Section 4 - Communications



Section 4 - Communications
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Section 4 - Communications
Position Reporting
ARC Communications - what the fleet had in ‘08
ARC Radio Net Explained
ARC Radio Schedule
Choosing Long Range Communications Equipment
SSB HF Radio
Iridium Satellite Telephone
Inmarsat Fleet Broadband
BGAN Land Units
Inmarsat 33 / 55 / 77
Other Voice Systems
Cost Saving Tarifs
Inmarsat C / MiniC
Orbcom / Skymate
Comparison of Systems
Shoreside Communications
Useful Contacts
4- 1
World Cruising Club, 2009
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Position Reporting
For the Rally yachts must be fitted with a communications system capable of sending a daily position report
to, either automatically, or via another system capable of sending an e-mail message whilst
at sea [as per the World Cruising Club General Conditions paragraph 1.8].
This means that yachts must be capable of sending an E-mail message via their SSB radio or satellite
communications system, or have a tracking system. Carrying a satellite telephone alone does not meet the
requirement. Phones must be linked with a PC, and be capable of sending e-mail.
Position reports for the entire fleet will be sent to those yachts with e-mail (unless otherwise requested)
in the late afternoon and then rebroadcast to the fleet during the evening SSB Radio Net, keeping as many
yachts as possible informed of the other yachts’ positions. Detailed instructions on who will operate the
Radio Net, on which days, make up of groups, frequencies and timings will be given at the skippers briefing
prior to the start.
Equipment Choices
Yachts with e-mail at sea
Automatic via Iridium 9522 GPS Tracker Phone, or
other approved system, or manually with e-mail via
Iridium, Inmarsat Fleet, Orbcomm or SSB Radio with
pactor modem. Satellite telephones and SSB radios
only meet the requirement if capable of sending
A summary of position reports for the entire fleet
is sent out each day in the late afternoon via e-mail
as a text file, to keep as many yachts as possible
informed of the other yachts’ positions. Yachts may
opt out of receiving this e-mail.
Detailed instructions on who will operate the Radio
Net, on which days, make up of groups, frequencies
and timings will be given at the skippers briefing
before the start.
Yachts equipped with satellite telephones capable
of sending e-mail, or SSB radio e-mail, must send
a daily position report via e-mail to WCC, stating
the position of the yacht at 1200 UTC. An HTML
template for sending e-mails is included on the
Skipper’s Handbook CD and from the website at .The
e-mail format is also shown below. Test e-mails will
be sent to your yacht e-mail address during the week
prior to the start.
E-mail Failure whilst at Sea
Yachts equipped with satellite telephones that suffer
e-mail failure whilst on passage, must give a position
report to the World Cruising Club office in Cowes by
voice no later than 1400 UTC, reporting position as at
1200 UTC. Yachts may also report their position via
the daily SSB radio net. Positions are then e-mailed
to the World Cruising Club office in Cowes by the
Net Controller.
Yachts with Inmarsat-C e-mail
Yachts using Inmarsat-C e-mail to communicate with
World Cruising Club in Cowes, or to receive weather
or fleet positions, must ensure that [email protected] is registered to send to the yacht’s
e-mail account, with the Inmarsat airtime provider.
E-mail Report Format
It is recommended to use the HTML E-mail template from the Handbook CD, or from the Download
Section of the website at The template is designed to
ensure reports are sent in the correct format. If sending an e-mail manually, e-mail Position Reports
should follow EXACTLY the format displayed below:Example
Send to e-mail address: [email protected]
Assuming a position for yacht
Subject heading: [can be left blank]
number 135 on 27 November
2009 at 1200hrs is 25.42N,
54.34W, with 0 minutes engine
<fleet ID><latitude>deg.minutes<longitude>deg.minutes
use, the position report, e-mailed
<daily engine hours>hh:mm
should read as follows:
ARC must be typed as printed.
