On this stuff is Tim Hasson. His website is TechYacht: Marine Computer and Communications Solutions
He's a regular contributor to Blue Water Sailing Magazine, he's the main electronics and communications consultant to the Caribbean 1500 (and ours as well).
He's a very nice guy, and incredibly knowledgeable. I'm sure he'd answer questions just to answer them, because that's the way he is, but keep in mind that he's a consultant, so if you reach out to him, be mindful of his time. If you do decide to insall an SSB, I would urge you to hire Tim for the project. He will ensure that you get exactly what you need and want for what you plan to do with your setup, whether it be satphone, SSB or something else. He'll also configure everything for you, with you there so you understand it, so that once the item is installed it will work and you will know how to use it.
And I'll throw in that satphones have come a long way, the prices way down, and both those components only are going to continue to improve. Satphones can be used to get Internet connections (albeit not very fast), use voice, hookup for email, and to get faxes. The main downside is cost. Not for the phone (though they're not cheap, but still a lot less expensive than an SSB installation), but becuase you have usage charges whenever you want to use it. With the SSB, voice usage is free once you get it installed (though you do have charges for some other things, like certain email packages, weather, etc.).
I have been in this debate before, and my view is that it won't be long before SSB starts to go the way of Loran -- still works, but other technology will surpass it.
All that said, SSB today remains a very useful tool, and it's loads of fun for the reasons others have mentioned. Cruiser nets, weather, working out how to talk to some schmo on the other side of the planet via radio. That's all good stuff. Of course, all that can be done via the Internet too, and that's what I predict will happen once satphone technoligy and costs come in line, but doing it over SSB still is fun.