We finally (2005> chose a HF radio in favor to a Satellite phone as our communication system. And still no SatPhone, but we are thinking of getting one every year…
We have both Ham and Marine radio licenses and therefore the use of the radio for e-mail (using a Pactor modem) compared to the use of a sat phone is almost for free! OK you probably want to sign up with Sailmail and pay $250 a year to have a safer connection, wherever you are.
Even in Antarctica we had no problems getting our grib-weather files via the HF and the Pactor modem.
We use the isolated back stay as antenna, close to that under the aft bunk, the tuner and an Icom 706 radio (in Lindisfarne) are placed. In Moon we have a Icom 718.
Eventually we are going to upgrade with a satellite phone as a backup in the future.
2014 the new Iridium Go came out and it seams to be something for us.
The nice thing with HF is to be able to talk to other fellow cruisers, especially when doing passages together. The range of the VHF radio is often to short to deal with distances that are common between boats just a few days after departure.
We are using Airmail and RMS Express as the software in the computer connected to the HF radio via a Pactor modem. It has been working excellently the whole time, in spite of being in period of an unfavorably number of sunspots.
Link to detail album – Elctricity & Communikation