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Old 03-25-2007, 09:38 PM   #1
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Hi everyone.

As technology changes I wonder how liveaboard cruising people are now making their internet connections. Is wireless becoming the norm in marinas (no such thing in my local marina), is it through HF, mobile or cellphones, or satellite phone? Which is the most efficient way regardless of cost, and what is the most cost effective way that still works.

I wonder if email is the most accessed area of the 'net, or are things changing sufficiently that net surfing in now possible along with the use of instant messengers, skype, world weather etc. both at the dock and at sea?

It is not so long ago that I remember reporting on the Australian Post Office's first fax machine and how it was going to render the telex obsolete. It was around the same time that the Merlin Pocket Computer emerged, making books of tables redundant for calculating a fix by sextant; a gigantic leap forward in navigation technology.

Cripes, I'm sounding like my father.

David.
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Cripes, I'm sounding like my father.
And I, "Mirror, mirror on the Wall, I am my mother after all."

Amazing.
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:52 AM   #3
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Short of the geosynchronis based systems, HF is probably still the best bang for the buck both in baud rates and cost. There is a fantastic new portable desktop broadband receiver that is great for the marina but has no tolerance for boat movement. If you want to talk to probably the most knowledgeable guy on the topic, Steve Bowden and Seatech Systems (www.sea-tech.com) is the best there is on SSB and Sat Phone link ups.
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Old 03-26-2007, 04:02 AM   #4
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Okay, got that out of my system.

Now for how I communicate.

Wifi when I can, though many places along the east coast US that's not possible unless you're in a marina offering a wireless connection. Some marinas you have to bring the computer up to their office because the signal isn't strong enough to reach down to the docks. I really don't like the idea of pirating some unsuspecting private home's wireless network just because I can, so I don't.

In many popular anchorages and coves in the NE US I've found subscription wireless connections - you can pay for a day, a week, a month, or longer. What I've found, though, is that there are several different services, and in some places each anchorage we stopped at had a different service. That made it a bit expensive if you weren't sure what the next stop was going to offer, if anything.

Until recently I used my cell phone as a modem - Verizon has excellent coverage and most places I could connect. I had unlimited free access all day on weekends, and after 9 pm but before 6 am on weekdays. That limited the times I could be on line, but it wasn't that bad. Sometimes, however, as my emails were loading, if the connection was lost (or maybe just hiccupped), it seems that some emails got lost. I know this only because one email appeared more than a week after it had been sent. I blame it on the phone, but who knows, maybe some little gremlin was floating around messing up my stuff!

However, I had such a terrible connections in Florida that I decided to subscribe to Verizon's Wireless PC Card connection to the Internet. I don't have the price with me (I haven't received my first bill yet), but it's around $40 or $50 per month, unlimited internet access on my PC and I don't have to go ashore. Just as with a cell phone it works while the boat is moving as well.

I like it, it's faster than connection with the cell phone, but where we are right now seems to be a problem with holding onto connections, and sometimes I have to disconnect and reconnect for a web address to be accessed. It might just be the location we've been these past two weeks, and the weather as well. We'll see if the wind ever dies down and we can leave here!

I will be interested to hear about other options, such as satellite phones and such. I've not heard many good reports about them, but one or two people isn't a fair sample, since dissatisfied users tend to be more vocal than those who have no problems and think that's the way it is with everyone.

Sorry to be so wordy.
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In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

SY WATERMELON |
MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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