Date and Time should not be punctuated
Fleet ID is your ARC Rally ID given at ARC check-in at Las Palmas
Degrees and minutes must be separated by a decimal point
Daily engine hours used for propulsion are shown in hours:minutes
World Cruising Club, 2009
4- 2
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
ARC Communications - what the fleet had in ‘08
Communications equipment choice is a regular topic of conversation with ARC participants during the buildup to the rally. Understandably, since the equipment choice can be confusing and is often one of the main
“big-ticket” purchase decisions to be made. The Communications Section of the ARC Skipper’s Handbook
aims to help with the choice, explaining how the different systems work, and here we take a look at the
choices made within the fleet in 2008.
Yachts with SSB radio
58% of the ARC yachts were fitted with SSB Radio,
although only 10% of the fleet had solely SSB radio
as their only means of long range communication.
SSB radio is still very popular with cruising yachts
as a means of social chat, obtaining weather, and
more recently for sending e-mails. There are many
informal cruising radio nets in various locations
around the globe, sharing local knowledge, security
advice and cruising tips. And unlike any other system
there are no airtime charges, so talk is free. Once
again the benefits of SSB radio were demonstrated
in ARC 2008, with radio co-ordination of emergency
assistance for a number of yachts as well as
rendezvous at sea.
More than one system
Combining SSB radio with a satellite system was
the option chosen by 49% of the fleet. An Iridium
telephone was the most popular system to pair with
- 38% of the fleet had this equipment mix - no doubt
reflecting the competitive pricing of handsets and
airtime in recent years.
Sat-coms equipment fit
E-mail systems
Again, Iridium was the most popular choice for
sending e-mail at sea and was the
leading provider of e-mail at sea via sat-coms with
37% of the fleet using this company. Amongst those
yachts using SSB to send e-mail, was
the dominant provider. 68% of yachts using SSB for
e-mail used Sailmail and 32% used Winlink.
ARC Communications Equipment Fit ‘06/’07/’08
Iridium was carried by 80% of ARC
yachts using satellite systems,
clearly the most popular system
having overtaken Inmarsat in
recent years. Inmarsat’s Fleet
and Fleet Broadband systems
were used by 9% of the group,
with the remaining 11% using
Inmarsat’s older mini-M service.
42% of the fleet were fitted with
Sat-coms equipment exclusively.
Rival systems from Globalstar
and Thuraya did not feature as
they do not cover the route of the
ARC and are not recommended
for the rally.
4- 3
World Cruising Club, 2009
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
ARC Radio Net Explained
Twice each day during
the ARC, there is an
SSB HF radio net,
enabling yachts at sea
to stay in contact with
each other during the
crossing, pass on news,
position reports and coordinate emergency
assistance. It also
provides a forum for
inter-yacht social contact, with various fun activities
developing on the net each year. There have been
“joke-of-the-day” contests, virtual dinner-parties,
Limericks and songs written about the passage,
recipe swaps on-air and a whole compendium
of sailing tips exchanged via the net. Such is the
importance of the radio net, that one previous
participant described it as “the glue that holds the
Rally together”. For the last few years there have also
been “after-hours” ARC-Kids radio nets, giving the
young ARC sailors a change to chat to their friends
on other yachts; a fun way to involve them in the
crossing, and develop new skills.
The ARC Net is co-ordinated within the fleet by
volunteer radio net controllers. It is their job to act as
host, switch frequencies as the fleet spreads out, to
run the roll-call, invite relays, rebroadcast the daily
weather forecast and record any yacht positions
for onward transmission to ARC Control. It can be
tiring, but all the net controllers agree, that it is also
tremendous fun. There is always a large crowd of
participants waiting to greet the net controllers when
they arrive in St.Lucia, their voices having become
well known throughout the fleet during the crossing.
With over two-hundred yachts each year, it is too
great a task for one controller, so to ease the load,
and cope with the varying passage speeds of yachts
from 100 to 30 feet long, the fleet is divided into four
reporting groups, each with its own assigned net
Volunteer Radio Net Controllers
One of the highlights of the ARC crossing is
the daily SSB Radio Net when yachts with SSB
Radio communicate not only the positions of the
fleet, but also enjoy sharing the experiences of
life at sea. The daily Radio Net is organised by
a group of Radio Controllers from amongst the
fleet, on yachts equipped with SSB and some
form of e-mail.
