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post #1 of 14 Old 08-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Can you hear me now?

Have a globalstar sat phone thatís 4 years old. Every passage itís been unreliable. Regardless of antenna placement or time of day we go through periods of time it wonít do voice or emails or both. We are going on passage again at the end of October. Thinking of
Staying with globalstar but using fixed antenna but told this will give no joy.
Going with a Go but hear equal bad stories
Going with not a Go but the Iridium sat phone but told without fixed antenna just as bad as the globalstar.
Going with a Fleet One Sailor but know nothing about it and looks like a pro installation.

Sure appreciate any advice.

A secondary question is whether to ditch my Spot and get an inreach?

Running out of money honey so want to be safe but cost effective.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

I have found inreach to be bullet-proof and reliable - used one for trips of up to 2 weeks at a time over the past 3 years and never had a problem. The opportunity to suspend the subscription keeps it cheap enough for me.

I will be interested in views on satphone since I am about to spec system for new boat and want to make best choice.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

IIRC Spot and InReach both use the same Iridium system so whether there will be coverage should be the same for both of them. Then it comes down to the device and feature options and billing plans, not the service itself, that you decide on.

Iridium is more extensive than Globalstar, and generally fixed antennas will be larger and higher gain than whatever is on a handheld. But you have to realize, no matter what you are using, in low-cost satcoms you are using "flea power" to work with a satellite WAY UP THERE and expecting it to work.

See if there are any higher power or higher gain (db) antennas available for your existing phone, and unless you are going to be out of their coverage area, I'd say that's your most effective bang for the buck. Since you already have (?) the Spot...you've already got the redundancy of using both system providers, that's all there is.
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

Iirc Spot runs on Globalstar..not Iridium.
But maybe that has changed..?

Iridium has the coverage.
I have GO..currently suspended. Only used for weather downloads.
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

I'd contact Mark on SeaLife. He's pretty up on sat phones and does a lot of ocean crossings.

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post #6 of 14 Old 08-08-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

Just worked out my InReach on our Maine cruise. Worked almost flawlessly and I typically left it down below. No external antenna. We get the unlimited text plan and bluetooth to our iphone.

I only say 'almost' because when someone would send a text back, with more than 160 characters, their system chops it up into 160 character chunks and they can come in scrambled order. Not a typical problem, unless someone gets long winded in a text.

I've heard good things about the Iridium Go and would be my choice, although, I've not owned one. Maybe an external antenna.


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post #7 of 14 Old 08-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Can you hear me now?

Thanks folks. Any opinions on the Fleet one sailor? If Iím understanding the specs correctly should be more reliable and serves all functions. Speeds seem to be much better as well.
Always had trouble with weather files or any pictures. File would get halfway through then signal strength would fall. Only adequate for brief emails. Even voice was better.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Can you hear me now?

All vendors have home and fringe areas. But have found on the few systems Iíve been exposed to they all work quite well coastal or near shore. Just the opposite of the SSB. Even though youíre well within the home area itís offshore where the real test is. Doesnít make sense to me as they are satellite based so donít see why that should matter.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-09-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
All vendors have home and fringe areas. But have found on the few systems Iíve been exposed to they all work quite well coastal or near shore. Just the opposite of the SSB. Even though youíre well within the home area itís offshore where the real test is. Doesnít make sense to me as they are satellite based so donít see why that should matter.
Logically, there is no difference to the satellites, as you say. In the early going, I recall the Spot's coverage area did not extend too far from shore, but think that has been improved. The only broad difference I can imagine is crew fatigue. Usually much higher offshore. Impatience levels rise. Small details get missed. Could be unidentified pilot error.

I've used the InReach on shore, well inland, even at altitude in the cockpit. Furthest offshore it's been is probably 100 miles or so. All performed identically.

My current dilemma is whether to put it back in suspend mode. I prefer to think we'll take the boat down south for the winter and I'll need it again, but my first mate is balking. Says next year she'll have more flexibility. Which she said last year.


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post #10 of 14 Old 08-09-2018
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Re: Can you hear me now?

Friends of ours that sail a sister-ship to ours have been cruising in the EC for the last several years and swear by (not at) their Global Star phone. The following is excerpted from their "Blog":

Quote:
Globalstar 1700 Satellite phone with Docking Station and 12 volt powered external antennae. This device is connected to our laptop for email and data. We use Global MarineNet’s X-Gate compression software for email and data, and find this system works well for us. We are able to download GRIB weather files, NWS offshore weather reports, and surface pressure charts for any given area. With these three pieces of weather data we are able to assemble a pretty complete weather picture.

The satellite phone connects to a Dell e5540 Business class rugged laptop using Windows 7 Pro. We moved to this laptop in 2014 with its solid state hard drive and 16 megs of RAM. It is lightning fast
More can be found at "Sailing with Ocean Angel". It may be that the fixed mount antenna on their stern-rail makes the difference.

FWIW..
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 08-09-2018 at 06:46 AM. Reason: Add addendum after premature posting
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