Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 16 to 29 of 29

Thread: How Far From Shore Will Total Wireless And AT&T Tracfone Work In Alaska?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,374
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by e.mote View Post
    But it's a cool geek toy and a very cool conversational starter.
    Definitely a conversation starter if anyone sees you on the upper deck with a Yagi antenna in hand, hunting for signal

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    196
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post
    Definitely a conversation starter if anyone sees you on the upper deck with a Yagi antenna in hand, hunting for signal
    Please make sure that there is someone to take video of them taking you and your antenna into custody. Should be a hoot to watch. Also, if you are still in Alaska waters, they must give you a phone call. Maybe that would take care of your issue. Not sure what Canada or International law requires. What an experience you have awaiting!

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,060
    Feedback Score
    0
    >Please make sure that there is someone to take video of them taking you and your antenna into custody.

    What, there's a law against using external antenna on cruise ships? Got a link?

    Your response struck me as strongly conforming. People tend to have an aversion of going beyond the norm, I suppose for fear of ostracization. I don't know about laws governing behavior on cruise ships, but I strongly doubt trying to pick up a cell signal is illegal.

    And what's better than allowing people's precious smartphones to make calls? Ship's wifi won't do that. Calls on a ship cost from $3 to $6/minute.

    Abovesaid setup can work anywhere, not just on ships. The 3 pieces, yagi input ant, amp, sector repeater ant, cost $100-200, less if you troll eBay for surplus. You probably need a telescoping pole for land use. The amp needs power, so figure 12V batt or solar charger.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    196
    Feedback Score
    0
    Sorry if my post offended. It was meant as humor. The emoji might have given a clue. And as far as ship rules, we have not yet been on a cruise and I am sure cruise line policies vary. We are taking our first cruise to Alaska on Norwegian in about a month so all I know is what I have read on the NCL website. In addition to water, unsealed food and stun guns being verboten, they also prohibit "Large Batteries, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB), ham radios, satellite phones, transformers, lasers and Samsung Note 7 phones".Who knows about antennas??

    As I mentioned in an earlier post to this thread, I intend to try using Google Voice on the ship's WiFi. Much cheaper than a hardware alternative if it works. Will post on the GV part of the forum my results.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,223
    Device(s)
    Moto Z4, ZTE Z232, SkyRoam, Isatphone 2.1, Karma Go
    Carrier(s)
    Vz/Visible,Sprint,Piranha,SkyRoam,InMarSat
    Feedback Score
    0
    Surprised at the prohibition on satphones and ham radios on NCL cruises. I lent an Iridium phone to my father for an NCL cruise in the Caribbean several years ago and he used it without incident. Currently I use an Inmarsat prepaid phone for my satphone needs. Wonder what the issue NCL currently has?

    Sent from my S90 using HoFo mobile app

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,356
    Device(s)
    iPhone X, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s
    Carrier(s)
    T-Mobile, RP
    Feedback Score
    0
    Princess doesn't allow ham radios, but doesn't specify sat radios. i didn't see either listed on Holland America, but maybe I missed it.

    Maybe they worry that it will interfere with ship electronics? Like worries about electronics at takeoff/landing on airplanes.

    I personally only see getting a sat phone if I was to be on the road a lot in the US midwest and mountain west. In the shorter term, an inexpensive backup phone on the other major network should suffice in most cases.
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. I have older model iPhones and Moto phones available on other lines. Currently prepaid, though would consider postpaid on right plan.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,060
    Feedback Score
    0
    >Who knows about antennas??

    You do. If it's not on the list, it's allowed. It's not the norm, but strange is not illegal.

    http://ncl.com/prohibited-items

    I understand that a DIY booster kit isn't something your avg cruise-goer would undertake.

    >I intend to try using Google Voice on the ship's WiFi.

    From what I read, there are new sat techs that allow higher bandwidth on cruise ships, but the 600+ms latency (of signals traveling 46K miles to the sat and back to ground) is a physical limit that won't change. IMO VoIP is an exercise in masochism, but good luck all the same. Maybe the PTT method of talking will work.


    >Surprised at the prohibition on satphones and ham radios on NCL cruises. I lent an Iridium phone to my father for an NCL cruise in the Caribbean several years ago and he used it without incident.

    As another said, it's probably because fear of interference. But IMO it's mainly because they can prohibit whatever they want. As your example shows, reality is that you can use whatever as long as you're discreet and aren't causing a scene.

    Most items in above list are self-evident. Some border on gray areas, eg sat phones, ham, etc.