Twenty Radio Net Controllers are required
for the crossing and volunteers from across
the fleet are sought. The job is a lot of fun and
very rewarding. Radio Net Controllers are normally
so popular with the fleet by the time they arrive in
St Lucia that they never have to buy another drink
at the bar! Although not essential, it is expected
that volunteer Radio Net Controllers will have
some experience operating SSB transceivers
and in addition a reasonable level of English is
required. Please let World Cruising Club know if
you are interested in being involved.
times. A range of frequencies are pre-selected and
distributed at the skipper’s briefing in Las Palmas,
each with a call sign – ARC 6 Alpha, Bravo, Charlie
etc, to aid clarity of communication over the airwaves.
Whilst each yacht is required to report a position
directly back to ARC control via e-mail, the radio
net does provide a vital back-up for any participant
unable to report directly, for example if there is a
technical or power generation problem on board.
However, each year, the great advantage of the
ARC radio net is shown when co-ordinating the fleet
response to emergencies at sea. HF radio provides
the only means of broadcast communication at
sea, making it ideal for speaking to a large group
simultaneously. And of course, speaking on air is free,
with no per minute charges unlike satellite systems.
Calling All
Pre-ARC Radio Net
As of 1st August 2009 the pre-ARC Radio Net
will commence. This informal Net is intended as
a way of bringing together ARC yachts on route
to Las Palmas, allowing them to meet on the
airwaves. World Cruising Club will not be able
to run the Radio Net, however are suggesting
that yachts meet daily on 6230kHz at 0800 UTC.
For the last eight years the Radio Net has been
a great success, but it does depend on those
using it to make the whole process work. If at
first you do not hear from any other ARC yachts,
keep trying!
World Cruising Club, 2009
Learn new
skills and enjoy
friendships at
sea via the
ARC Kids-Net.
Full details
given in Las
Palmas prior
to the start.
If your parents agree, send an e-mail to Paul
Tetlow - [email protected] to register
your interest. Paul will also be co-ordinating contact
between family boats during the build up to the start
of the ARC.
4- 4
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
ARC2009 Radio Net Schedule
All times are UTC. Positions reported should be as at 1200 UTC.
1155 - 1200
Radio Silence on VHF Ch 16 & 77 and SSB ARC 4 CHARLIE
On Completion
1245 – 1250
1250 – 1255
GROUP A (numbers to be assigned)
ARC 4C: Group A Net Controller advises frequency for roll-call
Weather Forecast on SSB ARC4C by Group A Duty Net Controller
Group A position reporting roll-call by Duty Net Controller
Informal Chat Net for Group A
Duty Net Controller Group A - listening watch on ARC6A
Duty Net Controller Group A - listening watch on ARC8A
GROUP B (numbers to be assigned)
ARC 4C: Group B Net Controller advises frequency for roll-call
Continue as for Group A
GROUP C (numbers to be assigned)
ARC 4C: Group C Net Controller advises frequency for roll-call
Continue as for Group A
GROUP D (numbers to be assigned)
ARC 4C: Group D Net Controller advises frequency for roll-call
Continue as for Group A
2100 – 2105
Radio Silence on VHF Ch 16 and ARC 4C
ARC Rally ID numbers, reporting groups and frequency numbers will be distributed in Las
4- 5
World Cruising Club, 2009
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Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Choosing Long Range Communications Equipment
With the advent of the mobile telephone, e-mail and the Internet, communication has become more and more
important to our daily lives. Fortunately the equipment required to maintain this communication effectively
whilst offshore has over time become more compact, and cheaper to buy and operate. Whilst the range of
equipment suitable for the average yacht is still limited, the capabilities of the different equipment can make
the choice of which to install difficult, with different and confusing options.
Define your @Sea Communication Needs:
Who needs to be able to contact you; business or just friends and family?
Do you want instant communication; is a voice required or is e-mail sufficient?
How many nights will you be away from land after the offshore passage? Remember that internet cafés
are widespread and local mobile telephones can be used for voice and e-mail ashore. Many marinas now
have WiFi for visitors.
What is your budget? Look at the total cost – initial purchase and on-going airtime charges.
