GlobalStar Telit 550 sat phone

Submitted: Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1153 Views:5791 Replies:13 FollowUps:25
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I have one of this units , and i am very happy with it's performance.
Anyone out there with any problems ? Heaps better than HF , RFDS
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Reply By: Darian - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Very cute Mick - could you fill us in on the cost of the unit, the call charges and the onging service fees ?
dp
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Reply By: Mal Try - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Mick, there is another area of this site if you want to sell your phones. I have travelled all over Oz and have never been unable to contact who I wanted to on HF. The great advantage of HF over your yuppy system is that evreyone can hear a HF transmission and a call for help could be answered by someone over the next sand dune. I bet the people who arrive to help the likes of you have and would prefer HF. In fact if you had a real emergency in an isolated location a call would go out over HF to see if there was anyone in your location who could help you the same as happens at sea. But then I suppose everyone could leave their phone numbers at Birdsville or Mt Dare before crossing the Simpson so they could ring everyone to see if they could help you. However I do agree that a Sat phone is a good suplement to HF, if you can afford it, because E-mail is faster by phone than HF. Don't go off the blacktop Mick. Mal Try.
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Follow Up By: Ken - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Mick, Mal is pretty well spot on with his comments, I have a Tellit 550 and it works great but my first line of communication in the bush is my Barret HF250 radio . I can call in every day to the Australian 4WD Network , say hello and log where I am ,It also gives weather and track/road reports all for a $66 per year membership! Also initial purchase price for a good second hand unit is about the same as a sat phone. Regards Ken.
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Follow Up By: Goran - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Mal , beside just being plain old fashion , you also showing a great deal of ignorancy here . I suppose you are still using the compas with the map and keep the GPS in the glovebox as a spare.The truth is HF is dying as far as the 4x4 use and nothing can save it now. I paid $900 for a brand new Tellit 550 and it never missed the beat. No worries about flat batteries , expensive aerials and all the rest of the stuff needed to make the HF do it's job. Satelite phones are killing every other form of communication in the outback. New age of communication is here guys , may as well get use to it. Like it or not.
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Reply By: Steve - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Mick : What company do you work for , because I want a Sat Phone like a Hole In The Head .. You obviously have no idea of travelling in the Outback and are one off those Turkeys who are put on a line as bait .. only a Dick Head would Believe the Crap You have written...a phone in th e bush is useless 99% of the time.. and an HF is used 1% of the time and is used 99% of the time... NOW bleep OFF WITH YOUR SALES PITCH
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Follow Up By: Ken - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Thats a bit strong mate, he was only asking for an opinion! Regards Ken
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Follow Up By: Steve - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Ken : and he got it loud and clear ?
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Follow Up By: Mick - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Steve you bleep , i dont sell anything . I travell outback as a geologist and use satelite phones all the time . They work 99% of the time and are small , easy , convenient and offer all you need in form of communication . Instead of being an idiot i suggest you better open your eyes .
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Follow Up By: Goran - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Our mate Steve is clearly suffering of a mental condition called Technofobia . Clearly a result of too many broken axles......:-)
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Reply By: Bob - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
Mick
I guess you would remember when the mere mention of a mobile phone would bring the response you got!! The fact is that we will all soon be carrying mobile phones which will be land based when it's available and will switch to satellite transmission when out of range of terrestial contact. I can guarantee that that will happen in a few years. Let's face it, if you have an emergency in the outback you need to be able to pinpoint the area of help you require and make a call direct to that source of help. If you need the vehicle that's coming over the next sand dune you simply use a UHF set. No need for bulky sets, large antennas etc - just a pocket size phone on which you can instantly contact whoever you need to. Many people, however, feel threatened by advances and feel secure if they can cling to the old ways. Not many years ago there were people who vowed that they would never have electricity connected to their home .... and that if men were meant to fly they would have been born with wings .... they resisted tubeless tyres, television, microwave ovens etc. etc. Believe me the days of spending a fortune on HF radio are rapidly passing!!!
By the way - the School of the Air is very rapidly being superceded by Internet conferencing and email.
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Follow Up By: John - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Bob, I agree. I use it in my work more and more. I have been in situations where the sat phone (Iridium) saved a high security movement when we had no HF comms. What is Steves problem?? technophopia???
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Follow Up By: Stephen - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Bob, I agree too. Steve is a Luddite. If you have a Satphone and a list of emergency telephone numbers for whatever area you're in, and a UHF for local comms, what more do you need?
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Follow Up By: Rob - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Ditto, I am in agreeance, the technology is more practical, everybody can identify and use a phone. In an emergency situation it can used by the young, the old, the technically retarded, anybody whereas HF, not the most user friendly might prove difficult to use by some the consequences of which may be fatal. Its called progress.

