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Old 12-06-2020, 10:32   #16
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

I will skip the “is it a necessity” debate.

I carry BOTH a GO and an inReach. The GO is how I get weather (PredictWind PRO), as well as well as Luck Grib. I have also used it to contact US Consulates when I had a problem. Finally, if VHF is dodgy you can email the USCG, they don’t do texts.

I carry the inReach because I like its tracker and text interface over the GO. I can chat away with my wife while on a delivery. If cost is an issue, skip the inReach and get the GO.

Be advised that at a minimum get the small remote antenna for the GO. While the inReach will work below decks in anything except a Hallberg Rassy, the GO antenna really needs to see the sky.
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Old 12-06-2020, 10:47   #17
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

To me, it (or something like it) is basic safety gear. It is a necessity.

Crossing from Bermuda to the Azores in May of 2017, we were on track and doing great. I had an every-other-day email of our position, speed, wind and sea conditions, etc. with our weather router. He would send me an email that gave forecast and recommendations on course, as well as a few days of suggested waypoints.

Halfway across, we got an email from him telling us about a gale a good bit north of us. He suggested we turn SSE immediately for a couple of days to avoid the worst. We communicated that recommendation by VHF to some prot friends in a 65' steel monohull. They said they thought they would just ride on through.

We had quite a ride even on our southerly course - 40+ knot sustained winds and 14'+ mostly following seas. But we were safe and comfortable the entire time.

When we arrived in Horta, we did not see our friends. Two days later, they stumbled into Pete's Cafe Sport. They had been knocked down twice, and one guy had lots of stitches from his in-cabin Superman imitation.

Having the Irridium Go! and a weather router saved us from an unpleasant-to-dangerous passage. For us it's a "don't leave home without it" item.
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Old 12-06-2020, 10:51   #18
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
You can forget about "Internet" in the sense we use the word today. But the Iridium utilities have a nifty ultra low bandwidth browser which will strip all the graphics out of a web page, and so reading NYT is actually really possible. I did it almost every day.
I found the Go to be supremely useful. Of course now I was using 2400 baud modems in a previous life, so it's not my first experience with ultra low bandwidth. YMMV.
I think we agree on everything. In the Pac I didn't have as much success with web page as you experienced, but I only tried once or twice.

Honestly, I personally have no interest in reading newspapers during passage. In fact, I have little interest in reading newspaper's at all these days. Newspapers carry all the bad news I'm trying to escape!
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Old 12-06-2020, 10:56   #19
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

We have an IGo and SSB/HF, and a HAM license. We use the IGo about 10 times as much as the SSB/HF for things like weather and general messaging via email etc. It is simple to use and you get a lot of technology for the money.

I found this video from the Ocean Cruising Club quite helpful and very much worth watching. If I didn't already have an Igo I would consider his suggested alternatives. You can see it here:

https://vimeo.com/400218112/68b622b05d

The presenter is not an IGo fan, so keep that in mind.
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Old 12-06-2020, 10:57   #20
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

Like many we also have both SSB and GO and as well HAM. Go combined with Predictwind is brilliant and being able to email at will is really a nice luxury. Our Pactor failed qnd we were told it was very expensive to repair. You can also subscribe to Iridium GO and Predict Wind as needed. Right now locked down in the Rio Dulce with nowhere to go we simply unsubscribe.

We found during our circumnavigation that SSB was not always available and or slow.

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Old 12-06-2020, 11:33   #21
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

I should have added, as pointed out by my partner Helen, that there is another option for those with a need to be frugal. Apparently you can buy a sound card modem for the SSB radio to connect it to the computer. At 375 much cheaper than the Pactor modem. Then via Ham your monthly costs are zero. Newer radios we understand have them built in. If it is of interest check it out as we are somewhat unsure on details.