    >I personally only see getting a sat phone if I was to be on the road a lot in the US midwest and mountain west. In the shorter term, an inexpensive backup phone on the other major network should suffice in most cases.

    Car boosters should fit in there somewhere. At $200, it beats your alternatives.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    290
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by e.mote View Post
    If you want, bring a travel router and set up your own hotspot (sans Internet).
    You have no idea how big a modern cruise ship is, do you?

    Or, get some FRS/GMRS 2-way radios aka walkie-talkies.
    That's not a bad choice, as it gets you beyond line-of-sight, but don't expect them to work very well at all... Across the ship through multiple decks? FRS won't get through. You would need a network of repeaters, which is what the shipboard WiFi gives you access to.

    You'll want to avoid the Wal-Mart units as well. Their Motorola/Giant radios are built like junk and have major known issues like quietly stop working with no indication. I've gone through dozens. Midland units are a bit better.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,374
    Feedback Score
    0
    Don't they filter the ports on WiFi to block the voice calls via GV, or similar?

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,997
    Device(s)
    LG G4, Galaxy S7 Edge, Note 4
    Carrier(s)
    T-Mobile, FreedomPop, TracFone
    Feedback Score
    0
    Some of the cruise line's apps have a passenger to passenger messaging feature that uses the ship's WiFi for free or inexpensively. See https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=2056.
    Find and compare prepaid plans at https://prepaidcompare.net

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,903
    Feedback Score
    0

    How Far From Shore Will Total Wireless And AT&T Tracfone Work In Alaska?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeswap View Post
    Some of the cruise line's apps have a passenger to passenger messaging feature that uses the ship's WiFi for free or inexpensively. See https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=2056.
    Thank you for the tip. Yes, they did have that app on the Norwegian Jewel and we did use it.

    As a side note, though, the Norwegian app did not work nearly as well as the one we used a couple of years back on a Carnival ship. The Carnival app just worked all of the time. The Norwegian app would lose connection and have difficulty re-connecting. May I should blame it on not enough wifi access points.

    I still need to find out more about GCI before we travel to Alaska again. I did talk, briefly, with one of their representatives and suggested that I might get a GCI SIM card a week or so before any future trips. She explained to me that they don't ship them. They have to be purchased in-person!
    Last edited by Jim1348; 09-02-2019 at 11:38 AM.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,060
    Feedback Score
    0
    Revisiting this topic,

    >You have no idea how big a modern cruise ship is, do you?

    Well, I imagine it's a bit bigger than my bathtub? And it's probly got paddles?


    >That's not a bad choice, as it gets you beyond line-of-sight, but don't expect them to work very well at all... Across the ship through multiple decks? FRS won't get through.

    Yeah, you're right of course. I was spitballing. But upon rethinking this situation (cruise ship environment) a bit and with some looking around, I think there's at least one practical solution, a ham HT (handheld transceiver).

    To preface, yes, you need a ham license to use one legally. Ditto with any GMRS unit. Also, ham radios are not allowed, at least for NCL. These said, IMO as long as you are discreet, you're good. We do many things in life that aren't technically kosher, and I consider this is one. Again, IMO, and YMMV.

    That out of the way, I had a delve into ham HTs. The most popular, cheap, and functional model would be the Baofeng UV-5R ($20 on eBay, or $25 Amazon). These are programmable so you can xmit on any freq (VHF 136-174MHz, UHF 400-520MHz). These include public safety and whatever govt bands, so, yes, very not kosher. UV-5R is NOT FCC-certified. Available since 2012, so it has a large user base, and plenty of guides and accessories. Youtube is of course your main ref source.

    The cruise ship is a challenging environment, RF-wise. It has lots of steel/metal construction, so there's no guarantee of good connectivity, but a ham unit has the best chance. Above unit has 4W power. You can get an 8W unit (UV-5RTP) for $34 Amazon. You can also accessorize with a high-gain ant, etc.

    Because of past FCC citation, recent Baofeng units are locked to certain freq ranges. You can unlock them (free) with an appropriate Google search.

    BTW, ham HTs are legal to use to receive signal, but not to xmit (unless you have license). Since the Baofengs include public safety bands, you can use it as a police scanner.


    >You'll want to avoid the Wal-Mart units as well. Their Motorola/Giant radios are built like junk and have major known issues like quietly stop working with no indication. I've gone through dozens. Midland units are a bit better.

