Most of us want to get away from
it all, but staying in touch is important both for safety and the
sanity of the loved ones we leave behind.
SSB or Ham -
the most common way yachters stay in touch with each other. Cruisers pass valuable
up to date local information and weather on nets throughout the world.
Most family members do not have a HAM radio station set up in their house,
but phone patches are sometimes available. Remember that if you are
using HAM frequencies, you cannot conduct business over the radio.
Satellite Phones are really the only way to contact someone anytime or anyplace. You can dial a real phone number and talk to a person in an emergency
or on a special occasion. The voice quality isn't
always perfect but usually the rates are cheaper than using a regular
pay phone on land, and you can call from anywhere in the world. I also like the fact that you can take it
off the boat with you in the event you have to abandon ship. I know
someone who saved his bacon by calling his wife and saying, "uh honey,
the boats gone!! I'm on Chesterfield reef, can you please let someone
It's a good backup for the EPIRB.
from Anywhere - Email is the way to stay in touch with a larger audience.
Some people send update emails to a group of people. Others, like
us, use a Blog to keep people up
to date (with certain sites you can email in your BLOG entry and it
will automatically post to your site). We prefer to use our Satellite Phone
for email over a SSB/Pactor option
because it has the previously mentioned voice capabilities and extra
safety with its portability.
cell phone on roaming? Most of the South Pacific doesn't have good
enough coverage to rely on it being available. New Zealand, the Marshall
Islands, Australia, and Indonesia (wow!) all had good coverage available
via the same (dual/tri-band) cell phone with different SIM cards.
Email in Port -
Internet cafe. Get used to going to cafes and paying
good money to use the slow internet. You'll want to get in and out and
get the data you want back to the boat in an organized fashion. Unless
you have done it before you have no idea how difficult and unorganized
it can get.
Wireless Onboard - If you get lucky enough to be in a spot that has
wireless internet, you can try and get it on your boat. Most built in wireless
antennas will not be sufficient to pull the signal into your boat.
Skype in Port - You can use Skype to make
extremely cheap alls, about 1/2 cent
per minute, anywhere in the world. It uses the internet, and if your
family has Skype installed on their computer the calls are FREE. You can
even watch each other if you have a web cam installed. If you can't get
wireless on your boat, most internet cafes have Skype available and all you need is a Sykpe login.
Sign up and get your
family signed up as well, because they probably
have know idea what Skype is .. YET!
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