Rob
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Follow Up By: Richard - Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, May 18, 2002 at 00:00
Ditto the three previous follow-ups.Sat phones worked allright for the aussies doing their north pole expedition several weeks ago.Makes you wonder how this clown manages to sit in front of a computer!
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Follow Up By: Nigel - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
While either method of communication is better than none, one benefit of HF that sat phone doesn't have, is the ability to talk to other HF users who may have been through the area you are intending to travel. UHF cannot do this unless all the people who may have useful information are within 30-50 km of you (unlikely).

HF radio provides a community where information and ideas can be shared openly. Satphone provides a direct connection to one other party at one time.

It is unfortunate that HF radios are so dear as this will result in many people missing out on the community spirit and related benefits of HF radio, something that isn't necessary but certainly makes remote outback travel so much more rewarding.
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Follow Up By: Bill - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Nigel always remember that the people who you NEED to talk to are within UHF range of you. Those further away are too far away to help and won't have up to date info on roads etc. Conditions in the outback change so rapidly with changes in weather .... today's 80kph stretch of road can be tomorrow's undriveable road. Given those facts it's very hard to justify $4,000.00 for a HF set .... except as a big boy's toy ... and of course that's a very good reason and is the reason that most are bought!! HF is very rarely used for emergency communication but it's a great toy! The last time I recall it featuring in a rescue was a call from the high country which was picked up in Tasmania and then the authorities were called. A sat phone call to the Bairnsdale Police would have been so much simpler and quicker.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Nigel - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
I have to disagree with Bill.

I hilly terrain or heavily forested areas, UHf range is cut considerably.

For example on a trip up the Palmerston highway (through tropical rainforest and steep mountains) I cannot talk to my friends house some 20 km awayon UHF, but the HF works fine.
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Reply By: Steve - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Mick : at least I got you to show your true colours !!! ( How many of your mates have had dealt with emergency calls in the bush ?) I reckon they wouldn't know the outback from a bar of soap ...
STEVE
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Follow Up By: Mick - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Steve , i travel alone. I have dealt with emergency on couple of ocassions out there , and used my sat phone. By the way , how old are you ? Your post here does not suggest a level of inteligence i expected to see on this forum.
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Reply By: Nigel - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
While either method of communication is better than none, one benefit of HF that sat phone doesn't have, is the ability to talk to other HF users who may have been through the area you are intending to travel. UHF cannot do this unless all the people who may have useful information are within 30-50 km of you (unlikely).

HF radio provides a community where information and ideas can be shared openly.Satphone provides a direct connection to one other party at one time.

It is unfortunate that HF radios are so dear as this will result in many people missing out on the community spirit and related benefits of HF radio, something that isn't necessary but certainly makes remote outback travel so much more rewarding.
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Reply By: Sam - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
To me it sounds like a case of each to their own. Both seem to be ample forms of communication for use with remote and outback travel.(both have carried out the job they were intended for) As to which one a person might choose is entirely up to them. I have not done/seen any comparisons between initial and ongoing costs between the two forms so cannot comment on this aspect(if anyone has any info on this I would be interested). I would also be interested to know about any technical pros and cons between the technologies (minus the bias)
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Follow Up By: Nigel - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
I don't know the exact prices, but Satphones usually have a monthly charge and a time charge for all calls (these charges would be at least double what's on offer for standard mobile phones).HF radio costs depend on which networks you join. Networks generally charge an annual fee of between $30 (usually chat channels only) and $115 (full radphone direct dial via various bases all over australia). On the chat only networks or networks like VKS737 (which costs $77/year) there is no more to pay. On the radphone networks you have to pay for calls which are usually between 50 cents to $1 per minute.

Many outback travellers with HF have no real need to be able to direct dial the phone network so opt for just VKS737 which gives them chat ability (when the bases aren't using the channels) and twice daily weather and road reports, message passing and emergency contact.

As far as I know you now don't need to pay anything for access to RFDS if you only use it in an emergency.

