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Thread: Offshore Communications Updates

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    96

    Default Offshore Communications Updates

    Some news from the offshore communications world has run across my desk this week I thought I would share.

    First, for SSB lovers, it looks like the ICOM M802 is again available to purchase in the US market: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/at...A-17-960A1.pdf

    Second, the Iridium NEXT system is making progress and sounds like it will be inplace "mid-2018". 10 more satellites were launched this week for a total of 30 in orbit so far, with 66 needed to complete the network. Too bad not likely to be ready for next year's run to Hawaii: http://investor.iridium.com/released...easeID=1043187 and http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/or...ium-3-mission/

    Key bit: "the Iridium-3 mission was the third such flight by SpaceX on behalf of Iridium Communications in 2017. The previous two occurred in January and June. There are five more launches planned by the middle of 2018 to orbit a total of 75 next-generation Iridium satellites to completely overhaul the company’s voice and data constellation."

    Iridium is being quiet about hardware compatibility (Handsets, Go, Delorme, YB, etc.) with the new system, which I take to mean while existing equipment may be compatible (we hope), you ain't SnapChatting or Instagramming out past the Farallons without new hardware.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Santa Barbara Sometimes
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    Anyone have experience or knowledge regarding the Mazu nav/comm/weather ipad-based system based on the Iridium satellite network?

    https://www.mazumarineapp.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    301

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    Well I have not been able to get that website to load but if they do anything with weather but pass through publicly published data it's not allowed.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hello,

    Thanks for your questions!

    Ben Ellison from Panbo wrote an article on mazu this March, which goes over our iPad app and mSeries system in more detail. You can read it here for more information: https://www.panbo.com/archives/2017/...droid_mfd.html

    Jessie Zevalkink also recently used mazu during her Atlantic passage, and you can read more about her journey and experience with mazu here: https://katieandjessieonaboat.com/ca...atlantic-loop/

    Download the app on your iPad and give it a try: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mazu...154199719?mt=8

    If you have any other questions or concerns I would be happy to provide more information!

    Thanks,
    mazu team
    Last edited by mazu_marine; 10-11-2017 at 08:58 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Discovery Bay, CA
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    Last year just prior to the SHTP I retired from Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto. One of my jobs involved managing Satellite Orbit Raising and IOT so I have a bit of exposure to the way the deployment of the network might play out. After launch of a geosynchronous spacecraft the first thing that happens is Orbit Raising for about 10 days then In Orbit Testing of the new spacecraft (s), for geosynchronous birds this takes several weeks plus or minus depending on the complexity of the payload. In the case of Iridium Next you get to bypass most of orbit raising duration because you are injecting almost directly into final orbit, also I suspect the payloads are relatively simple so timelines for these spacecraft are reduced. On the other hand you have 10 spacecraft to deal with so that would drag things out a bit. Anyway, a quick read of the Iridium site suggests the plan is to incrementally replace the 1st gen spacecraft as the 2nd gen satellite testing is complete and and final orbits are achieved. This makes sense because some of the 1st gen birds are either inop or seriously degraded at this point. So if I am correct, some of the 2nd gen birds are already providing service. Perhaps not at enhanced data rates and so forth but for basic Iridium services. My guess is this process continues until the majority of the constellation is launched and you get a "voila" moment when enhanced service becomes available. Given Iridium really really needs revenue, you can expect them to start rolling out enhanced service as soon as possible. I don't think they need a full constellation of 2nd gen satellites to operate. There would typically be some redundancy, plus they might be able to offer enhanced services in limited geographic areas during start up. Regardless, I think all our current gear will be just fine, question is how much do we have to pay to upgrade so we can watch asinine you tube videos all the way to Hawaii. This would give us a break from thinking about the asinine mistakes we make all the way to Hawaii.

