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Old 05-01-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

If you are coastal cruising I would invest in a good wifi radio like the Ubiquity Bullet, also a cell phone internet adapter would be useful. use the bullet when you can to save cell costs and the cell when you are out of range of a wifi signal. For anything beyound 15-20 miles offshore you have 2 choices, Satellite or SSB. Satellite you pay by the minute and it adds up fast I think I last saw 1.35 per min but it changes. It is not cheap I have heard some spend 300 a month for just a daily download. SSB is expensive to start but if you do a HAM license it is free for the service, without on sailmail it is 250 a year so worth getting the license. A basic SSB installation with used gear will run you about 1500. New closer to 4000. SSB has a learning curve but it is not rocket science and even a technically challenged old fart like me was able to do it. Personally I love the SSB as you can use it for tracking, email (mainly text) and weather so very useful. Also there is a community on the SSB nets of cruisers who share information and that is helpful as well. Another option is the Sat trackers like Spot and INreach. inreach is limited 2 way but not cheap either. I used it for a trip to Bermuda and figured the 1 month cost came to about 500, hardly worth it but if you are going full time and out there for more than a year your monthly cost would be closer to 50. I plan a long voyage in a couple of years so SSB is a good investment. If you are going out for a month or 2 renting a sat phone could be a good option. You have to weigh all the factors and costs and pick what is right for you.

KJ4WXF
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Capt. Wayne Canning, AMS

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