Data Access for 2005

Joined
Dec 8, 2003
Messages
806
Location
Leicester, England
Again a hot topic but I do need to think ahead. This morning I got a Bill from British Telecomm for £330 ($610) for GRPS data calls made during my Hurricane Ivan chase – one call was £110 ($200) for downloading just 16Mb on one call – ouch!

The cost of the calls is almost the costs of my return flights from the UK to the US so I need to sort out a more cost effective option for 2005 – the cost of data overhead is killing me ~

I think that for 2005 Ositech cards and analogue cell phones are RIP so I was looking at a Sprint Merlin C201 card for my laptop – the problem that I have as ever is that I need to sign up to a year plan which is no good when you live abroad for 11 months of the year.

So is the sprint C201 the way to go for 2005 – I would really like some advice from the local US chasers here.
 
Originally posted by Stuart Robinson
Again a hot topic but I do need to think ahead. This morning I got a Bill from British Telecomm for £330 ($610) for GRPS data calls made during my Hurricane Ivan chase – one call was £110 ($200) for downloading just 16Mb on one call – ouch!

The cost of the calls is almost the costs of my return flights from the UK to the US so I need to sort out a more cost effective option for 2005 – the cost of data overhead is killing me ~

I think that for 2005 Ositech cards and analogue cell phones are RIP so I was looking at a Sprint Merlin C201 card for my laptop – the problem that I have as ever is that I need to sign up to a year plan which is no good when you live abroad for 11 months of the year.

So is the sprint C201 the way to go for 2005 – I would really like some advice from the local US chasers here.

Stu, you don't need to sign up for a year plan with Spring, this is the good thing about them. You can waiver the yearly contract by adding an additional $10/month for the service. This worked well for me, since I use the service for 2 months, and don't need to pay for a whole year (that would be a waste).

It amazes me that you can manage to get over here to the U.S. whenever you like to chase tornadoes and hurricanes, when I myself have a very hard time just getting to the next state, LOL... That's REAL dedication!
 
Robert,

Are you sure this applies to the Sprint Connection Cards that Stu is talking about, or was your service a regular cell phone?

Amos
 
Originally posted by Amos Magliocco
Robert,

Are you sure this applies to the Sprint Connection Cards that Stu is talking about, or was your service a regular cell phone?

Amos

It was a connection card... Though, I just took a look at their site, and it now appears that the $80/month plan is now capped at 300MB, and I can't find the option for a "no-contract" term. My total was $90/month with unlimited data and no contract... But then again, I only used if for a month, so it was worth it. Haven't checked their phone plans, and I am hoping that they didn't change that as well, since that could be a better overall deal...
 
I've been dealing with them about plans and such every month, trying to get the business plan which is unlimited for $99. In all my investigations I've never seen the option for contract-less service. Not saying it doesn't exist, but I actually deal with an account representative who works with Weathervine and who is trying to get me the business package, and she hasn't mentioned it.

Stu, my answer to your question would be the the Sprint card probably doesn't make much sense if you're only here for six weeks. I agree with you that the Ositech/Analog cell days are numbered--I'm going to bring that setup with me in 2005, but I don't expect to use it much with wifi, Sprint, and XM Wx-Works carrying the bulk of the data workload for me.
 
Well for the first time this year I had a wireless card, in addition to my standard cell phone (sprint), using the sprint dialer.

The wireless card was by far the most helpful. The drawback is that you need to be near a hot spot... so if you are out in the middle of no where your out of luck. But I found that with a little planning, and strategizing, I found my way to the right locations and on the right storms.

1. Use MS Streets & Trips or other Mapping software

2. Enter in all Hot Spots as pushpins or markers on (above)
- Free Hotspots (http://www.wififreespot.com/)
- Subscription Hotspots - Flying J, Petro, Pilot, Love’s, Rip Griffin and
TravelCenters (subscibe to these / most have monthly fees that are
reasonable

3. One you have all of that saved on your mapping software, you get a good visual of what your possiblities are. I would start my morning forecast and targeting around 8am or so and then get to the best hotspot(s) in that general region, and then wait until I was fairly confident on my final target.

4. War driving... Belive it or not there were some times in some remote places I was able to get onto someones wireless network... I remember being in Decatur Cnty, Iowa on May 20th... It was a bust, but I was out in some rural neighborhood getting data... at broadband speeds!! Also many of the small / medium chain hotels had / have a hotspot that may not be publicized... Many times I just pulled up near the location and checked to see if I picked up a signal. Sometimes not, but other times I did (Example - Oklahoma Sleep Inn Exit 157 off of the 35).

