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Old 22-02-2024, 03:05   #1
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Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

What's currently the cheapest way to get weather reports and/or internet in the bahamas? Is starlink the best bet?
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Old 22-02-2024, 05:03   #2
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Re: Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

You can still get USCG weather reports for free via radio, and in some parts of the Bahamas there are VHF radio cruisers nets providing reports. Bahamian commercial radio stations provide reports. In the good old days that's all we used, plus keep an eye on wind direction. If it goes west of south expect the passage of a cold front (in the winter) with the wind gradually clocking around to west, northwest, then northeast, then back to the southeast. They come through pretty regularly in the winter. Plus, there is cell service available over parts of the Bahamas.
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Old 22-02-2024, 06:07   #3
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Re: Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

The cheapest you can have is stick your head up the companionway and look around. It’s also the most reliable.
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Old 22-02-2024, 06:18   #4
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Re: Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

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The cheapest you can have is stick your head up the companionway and look around. It’s also the most reliable.
That's true for the most part, but it is nice to get an early warning about an approaching strong cold front, and in hurricane season it is critical to know what is going on hundreds or thousands of miles away.
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Old 22-02-2024, 06:40   #5
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Re: Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

Weather in the B'mas is mostly quite settled. I have sailed there many times without any weather reports whatsoever.
Unless there is an approaching hurricane, it's rare to see winds over 25 knots.

Fronts are good to make headway going south so use these and don't hide from them.

As Jedi sez, stick your head out and what you see is what you're gonna get.
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Old 22-02-2024, 07:44   #6
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Re: Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

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That's true for the most part, but it is nice to get an early warning about an approaching strong cold front, and in hurricane season it is critical to know what is going on hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Yes, I agree, but for critical knowledge it isn’t advisable to go for the cheapest option and the OP only wants the cheapest way
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Old 22-02-2024, 10:03   #7
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Re: Cheapest way to get weather and/or internet?

Best is a loaded term and highly subjective.

Starlink will give you the fastest Internet and thus the most weather options for a couple hundred dollars per month, give or take depending on chosen plan.

For about the same price, you can get an Iridium Go, which is extremely slow, but will allow sending and receiving emails and downloading grib files. Starlink in superior in most ways, except the Go! will work in a liferaft, and will work in a hurricane. If you get into a real emergency Starlink might not keep working. The Go! will.

Handheld beacons like inreach will allow 2 way texting, work in a life raft, and have minimal and IMHO inadequate for cruising weather reports. They are really cheap though. Often Starlink owners also get an inreach for emergencies.

You can get an HF radio receiver and connect it to a tablet to get weather faxes. The receiver is cheap, and the faxes are free. This was the standard for many years. You need to have some meteorological education to read the faxes and understand them. They have much less information than a grib, but are adequate.

SSB. If you don't have it, it's difficult and ridiculously expensive to install. But once installed has about the same performance as an Iridium Go!, but with no monthly charge.
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