Sat Phones a necessity for aged travellers??.

Submitted: Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 19:38
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Not being Faeces ( Spelling) but my S/inlaw has just been admitted to hospital with heart problems, luckily she was at her daughters place in Emerald Qld, but the the thing is they have been travelling in some remote areas prior to returning to the coast, if this had happened a few days ago it could have been serious!. They don't do extended trips into remote hence they didn't think a sat phone was a necessity,Now this is a women that owned three health food shops before retirement, so she had a good idea of her health. I'm now thinking the best of communication equiptment is a vital thing for any aged traveller travelling anywhere!

Cheers Axle.
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 19:55

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 19:55
Not just "aged", Axle. Misfortune can befall anyone, even an invincible 18yo :-)

I think a Spot device or similar, and a satphone, are reasonable pre-requisites for remote area travel, even for a short trip.

Own them if you're a regular, hire them if you're not.

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Follow Up By: Member - Young Nomads - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:33

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:33
We have a PLB and will taking a Sat phone with us when we are going remote again next year. best of both worlds.

PLB because it gives emergency response people your exact location, who you are, who and what they are looking for (car type, colour, travelling persons, possible trailing vehicles and registration numbers) and emergency contacts. You register the device along with all your info and can update your details.

If all your car aerials snap off in a car roll over and you are badly injured, a quick grab and activation is possible. If you are dazed, concussed or in shock after an accident..the less you need to do, to send off a distress signal..the better.

Sat phone for obvious contact reasons or emergency calls.

It doesn't matter how old you are or how many spare car parts you carry..safety is peace of mind.

We are about to get together all our emergency needs to put in one grab bag. This will sit between us and be there for very quick access in case of an emergency (i.e. car fire, accident etc.)
In it we will have our PLB, sat phone, flares, very small basic first aid kit and snake bite kit, batteries, sunblock, matches, head lamp/ torch, water bottle and essential medications.
Not a huge bag..something like a small backpack, with only the absolute essentials.
Something else that could be a must have for your travels.

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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 21:46

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 21:46
Hmm, not sure if I would run with the idea of carrying energetic materials (flares) within the cabin of a vehicle. The cabin of a vehicle can get very hot very quickly, and could damage the flares from heat cycling. I wouldn't want flares to be the cause of a car fire.

An e-flare, I believe would be a much better option in this regard.
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 23:09

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 23:09
We carry a Spot for the tracking and so we can send "I'm OK" messages at intervals to family as well as its SOS ability. That usually stays in the car, along with an eflare and a comprehensive first aid kit.

We also have an EPIRB (registered, of course) which is in our hiking pack, along with basic first aid and emergency stuff. When hiking we carry a pocket GPS - it's amazing how often an ill-defined track just disappears, especially on the return journey, and the breadcrumb trail helps avoid embarrassment.

We also have a satphone.

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Reply By: rocco2010 - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:02

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:02
Gidday axle

Good insurance I reckon. Get one and you are almost certain never to need it it, just like all that other stuff we carry when we go remote.

Without one ..


Cheers

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Follow Up By: Al-one - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:27

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:27
Hello everyone,
I am sorry if this seems to be hijacking the thread. We have a Iridium sat phone that we have used in the past. Once with a four month plan with the supplier and once again with the $10/month plan from Telstra.
I assume the $10/month plan from Telstra.? If anyone is using it please confirm it with me.
I found an interesting post on another forum which suggests that some of the newer Telstra prepaid sim cards with automatic global roaming now work in the Iridium sat phones. Can anyone confirm this?
Cheers,
Al-one
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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:35

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:35
Al-one

You are. Start your own thread.
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:39

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 20:39
Al-one

can you get Exploroz in Cuba? this is one of the great hijacks of all time.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: TomH - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 21:52

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 21:52
Telstra sim cards have worked for over 6 years as long as they have roaming enabled
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Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 21:14

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 at 21:14
G/Day Axle 3 weeks ago 2 mates and my old man were due to do our annual fishing trip, we normally go to Arnhemland, but this year we decided to do something different but still remote.

