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How well does an Iridium Go work without an external antenna?


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I get absolutely zero reception inside the boat without the external antenna connected. The internal antenna is pretty dinky, the external antenna gives much better signal in every condition I’ve tested. 

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17 hours ago, Alberta said:

I get absolutely zero reception inside the boat without the external antenna connected. The internal antenna is pretty dinky, the external antenna gives much better signal in every condition I’ve tested. 

Thanks!  Which antenna do you use?

What if you put it out on deck?

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On 5/16/2021 at 2:06 AM, George Dewey said:

Is it worth installing a mounted external antenna for an Iridium Go? There is going to be loss in the feedline anyhow...

 

I don't think there's much loss in the cable. My electrical engineer friend saw the cable in the kit and I believe the direct quote was "holy hell!"

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The standard antenna it comes with needs to be near a window, preferably a large hatch.. it works fine if it has a sight through this otherwise an external antenna may be required.

I setup the Hobie 33 with a forward Nav Station all portable, encased in a Pelican case. This included the Toughbook, a backup Tablet and the Iridium. Once the tiny Iridium antenna was flipped up it got a signal pretty quickly.

This Portable Nav Station setup was cool as everything was mounted on the compression post and pivoted out of the way for access to forward hatch take downs and easily dismounted for local buoy racing. Solar Controller and VHF were fixed and stayed with boat.

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Okay sounds like it would work if I bring it out onto the deck, which is fine assuming conditions permit that. Someone else told me that as well. I'm trying to decide if I want to spend the $$$ for antenna and feedline for this one trip, although I'm leaning toward doing it. These comments were all very helpful, thanks everyone.

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7 hours ago, George Dewey said:

Okay sounds like it would work if I bring it out onto the deck, which is fine assuming conditions permit that. Someone else told me that as well. I'm trying to decide if I want to spend the $$$ for antenna and feedline for this one trip, although I'm leaning toward doing it. These comments were all very helpful, thanks everyone.

 

Putting it on deck works.., but not as well as a real antenna.

Putting it on deck is easy to do with the Go, compared with a handset, because it has wifi.

the antenna cable should be a fairly robust cable with a large diameter, and then it can step down to a small pigtail at the end for a foot or two - makes it easier to manipulate the GO

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You will save yourself a lot of pain with a proper antenna.

I wouldn't even consider using the pop-up antenna for data.

The connection will be nominally 2400 with both, but the effective connection rate will be far higher with an antenna when you take into account continual loss of signal, reconnects etc.

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Thanks everyone, I decided to go with a real antenna. Would a patch antenna work without being mounted on a metal ground plane? It seems some are designed to not need an external ground plane. These are attractive because since they don't stick up thy can be mounted in more places and have less chance of snagging  line, like a helix antenna.

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Also to consider - carbon sails will block or significantly degrade the signal.  The marine antenna on the transom rail seems to be the best place for clear view of the sky.

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We've done extensive testing with the IridiumGo for our aviation platforms.

It definitely works better when it has a nice clear view of as much horizon as possible.

It is a bit better in SBD (short burst data) vs internet with obstructed views.

So an external antenna definitely helps, especially if you can mount in a position that gives it as much horizon as possible.

 

 

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Actually a friend gave me one of these:

https://mjsales.net/products/areo-iridium-at1621-73w-fixed-mast-antenna

It's not my first choice but since it's free, well it's my first choice. I ordered a cable made from LMR400UF, an antenna adapter and a wall mount got the Go, so I should be all set. I got the unlimited data plan and the free messenger app from Ocens. I'll probably get a month of their email service as well, for use with getting routes emailed from FastSeas. Hopefully it will all come together, I'm pretty optomistic.

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chaching!

If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

I'm not sure there is such a thing as "unlimited" either...

The Marine package with 1000 min SIM card is $1800.

That gets you 5000 text messages, or 1000 min of data, or 500 min voice calls and it expires after 1 year.

 

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For about $150 per month you get unlimited data but limited text and voice minutes.

I bought my Go from a friend for $500, antennas run several hundred depending upon the one you select and feed line is about $60 for 22 feet of LMR400UF which is a good low loss and “ultra flexible” cable with connectors. Finally you need an antenna adapter which can be had on EBay for $15 and maybe a wall mount for $40.

Then of course you need software, which ranges from free to pretty expensive or a hosted service like Predict Wind or FastSeas.com. FastSeas is a deal at $60 per year, PredictWind less so at $240 to $500 for the offshore capable service.

Ocens.com offers a messaging app for free that sends simple text messages using the data, so that’s unlimited texting. The recipient needs the same app, and no emojis or pictures. They offer an email service for $30 per month that’s pretty cool because it uses great compression for attachments and they offer a weather service that you pay (I think) $99 annually plus a few cents for whatever grib or forecast you download.

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5 hours ago, dburchfiel said:

That's all pretty reasonable.  I was looking at the bill for our airplanes which can  be upwards of 10k a month!

When I'm Team Oracle I'll pay $10k / month, until then, nope!

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On 5/20/2021 at 2:41 PM, George Dewey said:

For about $150 per month you get unlimited data but limited text and voice minutes.

I bought my Go from a friend for $500, antennas run several hundred depending upon the one you select and feed line is about $60 for 22 feet of LMR400UF which is a good low loss and “ultra flexible” cable with connectors. Finally you need an antenna adapter which can be had on EBay for $15 and maybe a wall mount for $40.

Then of course you need software, which ranges from free to pretty expensive or a hosted service like Predict Wind or FastSeas.com. FastSeas is a deal at $60 per year, PredictWind less so at $240 to $500 for the offshore capable service.

Ocens.com offers a messaging app for free that sends simple text messages using the data, so that’s unlimited texting. The recipient needs the same app, and no emojis or pictures. They offer an email service for $30 per month that’s pretty cool because it uses great compression for attachments and they offer a weather service that you pay (I think) $99 annually plus a few cents for whatever grib or forecast you download.

Very useful post.  Thanks for sharing this info.

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On 5/22/2021 at 1:50 AM, Ultraman said:

Very useful post.  Thanks for sharing this info.

Actually I made a small error, TXTing is free as well with that unlimited plan. It's just plain SMS, no pictures or emojis. Keep in mind that it's just one number. Up to 5 devices can be connected to the Iridium phone via WiFi simultaneously, and all of them can see the text messages. It is possible to create users and deny them access to test, or to make calls, or whatever. 

Also incoming calls are free to the owner of the Iridium phone, but the caller pays international rates to the "country of Iridium." I really have no idea what that cost. Again, Ocens has a service that makes it like $1.50 per minute or something, but I have never used that.

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And here we have it, a fairly good temporary installation with a rigged up mount. I didn't want to make any new holes. I have had 5 bars for the past hour or so, hopefully it's not just good luck.

 

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