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  #1  
Old 06-18-2012
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Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

I'm thinking of getting this device for 3G access while traveling. I have several trips this summer, including a charter on the Chesapeake next week.

Do any of you have experience with it? How is its reception over the water? The Bay is up to 9 miles wide where I'll be sailing, although I only expect to be using it when docked/anchored near shore.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

My T mobile 4g droid as well as my AT&T IPad gets acccess the place you are traveling as well as in the middle of the bay. 9 miles from side to side.....where would that be...thats down by the Potomac maybe.

Dave
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

Can't say about that device, but I've received a signal on our Verizon 3g Ipad at 5nm offshore. Beyond that, it gets sketchy. Of course, I couldn't know how far inland the cell tower actually was.

I will bet I could get small data to transmit from much further, however, I've only had it out underway to get a Grib file or download weather radar.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

I just recalled someone that put a cell receiver on top of their mast and believed they would get a signal as far as 20nm. He was a tech guy, so it may have been an educated opinion. It may have been wishful thinking. I haven't seen him yet this year, but I will have to ask him how it worked when I do.
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

Cannot speak for the Bay, but here on Long Island Sound my Virgin Mobile 3G dongle plugged into a netbook works fine. I like that I can purchase megabytes only for my intended sailing season.

As far as speed goes, I've done Skype video connections as well as animated weather radar (Very Useful) from close-in anchorages. The log-in is a just a little bit more tedious than signing into a McDonald's WiFi connection.
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Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
...9 miles from side to side.....where would that be...thats down by the Potomac maybe.
Dave - I have no plans to go down that far. I did a rough measurement from Eastern Neck across to Gibson Island, and it was 8.8 nm. The bends of the shorelines might make this less, but then the cell towers may not be right on the shore. So I rounded to 9 nm.
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Last edited by TakeFive; 06-19-2012 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

My cell...4G works well there as the the IPad. Only place I have had a little trouble is up the Choptank
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Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

I'm leaning toward getting the T-Mobile 4G hotspot instead. It appears that Virgin Mobile has raised their pay-as-you-go rates considerably, and the 2200 only does 3G. Virgin's 4G device from Novatel has gotten universally panned by users.

T-Mobile's 4G device has gotten very nice reviews from both magazines and users, and it looks like they have pretty good coverage in the area. Walmart has some special exclusive pay-as-you-go deals that last for 60 days, so I can pretty much cover the whole rest of the summer for $35 (as long as I don't stream video).

Now that I will have internet on the boat, I am learning more about grib data and also will make more use of Active Captain. I don't want the computer/Android tablet/Kindle/etc. to dominate our week, but having occasional access will hopefully make us better prepared to respond to our (and mother nature's) whims.

The UGRIB program is really, really cool! Hopefully it will come in handy for last-minute itinerary changes to respond to the wind predictions. OpenCPN also can overlay grib data, but it's pretty underwhelming. Any other suggestions for grib data management and display?
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1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)

Last edited by TakeFive; 06-19-2012 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Prepaid Mobile Hotspot

Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
.....Any other suggestions for grib data management and display?
WeatherTrack app on Ipad is pretty good. I just got it last year and, when out cruising, would just grab an update of a previously defined region whenever if had a 3G signal. Very very easy. Check to see if there is an Android equivalent.
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