    By the way, if my suppositions are correct then we should see incremental improvements in Iridium performance as the new birds come on line. Presumably the new birds will be allocated to ensure the worst of the old birds are replaced first. If this is what happens then we should see the existing low speed service slowly improve with respect to dropouts and so forth.
    Last edited by mike cunningham; 10-16-2017 at 01:26 PM.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2013
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    Montara, CA
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    Great. Now I have no reason I can't continue to do work all the way to Hawaii and back Ain't technology grand?! (Actually, I can't wait for this.) Thanks, Mike, for that fantastic explanation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles)
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    For what's it's worth, I rented an Iridium 9555 phone this summer. Never dropped a call Hawaii and back (well, once or twice during a squall). Much (much!) better than the old Inmarsat Isatphone Pro.

    The key for me was the auxiliary "fixed mast antenna" (buoy antenna), which I mounted on a vertical length of PVC pipe on the stern railing, and ran the long included wire under the cockpit to the nav station. Indoor talking! No more phone tucked under a foulie hood while facing the equator in 30 knots and shouting "say again?"

    I looked at the Go, which requires an iPhone for voice calls. If abandoning the boat I figured grabbing a waterproof Iridium handset would be sorta easier.

    I sent emails with KML (for Google Earth) files by hooking the handset up to a laptop with a $30 hockey-puck USB GPS, compression through UUPlus.

    I rented from http://www.satstar.com, after being told they were good on personal response and so on. I'd use them again. In my opinion, rental is the way to go for a satphone.

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    Last edited by Christian; 10-17-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Discovery Bay, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian View Post
    For what's it's worth, I rented an Iridium 9555 phone this summer. Never dropped a call Hawaii and back (well, once or twice during a squall). Much (much!) better than the old Inmarsat Isatphone Pro.

    The key for me was the auxiliary "fixed mast antenna" (buoy antenna), which I mounted on a vertical length of PVC pipe on the stern railing, and ran the long included wire under the cockpit to the nav station. Indoor talking! No more phone tucked under a foulie hood while facing the equator in 30 knots and shouting "say again?"

    I looked at the Go, which requires an iPhone for voice calls. If abandoning the boat I figured grabbing a waterproof Iridium handset would be sorta easier.

    I sent emails with KML (for Google Earth) files by hooking the handset up to a laptop with a $30 hockey-puck USB GPS, compression through UUPlus.

    I rented from http://www.satstar.com, after being told they were good on personal response and so on. I'd use them again. In my opinion, rental is the way to go for a satphone.

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    I had quite a few data drops on the way to Hawaii. I didn't use the phone much being anti social and all. I used an external antenna and an Iridium Go. My problems may have had nothing to do with Iridium and everything to do with my install although I think i did a decent job. My antenna is right at the stern rail. maybe I need to get it up higher like you did.

    Same conundrum re portability of the go vs a standard phone. I found a go and external antenna pretty cheap on e-bay so I went for it primarily due to availability and budget. For the entire trip my cell and tablet stayed in their holsters suction cupped to the interior of a fixed portlight so the wifi thing really didn't add much to the experience other than to allow me to connect two devices and my windows PC to the same unit without any wires, that was nice.

    The other good thing about the Go is it has the unlimited data plan so you can go crazy with data if you want. I sent pictures to my family via e-mail. That plan is still in place although that could change at any time.
    Last edited by mike cunningham; 10-17-2017 at 12:37 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    96

    Default Iridium Update

    Iridium NEXT update: 4 of 8 launches are done, the fifth is scheduled for March 29. The remaining 3 are scheduled for this year. The new service is being called Certus. Some info of note from the 2/28/18 press release:

    "The Iridium Certus high-gain antenna (HGA) solutions will provide data speed options of up to 704 Kbps, and eventually as high as approximately 1.4 Mbps following full Iridium NEXT deployment, with an antenna size of approximately 24 x 10 x 6cm, while the low-gain antenna (LGA) solutions will enable data speeds of up to 176 Kbps... Initial flight trials will take place later this year, with Iridium Certus commercial service introduction expected in mid-2019 for aviation users. Commercial service introduction for other verticals, such as maritime and land-mobile, is planned for mid-2018."

    They have also unveiled an infographic with some service level detail.
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