Andy Pag puts Predictwind’s IridiumGO! through its paces on an Atlantic crossing to test how good the satellite modem really is
Good coverage from the antenna
Unit charges from 12v, 110v, 220v or 240v sockets
Email app is glitchy
Weather models wide of the mark
Predictwind’s IridiumGO! is aimed at meeting the need for basic emergency, weather forecasting, telephone and email connectivity offshore.
The headline cost seems reasonable at just £522 ($699), but add to that the VAT, spare sim cards at £7.50 each ($10), the cheapest Predictwind subscription, which works via satellite is £74/quarter (£$99), and airtime at £105/month ($140).
The unit charges from 12v, 110v, 220v or 240v sockets.
The test of Predictwind Iridium GO!
Set-up took about two hours on a good Wifi connection to activate the SIM and register accounts with GEOS International, an emergency service, and Iridium Mail, the email service.
I also changed the unit’s default Wifi password to stop the whole anchorage from logging on.
There’s a marine antenna kit which retails for an extra £224 ($300), but the internal antenna worked well enough from inside the boat on clear days.
Calls worked through the associated app with the expected slight delay of a sat call. 150 minutes are included with the airtime agreement.
SMS messages were free to send, but most people either couldn’t reply at all or got clobbered for a few quid with each text they sent.
Verdict on the Predictwind Iridium GO!
The email app is cumbersome and glitchy, deserving of its 2-star Google Play rating, but it can be made to work when you have the time of an ocean passage to fill.
Predictwind’s proprietary weather models, PWG and PWE, were wide of the mark on the crossing.
Downloading the forecast for the remaining four models over the whole route took a couple of hours, and beyond 5-7 days the modelling is based on seasonal weather predictions rather than real-time conditions.
I downloaded GFS and ECMWF models for wind, gusts, waves, and CAPE, once a day for route planning.
I don’t regret having spent the best part of £1,000 on the service because I’m hoping much of it will be recouped when we come to sell the unit.
My biggest regret is that I caught myself checking emails a little too compulsively throughout the passage.
Predictwind’s Iridium GO!, £522
Buy the Iridium GO! direct from Predictwind