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  #11  
Old 05-01-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

I am currently checking in to Globalstar and their voice and data rates are considerably cheaper than Iridium. Coverage with Globalstar is also a whole lot better than it was even a year ago. With the costs for phones and voice and data plans coming down dramatically it's certainly beginning to look like the way of the future.
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
Email over SSB - sailmail. costs a few bucks a year. equipment costs $$

Email over HAM frequences - winlink. free, but ham license is a few bucks. equipment costs $$

Email over Satellite - $$$$ service and equipment
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
Really depends where you are cruising. Wireless Internet is available throughout the USA. In the Bahamas it is available in a lot of areas through Betelco and most marinas have free wifi. Out at sea it's not so convenient and then you are into SSB or satellite. Satellite has come way down in price and is a cheaper option than SSB.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
To send and receive email via SSB you also need Pactor
True as far as it goes.

We can break e-mail and Internet communications down into three categories: very short range, short range, and long range.

Very short range is dominated by WiFi. You can make WiFi more convenient with a range extender. The Ubiquity Bullet dominates the market here, although Alfa makes some decent products. Most of the best known marine WiFi range extenders from IslandTimePC, RogueWave, WiFiforSailors are repackaged Bullets. Cost is nominal for hardware and WiFi is readily available in most places for reasonable fees; sometimes local businesses make WiFi available for free - if you use such services it is polite to buy a beer from the restaurant whose connection you use, or otherwise support the business that supports you. Effective use of WiFi is generally limited to anchorages and marinas.

Short range is mostly cellular in nature. You can use many cell phones to connect to the Internet through the phone or use a MiFi device for a dedicated cellular connection to the Internet. For ICW cruisers you can generally get decent coverage from Norfolk to Key West. Depending on your service provider you may find some dead spots through North Carolina.

Long range is the province of e-mail over SSB and satphones. You can get some web service over satphones but it is such an expensive exercise in frustration that you should not count on it.

Hardware for e-mail over SSB is a bit more expensive than e-mail over satphones. Running costs for satphones are much much more than for SSB. The breakeven point is less than two years.

Don't get sucked in by handheld satphones and "portable" data kits. You will end up doubling your hardware costs with a car kit and external marine antenna to get decent performance.

You have options for e-mail over SSB. With a Pactor modem (about $1800US over the SSB) you can use commercial services like Sailmail, CruiseEmail, and Shipcom AND the Winlink ham service (General class license or above in the US). Winlink offers free software for an alternate protocol called WINMOR that only works on their network but does not require a Pactor modem. WINMOR service is still in its early days and coverage can be spotty depending on where you travel.

Note that to use Winlink or ham radio in particular outside the US you'll need a local reciprocal license. In some countries (including the Bahamas and BVI) you'll need a country specific license. In other places that the US has treaties with you reciprocity is automatic or nearly so. In some cases including much of Europe you need a US Extra Class license for reciprocity.

In my opinion, absent the regulatory information that is easy to learn, all the technical information required to pass a US General class ham license and most of what is in the Extra class license is necessary for a responsible self-sufficient cruiser anyway.
T37SOLARE, wingNwing and outbound like this.
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
To send and receive email via SSB you also need Pactor
False. There is now software that you can use software to modulate and plug into SSB. Pactor is faster for sure though...but worth the big money??? hmm, not so much. Research Winmor
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

We use an aircard, so anywhere a cell phone works our air card does. Verizon works well, Clear only seems to work around bigger cities.
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  #15  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

Wifi is almost always available in port FOC in bars and sometimes in anchorages and broadcast to many anchorages for a fee. I am in Bequia on HOTHOTHOTSPOT service at 50 $ US a month just now using an Alfa 36H booster and am getting 5 bars at about 1/2 mile.

If I was making a long offshore passage I would rent a Sat phone for the passage.
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Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
False. There is now software that you can use software to modulate and plug into SSB. Pactor is faster for sure though...but worth the big money??? hmm, not so much. Research Winmor
See my post #12 in this thread. You are best served to use a Signalink USB external sound card (about $100US). YOU WILL NEED A GENERAL CLASS HAM LICENSE OR BETTER TO USE WINLINK. For reciprocity in Europe and most of the Far East you'll need an Extra Class license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioG View Post
We use an aircard, so anywhere a cell phone works our air card does. Verizon works well, Clear only seems to work around bigger cities.
Right. Keep up with changes. The RV crowd have this locked. Even in the US the Verizon lead is fading. Outside the US you are much better off with the GSM compatibility AT&T offers - you'll want an unlocked data card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
If I was making a long offshore passage I would rent a Sat phone for the passage.
We all make our own choices. I wouldn't go offshore without SSB. Satphones are for those with elderly parents, other dependents, or business interests that require direct dial. Otherwise the performance and safety support of SSB dominates.
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

i have found wifi readily available and free, or very low fee.
i also have banda ancha for when i cannot get wifi.

all this for less than 500 pesos for 2 gigabytes plus a free 1 because they like my money. only thing i cannot get done is picture loading and sending and posting. oh well.....

when i am at sea--i show momma where i am with spot tracker--my brother makes a picture of the map for her so she can see where i am. i will not email at sea. not necessary for me to do that.
computer is for when i am in port somewhere.
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  #18  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
See my post #12 in this thread. You are best served to use a Signalink USB external sound card (about $100US). YOU WILL NEED A GENERAL CLASS HAM LICENSE OR BETTER TO USE WINLINK. For reciprocity in Europe and most of the Far East you'll need an Extra Class license.



Right. Keep up with changes. The RV crowd have this locked. Even in the US the Verizon lead is fading. Outside the US you are much better off with the GSM compatibility AT&T offers - you'll want an unlocked data card.



We all make our own choices. I wouldn't go offshore without SSB. Satphones are for those with elderly parents, other dependents, or business interests that require direct dial. Otherwise the performance and safety support of SSB dominates.

I spoke to a fellow about a month ago who had just completed a solo circumnavigation of the world and he told me he got his weather by downloading grin files via his satphone. It also meant he had voice communication from wherever he was back home just by dialling like a cellphone.

With the advent of Delorme inReach Satellite Communicator using the Iridium network texting, tracking and SOS could never be better nor easier and at a fraction of the cost. Hardware $250 and plans from $10 per month.

Close to shore I have found fewer and fewer free and unlocked wifi stations. It's pretty much pay only now.
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  #19  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

As an amateur radio operator, I have used Winmor, the free soundcard digital program for accessing Winlink email. It doesn't have the speeds of PACTOR 3, but is free and does work. I used to maintain a Winlink gateway on VHF at my home, but it didn't get much use besides me and another ham or two. Amateur radio also offers the ability to have a conversation with someone, even if just for conversation. Most hams will forward a message for you too. There are other lowbandwidth modes that will get through when other high bandwidth modes like voice or pactor can't. It's effective for emergency communications for the same reasons, but mainly, it's fun. A license is much easier than it used to be and no longer requires that you learn to copy morse code. I wouldn't suggest it be the only communications aboard, but it is the most versatile.
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  #20  
Old 05-02-2013
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Re: E-Mail while crusing

You can pick up a Pactor 2e or 2usb for less the $500 if you want to speed things up a bit buy a Pactor 3 license for @$120. I have the 2e and have no problems anywhere.
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