    Re: FRS/GMRS -- Yes, FRS isn't great, and GMRS you need a license. OTOH, MURS is license-free, and at 150MHz 2W it is both less crowded (no Walmart crowd) and has better range than GMRS 462-467MHz 5W. It is harder to find MURS radios, which is part of its appeal.


    I understand this is far afield from the OP's topic, which is just a cheap way to avoid ship wifi cost. I don't care about that, just interesting solutions to unique situations.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,646
    Device(s)
    LG G7
    Carrier(s)
    Google FI
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post
    Thank you for the tip. Yes, they did have that app on the Norwegian Jewel and we did use it.

    As a side note, though, the Norwegian app did not work nearly as well as the one we used a couple of years back on a Carnival ship. The Carnival app just worked all of the time. The Norwegian app would lose connection and have difficulty re-connecting. May I should blame it on not enough wifi access points.

    I still need to find out more about GCI before we travel to Alaska again. I did talk, briefly, with one of their representatives and suggested that I might get a GCI SIM card a week or so before any future trips. She explained to me that they don't ship them. They have to be purchased in-person!
    Where are you going to stop in Alaska? I lived in Sitka for some time and use to check the coverage statewide for frequent work trips. GCI probably has the best native coverage statewide and at least in Sitka the store is an easy walk from where you'd come to shore (no cruise ship docking when I was there). AT&T has good coverage there also - Verizon wasn't there for me to check at the time. I imagine GCI stores are easy access in any sort of city like area (well city like for Alaska).

    Enjoy your cruise.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,223
    Device(s)
    Moto Z4, ZTE Z232, SkyRoam, Isatphone 2.1, Karma Go
    Carrier(s)
    Vz/Visible,Sprint,Piranha,SkyRoam,InMarSat
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by e.mote View Post
    Revisiting this topic,

    >That's not a bad choice, as it gets you beyond line-of-sight, but don't expect them to work very well at all... Across the ship through multiple decks? FRS won't get through.

    Yeah, you're right of course. I was spitballing. But upon rethinking this situation (cruise ship environment) a bit and with some looking around, I think there's at least one practical solution, a ham HT (handheld transceiver).

    To preface, yes, you need a ham license to use one legally. Ditto with any GMRS unit. Also, ham radios are not allowed, at least for NCL. These said, IMO as long as you are discreet, you're good. We do many things in life that aren't technically kosher, and I consider this is one. Again, IMO, and YMMV.

    That out of the way, I had a delve into ham HTs. The most popular, cheap, and functional model would be the Baofeng UV-5R ($20 on eBay, or $25 Amazon). These are programmable so you can xmit on any freq (VHF 136-174MHz, UHF 400-520MHz). These include public safety and whatever govt bands, so, yes, very not kosher. UV-5R is NOT FCC-certified. Available since 2012, so it has a large user base, and plenty of guides and accessories. Youtube is of course your main ref source.

    The cruise ship is a challenging environment, RF-wise. It has lots of steel/metal construction, so there's no guarantee of good connectivity, but a ham unit has the best chance. Above unit has 4W power. You can get an 8W unit (UV-5RTP) for $34 Amazon. You can also accessorize with a high-gain ant, etc.

    Because of past FCC citation, recent Baofeng units are locked to certain freq ranges. You can unlock them (free) with an appropriate Google search.

    BTW, ham HTs are legal to use to receive signal, but not to xmit (unless you have license). Since the Baofengs include public safety bands, you can use it as a police scanner.

    Another way to use a ham radio discreetly would be to use a combination cellphone and 2 way radio. Both the Blackview BV9500 Pro, the Doogee S80 and the Doogee S90 can do this. There may be some other brands or models that also offer this. There would be a small rubber ducky antenna but cellphones years ago had extendable metal antennas or rubber duck antennas...so it wouldn't look that much out of place.

    Have a Doogee S90 that takes modular mag mount accessories. Have the external battery pack and have a 400 mhz (70 cm) transceiver module on order from China. Do have a ham radio license so I could legally use that.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-10-2018, 10:55 AM
  2. Total Wireless and AT&T phone?
    By Kiwii in forum General Prepaid discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-04-2017, 02:13 PM
  3. When will Tbay wireless and Rogers Merge?
    By Dano89 in forum Rogers/Fido/Chat-r
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 09-02-2010, 08:58 PM
  4. Switched from BB to Total Internet and Constantly Reconnecting
    By travtufts in forum Windows Mobile Devices
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-30-2007, 09:41 AM
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-18-2003, 08:55 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks