As a follow-up to my article of the FBB Sailor satellite system (from Inmarsat). I wanted to let you know that I went ahead at the last minute and had the FBB 150 system installed as a backup to the vSat system in Cape Town. Yes, I chickened out depending on the Iridium phone for our primary weather-gathering device for our passage from the South Atlantic up to Cape Verde…
After a tremulous departure from Genoa: a stubborn bow-thruster, an untested crew, and truly ugly weather, we found ourselves regrouping in Barcelona. Despite difficulties, we’d successfully traversed an angry Gulf of Lyon, but there is still much work ahead if we are to free ourselves from frigid grip of the Mediterranean in winter.
Continuing onward with our series on how to access the internet while you’re at sea, the next question is how to get the important weather information you need to make good decisions about where to go and how to react to weather situations. There are dozens of software products out there to fill this void but, after spending time with most of them, I’ve found one that I think is the best.
If you’ve waded through our previous four articles where I talked about the various kinds of hardware you can use to access the internet at sea then you may have already formed an opinion as to which system is right for you. So, to conclude this series we’ll end with a discussion of specialized software techniques that can make a huge difference in your monthly expenses. This is the magic key to unlock the real potential in whatever hardware you decided on and help hold your costs down.
This next-to-the-last article in the series will examine using two of the most popular choices of satellite communications terminals available to sailing market, the SAILOR 250 Fleetbroadband from Inmarsat and the mini-VSAT V3 from KVH Industries. Previous articles went over using WiFI, 3G/4G and Satellite Phones to connect to the internet and our final article (to be published next) will connect all the pieces by explaining the software choices.
In the two previous articles I covered a bit about setting up an internet connection using a WiFi booster as well as using a 3G/4G modem. Both of these are effective ways to connect however they’re restricted by the need to be relatively close to shore. In the case of WiFi, usually within a mile or two at best (depends on line-of-sight). Using a 3G/4G signal (like you use from the smartphone) you can extend the range to perhaps 10 nm offshore but only if your are cruising along a populated area that has good mobile phone service.
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