3 days before we go Dad ( 70 ) had a bit of a turn, luckily he just pushed himself to hard doing some work on my sisters house, but still we were going remote, the doctor was relieved to know that I had 2 sat phones 2 EPIRBs and 2 people with remote first aid, I also have care flight on speed dial.

At the end of the day we had a great time, fishing was crap, and we all returned in good health.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:30

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:30
Just a quick follow up, one phone is a Pivotel Iridium ( 7 years old ) on a $45 plan with $15 credit the other is a I phone 4s sleeve on a $15 plan no credit, both phones work well and have never let me down.

So many have the smart phones now and the I phone sleeve comes with an I Phone 5 case and you can buy the 4 case extra, I believe that they have a sleeve for the Samsung phones too, the great thing about the sleeve is, if your phone battery is flat, you can take the phone sleeve off the unit and under that is a mic and a speaker that work with the SOS ( 000 ) button.

The price for the sleeve was $550 + $110 for the 4s sleeve on the Gov subsidy, it was about $900 + without dad was going home to buy one.
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Reply By: Zebra400 - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 05:51

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 05:51
Hi Axle
We have been travelling outback for many years, so have had a few recoveries over the years.
We travel with a SPOT unit (tracking our position every 5 minutes) - this is great or family & friends to follow our trips. Of course, SPOT has a Help button & an SOS button. So far we haven't had to use either of these.
We also travel with a SAT phone. We used the SAT phone to recover a broken down vehicle in our convoy via RACV Total Care when travelling in far east Victoria. Getting RACV to call us back on the SAT phone created a few issues, but the recovery was successful.
We also travel with an HF radio. Our engine blew up when travelling west of Nullarbor. A call to VKS737 in Adelaide worked well. They rang RACV to log our break down. RACV then referred the breakdown to the RA in South Australia. The RA then referred the breakdown to the Nullarbor Roadhouse mechanic. We stayed on the HF call to VKS737 for about 20 minutes while all this was being organised. Our recovery was successful.
All emergency units have their uses. Travelling a lot on our own, we enjoy the peace of mind by travelling with all 3 emergency units.
Which one would I recommend? Well it depends on the circumstances - if we rolled our 4WD, then most likely we wouldn't be able to use the HF as the antenna would most likely be broken (we do carry a backup antenna but it depends on whether the radio is still usable). SPOT units & epirbs are great but remember, they are a one way communication. If you push the SOS button, we will only know that it has been successful when the SES arrive (this most likely could be anything from 4 hours to 2 days). Stress levels can increase while waiting, not knowing when help will be arriving. SAT phone is 2 way, so it is great being able to talk to someone. Cost of SAT phone calls are expensive, but in an emergency situation, cost is unimportant.
So in summary, we prefer having all 3. It covers all our bases for emergency situations.
Relying on one in an emergency and finding it doesn't work, will be a huge frustration.
Enjoy the Aussie outback with good emergency assistance.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 18:08

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 18:08
I agree with Zebra, you cannot have to many communication devices. I travel as one vehicle some of the time and I always carry a SPOT device, a GPS enabled PLB, and a Sat phone. Satphones can be purchased for $360 delivered and you can get a $15p/m plan with Pivotel, not much if it saves your life. I am currently marooned in the Great Victorian Desert 5 k's north of Zanthus or 200 k's east of Kalgoolie. Four days ago the heavens opened up and did not stop for two days. I was trying to get out but the track got to boggy to safely continue. I found the highest ground and setup camp and expect it will be another few days before I can continue. When all this started I used the satphone to notify my family that I was OK just unable to move. Without the satphone they would have become concerned and called out the search parties. So in this instance it was not necessary to save my life but it did save much angst for my family.
So if I am in the middle of nowhere how do I have an internet connection? I have a RTT and on the first night my mobile blipped a few times in the middle on the night. Apparently the extra height gets me a connection every now and again.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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Follow Up By: Zebra400 - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 08:39

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 08:39
I give up Chris, what is an RTT?
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 16:24

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 16:24
Roof Top Tent. Have just got to Zanthus by the way.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Follow Up By: Zebra400 - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 16:30

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 16:30
Good news Chris. Must have been fun sitting there for 4 days in the wet. BTW, your Spotwalla link will not update for 3 hours after you send your latest position. Hopefully that is soon.
Laurie
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Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 08:52

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 08:52
Yes a sat phone is becoming a necessity now and is the preferred means of emergency communications by many. Surprising how talking to someone even if it is over the telephone in an emergency can change the situation and bring comfort and reassurance to the persons involved

The problem with spot or a PLB is when you set it of you do not know if it has worked, how long it will be for help to arrive and are the people being sent able to help you PLUS a Spot or PLB does not offer any form of reassurance, comfort, advice, support or help.

