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  1. #1
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    Default sat phone options

    Awhile back somewhere on this forum there was a discussion of buying a used Sat phone. Technology marches on: does anyone have advice regarding a purchase in today's market?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philpott View Post
    Awhile back somewhere on this forum there was a discussion of buying a used Sat phone. Technology marches on: does anyone have advice regarding a purchase in today's market?
    Hi Jackie - a lot depends on what you want the phone to do.

    I've been looking at the satphone market lately, and my goal is a mobile handset with worldwide coverage, offering voice, email, and grib file transfer, handheld device that can be used off the boat (a handset, not a fixed installation), as well as use on the boat from belowdecks via an on-deck (external) antenna - the Iridium 9555 in a marine bundle is the most cost-effective package at the moment.

    If you only require near-coastal coverage, then look at GlobalStar's products and satellite constellation footprint.

    If you want to do any web-browser/internet surfing then skip the satphone and you're looking at much bigger, typically active, antennas offering higher bandwidth at greater cost and power consumption.

    Most cost-effective Iridium airtime seems to be prepaid 500 minute cards good for 1-2 years (minutes expire after that).

    Inmarsat's IsatPhone using their GEO hi-orbit satellites has issues as regards keeping the handset antenna pointed at the satellite.

    Iridium's new Extreme phone is available at a higher price-point than the older 9555, offers very good handset waterproofness, and minimal functional improvements. It appears that Iridium is not planning to discontinue the 9555, but rather is offering the 9575 to attact a different market segment. If the 9555 were being discontinued, I would buy the 9575.

    And anything using Globalstar or similar satellite constellations is limited to near-coastal areas. Great for the Bahamas, not so great for Hawaii.

    With Iridium, if you want to send/receive email or digital files, you'll want to spend the money on XGate or Ocens service to manage file compression and dropped calls during transmission. Factor their cost into cost of the service if you want

    So what do you want the phone to do?

    - rob/beetle

  3. #3
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    Hi, Rob, Thanks for all that excellent and timely advice. First of all, I want to be able to call in my coordinates twice daily from here to longitude 124 degrees 40'W and back. How about an older sat phone for less money with which I can simply use for that purpose?
    Last edited by Philpott; 04-11-2013 at 03:39 PM.

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    GlobalStar's products ought to work out to 200 miles off US west coast for that purpose.

    I have rented satphones from the SatPhoneStore.com (in Florida) and had good luck with them. Here's their GlobalStar page:
    http://www.satphonestore.com/tech-br...lstar-nav.html

    If you specifically want the phone for LongPac, then I'd seriously consider renting the phone for LongPac, and afterwards see if you want to buy one for use down the road.

    - rob

  5. #5
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    Jackie, If you're planning on the SSS TransPack,I think Rob's information is spot on. Renting a phone and learning to use it is a good idea. But, it you're just interested in the LongPac, remember you'll have a transponder attached to your boat as part of the package. Folks can keep track of your progress that way.

    Anther, less expensive alternative, is a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger or SPOT Connect. The SPOT will work for the LongPac - and you can use it for other ocean races - but not to Hawaii.

    Pat

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    pogen is offline Sailing canoe "Kūʻaupaʻa"
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    I rented a satphone from OCENS for PacCup, support from them was good, installation and getting software to work etc was gratifyingly easy.

    http://www.ocens.com/

    Since I only need the phone for a few weeks every year or two, and phone technology advances so rapidly, it seemed to make more sense to rent than buy.

    I think we only burned about 70 minutes the whole trip, by the way.

  7. #7
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    Pat, there won't be YELLOW BRICK by the Race Committee this year. Costs were prohibitive for the short duration according to experienced racers.

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