Voice Communication At Sea

HF radio used to be the only option for voice communications at sea. Today cruisers have a range of satellite based voice services to choose from, depending on the size of your vessel and wallet.

The Iridium Go! has become the "jack of all trades" technology for cruising yachts.  It provides email, vessel tracking, short messaging, and voice calls, all in a single cost effective package.

Provided you have your Iridium Go! connected to a clean external DC source, and an external antenna with a clear view of the sky, then it works reasonably well most of the time.

But I am here to warn you that voice quality and reliability using an Iridium Go! is far from stellar.  If you add stress or unfamiliarity with the complexity inherent with the technology, then it can make for a frustrating experience.

Your Iridium Go! should only be considered for voice calls "in a pinch".  Don't make it your primary voice communications technology.

I have received hundreds of phone calls from vessels using Iridium Go! and other satellite technologies at my maritime coast station.  The most reliable and clearest speech never involved an Iridium Go!

For most cruisers, the best option for Voice Communication at Sea is a dedicated SatPhone with an external antenna mounted on the radar arch or stern post.

If budget is a concern, consider renting a satphone for your passage and courier it back when you reach your destination.

Depending on where you are cruising, HF radio still has its place, and under the right circumstances, enjoys voice quality far superior to satellite technology.

Having either a sat phone or HF radio (or both) and Iridium Go! ensures you have redundancy and therefore a means to communicate when one technology fails.

Which it will.  Trust me on this.

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