Satellite phone choices - looking for recommendations - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 27 Old 02-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin
I've gathered that using SSB and a mail system will work, but not all the time. Sometimes I really do need a guaranteed method of quick communication, and I guess I'll have to swallow the price of an Iridium phone.
Then it's two grand plus a recurring fee for ease of communication and safety. That puts the phone in the same category as the EPIRB, I suppose. If you REALLY are running a business remotely, can you not expense the satphone?

I would still use SSB/Pactor as the main means and just accept that you may not be "contactable by the office" while at sea. Just because it's technologically feasible via the application of money does not make it desirable in the context of passagemaking. You might as well just coast a mile offshore and use your cellphone if you're that indispensible. In other words, maybe this is less a discussion about fabulous means to stay connected, and more a discussion about "when are you actually leaving?"

I mention this in the context of a client who is spending more and more time out of Canada and down in Mexico, and tries to run his 20 person consultancy via Blackberry. He is more or less achieving a balance, but he is having to cede authority and the "hands-on" aspect to his managers, because it is simply too stupid to have him micro-manage the place via e-mails. Again, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

By the way, the "fail the Turing test" cracked me up. It's a pretty rarefied joke for my morning coffee, but I got it, nonetheless.
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post #12 of 27 Old 02-21-2007
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Ham

I thought I read somewhere that you could make calls from a ham by contacting some sort of operator that could patch you into the phone system. Thoughts? I'll try and find where I read this info.

Last edited by snider; 02-21-2007 at 10:16 AM.
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post #13 of 27 Old 02-21-2007 Thread Starter
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I've now decided for the Iridium phone and am searching eBay for good offers. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Valiente - you've very valid issues about "letting go". I don't have anything that needs to be read or responded to within a day or day; I got the impression that delays with sailmail could be longer but have now heard otherwise so perhaps I'll stick to that for data transmissions. But since it is "only" money I think that a phone would still be nice backup and safety system.


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post #14 of 27 Old 02-21-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin
But since it is "only" money I think that a phone would still be nice backup and safety system.
Just enable it for outgoing calls only! Or be very, very restrictive in giving out your number.

Cruising friends of ours are constantly reminding people that they have infrequent and generally restricted access to the Internet, and when they do have it, they download weather synoptic charts, etc. Still, they say, people attach mighty files, which are frequently pictures of their cat, or something. This can tie up a low speed (circa 1985 low speed) data stream to infinity, or close enough. Fortunately, people are beginning to grasp that you can put files, as we do here, on Photobucket or some other online "album" site, and then cruisers can see nephew's fifth birthday parties, etc. when they actually hit an Internet cafe ashore.

Of course, even at 2400 or 4800 baud, you can send off an amazing amount of text from a boat, and get a surprising amount of weather info back. But streaming video is right out...
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-21-2007 Thread Starter
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I checked and the Iridium software does compression and I can turn off downloading of attachments and limit size of mail. I've gotten enough practice with slow connections and people sending me unzipped copies of War & Peace or some silly joke picture in high-resolution that I've already got about 20 copies of
I was told it can cost $10 per minute to call into the number, but outgoing remains at just over $1/min


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post #16 of 27 Old 02-21-2007
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By outgoing, do you mean data transmission for $1 per minute ?
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post #17 of 27 Old 02-21-2007 Thread Starter
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Yes, Iridium doesn't differentiate between voice and data calls. But those incoming calls don't cost the Iridium holder anything, but the callers will lose an arm and a leg.


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post #18 of 27 Old 02-23-2007 Thread Starter
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I thought things were going to be simpler after deciding to go for the Iridium system - but it turns out that there are 4 different handsets available:
a) Motorola 9505a - newest toy, runs at about US$1400.
b) Motorola 9505 - predecessor model, runs at about US$900 with both new and used available
c) Motorola 9500 - older model, see it for US$700. I gather some models don't support data transfer
d) Kyocera SD66K - discontinued, but available. $700. Also does GSM phone networks if the right SIM is put in.

It would be nice to get the newest, shiniest toy but the surcharge over the prior model is pretty significant (could keep me in e-mail for a long time!). Does anyone here know if there are issues with 9505 {which currently looks like the most attractive choice} or have other recommendations?

Thanks!


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post #19 of 27 Old 02-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin
It would be nice to get the newest, shiniest toy but the surcharge over the prior model is pretty significant (could keep me in e-mail for a long time!). Does anyone here know if there are issues with 9505 {which currently looks like the most attractive choice} or have other recommendations?

Thanks!
Skip it until you find SSB Pactor/Sailmail is unsustainable. You may well find you can live without the satphone entirely. If you can write it off as a business expense, it's cheaper than a car lease, and you won't be using that while you're gone, will you? So you can pop for the expensive phone and use it to blast executive e-mails from Patagonia, I suppose...but do you really want to do this?
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post #20 of 27 Old 02-23-2007 Thread Starter
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Valiente,
I'm still leaning towards the satellite phone as it can be multipurpose.
The Pactor modems alone cost as much as a used Iridium 9500, and I can't throw my SSB into my ditch bag in case of an emergency. Doesn't the sailmail program come with a monthly charge - and require setting up yet another e-mail address? I'm not a big phone user even now, having no land line and use less than 30 minutes per month on the cellular phone. Back in the old days I would connect daily to Compu$erve for messages (I was a SysOp on the wine forum, of all places) with a 2400 baud modem for < 3 minutes a day including handshaking times (and overhead I think Iridium won't have) to download/upload hundreds of text forum messages . I trust that with the compression software Iridium offers and by turning off attachments I can keep telecommunication times & costs down to something like those levels.


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