Data communication on Kiskadee is based on StarLink (low orbit satellite) for data. For voice or our Dutch GSM numbers are standard. And of course VHF for all standard nautical communication. On Kiskadee we run an standard StarLink router to connect phones, apps, tablet and entertainment, sound system and navigation apps with each other. Thinking about an InReach Mini2 with a low data plan as a security device. I like the Earthmate® App.
I really enjoy StarLink, because its an full internet, satellite based, connection. (updated June 2023) We run a Mobile Regional subscription which provide continental coverage for the cheapest price and is partly an unlimited subscription. The trick is to get a service address in the right country, for example Panama in stead of US or Turkey in stead of the UK. The second recommendation is to order the Standard dish, it works perfectly and consumes 50-90 watts. The High Performance dish consumes twice as much power. When going on a sea trip, flip on Mobile Priority and pay $ 2.20 per Gb. Do it before you leave. We did a separate project for a permanent mount behind the Solar panels on the Arch, bringing the antennae cable to the Nav. Desk where the router is.
Tips: Switch off melting down the snow, install a sleeping period, splits into 5 and a 2.4 Ghz Wifi. Use the 2.4 at Sea and set it up as a metered connection on your devices. If you really want to control the amount of data to be used, blocking streaming sites etc. you need a separate router. Turn off your inverter, via EasyView at night to save power at night. Get a phone provider that supports Calling over WiFi.
I don’t recommend PredictWind – IRIDIUM GO! Services on high orbit satellites is poor. No regular browsing, no WhatsApp, limited messages, you need a separate phone to act as a handheld device, very low speed aka long download times for Grib files etc. So we are going to pause our Iridium Go and probably never going to use it again. You need a new Sim card to reactive it again.
Our PredictWind subscription is professional, part of the option form Seawind including the Iridium package. We will downgraded it to Standard, it will provide us with all we need.
Data SIM communication
With this real life experience we changed plans. So we are no longer thinking about an separate WiFi router, also capable of running on a local data sim-card, like PepLink. I have a cheap Alcatel Linkzone 4G Mifi which will do the job in those countries that forbid StarLink (like Taiwan).
Voice (over data) is possible with Whatsapp and other apps and even by routing GSM over Wifi if supported by phone and carrier. Some countries like French Polynesia are part of the EU broadband agreement and are cost free within our Dutch subscription.
We choose from the option list the Vesper Cortex AIS/VHF solution. And we are added a handheld Standard Horizon HX890. A portable VHF is a safety equipment to be taking in your life raft. We also use for yacht/dinghy or even lookout/anchoring between bow and cockpit.
MMSI registration is part of our owner, VHF and EPIRB registration.