The other good thing with a sat phone is you can seek urgent medical advise and talk to a doctor, this alone can be the difference between life and death.

Even 20 minutes waiting for help and not knowing if, when or how help is going to arrive can seem like hours if not days.

It's no use thinking after the event "if only I had a sat phone, things may of been different".

Now all we have to do is wait for all the "He Man" to reply saying you don't need it and in 30 years of travelling BLAH BLAH BLAH.......LOL

Suppose it depends on what price you put on loved ones and friend travelling with you.

People get in to a false sense of security with some devices thinking it will save me....

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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 12:04

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 12:04
I've posted on the HF Vs Satphone debate a few times having owned and operated both. Both have advantages but as Satellite phone technology improves, they have become a necessity for the remote traveller I reckon.

While I'm the first to admit I go to the outback to get away from people, the ability to have reliable communications when I'm out on the Quad is a huge comfort to all, including me. Whether it's just calling back to the support crew or ringing home to check on the upcoming weather, it's a quick a reliable means of comms that outdoes everything else. SPOT and DELORME trackers rely on people actually monitoring your device. It may be several days before they check or notice an alert to their mobile. At least a satphone gives instant and confirmed response because they're talking to you.

With many of the service plans about, and the Cth Govt rebate still in place till July next year (I think), they are an affordable option.

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: olcoolone - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:22

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:22
Look Mick.... I know you Victorians are a special bunch and need to be looked after but I think the sat phone rebate has stopped for all of Australia including Victoria.LOL

Finished June 2013, it was announced and acted on quite quickly...... it was one of these "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" government thingies.

http://www.communications.gov.au/news/media_centre/satellite_phone_subsidy_scheme
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:32

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:32
Actually it has finished but it was June 30th 2014.

"The deadline for final subsidy applications to be submitted to the department is 31 March 2014. This will allow applicants two months to purchase a handset from the date at which their application is approved, and will ensure all invoices paid by 30 June 2014."

I remember there being enough of a clamour about it back in 2013 that they extended it for a year. A shame that it's gone. Hopefully satphone prices will continue to drop.




''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:34

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:34
Yeah Mick I got my I Phone sleeve in late May this year.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 16:50

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 16:50
Yes typo..... These iPad things......
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 16:52

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 16:52
Steve how do you find the sleeve and what is the carrier like for reception, looked at going away from Iridium and looked at the satsleeve but got talked out of it.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 16:57

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 16:57
The carrier is Pivotel it works a treat, near as good as the Iridium.

I have more info in a post above.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 20:24

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 20:24
Pivotel is a provider only...... Just Googled it and it looks like the satsleeve carrier is Thuraya.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 20:36

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 20:36
Yeah that the way you said it. lol
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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 14:28

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 14:28
Agree its essential and not just for the oldies in remote areas. We have a Inmarsat Pro - but no credit. With the latest software update it still gives us access to the emergency numbers. Also have HF on VKS737, Excellent service.

John
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:35

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 15:35
Axle,

I'm surprised your spelling hasn't been picked up.

Faeces. .???? You can look that one up.

Perhaps you meant "facetious", but even that's not really applicable.

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Reply By: Villatranquilla - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 17:17

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 17:17
having had to be contactable 24/7 for work I thought it would be heavenly when we retired (3 yrs ago)to be out of phone range. But the death of a grand child 6 mths before we retired made us think "how terrible if we had not been contactable for a week or more in these circumstances".
So purchased the sat phone - just used it a couple of times - short calls to family about a dollar/minute.
Initially was a $30/mth plan then went up to $37 and then discovered can use the sim from my mobile (must have global roaming activated - easy on-line). So gives us peace of mind and as a previous poster said "if you've got it you probably won't ever need it"
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Reply By: vk1dx - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 18:46

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 18:46
100% agree for remote travel. Nothing like actually talking to a medical specialist etc and getting the correct first aid for the situation at hand. Just remember that even the RFDS can't get at you for most of the Canning. No landing areas except at the ends and in the middle and a few close by remote properties or mines.

