VOJ satellite broadband testing #2, the install +

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

14 Responses

  1. AaronH says:

    Awesome report.
    1) How do the systems preform in rough water or at severe angles of heel?
    2) Has either system ever failed to connect?
    3) You mentioned that the Iridium voice disconnected every 5-7 minutes, does this happen during data transfer, and if it does, do you have to re-start your download and forfeit those expensive minutes?

  2. Russ says:

    My interest is in real world usage and cost. What applications does this hardware address and at what cost versus basic Iridium?

  3. Jeff M says:

    How much does SMS cost with both systems? Please include a good amount of detail on the SMS, that’s an important part IMO.

  4. Skipper150 says:

    Gram, great report and keep the updates flowing! Good point about the missing nuts and bolts!
    As posted in earlier threads, there is also the FB150 variant “Skipper 150”, which I represent.
    Hardware cost is $1000 less and airtime rates are lower, too. See http://www.skippercommunication.com – It is not a pretty web site (new one in the works with lots more information) but it tells you what is most important and there is a comparison to T&T and KVH. Regarding SMS, we charge 55 US cents per message with max of 160 characters and you can append Lat/Lon, if you like. One thing about SMS you should know is, that SMS is mostly one-way communication because most telcos will not send to sat numbers!

  5. Bill Lentz says:

    I can comment once again I purchased a Skipper 150 from Ron. Start to finish I ordered and sent him the money on a Wednesday and had the delivery Saturday. I paid for expedited shipping. Being in the middle of a North Easter storm I simply placed the Radome on one of my cockpit deck boxes. I was up and running in minutes. I have since had the unit properly installed. Using a few speed test sites it performs as advertised. My experiance with the SMS to US cellphones is it is only one way even though my US cell phones are international call enabled. I can tell you during the height of the storm we lost our KVH M3 Direct TV but the INMARSAT signal was fine with little degredation. As mentioned earlier I was disappointed that the hardware was not included. mounting hardware is needed. Thats it for now.
    Bill Lentz

  6. Skipper150 says:

    Problem with providing installation\mounting hardware is that we do not know what kind of an installation it will be. While we could easily supply 6X M6 bolts, it begs the question, how long? I mounted my own antenna radome on specially fabricated S.S. arch on the stern of Bremer Speck and got away with bolts about 1.5 inches long. You may be needing 2, 3 or 4 inches. However, it is probably best to supply a set of bolts, anyway. AaronH asked about performance in rough water. I spent 48 hours in the midst of a Nor’Easter with 50 knots sutained winds and waves of 15-20 feet or so. Hard to judge at night. I never lost the satellite and maintained uninterrupted voice and data connections throughout this ordeal.

  7. Still Deciding says:

    The solution that you are selling the Skipper 150, I have never heard of, I was wondering if there is a hardware failure who can fix it and also who can install it? I’m at the lauderdale show and deciding?

  8. Bill Lentz says:

    I made up an adapter plate out of starboard. The starboard was cut in a small circle to fit to my old KVH252 TracPhone’s pedestal. The Skipper 150 holes are smaller we used a supplied PDF templete to drill and counter sink the screws that hold the Skipper then used hardware to bolt the starboard to the mount. A single 1.5″ hole was drilled in the center for the N connector on the Skipper. I also weather proofed the N connector at the Skipper’s Radome. It looks very nice and is practical. I also used some 4200 to seal both sides of the starboard.
    Bill Lentz

  9. Skipper150 says:

    For still deciding, in a nutshell, Thrane&Thrane and Addvalue Singapore, were the 2 companies contracted by Inmarsat to develop the generically called FB150. T&T sells as Sailor 150, Addvalue sells as Skipper 150, KVH sells T&T as KVH FB150.
    We maintain a service station in Ft. Lauderdale assuring prompt service and fast turnaround.

  10. downunder says:

    $13.50 p/mb or $7.95 p/mb (@ $995 p/month). Wow! That’s still a bit high, but I guess the costs of implementing & maintaining the Sat system is also incredibly high.
    Don’t think I’d do much browser surfing @7.95 p/mb unless I’m blocking flash, scripts & images (stuff that makes web pages really bloated), would probably also used a proxy system to prevent repeated downloads.
    Btw: Deltawave *used* to have a package @ $5.5k p/month which included 1041mb @ $5.28 p/mb.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Any word on how the two systems are behaving?

  12. Jussi says:

    Thank you for excellent information. I’m planning to purchase either OP or FBB150 and it seeems to be very diifcult to get access to OP for testing.
    My thoughts on your OpenPort problems:
    5- 7 minutes call dropping freq. is a remarkable annoyance, worth of getting rid of.
    It would match to inter-satellite handover freq.
    You seem to have done very professional installation, surely you have your masthead VHF antenna and Inmarsat FBB150 antenna turned off during OP transmissions? Your mast will have an effect on signal stregth as it seems to be less than two feet away.
    Idea for future tests:
    Try with wireshark (i.e. Ethereal) and you can monitor your real throughut, loss and RTT easily. I would be very interested about these!
    i bit geek proposal wold also be to see iridium monitoring sites from internet and try to see where satellites locate during these connection breaks (I have no idea if these sites really have valid info but would thought so).
    Since there is only Ethernet connection to ADE, I assume that all calls from OP are Voip calls and in principle measurable also with wireshark.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Jussi, Gram wrote a follow up to this report in March, and by then the OpenPort call dropping issues had gone away:

  14. Jussi says:

    Thanks Ben!
    I found it, and wrote something about the power measurements.
    I understand that you are sailing somewhere in FP. You have a lovely passage waiting for you…
    BTW: surely you know but if not there is a good french weather service covering Marquesas to Tonga. http://www.meteo.pf/previsions.php?carte=preiso36

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