Do you want add-on benefits? Some systems such as SSB Radio and Inmarsat-C have lots of additional
features, often free. For example, both provide weather and navigational information for free all year
How do you want to receive your weather information? With a satellite telephone you pay twice for
weather; once to the provider sending the weather e-mail and again in airtime when you collect the e-mail.
The same for the “talk to a forecaster” service.
Understand the Options: - Voice Systems
SSB Marine HF Radio
The daily SSB radio net is for many the highlight of the
Rally, proving the continued popularity of SSB with
the cruising community, due to the versatility of the
SSB radio. SSB radio enables direct communication
with multiple vessels over long distances with
no airtime costs. During ocean passages and
cruising, this could be anything from exchanging
news of weather patterns relative to your position
to arranging a rendezvous with cruising friends in
a quiet anchorage. Connect the SSB Radio to the
computer, install some relatively cheap software and
free weather faxes can be received, decoded clearly
using the PC sound card and displayed perfectly.
Tune in at set times and listen to marine weather and
navigational broadcasts, again for free.
Draw backs of an SSB set are that a professional
installation is extremely important; ensuring correct
initial installation will give the best results particularly
as far as the ground plate and aerial tuner are
concerned. The four day user licence course takes
up precious holidays although competence in using
the set will result.
Icom have a special offer for World Cruising
Club participants via MES Ltd for the Icom M802
and M801.
and first year’s subscription. SailMail does restrict the
time allowed each day ”online” to ten minutes.
Service subscription with Sailmail is $250 (approx.
210 Euro), and Euro 350 with Global Link Network.
Refer to individual provider websites for detailed price
offerings. Pactor IIIusb from Euro 898 direct from
Pactor; usually discounted if bought from service
provider with annual subscription.
SSB E-mail
Recommended Reading
SSB radio has also kept up with modern
communications and whilst relatively slow, e-mail
over SSB radio is becoming more and more popular.
Interface a digital modem, subscribe to an HF e-mail
provider and enjoy relatively inexpensive e-mail from
the middle of the Atlantic. All providers offer a “Starter
Pack” that includes the Pactor digital radio modem
Marine SSB Radio for “Idi-Yachts” and HF
Radio Email for “Idi-Yachts”.
Highly recommended for anyone new to radio,
or as an onboard companion and aide-memoir.
Available from WCC - £20 each or £36 for both.
4- 7
World Cruising Club, 2009
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Iridium Global Telephone - voice & data
There is usually a monthly subscription charge and the
data kit required for e-mail is charged as extra. Some
companies offer package deals, which may well include
antenna, cabling, data kits and spare batteries. There
is also a good after-market in pre-owned handsets.
Check websites such as e-Bay or World Cruising
Club’s “Cockpit Locker”. A new SIM
card should be purchased from
your chosen service provider for the
handset. If buying pre-owned check
the type of handset as the older
models cannot be used for SMS.
Iridium is a global communications system capable
of voice and data transmission. Available as a
portable handset or fixed installation telephone. For
marine use is essential to use an externally mounted
antenna when using a mobile handset below deck.
Different packages are available for making a docking
station below decks, and various manufacturers
including Skanti and Nera offer fully marinised fixed
installations with permanent external antennas. The
new Iridium 9522 GPS Tracker Phone from MailaSail
is strongly recommended.
Data transfer is relatively slow so browsing the
Internet is expensive, however it is perfectly capable
of sending and receiving e-mails when linked to a PC,
and small attachments such as GRIB files containing
weather information. Compression software can
also be used to reduce e-mail size and reduce time
online further.
For marine use, Iridium requires a fixed
antenna and docking station. new Iridium
9522 GPS Tracker Phone from MailaSail
is strongly recommended. Its offers Iridium
voice and data, plus with a built-in GPS can be used for vessel
tracking, and all for less than the price of a fixed installation
from Sailor.
Inmarsat Fleet Broadband
Inmarsat’s latest marine mobile system, still being implemented,
offers true “broadband” speed (around 514Kbit/s) afloat, making
the system ideal for anyone running a business from their boat.
Coverage is not yet global, though the Atlantic and Indian Ocean
regions are already operating
and the Pacific service is due
to commence in early 2009.
