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Old 06-07-2011, 04:15 PM   #1
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hi folks,

was wondering if anyone could suggest an ocean going email/net system ?

any ideas welcome
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:14 AM   #2
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Best system is sailmail. It requires an SCS modem, station license (call sign) and a ssb radio. Very good world wide coverage and costs $250 a year.

Airmail uses the same free software but the service itself is free, provided by amateur radio (hams). As ham operators perform this service voluntarily, coverage is often poor. It also means getting a ham license which is today is very easy to accomplish.

You can also get free weather fax, weather forcasts, satellite images,and a host of other useful things with the modem and ssb radio. This interfaces easily to a computer.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
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Best system is sailmail. It requires an SCS modem, station license (call sign) and a ssb radio. Very good world wide coverage and costs $250 a year.

Airmail uses the same free software but the service itself is free, provided by amateur radio (hams). As ham operators perform this service voluntarily, coverage is often poor. It also means getting a ham license which is today is very easy to accomplish.

You can also get free weather fax, weather forcasts, satellite images,and a host of other useful things with the modem and ssb radio. This interfaces easily to a computer.
In parts of S.E. Asia and the Indian Ocean, SailMail is on a par with Winlink. They are both God-sends to cruising boats when spares are required and the suppliers email address can be found. The constraints are text only messages and not too long.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:39 PM   #4
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I would add that the folks at Winlink have finally broken the obscene SCS modem prices with a "sound card" replacement called RMS Express. So you can save $1000 and get a reasonable approximation of the services
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:03 AM   #5
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I've started looking at options for email at sea for use in 2-3 years time when I do pull up the anchor for good.

Currently I have an ICOM M600 series HF set which works well but has no connectors for SCS, Pactor, etc. I could upgrade it to a newer M800 series model I guess, but that's added expense and I am reluctant to replace an otherwise perfectly good + working HF set. I'm not sure if the Winlink sound card would integrate with the M600 set or not, I think that the limiting factor is always going to be the HF <-> modem connection not the modem <-> PC connection which seems pretty stable and standard these days.

Satellite prices are dropping, and the cost of a sat phone + modem is starting to look attractive vs the cost of replacing HF sets and adding modems. If sat prices continue to drop then I think they will overtake HF one day as the preferred method for digital data at sea, but that day is not yet. Will that day arrive inside my 2-3 year time frame? Don't know.

Anyway, they are my thoughts, comments would be appreciated and taken in the good humour in which they are intended.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:56 PM   #6
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Satellite prices are dropping, and the cost of a sat phone + modem is starting to look attractive vs the cost of replacing HF sets and adding modems. If sat prices continue to drop then I think they will overtake HF one day as the preferred method for digital data at sea, but that day is not yet. Will that day arrive inside my 2-3 year time frame? Don't know.
This is actually kind of timely, I have been casually researching the same thing. I spoke to a fellow, who admittedly probably had old data, but he was quoting me some numbers for satellite bandwidth at stagering prices with a surcharge per minute (rounded up) of connectivity. Do you have a link to a competative firm so I can refresh my numbers? I had previously thought that satellite would be untenable so I was looking at the whole SnailMail thing. Having said that, I believe that would only be email - not surfing or Skype.

Kevin
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delatbabel View Post

Currently I have an ICOM M600 series HF set which works well but has no connectors for SCS, Pactor, etc. I could upgrade it to a newer M800 series model I guess, but that's added expense and I am reluctant to replace an otherwise perfectly good + working HF set. I'm not sure if the Winlink sound card would integrate with the M600 set or not, I think that the limiting factor is always going to be the HF <-> modem connection not the modem <-> PC connection which seems pretty stable and standard these days.
With RMS Express there is no modem. That is its beauty. Yes, you will need to provide audio out and audio in between the ICOM and your PC, plus a way for the computer to switch the ICOM from receive to transmit, but these are all easy to do with specific instructions available on the internet.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:42 PM   #8
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Another option is SkyMate ...... http://skymate.com/index.html
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:32 PM   #9
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Another option is SkyMate ...... http://skymate.com/index.html
What range does Skymate have for Email both ways ?
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:41 AM   #10
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Wow, that coverage map excludes looks pretty good. It does exclude a good chunk of Africa but but other than that only a piece of Greenland some of the Soviet successor states.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:31 AM   #11
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Wow, that coverage map excludes looks pretty good. It does exclude a good chunk of Africa but but other than that only a piece of Greenland some of the Soviet successor states.
Kevin, I noticed that there was apparently little information given regarding the tranceiving of Emails well away from VHF towers.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:33 PM   #12
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Could very well be. I was only looking at the map they had - I would be amazed if that entire area was full service full time. I also noticed that the site was still under construction which struck me as a bit of a red light. Would definitely want to hear more from the community fo sure. Time will tell.

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Old 07-15-2011, 03:44 AM   #13
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The site says satellite, not VHF. The coverage looks pretty similar to the early Inmarsat systems. It would be interesting to see a cost comparison between the various satellite and HF options. I may start working on a spreadsheet over the next week or so.

If anyone has links to other satellite / HF email providers along with costs (including equipment and data plans) then post them here and I'll do a collate.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:54 AM   #14
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Further digging on the web site says:

SkyMate uses the ORBCOMM low-Earth orbit satellite system.

ORBCOMM satellites are a reasonably recent low orbit deployment, using the VHF band for earth / satellite communication. Hopefully more systems like this will come on board over the coming few years bringing the cost of satellite bandwidth down.
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