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Iridium AxcessPoint : GRIB weather files on iPhone and iPad in open sea

Iridium AxcessPointAnnounced on this blog in September (¹), the AxcessPoint box by Iridium company allow now request and receive GRIB weather files from iPad or iPhone offshore, into the wild, anywhere on the world.

Having implemented and tested this solution on a long journey, I can say that it is fully operational.

The device

Boitier AxcessPointIridium AxcessPoint creates a WiFi hotspot 802.11 b / g for connecting an Iridium phone (devices 9555 and 9575 Extreme) one – or more – iPad, iPhone or other device via WiFi, so that they can send and receive mail, including requests and receiving GRIB weather files, via Iridium satellite network. Announced WiFi range is from 20 up to 30 meters, there is no limitation on the number of connections.

The software

axcesspoint web&mailAxcessPoint Mail & Web application, free application for iPad / iPhone to download on iTunes AppStore, a mailing interface has been optimized for use between WiFi-enabled devices and Iridium satellite phones. We can write and view emails offline, set size to minimize the connection time. The queue will be sent at speeds of up to 15 times web standards-mailing.

AxcessPoint Mail & Web also allows you to automatically retrieve emails from personal accounts outside. You can set the maximum size of files to send or receive. The application blocks pop-up, remove the ads, background images and compresses the web pages for download speeds of three to five times faster than uncompressed pages.

Implementation

1 • Register to AxcessPoint Mail & Web application

Once you have your AxcessPoint device, and an Iridium phone number (MSISDN), you have to register the service AxcessPoint Mail & Web application, unless another supplier offers an alternative. You must provide the MAC address of your AxcessPoint device (indicated on the back of the unit) and the phone number that was assigned to you. You will receive a username and password, accompanied by instructions to set the application.

settings2 • Download the application

From iTunes AppStore install AxcessPoint Mail & Web application. Launch the application and enter the settings according to the instructions on the page "Settings". You can request the automatic sending of an sms receiving mail, in order to be notified of the receipt of a GRIB file if you made the request.

Use with Weather4D PRO

1 • Create GRIB file request

In Weather4D PRO create a zone, choose the parameters (grid, steps, duration) and select the data you want to receive. Create a zone preferably determining a small file. In example 45 KB load at best 2,5 up to 3 minutes.
Create a SailDocs request ready to send by mail, Axcesspoint choose as the sender :

W4D request

Weather4D PRO automatically formats SailDocs request

AxcessPoint application is automatically launched, one finds the request ready to send in Outbox :

AxcessPoint request

The mail request is ready to be sent

2 • Find out the time of the next satellite passage

With Weather4D PRO, activate the Satellite mode to display Iridium constellation with a tap in the center of the screen to view display icons, tap the icon at the bottom "Satellite". Put yourself in the "Current Time" by tapping on the clock (iPad) or calendar (iPhone) , then start looking for the time of passage of the next satellite above your position a new tap on the icon "Satellite" to the right of the screen :

Ecran de prédiction des satellites

A tap on the right icon starts the search

The window in the upper banner shows the start time of the next satellite pass over your location. You can start the Iridium connection from that time and so ensure an optimized communication, fast and seamless.

Two settings are available for selection of satellites, in the section Settings > Prediction options :

Réglages prédictionI recommend a minimum elevation of 30° and a time of transition of 5 minutes. But you can do your own tests, of course.

3 • Start the file request to SailDocs

At the time of the satellite arrival, make the connection with the Iridium phone. Connect it with the USB cable to the AxcessPoint activated device (switch to ON). Verify that the connection has well 5 maximum reception bars. (it happens that some satellites do not transmit, down or in maintenance). Connect your iPad/iPhone to the AxcessPoint WiFi hotspot.

wifi connexionSwitch your iPad/iPhone to AxcessPoint app and select "Send / Receive" button :

envoyer

It switches from Weather4D to AxcessPoint with multi-tasking bottom banner

The login window opens, displays an upload progress bar and shows the successive steps of communication :

envoi des mailsOnce finished, check the satellite position in Weather4D PRO. If you have been quick, you still may have enough time to immediately start receiving the mail containing the SailDocs GRIB file requested. In which case just type again on the button "Send / Receive". Otherwise look for the next satellite pass and repeat the procedure. Note that the SMS message received (if set up) sometimes long time after the file is available.

4 • Receive and open GRIB file with Weather4D PRO

GRIB file arrives as an attachment from SaiDocs in Inbox. A long tap on its name can open it in compatible applications, as Weather4D and iNavX.

Recevoir kes GRIB

Receipt of the file via SailDocs

And that's it :

GRIB

The received file displayed in Weather4D PRO

NB. GRIB files received and opened with Weather4D can just as easily be opened in iNavX, for display on the map.


(¹) Iridium - iPad connection – is coming out

8 Comments

  1. Gauthey dit:

    Hello,
    I am interested in the axcesspoint and mail and web.
    Do you know a dealer in Switzerland, or, if it is not the case, in France.
    Thank you in advance,
    Sincerely,
    Huaras Gauthey

    1. Dominique dit:

      Hello

      The housing is sold on http://www.ipadnav.fr. The delay is approximately 1 week.
      Cordially

  2. The Marin dit:

    The Axcesspoint is available from IEC Telecom, in Paris, they seem to be the official representative of Iridium in France = cheap…

  3. FranciS dit:

    IEC Telecom is not the official, but only one of many resellers Iridium.

  4. Roland CRENN dit:

    Hello
    Very interested in the point Axcess
    Is compatible with the Iridium 9505A oldest
    Or only with recent models mentioned 9555 and 9575
    Thank you

    1. Francis dit:

      Only 9555 and 9575 Extreme.

  5. Gabriel Vial dit:

    Hello everyone,
    I broke down and bought everything I, ipad2, inavx, weather4Dpro, Axcess point and Navionics.
    I followed the instructions of Francis, tried queries with 4Dpro weather and I have found traces of the email in the outbox waiting for a satellite connection.
    Honestly, is not complicated and all seems nice as any for browsers like me who often change mount. For less than 1 kg of material, can be reached on a boat where there is neither electronic nor cards. We can even disconnect to avoid any use current.
    Just one question, what is the email used to receive his mail at sea by iridium : username@myiridium.net provided that the username is the name assigned by Iridium during recording AxcessPoint Mail & Web application. I can not try again I do not iridium 9555 on hand.
    In fact we must also consider that the default settings are correct in the soft point of Axcess ? I must say that would be great if the documentation was in French ?
    A big thank you to Francis for the translation of the interface iNavX and instructions.
    I will soon send 10000 nautical 4 months and I will not fail to report my experience ipad / weather and iridium.
    Happy surfing to all

    1. Hello,

      Yes I confirm, it is at this address you can receive your emails by Iridium.
      In the application configuration Axcesspoint you can set the maximum size of emails you wish to receive. You also have an option to be notified by SMS of the presence of a new mail (This service is free).

      Cdt.