A single-sideband radio, Pactor modem, and SailMail: While some may pooh-pooh this gear as sunset technology, we wouldn't go without it. It takes a bit of attitude adjustment to go from iPads and hot-and-cold running Internet to working with the SSB, but its value is its dependability, no matter where you are. In Panama's Kuna Yala, for instance, our cruising would've been tethered to the sole island that had Internet (three hard lines run off a solar panel, at the equivalent of $3 per hour) had we not been able to remain in contact with friends and family and access our Gmail account via SailMail through the SSB. True, a new SSB will set you back at least $1,500 initially, with another grand or so for a Pactor modem. Once they're installed, though, a $250 annual SailMail account gets you email, weather GRIBs, and weatherfaxes, and you're immediately linked to the SSB community, an intangible but real benefit you can never enjoy with a satphone.