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Old 08-17-2015, 02:14 PM   #1
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Sat phones and SSBs

Do these devices offer the same exact services??? Is the SSB dead? Does the sat phone replace SSB?? I know this is not a big deal for cruises in powerboats. But it is relevant to people that cruise beyond the shores of the homeland. What say y'all????
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:27 PM   #2
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Satellite communications offers much more than SSB. It offers high speed data and telephone service.

SSB is essentially a VHF wiith long range.

We use the heck oout of our satellite system, and would probably never use a SSB except in case of emergency.

For emergency use we have the local USCG emergency number written on our telephone, and our satellite phone is registered with the USCG RESCUE 21 system through our MMSI.

So to answer your question we see satellite communiications as replacing the need for SSB.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:39 PM   #3
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Sat phone is to SSB as cell phone is to VHF. They serve different purposes and function differently. One-to-one coms instead of one-to-all.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
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Sat phone is to SSB as cell phone is to VHF. They serve different purposes and function differently. One-to-one coms instead of one-to-all.
Yeah but........ use your cell as a backup to VHF.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:51 PM   #5
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Sat phone is to SSB as cell phone is to VHF. They serve different purposes and function differently. One-to-one coms instead of one-to-all.
Excellent point. The reason I asked this question is I have a friend that is going into business and sat phones and SSBs are a big part of it. And we were having this discussion. I personally mostly agree with Kevin if I am not going beyond the shores of The U.S. But "who you gonna call" in remote areas of the islands... Also there are cruiser's "nets" that provide a tremendous amount of information....from where the water/reef is all the way to where the best happy hour is. So his argument is that the SSB provides things that the sat phone cannot. I know this is likely a better question for sail boaters since they go farther afield....but that is why I qualified that in the beginning.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:21 PM   #6
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We have a HF radio (SSB/Ham) and no sat phone. We do email, weather and talk to others on the HF radio. Yes you can do that plus more with a sat phone but at a cost. The radio as Kevin mentions keeps us more social when when out cruising.
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:24 AM   #7
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Do these devices offer the same exact services??? Is the SSB dead? Does the sat phone replace SSB?? I know this is not a big deal for cruises in powerboats. But it is relevant to people that cruise beyond the shores of the homeland. What say y'all????
No the devices do not provide the same services. I don't think the SSB is dead but I do think less people will use them over time due to satellite communications that include phones and other devices that provide text/email links. SSB provides "group" talk that satellite phones cannot do at all.

SSB is basically free as well unlike a satellite phone.

To me, a big advantage of SSB is its DSC ability which a satellite phone does not provide. DSC is one more technology that might get you help in remote areas. Having a satellite phone and/or Spot, along with VHF with DSC, hand held VHF, SSB with DSC, EPIRBs and PLBs provides a decent safety net with options if going offshore. Near shore VHF DSC should suffice with cell and/or satellite communication depending on the area traveled.

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Old 08-18-2015, 11:00 AM   #8
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Gave up the sat phone for the Delorme.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:06 PM   #9
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Gave up the sat phone for the Delorme.
Please explain and how has that worked out so far?
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:20 PM   #10
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SSB isn't dead by any means, but it's utility is quickly being crowded out sat phones, etc. Tradeoffs that come- to mind are:

- Communications with SSB is free, except perhaps for whatever email or weather service you subscribe to. But if you are using Sat communications, you are probably still subscribing to the same services, so that's really a wash. Sat commnuications, both voice and data, is quite expensive.

- It's way more complicated to operate an SSB that a Sat device, so I think many people gravitate towards Sat because they can actually make it work.

- SSB is tricky to get installed and working properly. I would bet that somewhere between 50% and 90% of SSB installations are never used or abandoned in favor of Sat because the installation is poor and doesn't work well. I'm in this camp right now trying to get my SSB working and usable.

- In many cases Sat coverage is not world wide. SSB can help fill in the gaps. Of course this only matters if you travel to the gap areas, and most people do not.

- Some activities are still conducted over SSB, and only SSB. Some cruisers nets are SSB only, and there are parts of the world where SSB is what everyone uses. This again doesn't matter unless you make use of these services and/or travel to these areas.

So for the vast majority of cruisers, I think SSB is of little use. But if you need it, you need it. Just a few weeks ago I found myself running for a week or so with no cell coverage, no VHF reception, and no Sat service. I couldn't get any weather forecast at all. And this was inland in the US. That's when I started focusing on getting my SSB working.
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:34 PM   #11
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I have very little knowledge of SSB but was interested a few months back to start some research and found a few interesting links

One was a blog about a KISS-SSB sytem that several people bragged about and I can not seem to find it now

Installing an SSB Radio | Cruising World

https://www.latitude38.com/features/SSB.html
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:10 PM   #12
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Last year I could get college football bowl games on shortwave while going from Turks and Caicos to BVI. That made the helm shift go much faster!!!

Lots of cool things to listen to on shortwave. The satphone was how we called anybody.
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:58 PM   #13
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?.. So for the vast majority of cruisers, I think SXSB is of little use....
I think a lot depends on where cruise and how. If you go marina to marina and are in the U.S. I agree. When we left the U.S., most of the cruisers and the people we hung out with, we found had HF radios. It's how you hear about trouble areas, social gatherings, get regional/national news and stay in contact with friends. It's like the coconut telegraph. Low tech by today's standard but a fun tool.

If you aren't sure you want spend the money on a HF radio, you can start with a HF receiver.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:09 PM   #14
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Gave up the sat phone for the Delorme.

We have the Delorme and make it work for out situation. However, you cannot send a Delorme message unless you have an email or cell number. When we can't get weather on the VHF, we have family or friends download the text and send it to us by sat text on the delorme.


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Old 08-18-2015, 06:26 PM   #15
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To us, running a business we are really never off work for long. Weather we like it or not, our business is a part of our lives, and it will be a big part of our retirement lives as well.

That means we have to have telephone and internet for a few hours every week day. We are not busy 100% of that time, far from it, but we need to be able to answer calls from customers, check stock, etc...

For us satellite communications is the enabler for our lifestyle. Without the technology we would be much more limited where we could go.

I just got done paying July's satellite bill. The number would make me gasp if it were for personal use, but we were out in the boat quite a bit in July. We had fun, and made a living as well, so it is well worth it. I answered the phone, and our customers never knew I was talking to them while watching sea otters play, at anchor over 60 miles from the nearest human habitation.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:06 PM   #16
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As Larry indicated the SSB/Ham radio is invaluable in much of the Caribbean. We listen to two separate cruisers' nets each day for weather, social engagements and where our friends are. Impossible with a satellite phone which we also had.
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Old 08-18-2015, 09:36 PM   #17
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Please explain and how has that worked out so far?
Delorme is sat based and can be linked to the users cell phone. It also can be used with a solid map system. it is much less expensive to use, much smaller in size and has a wide global reach. To learn more I suggest a little online venture.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:26 PM   #18
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I was just on the Pacific Seafarers net last night. Lots of good info and help in an emergency is a great benifit. Due to SSB being free and reasonably reliable I see no reason to give it up. Sat phones are expensive, but if you need one, you can justify the expense. I on the other hand only need long distance communication once in a while, not nearly enough to justify paying a monthly fee. Installing the SSB was straight forward and pretty easy..............
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