Some of this you and others may already be doing, so I realize that this is nothing new, but it REALLY improved my chase experience (and effectiveness) over 03, so I thought I would share.
 
Thanks for the advice guys - I too used WiFi in 2003 and during 2004 it was a real help - often just being able to grab a sat download is all that it needed as you near your target area.

I too heard of the $10 per month / no contract deal at the Chaser Picnic - but I was never able to find anything on there web page about it.

And then there is the issues of trying to pay for these contracts on a UK credit Card - but that is another story.
 
Hey Stu, we live a few miles away & yet communicate thro a forum 5000 miles away :roll: :wink:

I am liaising with Mavisat atm. Satellite connection (high speed) is looking more like a viable option now. I am awaiting hardware an data costs from them as we speak.

Between the WX system and wifi I'm sure we'll manage :wink:

Mark
 
I recently got a Sprint / Sanyo 4900 phone that was one of the early Sprint Vision models. Unlike the newer phones, this one can be used (via usb cable) to connect at 112 Kbps. Apparently Sprint has cut this ability off the newer ones. I pay the $10/month for unlimited Vision access and the time online does not show up on my bill. Only chased with it once in Oct, but stayed online most of the time and radar updates refreshed pretty quickly.
 
Cstok's idea of marking free wifi locations on a GPS map sounds like a ton of work, but it makes great sense. It will be worth the long effort if you chase widely for an extended period in 2005. Rather than marking the map you use for navigation, it might be easier to save a seperate map (I'm talking StreetAtlas here, the only GPS app I know about) as something like "wifimap" and then open it when you need it.

Plenty of time coming up for these projects. I don't plan to mark every spot in large cities (OKC has 25 or 30), but at stategic spatial intervals or near major roadways, and particularly what I would describe as 'reliable' wifi spots---like Panera Bread---it makes sense to enter each one. Motels too. Some of the spots, business names that sound like sole proprieterships for example, I might wait to mark.

Might be smart to copy and paste these lists into a MS Excel file, then mark the ones you've plotted so that, in March 2005, you can pull the same data from the website and merge the list into your spreadsheet to see what's new. Panera is building new stores constantly with emphasis in the plains. Cross your fingers that they don't start charging for access.

It's remarkable how fast the technology turns around completely. I'm thinking of the Ositech / analog setup now. Two years ago, people were beating down doors for particulars on these setups: what phone, what card, what provider, what cell service. Then this spring, people still expressed interest (in this forum not more than seven months ago), and, by now, we can agree that it's suddenly very dated. Two friends of mine who had a highly successful season said recently they used their cell phones for data only one time in 2004. I bet that by 2006, we won't even mention cellular modems.
 
Ah yes - interesting....

The Inmarsat Global Area Network offers two powerful and flexible services - Mobile ISDN and newly launched Mobile Packet Data (MPDS). These high-speed services are delivered at speeds of 64kbit/s- increasable to 128kbit/s.

The Inmarsat Global Area Network (GAN) integrates corporate IT network with a global, mobile communications network. Business critical information can now be provided at both the bandwidth and speed that enterprises demand. In addition to high quality Voice and Fax, the Inmarsat ISDN M4 Service allows remote High Speed Internet and email, LAN/Intranet access, e-Commerce, File Transfer, Video conferencing and store-and-forward video.

MaviSat offers the leading M4 products from Thrane & Thrane and Nera. Capsat Messenger and Worldcommunicator make available Voice and Fax Services with high-speed ISDN 128kbit/s wireless data transmission virtually anywhere in the world. It is ideal for data intensive applications such as video conferencing, image transfer and broadcast-quality voice telephony.

MaviSat also provides the latest Inmarsat MPDS (Mobile Packet Data Service) which greatly reduces the cost of high speed internet access. This new service allows users to pay according to the amount of data they send and receive rather than time spent online. All MaviSat M4 solutions are MPDS ready.
 
Speaking of making GPS maps of hotspots, for those of you that rent cars to chase in the plains...

"But another angle delivers real utility to road warriors: Hertz plans to add Wayport hot-spot locations to its NeverLost GPS system. Now, when you're traveling around a city in a desperate search for a Wi-Fi connection, you can call up a map on the GPS and find the closest one to you. No more disappointment when you stop for a Big Mac and connection at a McDonald's, only to find that the location you're visiting doesn't have Wi-Fi on the menu." -- eWEEK.com Mobile & Wireless Center

Tim
 
Back
Top