Sat Comm &Data Link


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Peter.Basilides
Peter.Basilides
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Hey all, I consider getting a sat phone and preferably a sat data connection. Either Iridium or Inmarsat. And experiences and recommendations?  A 40-60 cm dome would not be the problem. I want reliable access to mail and data like weather etc and news, so basic web access no streaming
Dick
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Peter.Basilides - 10/12/2020
Hey all, I consider getting a sat phone and preferably a sat data connection. Either Iridium or Inmarsat. And experiences and recommendations?  A 40-60 cm dome would not be the problem. I want reliable access to mail and data like weather etc and news, so basic web access no streaming

Hi Peter,
Your goals were similar to mine.
I am no expert nor am I widely experienced in the all the various possibilities. This is what worked for us and is still working for us.
We did a lot of research (2016) when we sailed the Viking Route from Europe to Canada a few years back. I was particularly worried about comm in Greenland. All the comm goals offshore for the previous 15+ years had been accomplished by Ham SSB and marine SSB radio, but I was worried about relying on SSB in these high latitudes: correctly worried as it turned out.
I wanted voice and data comm and I liked the idea of a handheld unit to take on hikes and for abandoning ship.
We ended up with Iridium internally mounted system using a handheld (9575 Extreme) able to be removed from its internal cradle and used independently. There was a data cable to a laptop. The antenna was mounted on the pushpit and was small. We used UUPlus for our land-based email and file transfer station. They (Jeremy and John) were great and extremely helpful with the set-up.
We bought our phone in the US from Atlantic Radio Telephone, the Satphone store. We placed our order and they were difficult to deal with from then on. Our first handset was defective and getting it replaced was a headache from a distance. We changed our service contract to Preferred Communications (Carlyn, US phone 1-800-300-6020) at our first opportunity and she has been easy to work with and very helpful. They also sell the phone and all necessary accessories.
There is a learning curve, so give yourself time to get acquainted and practice all functions.
The set-up worked as wished. Mostly we got selected personal email, weather in the form of gribs as well as text, ice charts (compressed by a friend on shore) and the like. When we needed voice, that worked fine also. There were a few times when comm was not available (Greenland in an anchorage with mountains around) but a short period later, we got through.
Come back with questions.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Peter.Basilides
Peter.Basilides
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I opted now for the Cobham SAILOR 4300 Iridium Certus. Fair price, (from Bluesat.com ) and Iridium seems to have better priced bundles for low volume operation. I've heard around the end of 2020 a new set of options will be offered (pre vs. post paid) 
I have been advised that for commercial vessel registration some sort of interface is still missing but in the works, to be pushed on the market February 2021. Then Iridium would offer the SOLAS capability/equivalency where to this date a Inmarsat C is required. Although I don't expect the rates for data transmission will go down at either company. 
Currently the big boxes sit in my home. I'll try to get the parts into suitcases...mounting them in November. Corona makes all planes uncertain, but as of today I still can fly to Spain to the boat.


Dick
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Peter.Basilides - 10/23/2020
I opted now for the Cobham SAILOR 4300 Iridium Certus. Fair price, (from Bluesat.com ) and Iridium seems to have better priced bundles for low volume operation. I've heard around the end of 2020 a new set of options will be offered (pre vs. post paid) 
I have been advised that for commercial vessel registration some sort of interface is still missing but in the works, to be pushed on the market February 2021. Then Iridium would offer the SOLAS capability/equivalency where to this date a Inmarsat C is required. Although I don't expect the rates for data transmission will go down at either company. 
Currently the big boxes sit in my home. I'll try to get the parts into suitcases...mounting them in November. Corona makes all planes uncertain, but as of today I still can fly to Spain to the boat.

Hi Peter,
Thanks for the feedback. I look forward to reports on how it works out for you.
This is a far more sophisticated and versatile system than what I described above. Casual looking on the internet, I did not see a handset for voice comm. Does it come with one? Is it (the handset) also portable so you could take it into an abandon ship situation? What were the considerations that lead you to this choice?
Good luck with the installation.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


Peter.Basilides
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You are right, a handset is an optional extra. For shipboard use, any DECT cordless phone will suffice. For abandoning ship a Iridium handset would be needed. I'll see if my old one will still work in that setup. Thing is, I want to keep my options open to run charters on occasion. For that I need to be SOLAS compliant, which requires a totally different/more sophisticated and more expensive set of comms equipment. It's a pain in the neck atm, because all the paperwork is also more intricate and time consuming, but I hope it'll be worth in the end to have the extra flexibility. 
Dick
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Peter.Basilides - 10/26/2020
You are right, a handset is an optional extra. For shipboard use, any DECT cordless phone will suffice. For abandoning ship a Iridium handset would be needed. I'll see if my old one will still work in that setup. Thing is, I want to keep my options open to run charters on occasion. For that I need to be SOLAS compliant, which requires a totally different/more sophisticated and more expensive set of comms equipment. It's a pain in the neck atm, because all the paperwork is also more intricate and time consuming, but I hope it'll be worth in the end to have the extra flexibility. 

Hi Peter,
Understood. I believe some Iridium handsets/contracts allow for emergency use even after the contract expires: probably depends on the sim card.
Good luck crossing all the t's and dotting the i's of bureaucratic paperwork and share field report when you get some time and use on the system.
My best, Dick
Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
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Peter.Basilides - 10/12/2020
Hey all, I consider getting a sat phone and preferably a sat data connection. Either Iridium or Inmarsat. And experiences and recommendations?  A 40-60 cm dome would not be the problem. I want reliable access to mail and data like weather etc and news, so basic web access no streaming

Hi

Prior to doing the World Arc I did a lot of research with a friend who works with the BBC and knows a lot about Sat Com.  We opted for iridium Certus on a Thales dish.
We installed this in 2019 and I am led to believe we were of the first yachts to use this new system.  Compared to the old FB system it is super fast and the quality of the sat phone is excellent - no delay.
It is much more cost effective than my old FB and I am really pleased with the system which I also have linked to an on board PC.

I also opted to lease the system rather than buy outright.

Happy to discuss further

Simon Phillips
Sapphire II of London
www.sapphire67sail.com


Dick
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Simon Phillips - 11/7/2020
Peter.Basilides - 10/12/2020
Hey all, I consider getting a sat phone and preferably a sat data connection. Either Iridium or Inmarsat. And experiences and recommendations?  A 40-60 cm dome would not be the problem. I want reliable access to mail and data like weather etc and news, so basic web access no streaming

Hi

Prior to doing the World Arc I did a lot of research with a friend who works with the BBC and knows a lot about Sat Com.  We opted for iridium Certus on a Thales dish.
We installed this in 2019 and I am led to believe we were of the first yachts to use this new system.  Compared to the old FB system it is super fast and the quality of the sat phone is excellent - no delay.
It is much more cost effective than my old FB and I am really pleased with the system which I also have linked to an on board PC.

I also opted to lease the system rather than buy outright.

Happy to discuss further

Simon Phillips
Sapphire II of London
www.sapphire67sail.com

Hi Simon,
Thanks for your report. It sounds like a new big step in on-board comm.
What is the FB system you refer to?
What are the system’s capabilities compared to an Iridium sat-phone with a data link such as UUPlus.
Can you give an idea of the scope of installation: size of antenna, below decks equipment and such?
And, you said you leased: perhaps because you were on a time limited rally. Can you give an idea of the costs of leasing as well as the costs if you decide to own (equipment and monthly fees)?
What were the down sides/problems that you bumped into?
Thanks, Dick Stevenson, l/v Alchemy



Simon Phillips
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Dick - 11/7/2020
Simon Phillips - 11/7/2020
Peter.Basilides - 10/12/2020
Hey all, I consider getting a sat phone and preferably a sat data connection. Either Iridium or Inmarsat. And experiences and recommendations?  A 40-60 cm dome would not be the problem. I want reliable access to mail and data like weather etc and news, so basic web access no streaming

Hi

Prior to doing the World Arc I did a lot of research with a friend who works with the BBC and knows a lot about Sat Com.  We opted for iridium Certus on a Thales dish.
We installed this in 2019 and I am led to believe we were of the first yachts to use this new system.  Compared to the old FB system it is super fast and the quality of the sat phone is excellent - no delay.
It is much more cost effective than my old FB and I am really pleased with the system which I also have linked to an on board PC.

I also opted to lease the system rather than buy outright.

Happy to discuss further

Simon Phillips
Sapphire II of London
www.sapphire67sail.com

Hi Simon,
Thanks for your report. It sounds like a new big step in on-board comm.
What is the FB system you refer to?
What are the system’s capabilities compared to an Iridium sat-phone with a data link such as UUPlus.
Can you give an idea of the scope of installation: size of antenna, below decks equipment and such?
And, you said you leased: perhaps because you were on a time limited rally. Can you give an idea of the costs of leasing as well as the costs if you decide to own (equipment and monthly fees)?
What were the down sides/problems that you bumped into?
Thanks, Dick Stevenson, l/v Alchemy



Hi

We used to have FB250 before with Inmarsat and it was getting very clunky and also the bearings had gone on the dish so it needed money spending on it.  It was also not being supported anymore with firmware updates!

It is very very fast to send and receive email and we use red port optimiser and gmn for email/data downloads - http://www.redportglobal.com/marine-satellite-internet-services/xgate/.  This is because we also use Predict wind a lot. NB other clever boxes do not allow you access to Predict wind!!!! 

It was very easy to set up.  We had to run a new cable for the dish and also slightly amend the scan strut pole that we had at the stern.  The actual box was an easy straight replacement. 

I leased through a company well known in the UK and I am happy to share their details privately.  It works out at circa £250 pcm for the kit and them pay additional for data and voice.  At the moment I am 0mb for data as Sapphire is in a marina in Tahiti.  Crossing the Pacific we had 50mb pcm which worked out at £500 pcm for the data and the lease charge.

Honestly no down sides - but you do need to set it up carefully to ensure that the crew are not downloading at will.

Hope this is helpful.


Dick
Dick
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Simon Phillips - 11/7/2020
Dick - 11/7/2020
Simon Phillips - 11/7/2020
Peter.Basilides - 10/12/2020
Hey all, I consider getting a sat phone and preferably a sat data connection. Either Iridium or Inmarsat. And experiences and recommendations?  A 40-60 cm dome would not be the problem. I want reliable access to mail and data like weather etc and news, so basic web access no streaming

Hi

Prior to doing the World Arc I did a lot of research with a friend who works with the BBC and knows a lot about Sat Com.  We opted for iridium Certus on a Thales dish.
We installed this in 2019 and I am led to believe we were of the first yachts to use this new system.  Compared to the old FB system it is super fast and the quality of the sat phone is excellent - no delay.
It is much more cost effective than my old FB and I am really pleased with the system which I also have linked to an on board PC.

I also opted to lease the system rather than buy outright.

Happy to discuss further

Simon Phillips
Sapphire II of London
www.sapphire67sail.com

Hi Simon,
Thanks for your report. It sounds like a new big step in on-board comm.
What is the FB system you refer to?
What are the system’s capabilities compared to an Iridium sat-phone with a data link such as UUPlus.
Can you give an idea of the scope of installation: size of antenna, below decks equipment and such?
And, you said you leased: perhaps because you were on a time limited rally. Can you give an idea of the costs of leasing as well as the costs if you decide to own (equipment and monthly fees)?
What were the down sides/problems that you bumped into?
Thanks, Dick Stevenson, l/v Alchemy



Hi

We used to have FB250 before with Inmarsat and it was getting very clunky and also the bearings had gone on the dish so it needed money spending on it.  It was also not being supported anymore with firmware updates!

It is very very fast to send and receive email and we use red port optimiser and gmn for email/data downloads - http://www.redportglobal.com/marine-satellite-internet-services/xgate/.  This is because we also use Predict wind a lot. NB other clever boxes do not allow you access to Predict wind!!!! 

It was very easy to set up.  We had to run a new cable for the dish and also slightly amend the scan strut pole that we had at the stern.  The actual box was an easy straight replacement. 

I leased through a company well known in the UK and I am happy to share their details privately.  It works out at circa £250 pcm for the kit and them pay additional for data and voice.  At the moment I am 0mb for data as Sapphire is in a marina in Tahiti.  Crossing the Pacific we had 50mb pcm which worked out at £500 pcm for the data and the lease charge.

Honestly no down sides - but you do need to set it up carefully to ensure that the crew are not downloading at will.

Hope this is helpful.


Hi Simon,
It is very helpful. Field reports are, to my mind, always the best source for data  and puts the advertising one comes across in perspective.
Thanks, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
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