Comment: Handheld Satellite Phone Solutions for Travellers

This was a great article and prompted us to do a review of my own communication requirements.
Over the next two years we intend to travel extensively in the central and western deserts region, additionally, we undertake a reasonable amount of remote area mountaineering and rock climbing. Our vehicle is equipped with a Codan NGT HF radio, however we wanted to ensure we had a redundancy fall back for this in case it did not work, or for the times when we are remotely located from the vehicle.
We also have a 406 Beacon and Spot tracking device which we also use when remotely located. After having reviewed the requirements for the subsidy it was clear we would most likely fall within the scheme’s arrangement and applied on that basis.
The process was straightforward and received a 50% subsidy within days of submitting the application. We have elected to go with the Pivotal Globalstar network as it provides the cheapest entry cost, and whilst the service is somewhat degraded in the northern parts of Australia, when compared to Iridium, we decided it would meet our own requirements.
Noting, that what it means is that it may take longer to acquire a connection in northern Australia, not that it doesn’t work in that region. Once again, thanks to Michelle and the ExplorOz team for the well-researched article!
Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Reply By: wombat100 - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 14:59

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 14:59
Hiya Baz
The Globalstar must be heaps cheaper if you realize "the service is somewhat degraded etc"...
Like anything- you get what you pay for !!
We use Inmarsat and find the cost a very small percentage of our overall trip costs- for a reliable service...
And yes- we have HF and SPOT.

Happy Trails
David 3364
AnswerID: 521767

Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 15:21

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 15:21
Mate

I hope Globalstar have lifted their game. About 10 years ago we had a sat phone connected to their network and it was nothing short of appalling with RS coverage and frequent drop-outs. In the end I told them they were taking my money under false pretences and suggested a procotological storage repository for their service.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Nov 23, 2013 at 12:18

Saturday, Nov 23, 2013 at 12:18
Globalstar had some defective sats that were replaced 2-3 years ago. For a while there were blind spots during the day.
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 15:30

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 15:30
Hi Landy

Reviews are good ideas aren't , we always include in ours actually using things - don't know how many times we have got somewhere and setting up and friends say something doesn't work .

But on your subject , just for fun on our recent Pyrennies trip I left my HF rig at home and put an old PC-122 27mhz radio instead , it costs nothing don't even need a license and some others had 27mhz ssb comms as well and while we were driving in convoys around the hills I used it as a sub channel to our UHF radios , darned if the thing didn't provide better comms around the hills - I knew this of course but it was great to see it again in practise.
While harder to use I forgot their advantages , even having a couple of contacts , one to NZ which while poor might be enough to call for help in an emergency.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 17:07

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 17:07



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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 15:47

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 15:47
Baz I've had the Pivotal Globalstar in the past and to get a satellite proved problematic with the best coverage being about 7.30 each night and for about 30 minutes. Also proved expensive in terms of the monthly access fees when th ephone wasn't being used, call costs were pretty good mind you.

A couple of years back I bought the Inmarsat Isat phone. Coverage & connectivity is great and as the calls are by prepay the cost is acceptible to me and there are no monthly charges.

Bigggggggggg downside is that incoming calls are hellishly expensive to whom ever is calling you.

So if you only want to make calls then in my mind the Inmarsat phone is the way to go. But if you want it to receive calls as well, I'd reconsider.

Cheers

Dunc.
Dunc
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Nov 23, 2013 at 12:22

Saturday, Nov 23, 2013 at 12:22
True but folk can send a text msg from their mobile (costs around a buck) or a text msg free from one of the retailer websites. Then you just call them back.
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 16:51

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 16:51
It isn’t my intention to enter a debate on the choice I’ve made or to defend it…I’m comfortable with my own due diligence!

The intent is to highlight the article and to thank Michelle and the ExplorOz team for another well-presented information piece – it is their commitment to providing a great resource that keeps me coming back.

Bravo!

The Landy…
AnswerID: 521775

Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 17:44

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 17:44
Mind if I ask if the handset is specific to Globalstar like a tellus or an unlocked handset like a motorlla 9550?

I've used both Globalstar and Iridium networks over the years so will look forward to your review in due course.

Were you able to utilise the Cth Govt's sat phone subsidy (extended to July 2014 before anyone tells me it's finished)?

Trust the preparations are coming along well.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 17:47

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 17:47
Delete the handset inquiry, I just let my fingers do the walking and talking. Ahh the web. ;-)
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 18:25

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 18:25
Hi Mick

Qualcomm handset and was able to access the subsidy. You would easily meet the requirements I suspect.

Globalstar is not like the days of old and has many more satellites now. Service not as good in Northern Australia has southern parts, but I can live with that based on my own requirements...

Cheers, Baz
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