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An SSB shortwave radio email system offers a low cost alternative to mobile and satellite phone systems and offers near global coverage.
The upfront purchase price for your radio based email system is modest and more importantly the ongoing costs (relative to satellite) is low. The Sailmail email network (the system most commonly used by mariners) currently costs a flat US$250 per annum (no more to pay) whilst the ham based winmail system is free. Compare this to the ongoing cost of mobile /satellite based systems where there are high ongoing line-time or number of bits transfer charges.
Once installed, the process of sending and receiving emails is basically the same as your home based email.
The purchasing choice for mariners is straight forward:
If you have a very old lap-top with no USB ports and are using an old or non Icom branded radio without computer interconnectivity then the Economical PTC-II EX modem package is probably the best choice. (NB complex to set-up and only recommended for computer savvy users on a budget) (the PTC-II ex modem has now been discontinued and limited "run-out stock is available)
If you desire a mid priced system, ease of connectivity / operation, and moderate data transmission speeds (pactor 3) then the Pactor 3 PTC-III USB modem is the recommended choice.
If you are looking for the fastest data transmission speed then pactor 4 technology is the only way to go. The Pactor 4 DR-7400 USB modem is 1.5 to 3X faster than pactor 3 and offers the same ease of connectivity and operation as the mid price SCS PTC-III USB modem described above.
Finally the Pactor 4 PR-7800 modem is ideal for data transmission enthusiasts who require the ability to connect multiple radios or network a chain of modems and is thus the unit of choice for establishing a land based email (data) processing radio station capability.
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