I agree that SPOT etc are excellent first contact devices can summon help AND I am in no way minimising their capabilities but you cant beat a phone for real support and advice.

Soon I am told that my cardiologist will be able to communicate with my pace maker via a satellite phone. I think he can now with the domestic hard wired system. Not sure of that but in the future - who knows.
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Reply By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 18:47

Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 at 18:47
G'day Axle,

I believe that good communications are essential, and not only for aged travellers.
-however we are in that category;))

I have always carried a sat phone and its worth was realised a few years ago when in the middle of the Western Australian desert I was able to speak to family and learn that my daughter had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Enough said, and I tracked home immediately. What of the alternative, made contact some months later to be told of the same news...

Same goes for HF and spot..better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

On this trip we have used the sat phone half a dozen times, only when out of regular contact but it does give everybody at home that warm feeling that the oldies are still going!!

-and I only have one bar on Telstra ATM....



cheers
Michael J
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Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 18:57

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 18:57
I was just talking to a senior ranger here in Kakadu, we were talking about a Belgium woman rescued from the top of Jim Jim falls last week, here is the readers digest version of what happened.

The woman's young adult kids went to the bottom of the falls, the mother and father went to the top ( Closed due to high temperatures ) at some point in the afternoon the kids got scared and thought they were lost, so they set off a EPIRB they also used the ECD ( emergency call device ) in the car park.

This is were the problem starts, the EPIRB call goes to Canberra and they don't call parks they call police fire ambulance, so care flight are sent, luckily this time they used the ECD and got hold of parks, parks inform Jabiru police Jabiru clinic that they needed a search and rescue mission and they set their own procedure's in place. A chopper was sent with a police officer and a park ranger to look for the lost couple, and luckily they were found as the woman was close to death, the chopper was sent to get the remote nurse on route to the falls, remember this was a lost person at the time it is now a medical emergency.

The remote nurse was able to stabilise the patient until care flight turned up, without this treatment she would have died before care flight arrived, she was then taken to Darwin and all ended with this woman surviving.

Now here is the problem with using an EPIRB as a sole use item, had there been no ECD care flight would have landed at the car park 3 kms away from were the woman was, then they would have found that they would have to start a search and rescue on there own, the police would have been on there way but no one would have known what was going on until care flight raised the alarm, this woman would not have made it.

By having the ECD or some kind of device to talk to someone, parks now had the info to know it was for a search and rescue as well which now needed more resources.
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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 19:13

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 19:13
Was the track closed when they went up it.

If so hope they get charged for the rescue.

Too many ignore signs that are there for their own safety.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 20:46

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 20:46
Steve that is a classic example to highlight the inadequacies of just relying on an Epirb in an emergency situation.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 06:57

Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 06:57
I agree with Alby.

An excellent example of what my doctor and my cardiac and hemmatology specialists told us when I asked if it was okay for me to go to remote destinations. I have on going cancer and cardiac issues. He was adamant that we take a phone based device so that he or others like him could actually talk to us to ascertain the correct assistance required.

No phone meant we went against his advice.

Needless to say we immediately purchased a satellite phone and luckily have never used it apart from a test call when first purchased.

Good account Steve.
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Follow Up By: turbo 1 - Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 09:18

Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 09:18
Ah Phil I see you've given up on PJR and Freshstart and gone back to the original.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 09:51

Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 09:51
Yes TomH the track had been closed for a month, as do other walking tracks in the park once the temp raises considerably, some of the tracks re open once there has been some rain or the rain is now consistent enough to cool the area down and there is plenty of water to find for drinking should someone need it.

I know care flight may ask for payment, but if they can't pay they can't pay, care flight are paid one month in advance by the NT gov to have 3 aircraft on stand by at any time. Parks do not ask for payment in these cases.

There have been several EPIRBs set off in the park over the years, and it frustrates parks when someone has been rescued and they don't even hear about it until the media ring.
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