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Old 12-06-2020, 12:01   #22
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

Never had one until 3 years ago, now i cant imagine sailing long passages without one. Number 1: it gives me weather predictions that are easy to work with and understand number 2 its perfect for short texts to keep in touch number 3 its perfect for those more important and complex communications like transfering data to our next port arrival number 4 it has a feature with the weather app that tracks your progress across the oceans that can be shared with others and finally, in case of emergency, i can call for help. Personally i cant imagine sailing without it.
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Old 12-06-2020, 12:14   #23
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
Completely off topic, but I work in facilities that are still using Bell 103 (300 baud) and Bell 202 (1200 baud) modems. Amazing what you can do with that little bandwidth. The problem on the internet is getting the other side to recognize that there are still people out there with bandwidth restrictions. As with everything computer, bloat is a problem.

Those who grew up with 300 baud modems, and especially those who both that, and also played with PSK31, will understand.


Bandwidth is radically diminishing returns. Think of the miracle of the telegraph. 90% of the value of telecommunications can be realized at 31 baud, which is already better than telegraph.
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Old 12-06-2020, 12:31   #24
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

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Originally Posted by cooper1991 View Post
Seems to me that it would be great to have an Iridium GO as a safeguard for communications especially on ocean crossings?

How much does it cost to operate and what are the associated benefits?

From online search it sounds like $ 1000 for the kit and then $250 a month for an unlimited data plan.

Is there a better solution for comms and internet?

You must have long range communications for safety

SAT C
SSB
Iridium

It’s your choice

I’ve sailed with SAT C for many years

It works perfectly ....year after year
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Old 12-06-2020, 13:22   #25
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

It is not just dollars.


It is also energy onboard.


InReach < Go < ssb


b.
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Old 12-06-2020, 16:48   #26
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

Worth thinking about is that you can rent them...
Ideal when you have a passage long enough that predictions start to become less accurate. I would imagine for most this is not very often... but for some a frequent enough occurrence to warrant the purchase !
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Old 12-06-2020, 16:59   #27
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

Perhaps technology has improved by now, but didn't part of the Rebel Heart fiasco a few years back involve a satphone that didn't work like they thought it would? Boat lost; very expensive extraction; acrimonious recriminations and finally obscurity followed.
If you count it a necessity, will you be able to finish your passage if it craps out? If you count it a luxury that you're prepared to do without, then you'll have a better chance than Rebel Heart.
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Old 12-06-2020, 17:07   #28
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Have both SSB and Iridium on board..have never used the Sat Phone. SSB and a Pactor works great. I think if I was going to start from scratch I'd still want my SSB but from a pure dollars and cents point of view I can see the attractiveness of GO.
We have an SSB and a GO aboard and have never used the SSB. I get all the weather info I want from the Iridum in a number of ways, and while we hardly ever use it as a phone, the few times we wanted a phone while offshore, it did the trick. Email is also a breeze. Text messages are a relatively useless feature to us.

We aren’t social creatures, so the radio nets don’t appeal. And we have any number of ways to send distress messages if we actually needed to. So SSB, Meh...
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Old 12-06-2020, 17:13   #29
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
When are you planning to start using it, and where? It seems there are many "better solutions" on the horizon. Starlink has now completed 8 launches and has >400 satellites in orbit. If they keep to schedule they may actually launch service in North America (and surrounding oceans) later this year.

Service should be much better/faster, and proposed pricing much less than GO. But right now they and their competitors are just vaporware. If the need isn't "right now" I'd wait until it was. Regardless of how you may feel about the sheer number/volume of satellites they are there, and are very likely to be a game changer. If it doesn't develop, well, you can go to Plan B and get a GO, or an SSB, or.... at that point.
There may be a big "gotcha" with Starlink. From the scanty information available, the subscriber units (what you'd put on your boat) use a phased array antenna to lock onto satellites. I would not be surprised to find the antenna can't keep up with a vessel's motion in swells. I strongly suspect it is designed exclusively around a fixed-installation scenario. Most of us don't have gyro-stabilized platforms.

Go, on the other hand, uses an omni-directional (non-directional) antenna that's unaffected by swells. I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to use Starlink. Does anyone have a view into the SpaceX's secret workings who could answer that question?
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Old 12-06-2020, 18:36   #30
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Re: Iridium GO necessity or luxury ocean crossings?

Iridium is the way for what you need. I was on a crossing from StCroix to Key West 11 days all sail iridium gave us perfect communications.
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