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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2002
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Internet Connections

Potential problems with Sat Service is footprint, and the further you move from US, the less the signal strength. Cruising friends swear by Pocketmail, though the necessity to locate a local phone can be a pain in the plans. Sailmail and CruiseEmail are reasonable commercial options, again with the limited 10 min/day limitation, while the Ham/SSB option has been the best for personal e-mail. On a recent delivery from Guadeloupe to NY, via St. Barth''s and Bermuda, I used internet cafe''s in Guadeloupe, St. Barth''s and Bermuda, and the Winlink system for Ham radio during passages. The cafe''s were all a bit expensive $5 to 15 per hour, while the Commercial SSB fee was $200 for a year. My equipment brought along in a carry on, consisted of an Icom SSB, SGC Tuner, Coax, 50'' copper wire antenna, and sufficient DC wire to connect the radio and tuner to the ships power. Whole package was well under $2K US. Great connections, lots of wx maps downloaded along the way and of course the advantage over most cell service in I could access from the boat, as well as connect with other vessels and shore stations for wx, news and family connection.
Sean
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  #22  
Old 08-30-2002
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I think we''ve covered some of this ground before re: Sean''s comments. Just to get the facts lined up with the options, so we don''t oversell SSB-based email systems...
1. CruiseEmail, PinOak Digital, MarineNet, etc. are for-profit commercial HF email systems and their pricing varies. Sailmail is the $200/year non-profit commercial HF email system and it''s the only one with a 10 min/day *approx* time limitation. The ''for profit'' outfits would like you to use their system 24/7!
2. Winlink is indeed free (and a wonderful service) but the pricing Sean mentions excludes a Pactor modem (min $550 or so) and presumes a Ham SSB, so a $2K final price, installed, is a good - but bottom end - starting point. Marine SSB radios will be more costly and push the final cost up; most non-hams will buy something like an Icom 710 and also choose to pay for installation, boosting cost even more.
3. Sat footprints depend on the service purchased. Iridium is worldwide, while GlobalStar excludes areas well offshore. They do bill themselves as offering Caribbean coverage (well, most of it, anyway).

Sean, when you bring your portable system aboard a boat, what do you normally do for a counterpoise - what works best in your experience?

Jack
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  #23  
Old 10-16-2002
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good info in: http://isealife.com/Ham_Chat.htm
Mike
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  #24  
Old 10-16-2002
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Hi, just got back from the Annapolis Boat show. Saw something called StarPhone. A satellite phone for $299. $59/mo incl. 100 min. Addl. minutes $.25 . E-mail & hook-up $79. New at this, Does this sound like a good deal.Being sold thru Boaters World.
Marc
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  #25  
Old 10-16-2002
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Hmmm, about those internet cafe''s or whatever, do they allow unlimited email? When it omes my time to gor cruising, not too far off, I can get away with only hooking up once or twice a month, but in order for me to accompish any type of work, I''ll need to transfer large files, up to 25 megs. AutoCad drawings.
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  #26  
Old 10-16-2002
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StarPhone is GlobalStar. Nice to see that prices have come down but it is still not global coverage. See the link below for their coverage map, read the note on color coded coverage carefully.

http://www.globalstar.com/coverage.html

Does seem like there is good caribean coverage, but then I keep hearing about several cellular companies expanding into the caribean.
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  #27  
Old 11-18-2003
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Here''s an option that exists but is in a bit of a grey area legally.

Plug a wireless network card into your laptop with an external antenna to boost signal strength and just leave it running.

Your software scans for a network connection (just like it would if you have a home wireless setup) and will let you know when it finds one.

When it does open up your webrowser and off you go. More often that not you''ll hook into a network with broadband access.

You can get dubious software that tries to hack closed off networks but you''ll be amazed how many wireless are openly broadcasting that you can access just using your native software. A good rule of thumb is that if the network isn''t broadcasting in such a way that your native Windows networking software can''t hook into it then they want to be left alone.

For a test run just take your laptop to any town (with the wireless card pluggrd in )and you''ll find yourself picking up open wireless networks all over the place. There are even websites that map them via contributions from people.

Dont ask me for specifics.
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  #28  
Old 11-19-2003
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Sharlyn:I have installed the inmarsat c mimi c system. You can receive and send e mails faxes and voice anywhere in the world. I also
have globial star and it doesn''t work very
well in the Carib. Go to www.sky-mate.com and
look at the mini c or call Jeff Mclaren at
949-673-1727 for mini c. or call Bob Campbell
at 1-800-848-0386 he sells the equipment and the air time.
Ray

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  #29  
Old 11-19-2003
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Graham: I have inmarsat c and it costs me 1.19 per minute and it takes about 8 seconds to load several e mails and send. But inmarsat c system rounds off on the minute mark. So no matter how fast you send or receive you still get charged for the whole
minute. But it does work and I have had no problems with coverage like I do with globial star sys.
Ray
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  #30  
Old 11-20-2003
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A little clarification of the 2-way satellite internet connection offered by Earthlink. This is the Hughes Network Systems'' DW4000 and can be bought on Ebay for about $250 (I did). You can get the service for $59.95 per month total cost--no per minute charge (HNS). Download rates are 400Kb and upload rates are 60Kb. I live in a remote mountain area and it works just great for me. KVH has an autotracking antenna for big bucks ($2000+). These are for RV use. A big bonus of the system is that you can hang on an LNB and get DirecTv. There are 3 satellites at geosync altitudes with a fourth planned for launch in 2004. Key for cruising would be antenna pointing & stability. I''ve seen the DirecTv antenna set up on a piling and that works well. Same could be done with the larger two-way system dish. Cheers--Bob
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