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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-09-2008
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Globalstar or Iridium?

Obviously Globalstar is having its problems. Our use will be strictly between the U.S. east coast and Bermuda. Does anyone have any relatively recent experience with Globalstar? For a variety of reasons I would prefer Globalstar (cost, US phone number, voice quality), but not if it doesn't work! I can deal with a delay in connecting, but if you actually can't get service or regularly drop calls, that might be different. Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 02-09-2008
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I am interested in this too...specifically I would like an alternative to the SSB to retrieve grib files offshore. Have rented an Iridium phone on past trips for voice contact, but it gets real expensive fast, and I haven't used it for email..\
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Old 02-09-2008
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I am going to give the Inmarsat BGAN system a shot this summer with the Sabre I terminal. It works very well on the hook, but I doubt I can maintain lock on a moving boat, unless it very calm.
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Old 02-09-2008
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Numerous recent reports indicate that Globalstar service is somewhat better than it was for awhile. My own experience shows that, too.

HOWEVER, dropped calls still happen. This isn't a show-stopper if you are patient, advise those called that it could happen, and wait for the next satellite pass. Globalstar publishes a database now of times when you can expect to have the satellites in sight for any given location (on their website). You can plan ahead.

They also now have a very good deal: $40 per month for unlimited service, no contract required, and no cancellation fee. I just cancelled my old contract with a Globalstar provider who didn't have this deal, and signed up for the new deal.

Bill
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Old 02-09-2008
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There is a pretty good article in Ocean Navigator this month on all the alternatives and latest developments. You might want to check that out to help with your decision.
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Old 02-09-2008
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I have Globalstar and it still out performs Iridium for data reception (email). I have intermittent service in St. Maarten but it is connected often enough for email messaging. True, calls do drop but they do on Skype as well. The cost is muc less than Iridium. they do have a propagation web site but you need an internet connection to use it!
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Old 02-09-2008
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How would it do off of the east coast in the Atlantic from Charleston to New York? Would it be satisfactory for email and grib download?
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Old 02-09-2008
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The problem with Globalstar...is Globalstar. The service when working is superior to Iridium for data. They have recently launched 8 new replacement satellites which is why we are seeing reports of better service lately after near disaster in 2007. The planned replacement of satellites with next generation birds is scheduled for 2009. In the interim ...to hold on to customers and keep revenue flowing in...they have introduced some GREAT pricing. They anticipate outages in various spots in various times during 2008. They have a website tool to tell you when to call daily...but that does no good on passage. Here's their rates for the USA and Caribe and Canada based calls to LAND phones. (One thing we found out is NEVER to call another satellite phone...even in the same time zone!)
***************
Sign up now and get Unlimited Home Airtime minutes through June 30, 2010
  • 2008 Calendar Year: $39.99/month Unlimited Home Airtime
  • 2009 Calendar Year: $19.99/month Unlimited Home Airtime
  • 2010 : $19.99/month Unlimited Home Airtime
With the new Globalstar Unlimited Loyalty plan, get unlimited home airtime usage with rates that automatically go down each year! Talk as much as you want. E-mail, voicemail, express data service. Nights, weekends, weekdays – anytime! We guarantee the low rates through the term of June 30, 2010.
Unlimited free airtime placed from the Home Service Area of the US, Canada or Caribbean Unlimited free Long Distance for all calls placed from the US, Canada or Caribbean to the US, Canada or Puerto Rico Low roaming and international long distance rates for other regions Free incoming 35-character Short Messaging Service.
*******************

What you risk with Globalstar is:
1. Assured connectivity when you have an emergency.

2. The stabiity of the company... could mean your expensive phone/data setup is worthless and non-functional at some point.



Iridium is the other choice and is reliable, WAY more expensive and significantly (50% at least) slower on data.

Ya takes yer pick and takes yer chances!

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Pamlico...for a short trip like that, I would rent one.
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My dilemna. I'm renting them for 3 weeks or so in June 2008 for an event. Depending on how things play out I'll need from 5 to 10 phones, maybe more (maybe less, but hopefully not). They need to work between NY and Bermuda. They'll be needed for twice a day conference calls from sea at set times. Plus, of course, they'll be needed for emergencies, not to mention if someone should simply want to make or receive a call for non-emergencies. Cost matters, but not at the expense of the phones not working. If there were a way to know before you left the times of day that Globalstar would definitely work for the entirety of the 4-6 day trip, that might work for the conference calls, but if you need to log on to figure out if there's decent propogation at that very moment in time, obviously that doesn't work when you're out there. I guess maybe I'll need to defer a decision for a little while to see what's happening with Globalstar. I always can rent the phones within a month of the event (whether we go with Globalstar or Iridium). Data is much less important for my need than is voice. Thanks all.
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Daniel...the propogation data is available only for the next 48 hours on line so you can't look forward to the dates you need...but you can take a look at typical propogation in Bermuda or elsewhere at this link:
https://srt.glpconnect.com:2044/osat/

That may be sufficient for your decision making but I would be in no BIG rush to make arrangements.
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