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Greetings,
I am compelled by the circumstances to break my chains for the summer and go cruising.. Wonderful! A bit sooner than I expected, but here we go... One of my pressing needs on this voyage will be reliable internet connection. I will be cruising mid coast Maine and mostly Casco Bay and the approaches. Wi-Fi is a possibility, close to an island, but I hope to rely on Tmobil Blackberry used as a modem for my lap top. Has anyone had any experience with that? I upgraded my service today to unlimited internet and it seems to work fine, but the speed is fickle at best...
Happy sailing everyone!
 

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Verizon or AT&T/Cingular have much better 3G coverage. An amplified WiFi system, like the Ubiquiti NanoStation 2 is a good idea.
 

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Thanks, Sailingdog.
For now I am stuck with T mobil... I hope to be able to get something.
I will look up the Wi-Fi system you mention...
 

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I have a verizon card for my laptop, generally speaking, where I can get phone use, I can get internet. Fits in one of the slots on my left side. Not a real puter geek to say what slot it fits in. If you have tmobile for you actual cell, you might look at a verizon card for just the LT. Not positive, but if you're going to be out for say 30 days, you may be able to rent the card, and service for that time frame. Obviously a bit more $$ per min than if you are a reg subscriber on a 1-2 yr contract, but might fit a short term need better than trying to get some other wireless option.

Marty
 

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Available here for $80. In many ways, it is one of the more reliable and versatile systems, because it is an amplified antenna with an on-board ethernet router/bridge. It only requires one cable, an ethernet cable, since it uses POE to supply the signal and power to the unit from the computer. This also means that there are no coax cable induced losses.
 

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Available here for $80. In many ways, it is one of the more reliable and versatile systems, because it is an amplified antenna with an on-board ethernet router/bridge. It only requires one cable, an ethernet cable, since it uses POE to supply the signal and power to the unit from the computer. This also means that there are no coax cable induced losses.
SD, do you actually use one? Everything I have read up on (and tried a few) never work. Since they are all unidirectional, the gains you would get - running up the mast especially - would be lost by the wire run to begin with. For at the dock situations - sure you can maybe squeak out extra umpff from the marina supplied but at sea - tossing around... The only time I have seen actual internet usage (here in the PNW) was with my Sprint HTC coupled up to my laptop - which provided up to 3 miles offshore coverage.
 

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I use my 8830 blackberry (Verizon) with the $15 teathering plan and use it as a bluetooth modem for my MacBook. Works great for the most part. Sometimes I have to "caps-alt-backspace" to reboot my phone, also, if I close my Macbook without manually disconnecting the bluetooth connection sometimes I have to reboot my macbook to reconnect the phone. Anyways, the speeds aren't great... but it serves my needs (email, weather, basic surfing). I have had reception basically everywhere I have cruised (between Boston and NYC) except for one time fairly far off shore. For me since I am already paying for a blackberry it is the cheapest option and meets my needs.
 

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Yes, I do use it. I've used the NS2, along with similar devices, both terrestrially and on a boat for almost ten years, starting with the 900 MHz wireless cards. The NS2 has a angle of coverage of about 60˚ horizontally, and 30˚ vertically and doesn't have the gain losses, since the NS2 isn't an antenna—it is an amplified antenna with a WiFi to Ethernet bridge built in—there is no signal loss between the WiFi antenna and the WiFi receiver, since they're right next to each other. The computer is connected via an ETHERNET cable, not a coax cable. At the SLC 2002 Winter Olympics, I used similar equipment for WiFi links upto two miles long.

SD, do you actually use one? Everything I have read up on (and tried a few) never work. Since they are all unidirectional, the gains you would get - running up the mast especially - would be lost by the wire run to begin with. For at the dock situations - sure you can maybe squeak out extra umpff from the marina supplied but at sea - tossing around... The only time I have seen actual internet usage (here in the PNW) was with my Sprint HTC coupled up to my laptop - which provided up to 3 miles offshore coverage.
 

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Thanks, guys...
After using my Blackberry tethered to my laptop, I have to report that speeds vary drastically, seemingly randomly, but the basic Blackberry tools, like weather radar and even GPS navigation, using a bluetooth GPS receiver work well. Imagine that, navigatin' the coastal waters using a blackberry.... I never relied on the GPS much anyway, so this will be just fine to check things....
I thought the directional Wifi antenna would be of little use, swinging on the anchor... unless you keep adjusting it somehow...
A friend donated me an old time marine radar detector, made by Tamaya. What a piece of work. It has a strange looking clear antenna... I will enjoy putting that though it's paces. Always thought it would be a good idea to have, but never even saw one before....
Thanks a lot guys for all the good info..
 

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Quick question...
Has anyone seen a marine GPS navigation software for a Blackberry? My brother is working on something like that for another phone, but knowing him it will take forever...
Also, he sent me a cool site Login - Google Maps APRS
It shows all of the AIS equipped ships and their progress on google maps. You have to have a valid HF call sign to log in...
This could be useful to track the big ships in in the night...
 

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I use a verizon aircard, what they call Verizon Access. It is actually just a USB device that receives cell phone signals. It works anywhere you have cell service, and for really fringe areas you can buy a cell signal amplifier that uses an antenna that can be mounted up high, with a shielded cable to the amplifier which then rebroadcasts the signal inside your boat. I am in an area in Washington State right now that has no cell service, but I am getting this signal from a town 10-15 miles away across the Strait of Juan De Fuca at near broadband speed. My Verizon phone has no bars at all but the air card gets it's signal from the amplifier and has five bars. It does fade out occassionally and bad weather means no signal at all. But most of the time it's fine. You have to buy the card, mine is a USB727. It is currently 79.99 but if you buy online you get discount. They have cheaper cards. Plus you have to buy a service contract. Mine is 59.95 a month. I have used this all over the US with only one or two places where I could not get online.

T-mobile has the same kind of service. You need to ask them about aircards.
 

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In my area Cricket is promoting there wireless and phone bundle with NO CONTRACTS for $65 a month. The phone is unlimited. The stand alone broadband is $40 a month with no contracts. Coverage seems a little spotty.

Cricket Wireless | Cricket Broadband
 

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IIRC, ActiveCaptain.com, a website that's run by Jeff Siegel, has developed some navigation software for phones.

Quick question...
Has anyone seen a marine GPS navigation software for a Blackberry? My brother is working on something like that for another phone, but knowing him it will take forever...
Also, he sent me a cool site Login - Google Maps APRS
It shows all of the AIS equipped ships and their progress on google maps. You have to have a valid HF call sign to log in...
This could be useful to track the big ships in in the night...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you, sailingdog,
I could only find PDA and Windows Mobile type files... I will try the windows version.
Seems like a nice site, though...
 
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