Iridium plan


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Peter.Basilides
Peter.Basilides
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Hi all! Finally I get my antennas mounted - had to instep the mast, which triggered a major rig service…
Now for the Atlantic crossing in late November I am looking for the right option/ data plan from Iridium. I have the Sailor 4300 setup. I plan on daily downloads of weather data/grob files, a few text only emails and the occasional short phone call. I have not the faintest idea what bandwidth and plan to aim for.

Also, shipboard electronics run on LINUX. So winlink does not seem to be s viable option. Has anyone tried (succeeded perhaps?) in setting up an automated position reporting script?
Thanks for any help and input/ recommendations
Peter on SY NERIO
Simon Currin
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Peter
I’m not sure what Iridium hardware you have installed but if it’s the IridiumGO then automatic position reporting is very easily setup. Again if it is the IridiumGO then the bandwidth is minuscule at around 2,000k. Sufficient for Email, GRIBs and small attachments. We use the IridiumGO unlimited data package and switch it off as soon as it is not required. Hope that helps.
Simon
martintsmith@aol.com
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Simon Currin - 26 Oct 2021
Peter
I’m not sure what Iridium hardware you have installed but if it’s the IridiumGO then automatic position reporting is very easily setup. Again if it is the IridiumGO then the bandwidth is minuscule at around 2,000k. Sufficient for Email, GRIBs and small attachments. We use the IridiumGO unlimited data package and switch it off as soon as it is not required. Hope that helps.
Simon



martintsmith@aol.com
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Peter.Basilides - 25 Oct 2021
Hi all! Finally I get my antennas mounted - had to instep the mast, which triggered a major rig service…
Now for the Atlantic crossing in late November I am looking for the right option/ data plan from Iridium. I have the Sailor 4300 setup. I plan on daily downloads of weather data/grob files, a few text only emails and the occasional short phone call. I have not the faintest idea what bandwidth and plan to aim for.

Also, shipboard electronics run on LINUX. So winlink does not seem to be s viable option. Has anyone tried (succeeded perhaps?) in setting up an automated position reporting script?
Thanks for any help and input/ recommendations
Peter on SY NERIO

Hi Peter,
You sound more tech savvy than me but for our crossing we used Predict Wind with our Iridium GO and for tracking we used a Yellow Brick the later of which works well for not much financial outlay once you have bought the unit. If the IridiumGO stops working for any reason we can also send and receive text messages on the brick.
Martin
Peter.Basilides
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I have the Iridium Certus. So a fair bit of data volume is possible. But I don’t want to pay/buy more than I actually need. Pre : post paid. Since you have to pay in advance for your “projected” needs and can’t really carry forward excess and rather loose it, I am interested in the plans you pay for
Dick
Dick
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Peter.Basilides - 26 Oct 2021
I have the Iridium Certus. So a fair bit of data volume is possible. But I don’t want to pay/buy more than I actually need. Pre : post paid. Since you have to pay in advance for your “projected” needs and can’t really carry forward excess and rather loose it, I am interested in the plans you pay for

Hi Peter,
If the equipment for sat-comm is already installed, then the prior suggestions make the most sense.
If you are a ham, which I assume you are if considering Winlink, then I would reach out to some of the ham/Winlink nets on the internet. I am positive some have integrated well with LINUX. I have been a little out of that loop for a few years now or I would provide urls, but I suspect they are not hard to find.
For decades, Winlink logged my position reports on the internet, provided text emails, and most importantly, provided weather data in the form of gribs and text and weather faxes (surface analysis and wind and wave forecasts).
Sat phone data and voice was not an option $$-wise for us back when and even equipment-wise, but that was then. Nowadays, I believe, the success of your goals will be along the lines of what Simon proposes and, if wanting more possibilities, to consult with one of the services that interface between sat-phone/data on board equipment and land-based data providers: UUPlus worked well for me.
If heading to the Caribbean (or Bahamas, or east coast US) and have a SSB set-up, you will likely appreciate the feeling of community (and the knowledge) that comes out of listening to and participating in the various nets that exist in that part of the world
My best, Dick Stevenson, KC2HKW, s/v Alchemy

