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Old 01-10-2017, 14:30   #1
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Sailmail vs. Winlink

I currently use Winlink with a Pactor modem to send/receive email using my SSB radio. It is free to use for HAM licensed operators, however I have a lot of trouble connecting and staying connected to the RMS stations. The Sailmail system is similar but has a yearly fee of $275. I am wondering if that system would work better and be worth the annual fee. Does anyone have experience with the two systems and whether RMS stations are easier to connect with in one or the other?
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Old 01-10-2017, 15:05   #2
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

We switched to the free system and it's not as good but we always get through. We also need to upgrade our Pactor II modem because sometimes the rate is very slow.
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Old 01-10-2017, 15:15   #3
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

Sailmail is a pretty reliable system. It is very rare that we do not get a connection. You do have to pay attention to the propagation tables. How busy it is depends a lot on what area you are in and the time of year. We have used it in the N and S Pacific, Carib and Atlantic.
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Old 18-10-2017, 15:20   #4
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

So, I went ahead and got a Sailmail account. The connectivity is 100X better. It is amazing how well I am able to connect now. I have spent hours trying to get reliable connections using Winlink. With Sailmail, I get a good connection in the 1st or 2nd try. Also, the connection speeds are much greater. I always get a Pactor 4 connection now. I don't think that ever happened with Winlink.
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Old 18-10-2017, 16:00   #5
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

Ted
Don't get too excited. SSB transmissions are very propogation dependent. Sometimes great, sometimes they sux. You try at 7am and get dog slow and then have a screaming connection at 7pm. Sailmail is convienant and reliable but it can't do anymore than the medium supports.
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Old 18-10-2017, 16:21   #6
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

I am not sure that you can get a fast connection over Winlink from the USA. The FCC has limitations on the baud rate on amateur frequencies below 28 Mc. I believe the limit is 300 baud with exceptions for the 10 and 60 meter bands. That said, I find RMS Express / Winlink useful and reliable for email and the occasional spot weather forecast.

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Old 19-10-2017, 07:02   #7
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

tedowens - not sure where you are or when you try but we have been using winlink for the past 10 years from Maine to Trinidad and Russia to Colombia including an Atlantic crossing where we checked the weather 2x/day - yea we have had issues on occasion but then some of that is because of when we try and some finding a couple of stations in a new area -
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Old 19-10-2017, 12:00   #8
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

One additional advantage of Sailmail is that it is not a HAM service, and therefore not subject to the restriction on "commercial" activities.
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Old 19-10-2017, 19:07   #9
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

Sailmail uses Pactor which is a better protocol, especially Pactor 4. In addition to the yearly fee you have to buy the Pactor modem for at least $1,200.

If you are starting from scratch, Sailmail will cost you $1,500 in the first year in addition to the SSB radio. It is hard to justify this cost vs. a satellite phone. Winlink is free on top of the SSB setup. Both work OK in most parts of the world.

Before you invest in a Pactorb4 though, keep a close eye on the Iridium Next plans. I believe the service will launch by the end of 2018band will finally put the SSB data misery to end. SSB is still good to have for fun though.
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Old 19-10-2017, 19:32   #10
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
.....

Before you invest in a Pactorb4 though, keep a close eye on the Iridium Next plans. I believe the service will launch by the end of 2018band will finally put the SSB data misery to end. SSB is still good to have for fun though.
Got any proposed pricing for Iridium Next?
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Old 20-10-2017, 15:20   #11
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

Pricing is not public yet. But if you read through the link below, they are planning to offer some amazing services. Battery powered devices, supporting 20 Kbps and Gmdss? This alone will kill SSB. Then it goes up to 1.4 Mbps. Whatever the pricing is, it will be better than current.

https://globenewswire.com/news-relea...e-Testing.html
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Old 20-10-2017, 15:36   #12
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

It should be a game changer, but I'll hang off being too excited till they show their pricing card. It is not like you can't get decent speed sat communications now, it is just that it is over the top expensive.
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Old 20-10-2017, 19:48   #13
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

It looks as though Certis is going to require a quite substantial ground Station, not a couple of hundred dollar phone?
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Old 21-10-2017, 00:40   #14
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

[QUOTE=Pizzazz;2503321]Pricing is not public yet. But if you read through the link below, they are planning to offer some amazing services. Battery powered devices, supporting 20 Kbps and Gmdss? This alone will kill SSB.


Not sure how this will kill SSB? I guess you can do cruisers net on it? Or Chris Parker weather? ect
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Old 21-10-2017, 01:05   #15
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Re: Sailmail vs. Winlink

[QUOTE=chuckr;2503511]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Pricing is not public yet. But if you read through the link below, they are planning to offer some amazing services. Battery powered devices, supporting 20 Kbps and Gmdss? This alone will kill SSB.


Not sure how this will kill SSB? I guess you can do cruisers net on it? Or Chris Parker weather? ect
Chuck, you may have noticed that HF communications have been declared DOA quite a few times here on CF. The attending doctors are noted for their lack of knowledge and experience in using HF radios, and for them, perhaps HF is indeed dead. Those with some experience know that HF, both marine and especially amateur practices have some otherwise unavailable features... such as you have mentioned and others as well.

Sat comms are fantastic,but limited in their applications in cruising situations. Ideally, one should have both... so far I've been happy with HF.

Jim
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