail if you require email at sea (it's reliable and affordable), including emails with attachments....
https://sailmail.com/


And, Please have a look at these videos....and threads....you should find them helpful...


Offshore Weather
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnN6ygtZ3h2mPZAx2vWzdjTJjHlChruyY



Re: What weather information makes you take action when offshore?
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f147/what-weather-information-makes-you-take-action-when-offshore-237410-4.html#post3201085




Re: SDR Play - Weather Fax Antenna for 36'
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/sdr-play-weather-fax-antenna-for-36-a-238043.html#post3203630




Obtaining Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea (needs a tiny bit of updating, but 95% good-to-go, just ignore the word "accurate", and you'll get lots of good info...I regret writing the word "accurate")
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/obtaining-accurate-offshore-hi-seas-weather-data-forecasts-while-at-sea-103555.html



There are many more....but don't want to overwhelm you, especially 'cuz I still need to answer your question directly....





3) Onto your specific questions on BGAN...(BTW, I haven't seen BGAN terminals as cheap as you seem to have access to?)

A new 710 terminal sells for about $5500-$6000 here (and a 510 is about $2500)....and the cheapest I've seen a used 710, was about $2500-$3000....




4) Please remember, BGAN is not designed for use on vessels or any moving craft/vehicle (being designed for stationary/portable use)....and as such does not work well (or at all) when the system is in motion, especially from a rolling/pitching deck of a sailboat on an offshore passage...(there are both pointing angle/tracking issues, as well as "motion"/doppler issues, which are designed into and compensated for in FleetBroadband / FleetExpress and SwiftBroadband / JetConnex)

Remember you need to have the terminal out on deck, with clear view of the sky, in order for it to work at all!!

And, that's even if the boat is perfectly still / tied to a dock....when at sea, you're going to have difficulty getting it set / adjusted / pointed, and maintaining that while sailing!



5) Now, yes I have heard from a couple of folks (two) who have used BGAN at sea....but these were years ago, and these were not ocean-crossings.....they were US-Bahamas-Caribbean voyages and were years ago...




6) INMARSAT specifically precludes BGAN use by vessels at sea....remember they (INMARSAT) know exactly where each terminal is when it is connected, and they also know/track your terminal's position, signal-strength, doppler, etc....

Now, I doubt you setting-up your terminal once or twice, while on an ocean passage, and checking your email, downloading a couple weather forecasts, etc. (only connected for a few minutes at a time), would trigger INMARSAT to disconnect / suspend your BGAN service, but if you were to attempt to use the terminal everyday or every few days, for hours per day, I'm fairly certain that you'd find your INMARSAT account suspended in very short order...




7) Now, to answer your direct point about use from Europe to Brazil....this is a fairly good example of the one passage that just might be possible to use BGAN when at sea, and not trigger INMARSAT to suspend your account...maybe....
But, probably not anymore, as they've just (within past 6 - 12 months) finished re-orienting things, placing the I-4 sats in their final slots, etc...

You see, in the recent past....a route from Europe (Gibraltar?) down to Brazil (Rio?), places you almost always in view of multiple INMARSAT satellites (both I-3 and I-4), and with fairly high pointing angles, so if you could maintain a steady heading and configure the BGAN terminal in a good position on deck, you could probably connect and stay connected for a while, without too many drop-outs from rolling/pitching...

But again, this is not what the system is designed for.




8) Those needing internet access at sea are usually running a business from their boats, and as such they invest into the communications gear needed, such as Iridium Certus or INMARSAT-FB (for world-wide "broadband-type" / "DSL-type-speed")....and some also install a VSAT terminal (for very-hi-speed service)...

But, these are very pricey and month service fees are wicked....
(while the VSAT monthly charges are usually less than FleetBroadband, VSAT terminals are much more expensive....starting at ~ $20,000 USD up to ~ $75,000 USD....most will spend about $20k-$30k on a VSAT, along with $5k on a FB or Certus, etc....and have monthly bills in the $1000-$2000 range....although those on bigger boats usually do a lot more...most superyachts will have two ~ $50k VSATS, plus one or two FB250's or FB500...plus cellular repeaters and wi-fi/cell routers, etc......and the really big boats will even have more...)

And, anyone that is looking at these systems will usually hire a consultant or project manager to advise / design and oversee the installation of the whole comms system....(you know what that old saying "if you have to ask how much it costs, you probably cannot afford it"....well, that applies here!)





I do hope this helps?

fair winds

John
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