Peter.Basilides
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Hi Dick, I am not a HAM. But intend to use the SSB for the local chats. I think I d rather use the sat phone instead of a more complex winlink setup. I looked into it in spring and found no easy solution for a Linux setting
Dick
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Peter.Basilides - 26 Oct 2021
Hi Dick, I am not a HAM. But intend to use the SSB for the local chats. I think I d rather use the sat phone instead of a more complex winlink setup. I looked into it in spring and found no easy solution for a Linux setting
Hi Peter,
Makes sense to me. There is definitely a steeper learning curve for data over SSB than data over sat-comm. I am not sure about how LINUX plays a part as I do data over SSB with a simple program on my generic and old laptop computer and a PACTOR modem link with the SSB.
You likely know this, but for those reading over our shoulders: simply put, SSB is a common form of comm on widely wandering boats. Most rely on what I think of as marine SSB which uses strictly defined frequencies which makes it relatively simple to use (and hard to abuse). Training/licensure varies greatly country to country and one usually needs a license and call sign, but is very loosely regulated in most areas.
Ham is Amateur Radio where the training is more extensive always including an exam which, depending on level of achievement, opens up increasingly broad levels of possible frequencies for use. Ham use is far more regulated both within the group of ham operators and by countries one might visit.
Both support long and short distance voice communication and both support related but discrete data systems: airmail for marine SSB frequencies and winlink for Amateur Radio/ham frequencies. These systems allow data downloads (gribs, wx text, text email, etc.) most anywhere in the world: winlink being free and airmail entails a quite modest yearly fee. Only licensed Amateur Radio operators can use winlink.
You will be good for most of the nets on marine SSB freqs. Ham nets also exist, but are fewer in number and have fewer participants and are often more specialized.
I believe the above is accurate, but it has been awhile since I have used marine SSB or been around areas where its use was predominant.
Come back with questions.
My best, Dick Stevenson, KC2HKW (ham) and WCZ 7117 (marine SSB) s/v Alchemy



Richard Hudson
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In the past, cruising full-time, without SSB, I have used Iridium GO prepaid plans that were about 700 minutes with one-year expirations. I would buy one of these a year and use almost all of it. This allowed (all via email):
* GRIB forecasts for the areas I'd be in (typically once a day, 3hour forecast intervals, for 5 days, getting windspeed, gusts, pressure, wave height, wave direction and CAPE)  
* GMDSS forecasts for the metarea that I was in 
* ice charts when not available on weatherfax
* keeping my blog updated (I compressed images to keep their size to no more than 30kB, and sailblogs.com did position reporting based on the positions that I entered into my blog post emails)
* limited email 
* rare phone calls
* text messages 

I used (at different times) UUPlus and XGate on a Windows laptop to send/receive the email, and zyGrib to view the GRIBs.   XGate included a sailblogs.com subscription, which was helpful to me.

I think that UUPlus has a linux version available, though you may have to ask for it.

If you don't have a weatherfax receiver, you may want to either get weatherfax images via email, or else sometimes get a GRIB forecast for a much larger area than what I did so that you can understand the big picture.  That would involve using somewhat more data. 


After a few years of not making ocean passages, I'm now in the process of setting up the Iridium GO again, and using as much linux as possible (I no longer have a Windows laptop). I've currently got an Unlimited Iridium GO data plan, which I planned to convert to something cheaper on months when not needing much data (so far, this is looking to be a more expensive option :( ).

I've been experimenting with using Iridium Mail & Web and Predict Wind on my Android phone (and tablet).
I don't yet have a good way of doing what I really want, which is to have my linux (Raspberry Pi) navigation computer get the GRIB forecasts via email over Iridium directly, so I can simply overlay them on the chartplotter.

I'll be interested to hear about whatever you end up doing with Iridium and linux.

Dick
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Richard Hudson - 27 Oct 2021
In the past, cruising full-time, without SSB, I have used Iridium GO prepaid plans that were about 700 minutes with one-year expirations. I would buy one of these a year and use almost all of it. This allowed (all via email):
* GRIB forecasts for the areas I'd be in (typically once a day, 3hour forecast intervals, for 5 days, getting windspeed, gusts, pressure, wave height, wave direction and CAPE)  
* GMDSS forecasts for the metarea that I was in 
* ice charts when not available on weatherfax
* keeping my blog updated (I compressed images to keep their size to no more than 30kB, and sailblogs.com did position reporting based on the positions that I entered into my blog post emails)
* limited email 
* rare phone calls
* text messages 

I used (at different times) UUPlus and XGate on a Windows laptop to send/receive the email, and zyGrib to view the GRIBs.   XGate included a sailblogs.com subscription, which was helpful to me.

I think that UUPlus has a linux version available, though you may have to ask for it.

If you don't have a weatherfax receiver, you may want to either get weatherfax images via email, or else sometimes get a GRIB forecast for a much larger area than what I did so that you can understand the big picture.  That would involve using somewhat more data. 


After a few years of not making ocean passages, I'm now in the process of setting up the Iridium GO again, and using as much linux as possible (I no longer have a Windows laptop). I've currently got an Unlimited Iridium GO data plan, which I planned to convert to something cheaper on months when not needing much data (so far, this is looking to be a more expensive option :( ).

I've been experimenting with using Iridium Mail & Web and Predict Wind on my Android phone (and tablet).
I don't yet have a good way of doing what I really want, which is to have my linux (Raspberry Pi) navigation computer get the GRIB forecasts via email over Iridium directly, so I can simply overlay them on the chartplotter.

I'll be interested to hear about whatever you end up doing with Iridium and linux.
Hi Richard,
Sounds like all good advice.
I especially would wish to underline your excellent suggestion:
I also use gribs in their long outlook/large area format and find it very helpful for passages. And the download size does not have to be great as one is looking at big picture wx systems so the resolution can be made more workable and the time between reports extended. And, I suspect the download size would not be that different than wx faxes such as extended wind and wave forecasts.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy



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