Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Thanked 13 Times in 11 Posts
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Yes and yes.
Many find as I do that SSB is still the favored mode for long-distance communications due to it's versatility for both voice and data communications on the marine and ham bands. There are many hundreds of stations on the marine bands and literally millions on the ham bands worldwide. Thus, if you know how to use the radio, and if it's well installed, you'll always be able to make contact.
Sat phones are useful, too. They are point-to-point, however, meaning that the only person who can hear you is the one you're talking to. That's useful sometimes (for private or business communications), and sometimes not (e.g., in certain emergency situations). Prices vary widely. The system with most coverage -- virtually worldwide -- is Inmarsat, but it's pricey. Less costly but less reliable and with less coverage is Globalstar, which has been having trouble with it's current constellation of LEO satellites. Still, like me, some find it's useful if you have some backup (like SSB) for emergency and other communications. And, one hopes, Globalstar can hang on long enough to get their new "hardened" satellites up next year.
What you choose depends on your communications needs and your cruising plans, as well as on your wallet.