Originally Posted by Jammer
What is required to get a good, usable Iridium installation?
Are the handsets alone sufficient, in practice, for use aboard? Or is a cradle
and antenna required?
What has been the experience with the handsets from YB Tracking (formerly Yellow Brick)? Are their portable handsets useful in the marine environment
, for sending short messages?
In general, to what extent to sails and rigging block signal? My work with RF in general tells me that wet sails are going to be a problem but not dry ones, but does anyone have real-world experience?
Due to Iridium's use of L-Band, the impact of rain, clouds, water
, etc is actually pretty minimal. I have successfully used my handset below decks at the nav station without an external antenna, however the Iridium Go's antenna is not as sensitive (in practice) as the handset antennas. I always recommend an external Iridium Antenna mounted outside with as good of a view of the entire sky as possible.
Keep in mind that the boat
is moving, and the satellites are moving, so any interference
from rigging, mast
, etc is going to be very intermittent and very brief, to the point of not noticeable most of the time.
The Iridium Go is great as a data and text tool, but the Iridium handsets are very well made and perform well. Also in practice I seem to have had better data performance via a handset compared with an Iridium Go!.. But ultimately they are the same specifications, and the Iridium Go! benefits from an available unlimited data plan that is not available for handsets.
There are a number of cradles for Iridium phones, ranging from ~$200 on up to $1500+. The cheapest one is fine if you only want charging
and an antenna connection. You don't really need a cradle, it just makes things easier to connect and mount at a nav station, etc.
If you plan to use a handset with email
(such as Xgate) and also want a cradle, antennas, etc, there is even a cradle with a built in Redport Optimizer (satellite firewall) that makes the data connections super easy via wifi
, and a handset that makes the whole thing like a regular desk phone.