Fleet broadband supersedes earlier Fleet
33/55/77 units for a similar equipment cost and
faster data rate. An externally mounted selfaligning antenna is required, though the smallest
unit in the range – FB250 – actually has a smaller antenna than the
previous Fleet 33.
Price is circa £6,500 (ex.VAT) for the smaller FB250 and the larger
FB500 is circa £11,250 (ex.VAT). The package includes the antenna,
below deck unit and a handset. It runs from 12-24V directly and also
has 4 ethernet sockets and 2 telephone sockets. There are no line rental
charges and expect to pay around $1.10/minute for voice to landlines
and $1.40/min to mobiles, with data is around $12.30/MB.
BGAN - Land Units
The land units running on the same satellites as Fleet are a lot cheaper than the marine units (at just over
£1000), but they will not work at sea, since they have to be manually aligned with the satellites, which is
impossible on a moving deck. However, with competitive data rates, comparable to GSM roaming rates,
they are an option for shore based use, perhaps in a marina or swell free anchorage.
The WidEye Sabre BGAN is a very competitive unit;
it lists for £1,200 (ex.VAT) and comes with the antenna
incorporated into the base unit, ethernet connection for Inmarsat Fleet 33 / 55 / 77
the PC, bluetooth, a handset, and a standard shaped Now superseded by Fleet Broadband, this system
telephone socket for connecting any other type of is viable if bought as an existing installation, but not
telephone and Internet speeds of 384Kbit/s. BGAN recommended as a new equipment purchase. The
has a line rental of approximately £30/month; voice size numbers relate to the dimensions of the antenna
just $0.93/min, and data is approx $8/MB (making it dome in centimeters. Fleet 33 is cross compatible
better than using a mobile GSM telephone - Vodafone with T&T’s Capsat mini-M installation so is a useful
roaming is around $16/MB). BGAN packages are also upgrade. It offers voice and data (though not as fast
available on a pre-pay contract.
or competitively priced as Fleet Broadband).
4- 9
World Cruising Club, 2009
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Other Voice Systems:
Inmarsat mini-M
A satellite telephone system similar to Iridium fixed
installation in size and functionality. Still available as
a new purchase, but now being superseded by Fleet
Broadband. Not recommended as a new purchase as
equipment and airtime more expensive than Iridium,
however, is worth having if bought pre-owned or
already installed on a yacht. Some Thrane & Thrane
units can be upgraded to F33 standard.
A satellite telephone system similar to Iridium in size
and functionality. The equipment can also be used
for data and fax services. Like mini-M and Iridium,
the data transfer speeds with Globalstar are slow at
2.4kbps, fast enough for e-mail, but not for browsing
the internet. Does not cover the central Atlantic Ocean,
therefore not suitable for the ARC or ARC Europe.
A handheld satellite telephone system offering similar
capability to Iridium. A big plus is that the handsets will
roam onto a GSM network when in range. However,
the coverage area does not include the Caribbean,
Atlantic or USA so it is not recommended for the ARC
or ARC Europe.
Cost Saving – Tariffs and
Data Compression Software
If you intend to spend large amounts of time
transferring data via satellite (eg. if running a
business) tariff bundles and data compression
products should be investigated. You may think
the equipment won’t get that much use, but in
reality over the course of 6 months cruising, making
a few telephone calls and sending a few e-mails
a week, soon adds up in airtime. Consider buying
800 to 1000 minutes of airtime as many companies
will offer attractive airtime rates, with considerable
savings over the standard tariff (see MailASail
advert below).
Much of the size of an e-mail is not actually
in the text but hidden behind in the form of code.
Compression software services such as MailASail
strip e-mails of the unnecessary “weight” and
compress them by up to 65%. Consequently
users spend considerably less time online and
rarely experience a broken connection. Although
these are subscription services, if users expect to
be sending reasonable quantities of e-mails then
big savings can be made.
Satellite Communications
Offer to ARC2009 Participants
The global site for
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Iridium 3000 Minutes + 2 Years Line Rental
Recommended Retail price $3,500
ARC price $2,899
Effective price = $0.97c/min flat rate (globally!)
