Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] sat phones

Duncan Hagemeyer

In the…for what it’s worth category….unless you are going into places that are so remote they don’t have cells, wifi’s or basic phones, or you have a few thousand dollars you want to toss overboard skip the sat phones.  I bought a state of the art Iridium (which is for sale, just email me and we can discuss).  Drove me nuts.   Dropped calls, etc.  Costs a ton just to say goodnight to loved ones.  Buy a personal location device that if you are in real trouble send a signal to thru the US Air force to your loved ones who will confirm that you might be in that location and in trouble.  They will then send out bona fide rescue personnel that may save your life. Not some local sheriff who might dispatch a boat to go look for you after receiving a satellite phone call.  Do spend the additional money and try to operate on local cell phone service.  All over the Caribbean we could connect with an island cell company way out to sea.


True story; two years ago I had a ACR spot device that floated and could be worn on one’s belt.  Off Barbuda one night late attempting to board a beached dinghy in big waves somehow I lost the device.  Noticed it was gone once back on board the boat.  The next morning we scouted the coastline beach and ‘no rescue device’.  About 3 months later my contact in the states got a call that I was in trouble.  She said he’s safe back home.  I called the Air Force in Colorado and talked with the representative.  In the discussion the story unfolded.  She told me the device signal that they picked up was 18 NM north of St. Martin.  That was about 75 miles from the coastline of Barbuda.  The device had apparently drifted that far over the many days and then the seal had leaked and set off the alarm.  Had I released the beacon antennal that night I would probably have been picked up by the Antigua coast guard.   NOTE; I had emailed the USAF from Antigua and attempted to notify that my device # was lost and I was safe.  That apparently fell thru a crack of the system.


From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...] On Behalf Of Kent Robertson
Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:37 AM
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] sat phones



You can use Skype for phone calls anytime you have internet access.  The problem, I think, is when you have your satphone on and hooked up to your laptop or touchpad via hardwire or wifi hotspot. That's when it downloads updates using your satphone data. If you are ashore or on the hook and connected to a commercial or free hotspot it's just like using Skype on your home wifi connection. So, yes, you can call with Skype from anywhere in the Caribbean that you can connect to the internet.


On Feb 16, 2014, at 9:24 AM, Patrick Mcaneny <sailw32@...> wrote:


I am thinking Skype may be a good way to say in touch. The Skype website they showed their hotspots in the Caribbean , they were limited ,showed no hotspots south of Antiqua . Can someone confirm that one can connect to Skype further south down to Grenada ? Has Skype proved to be a reliable means to communicate back to the states? Has, as Trevor mentioned, the unintentional downloading of updates been a problem ?

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, Pat SM #123                           

-----Original Message-----
From: seafeverofcuan <seafeverofcuan@...>
To: amelyachtowners <amelyachtowners@...>
Sent: Sun, Feb 16, 2014 5:54 am
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] sat phones


Another Fleet Broad band user.


A Skype app. is lethal for downloading updates without you knowing until you get your bill.

All and I mean ALL apps. and programs must be switched off before you connect to the internet otherwise your PC will download every update it can find out there and you have no way of knowing until the bill arrives.


I find it works much better and cleaner with a Mac Book Pro logging on to a dedicated closed email address with That way there is no roaming for updates from other internet sites.

The Sat phone charges commence the moment you start to key in a phone number NOT when the call connects.


 Downloading large data files (e.g. manuals, instructions ) while at se a can be a very costly business $1k plus! if the connection drops out - how do I know this?


It works very very well but is prohibitively costly and I always pull the jack plug out of the Mac when not in use.

For weather charting and routing,all sites, it is simply fantastic.

I still haven't sailed into a dead zone and always have had coverage.

Excellent for safety I have used it to relay piracy from The African coast to UK navy in minutes.


In saying all that Blackberry world roaming $100 per year wins every time for solid land based communication at affordable and reliable rates.


Knowing what I know now I would never have installed Fleet as the running costs never came close to what I was lead to believe, it is just too expensive.

Average annual billing using Fleet including some business use $10 to 14k over a three year period.

At least forty per cent of this was data i.e. updates I didn't know about or want.


The most stable PC platform for Fleet has been Windows XP3.


I would choose my hand held Iridium over Fleet simply because you know what the bill is going to be and you can call anytime from your Sat. phone to get the balance.

The Satellite dish is mounted on the port side pushpit rail with a stabilizing bracket and has been a success.


Fair Winds,

Trevor lusty






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