Iridium Satellite Users Warning
by Nancy Knudsen on 31 Mar 2006
Iridium satellites flashing through the night sky . .
A couple of years ago, when we had been at sea or in remote villages for a few months, our pre-paid on-board HF radio transmitted weather system(which we were receiving through Sailmail) suddenly stopped working. When, a few weeks later we arrived in a port with good communications, the Skipper queried it with the weather supplier from a public telephone box (didn’t know about Skype then)
‘O well,’ said the customer service operator, ‘you should have loaded the new software.’
‘New software?’ says the Skipper, ‘I don’t know anything about that’
‘No problem, you can download it from the internet now’ says the helpful fellow.
‘I am a subscriber, you could have sent me an email on Sailmail telling me there was new software’
‘You could have checked the Internet.’
‘If we had easy access to the Internet friend,’ says a very frustrated Skipper,’ and could get the many weather reports there, why would we need your !&*$”!%*! system?’
The Skipper comes away scowling ' mutter mutter..I would have trekked 10 miles into town to get to an internet cafe if I had known there had been an update - what a bunch of turkeys! - mutter mutter mutter.....'
Often marine suppliers simply do not take into account the issues that long-range cruisers are dealing with, even though they are a large part of their sailing market.
In the next couple of months, Iridium will switch off their current telephone number. If you use Iridium satellite technology for your onboard email/internet connection, particularly if you will be at sea, you will not want to find yourself cut off unexpectedly.
Check with your ISP that they will have a system in place to cover the changeover to the new numbers. We understand that THEY WILL NEED TO BUILD A NEW VERSION OF THEIR CURRENT SOFTWARE. Otherwise you could find yourself cut off unexpectedly.
We queried ISP Mailasail about what they were doing to cope with the change, and were pleased to find that they had a plan (and gave me the content for this article).
Managing Director Ed Wildgoose explained as follows: ‘To get around this we are building auto satellite phone setup into the new version of the software and we are thinking about producing a free version of that software to give away.’
There’s nothing you can do personally, it has to be dealt with by your ISP - AND IN TIME!
To learn more from Mailasail………….
tel: +44 20 70432832
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