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post #1 of 5 Old 10-13-2015 Thread Starter
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Iridium Go for Offshore Communications

Has anyone used Iridium Go for offshore communications? I am looking for any comments and observations. Iím thinking of using it on a crossing from San Francisco to Oahu next summer and then later to Mexico. Specifically, how is it for downloading GRIBS and weather information and integrating it with Nobeltec or Maptec navigation software? I havenít bought either yet so Iím open to new or different solutions.

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post #2 of 5 Old 10-13-2015
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Re: Iridium Go for Offshore Communications

Check with Mark on Sea Life. I think he has all that covered for offshore work.

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post #3 of 5 Old 10-14-2015
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Re: Iridium Go for Offshore Communications

I used the GO this past June for the Bermuda 1-2. I was most UNHAPPY with it's performance. Even though OCENS knew I was going to be on a boat they did not recommend the external antenna. TOTAL waste of my $$$
The issues I had were as follows:

The unit would not "pair" with my Samsung S3 phone so I couldn't use the phone to make calls.
It DID pair w/ the IPAD I was using for navigation, however the few calls I made I had a very poor connection and a couple of dropped calls.
I also was using GRIB EXPLORER and that was a good program for viewing GRIBS... when you downloaded them at the dock using onshore WiFI. Using the GO unit I was only able to download 2 times versus numerous attempts to dial in and either not connecting, dropping the connection or just locking up and not downloading.

One thing that did work well was texting via the IPAD. Unfortunately, that being the ONLY way to quickly and definitely communicate I burned through all my minutes (Incoming are free, outgoing cost 1 min of airtime). I ended up w/ a big bill for going over the prepaid minutes. Even complaining to OCENS that not being able to CALL and having to resort to texting got me nowhere.

But for that I would have been better off with a DELORME unit.

If I go offshore again, I'd just get a SATPHONE. And for those who say I'm just one person... my regular crew did the Annap. Newport race on a boat that the skipper had pretty much the exact same experience.

And in all fairness, I have heard some people say they've had good results.

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Re: Iridium Go for Offshore Communications

Not going to help you with grib files, but I just bought a DeLorme Explorer for our 26 hr crossing of the Gulf of Maine. Way outside cell and vhf range overnight.

I loved it. I had a couple ashore that could sign into a website (with a password I set) to follow us. For $75, I bought an unlimited text plan. I could sit in the cockpit and text anyone to pass the time. Not a weather solution, but I thought an outstanding comm solution.

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post #5 of 5 Old 10-14-2015
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Re: Iridium Go for Offshore Communications

I bought an Iridium Go this summer for the specific purpose of using it to download GRIB files.

I was not overly impressed with the Iridium Go as far as being able to connect to the satellite.

My system was to interface with an iPad to the Go. When the Gribs were downloaded I would transfer them from the iPad to my laptop which is used for navigation. This part of the system worked well, no issues iPad to Mac laptop, using the Grib files (which I had never used before) was helpful.

The problems I ran into were connecting with the Iridium Go. I never had a session where all the files (I would usually request 3 files - wind, wave and precip) would download on the first attempt. For whatever reason the Go would lose connection and I would have to reconnect to restart the download of files. It didn't seem to matter if it was a group request or if I requested single files. This certainly seemed to increase my "on air" time which increases my cost.

I am at 59 to 60N in latitude, perhaps that is part of the issue with connecting. Some of the time I was anchored in fjords which may have caused an issue with connection as well however once connected the Go would show full bars for connection strength.

I didn't have an external antenna, when using the Go I would set it under the dodger next to the companion way.

If it worked reliably I would keep it, but with the hassle of using it I plan to sell it and find another option to obtain Grib files.


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