Noonsite aims to provide a
one-stop website featuring
essential information on all
matters of interest to sailors
planning an offshore voyage
anywhere in the world, whether
already underway or still in the
preparatory stages.
Equivalent to around 4 minutes a day of calls,
or 120 minutes a month. Tremendous value for
voice calls home and internet dial-up for e-mail.
For more information or to apply:
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +44 207 0432 832
193 countries
1785 ports
Clearance Formalities
Visa Requirements
Special Events
Repair Facilities
Marine And Shore Services
An Iridium SIM supplied by MailASail is required to use prepaid airtime bought from MailASail.
Minutes have a 2 year expiry. Expiry can be extended by purchasing
additional line rental separately, however, additional line rental
must be purchased before the end of the current airtime expiry.
A credit card surcharge will apply for business
credit cards. No surcharge for debit cards.
Actual charge will be billed to your card in sterling (GBP)
based on the USD rate on the day of purchase as defined
World Cruising Club, 2009
4- 10
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Understand the Options: - Data Only Systems
Inmarsat mini-C
Thrane and Thrane produce a mini-C terminal, which unlike the standard
terminal is one single piece of equipment; transceiver and antenna
combined into one unit. Mounted on the pushpit or on a pole, the mini-C
is similar in size to the antenna of the Inmarsat-C. Like all Standard C’s it
is data only.
Mini-C comes with most of the features of the standard terminal; including
e-mail, fax, and messaging between terminals, and like the Inmarsat-C it
needs a PC interface for messaging. Now available with GMDSS, it is a
useful but expensive addition to a yacht’s equipment. Only recommended
if GMDSS/tracking functions are required, or if pre-owned/installed.
Inmarsat mini-C is data only, compact and reliable.
Skymate - Orbcomm
A data-only system that uses low orbit satellites to send and
receive via the vessel’s VHF antenna. Other than the south Pacific,
coverage is good, but data charges are relatively expensive.
Would be suitable for a supplementary system in conjunction with
an SSB.
Communication Advice
For any advice on choosing and equipping your yacht with long range
communications equipment contact the team at World Cruising Club.
Tel. +44 (0)1983 296060 or E-mail. [email protected]
Comparison of System Features
1. Airtime is sold in US$ and rates depend on the amount purchased and whether prepaid or invoiced.
2. Charge is for receipt of text as standard C or e-mail/data
3. Requires additional modems and software
4. Limited on mini-C
5. In GB£ excludes sales tax and installation
4- 11
World Cruising Club, 2009
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Shoreside Communications
Telephones – Gran Canaria
Full GSM mobile telephone coverage is available
throughout the Canary Islands. For yachts planning
on spending several months in Spain it is worth buying
a local “Pay as you Go” SIM Card for your mobile
telephone. Local calls, for example to chase a sail
repair or to book a taxi, are then suddenly very cheap.
If you do not want a second handset, it is necessary to
have your mobile telephone “unlocked” to enable your
telephone to accept any SIM card on any network.
Finding a mobile phone shop to do this can prove
difficult and it may be necessary to carry a second
handset for your local “Pay as you Go” chip.
Of course there are many public telephone booths,
all card operated, in Las Palmas, with cards widely
available from tobacconists and general stores.
Telephones – Caribbean
Telephone calls in the Caribbean have become a lot
easier in the past few years, with GSM coverage now
on many Islands. However, although great for the
phone call home on arrival, roaming charges do mean
that this service is extremely expensive. An average
phone call using your home network mobile phone
will cost about 1.50 Euros per minute. You should also
be aware that these charges also apply for receiving
calls on foreign mobile handsets.
It is worth considering that the cost of calls from
your “foreign” cell phone means that a 7 minute call
back home will cost as much as it would to purchase
a local SIM card and associated credit. Incoming calls
on local SIM cards are free.
GSM/GPRS and TDMA service, has been
developed on most Islands in the Caribbean including
St.Lucia, Antigua, St.Vincent, Grenada, Barbados,
Dominica, St.Kitts and BVI (Tortola). If you are living
aboard or planning to travel or stay in the region for
a period of time it would be advisable to purchase
a local SIM card or rent a local handset from local
mobile shops located in the Rodney Bay area.
