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Old 07-15-2011, 10:31 AM   #15
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Del,

That is a new development - Up until last year my Email a nd Internet was transceived by Satellite. If there were black clouds or rain between me and the sat = no transmission. If my dish wass moved even 1", no transmission.
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:17 PM   #16
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Yes there's a fairly significant difference between what's commonly known as "terrestrial" satellite, which uses a dish as a receiver/transmitter (and also occasionally as a receiver only, with transmission being done over a land line such as a regular modem), and "mobile" satellite. The former is usually an order of magnitude cheaper, has much higher bandwidth, but does require that the dish remain stationary and pointed directly at a satellite in geostationary orbit. Hence usually fairly expensive installation costs as well. Mobile satellite usually uses a lower frequency baseband signal and requires an antenna rather than a dish and of course can be mobile. This is the basis of most satellite mobile phones which of course would be useless if they had to be tied to a fixed dish to be used. I'll try to include a summary of the two different technologies at some point as well although there are a few web sites where you can dig for the information.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:53 PM   #17
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Kevin, I noticed that there was apparently little information given regarding the tranceiving of Emails well away from VHF towers.
SkyMate does not communicate via VHF towers .... it uses VHF direct to satellites .... the coverage map on their website would not be possible if they were limited to land-based towers ...

Their system lets you send & receive text-only emails & weather ...

The hardware is simple to install, relatively cheap (compared to an SSB assembly or sat phone) & plugs into a PC or laptop with a USB cable ... you can rig a dedicated VHF antenna or use a splitter ...

The subscription packages are reasonably priced compared to sat phone charges ... the basic service works for me even with the send/receive limits ... all the people I email know that when they reply to my emails they need to generate a new email instead of just hitting the reply button because that sends your outgoing email back to you as part of their reply & makes a big hole in your send/receive quota ...
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:03 AM   #18
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OK, so here is my first comparison:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21366000/com...comparison.pdf

I will expand this over time and so keep checking the link. There's a boat show here in Sydney in the next few weeks at which I hope to get some more information from some of the newer providers. I haven't included services like fleet broadband yet but I will slowly get to those over time, there is a lot of material to be read (some of which is contradictory) and obtaining simple facts isn't always easy even through the providers' web sites.

If anyone has any comments or corrections, please feel free to comment here.

If anyone wants a dropbox referral (useful for sharing files like this) a 2GB account is free: http://db.tt/BDobmUu (if you go via my referral link then we both get 250MB bonus space).
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:07 AM   #19
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Can someone using WinLink please answer the following question as I have been unable to get an answer from the Winlink people themselves: On the Winlink web site it talks about having to have a HAM (amateur radio) license to use Winlink. Is this correct for Marine HF users at sea, or is a standard marine HF certification and call sign OK (e.g. in Australia that would be a set license from the ACMA, after which ACMA issue a call sign, and a marine radio operator's certificate of proficiency from AMC)?
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:22 PM   #20
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Winlink is the HAM radio operator's service, using HAM operators worldwide to connect to a land-based provider, be it telephone or a LAN. Thus, those using the service must be licensed HAM operators.

The comparable service for marine HF radio is SAILMAIL
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:19 AM   #21
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After the boat show I have updated my file, here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21366000/com...comparison.pdf

The newer satellite systems such as the KVH and the iSatPhone Pro are starting to compare quite favourably with the older HF/Pactor systems.

I'm still waiting on local pricing to come in on a few of the units so keep looking for updates in the next few days.
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Old 02-07-2014, 06:35 PM   #22
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I realise this is an old thread but that is exactly why I'd like an update, things seem to move forward year on year at a very fast pace.
Any thoughts on a sensible sat system and what is the cost.
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:30 PM   #23
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Cap'n Ludd,

We used a satphone on Chiara Stella on the way to NZ. For phone calls it seemed to do quite well (if expensive) but the automatic email function used to send position reports failed. They're getting cheaper but for my money I'd still stick with ham radio if you have - or can easily acquire - a licence for it.

GRIBs and weather reports aren't much of an issue, that's reception only.

Rob
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Cap'n Ludd,

We used a satphone on Chiara Stella on the way to NZ. For phone calls it seemed to do quite well (if expensive) but the automatic email function used to send position reports failed. They're getting cheaper but for my money I'd still stick with ham radio if you have - or can easily acquire - a licence for it.

GRIBs and weather reports aren't much of an issue, that's reception only.

Rob
Thanks
I have an MCA Long Range ticket and I am a radio ham.
Do you receive weather etc via radio or do you use a Navtex ?
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:35 AM   #25
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We got the weather via radio using some free software. I think Del was using JWX to decode it.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:09 AM   #26
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We got the weather via radio using some free software. I think Del was using JWX to decode it.
Thanks, do you get a weather map or just the data ?
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:16 AM   #27
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I didn't use this personally but JWX displays a map. We also had some kind of neato animated grib thing that you could step through predictions at 4 hr intervals, dunno what that was but I believe Del grabbed those files off the satphone.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:42 AM   #28
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The satphone is what I used to get the weather data. I did in fact have JWX installed as a backup but never ended up using it -- I experimented with it and it worked fine. The problem with HF weatherfax is that we got one weather broadcast per day (from VMC) giving a useful synoptic chart for the area we were travelling in, and it meant leaving the HF, laptop and JWX running during that time of the day which seemed to always coincide with when I was cooking lunch so I just never got around to using it.

The satellite phone plan I bought from Cytech communications was the same one used by Auzzee I believe -- 500 minutes over 12 months for US$675. I used the GRIB files which are delivered via email from the GMN service which is free to use, you just pay for the minutes used to connect to the email system. In addition I used the XGate software from GMN which provides a local mail relay with compression over the satellite network, which costs about $30 per month. I also experimented with UUPlus which does the same thing but I never got it working.

Getting the satellite phone positioned correctly seems to be critical. There is an external antenna provided with the phone, that needed a clear and uninterrupted view of the sky. The phone itself must also be able to see the sky because the GPS antenna is inside the phone and GPS doesn't work via the external antenna, however that view of the sky from the phone does not need to be uninterrupted.

Attempting to get GRIB files via HF was a no-go without a Pactor modem, the Pactor setup being more expensive than what I paid for the satellite phone + airtime so I went without it. Basically all you get via HF weatherfax is a synoptic chart which you can interpret yourself. Getting the GRIB files to load into the nav software (I used OpenCPN) is much more useful. I also picked up a RedPort optimizer from GMN which turns the sat phone into a wifi hotspot, I don't use this but I keep it as a backup in case the laptop with the XGate software dies and I have to use my android tablet to get GRIB files instead. I can use PocketGRIB on the android phone, I've tested it once over satellite/wifi and it works well.

It all sounds fiddly but once you get it set up it's not rocket science. I'll put together a more in depth blog post on it shortly.
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