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Old 12-07-2006, 02:23 AM   #1
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Default Inmarsat Mini-M

Does anyone have experience with the Inmarsat Mini-M? How much is airtime? Any insight would be helpful?

http://www.thrane.com/Maritime/Products/Sa...t%20mini-M.aspx
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Old 12-13-2006, 01:22 AM   #2
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Don't use Inmarsat personally but know you can get airtime down to $1.90 per minute for telephone time to any international number provided you pre-purchase time blocks.

I also suspect (but can't confirm) you'd also be able to get a data rate per mb.

Hope this helps

JOHN
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply...I'm still trying to get info from Thrane & Thrane. As soon as I have more info I will post it. I hoping for a cost effective broadband solution before we set sail in late 08. Lori and I are taking our Ham radio license exams and figure that will be our fall back solution.

How are you maintaining contact while you are out cruising?

Also, it was good seeing you at Sailblogs...I'm looking forward to seeing your updates.
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:18 PM   #4
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Most popular is sailmail or airmail on ssb. Advantages of sailmail is it's nearly free, doesn't require a ham license and you can conduct business. Airmail requires a GENERAL ham license (US), is totally free but no selling of stocks, moving money around or any other business activity. It's amateur radio rules. Many use both sailmail and airmail, if they are properly licensed.

Some are using Iridium phones but cost here is a major factor and many use it just for phone calls back home, using sailmail for most correspondence. It doesn't replace the need for a ssb as you will want the information from the nets and be able to call or respond for help to boats IN YOUR AREA. The phone won't call the people on scene, or get you the local information. Reporting on the net will be a daily ritual for you and that means ssb. A sat phone is an enhancement to your communications, not a replacement.

I've seen a few Inmarsat antenna's on boats but they are very few except on the larger yachts. Same restrictions as the Iridium phone, cost and not being a replacement for a ssb unit. Not sure how good the systems are today but, regardless of the big antenna, they also require a terminal, space hard to find on a cruiser.

There is no BROADBAND solution, no matter what you choose. Data rate is 2.4 kbps for Inmarsat and (I believe) 9.6 kbps for Iridium. You will not be surfing the net without a large bank account.
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:39 PM   #5
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Hi. The Iridium system is brilliant, but it is still relatively expensive and definitely not a good idea for gregarious teenagers. The cost for the service I use in Oz is : Access per month (Including $20 of free calls) $50. If you want data capability it is another $25 per month. International calls attract a 45c connection fee, and a cost of $1.07 per 30 seconds of connection time. Domestic calls are about 65c per 30 sec. Data transfer is available dial up at 2.4Kbps, and through the Iridium gateway compression at up to 10Kbps. The phone handsets are good, reliable, quite small (think of mobile phone sizes from 10 years ago) and in Oz, can be bought cheaply thanks to a generous $1500 government grant. I agree with SpikeDawg, that they cannot as yet replace the free(ish) services through SSB, but the prices are coming down all the time and coverage is truly universal and of high quality. PS Oz$1 = US$.75c
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:45 PM   #6
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Hi Ken,

As most of our sailing on this boat has been coastal we've existed so far with simple VHF radio, regular cellphone for land use, a Thuraya Sat Phone when further offshore in Europe, and a GPRS/G3 laptop card when we can't get marina wi-fi.

Its all worked fine and fortunately my business covers the high bills we've sometimes receipted!

As next year it is deepwater time, we've got rid of the Thuraya, decided against a value in Irridium or Inmarsat voice, and simply adding SSB MF/HF along with a modem and software to handle Sailmail / weatherfax etc.

KISS to me makes sense.

Cheers

JOHN
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