Please note that most operators use both 850
and 1900 bands in the Caribbean and for your home
cell phone to work you must ensure that you have
these bands available. Most European phones use
900 and 1800 bands. A Quad band phone is the
best way to avoid any problems with respect to this.
Please also be aware that in order to accept foreign
SIM cards your phone must be unlocked from your
home operator. If you prefer to rent a handset to be
sure that it is compatible then please see a Digicel
representative on arrival in St. Lucia.
Ashore, there are various methods of making calls,
with phone cards being the most popular and phone
booths easy to find. It is worth noting that phone cards
are compatible with most islands, so a card purchased
in St.Lucia can still be used on other islands. Phone
cards can usually be purchased from general stores
near the booths.
World Cruising Club, 2009
In most ports and larger towns, public telephone
booths are also able to accept credit cards for
The international direct dial code changes within
the Caribbean. Most English speaking Islands use
the American network and have 011 followed by
the country code. French and Dutch Islands use 00
followed by the country code. Calls to Europe from
St.Lucia would be made as follows:
011 44 UK
011 49 DE
011 33 FR
011 34 ES
011 41 CH
011 46 SWE
011 39 IT
011 47 NOR
Internet Cafés are common around the world, even
on the smallest of islands. If you do not already have
an e-mail address, then we strongly advise getting
one for keeping in touch with friends and family, as
well as for other uses such as ordering spare parts
and booking flights.
Most boat e-mail addresses accessed at sea using
satellite communications, can also be accessed over the
internet in a café or collected using a mobile phone.
Many marinas now offer local wireless internet
connections – WiFi Hotspots. If you have a laptop
computer with a wireless internet card you will be able
to connect via the Hotspot. These are usually pre-paid
services which requires a password to be purchased.
Rodney Bay Marina has a WiFi hotspot. Details via
the marina office. Las Palmas hotspot due 2009.
GPRS & 3G Data Services
Higher specification mobile telephones can operate at
higher data speeds using GPRS or 3G data services.
The mobile acts as you internet connection and the
user is charged for the amount of data transferred.
GPRS is available in Gran Canaria and St.Lucia.
Users should check with their service provider to
ensure their handsets are compatible and for advice
on setting up a data connection.
A small handheld device similar in size to a PDA
(e.g. PalmPilot) with a keypad for editing text and an
acoustic coupler for transferring data. The PocketMail
device is pressed against a standard telephone
handset allowing the device to be used with any
telephone. A special telephone number is required.
Check with service providers for coverage.
Old fashion mail still has its uses! Remember to plan
ahead for mail pickups. You may want to use a central
address at home, and have one person forward all
your mail. This helps prevent mail missing you as you
cruise. Another top tip is to use American Express
offices. They provide a Poste Restante service for
their customers free of charge. This is usually more
reliable than busy main post offices, and they publish
a world wide guide to their offices.
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Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Useful Contacts
Satellite Systems
Thrane & Thrane
Very useful guides online for using your Thrane & Thrane equipment, in particular setting up to
work with computers and different software versions.
Communications Equipment & Airtime
Highly recommended. Easy to use Iridium e-mail service with data compression to reduce bills;
equipment sales and airtime.
Marine Electronic Services
Full range of marine electronics. Reseller for Icom SSB Radios
AST – Applied Satellite Technologies
All of the following airtime providers have very good websites offering lots of advice on all
of the different services offered and plenty of money saving ideas:
Skyfile (Vizada)
SSB Radio E-mail Services
Global Link Network
Globe Wireless [Part of Global Link Network]
Kielradio [Part of Global Link Network]
Winlink [HAM only]
See full list at
Digital Radio Modems – technical support; prices, links to service providers
Technical support, system installation, integrated pactor modems
MeteoCom6 & Bord Terminal 98
Mscan Meteo Pro
SSB Radio Training
RT Training
Other Contacts
VoIP Telephone calls from your pc
Handy mobile e-mail
Free web based email. No tag lines
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World Cruising Club, 2009

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