Keeping ahead of the weather and in touch with familia

I’ll admit it, I fell for the marketing. Backing up, I knew we would use Predict Wind along with an Iridium Go! Reading around on Predict Wind I found their recommendation of an Iridium dealer in Florida. Armed with a credit card I placed an online order and shortly had a shiny new toy.

I opted for the external antenna as I heard the internal antenna was near worthless. Mounting involved drilling holes in our arch and running the cable down, around, through, over, and across fun difficult to access spots. I also wired up a 5 volt USB jack to provide power.

Done with the sweaty, awkward work I turned on the unit to give it a test run. The signal strength wasn’t great but it was working and registered on the Iridium network. After downloading Predict Wind, XGate, SatPhone.Me, and the Iridium programs to my laptop I set to get it all working (this involved two annual subscriptions and purchasing one program). The instructions seemed clear enough but after a few hours of trial and error I gave up and called tech support. My tech seemed knowledgeable but after more effort I was getting weather from Predict wind but the email and web I was told would take a couple days. Weird, I think he just wanted to get me off the phone.

The cable that was a pain to run, yeah it was determined to be bad. Fuck. Leaving the dock in a few days the Iridium dealer did ship out a replacement cable (which would not arrive in time). I was in San Diego and found a local dealer, (Satellite Phone Store, 2830 Shelter Island Drive in San Diego). I walked in with my cables and Iridium Go! They confirmed the cable was bad and while I waited built a new temporary cable (too short to permanently run). On top of that they explained that all the software (less Predict Wind) that I bought was totally unnecessary. Really?!?! These guys were clearly experts and they setup all of my software in 10 minutes and explained how to use it. Did I mention I hadn’t bought any gear from them? I was beyond impressed and told them they would be my new source for future Iridium Go! subscriptions.

All of this happened back in 2016 before heading south the Mexico. For the trip south we had weather and, while slow to download, it all worked well. In February, I gave my business to Satellite Phone Store for a new Iridium subscription. They shipped me a SIM card that was activated and ready to put in my Go!, I should add that there was no charge for the SIM card unlike the first dealer who charged $25 per SIM card.

Subsequently, I have continued to get weather and email using our Iridium Go! service from Satellite Phone Store (full disclosure in 2017 we have received sponsorship from them). If you are in the market for Iridium, I strongly recommend these guys. In this day when tech support is someone on a computer running through a script, it was refreshing to find a company who has multiple staff who know these units inside and out. They know their shit and will get you up and running immediately. Enough said. Oh I should also add that they don’t require yearly subscriptions, we are still working and on our boat for 6-8 weeks at a time so that makes a big difference.

After having this service for more than a year, being able to keep in touch with family (voice and email) and to know what weather is coming is no longer optional. Definitely a must have for us. Want more details on our installation or about The Satellite Phone Store, drop us an email.

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