Pros and Cons:

Sat phone is simpler to direct dial any phone number. Some people find HF radio complicated. Codan have a new radio that removes some of the complexity, but is dearer than the secondhand sets that are more affordable for many travellers.
HF has broadcast ability which gives you many benefits (Like UHF CB but with a range up to 5000 km). You can listen to other HF users and be forewared about potential problems, or listen to the daily VKS737 broadcasts for road and weather info. You may be able to obtain weather info by other means (ABC, recorded weather service, etc) but not so with road conditions for 4WD only tracks.
Satphone rely on satellites to work - any probs with the satellite and your phone is a paperweight. HF can access any number of base stations or other mobiles directly without the need for a relay.
HF radio creates a community spirit among the users and and people tend to help where they can. With satphone, the people who may willingly help, won't even know that you have a problem.


I have not heard of any major technical problems with the current range of HF or Satphones. The older system satphones could be more temperamental.

I personally would not travel down the main highway without both a UHF and a mobile phone as they have very different purposes. When it comes to outback travel it's too expensive for most people to have both HF and Satphone so they have to choose one or the other.

I choose HF because I can make phone calls via HF, but can't broadcast via Satphone. Secondly ongoing costs for my specific needs are cheaper on HF.

Many tour operators carry both because they can afford to. If you are going into a remote area, it's essential to carry one or the other - even if you hire it.
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Follow Up By: Sam - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Many thanks for the info Nigel. Much appreciated. Cheers.
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Follow Up By: John R. - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Totally agree with Sam and Nigel. I am lucky to have both but only because I bought a second-hand Codan for under $800.00. It's horses for courses. Both means will allow you to call for help. It's very easy to call Police/Flying Doctor on a satphone - if you have their relevant phone numbers. Regardless of distance, if you seriously need help they will organise it.
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Reply By: Steve - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Was interesting to read Nigel's thoughts on the details. None of the technical genius's out there have come up with the charges and costs of Sat Phone !! How Come ? Now come on fellows if they are so good tell us what they cost ...really cost ..

Steve
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Follow Up By: Goran - Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, May 19, 2002 at 00:00
Steve , i got my Globalstar Telit 550 for $900. At the time W.A. goverment was offering special rebate on sat phones for people in remote areas. I think original price was about $1900. $30 a month $2.35 a minute when in sat mode and ordinary mobile charge when in range. No one mentioned total lack of echo when using Globalstar on satelite mode. It is a quantum leap from the old sat jobs. Very clear and user friendly. Hope this helps.
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Reply By: John R. - Monday, May 20, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 20, 2002 at 00:00
I bought my Iridium handset for about $750 in the UK, complete with world-wide chargers, 12v. adaptors, spare battery, external antenna, etc. Costs about $30 per month plus call costs. Anyone can stay in contact with me through email/text messages - FREE to sender and myself! So if someone wants me, they either call or text - I can then call them back. Use it for 4-wheeling, sailing and anything else I do - anywhere around the world, 24 hours a day. Never been in a place where I couldn't get reception and I spend much time away from conventional phone networks.
Can't do that with my Codan but as I said before, it's horses for courses. I can't be part of a community with my satphone.........
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Follow Up By: Nigel - Monday, May 20, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, May 20, 2002 at 00:00
The newer Codans can send short text messages, but at nowhere near the speed of satphones. I know there are companies that are looking at setting up email via HF bases for land use (similar to the sailmail network) but I fear that it may not eventuate due to lack of customers, as LEO sat phones really do have the advantage for fast data transmission. Geostationary satellites are more hassle to use than a HF :)
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Reply By: Cobra - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
I use satphones for work. The original Iridium was very good (accessories etc), only downside was a slight delay in transmission/reception then it went belly up. We then went to the other player. Not good. Dropouts, lack of satellites, redialling etc, cost a small fortune. Iridium came back up in a different guise so we reconnected and is our preferred means of comms. Because I do not have a HF, I borrow it for my outback trips as a backup as well as an EPIRB, although I would prefer a HF. When I get back to work I will post our (govt) costs
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Reply By: Sam - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
Got a query in regards to sat phone reception in poor weather. I know internet providers that are using sat links direct into the US backbone often have trouble in really poor weather conditions. Do sat phones suffer the same drop outs from poor weather? I would imagine this would not be anywhere near as much of an issue in central Australia due to different weather conditions, but all the same am still interested to see how they fair and also if HF is affected (be it as much or more) cheers Sam.
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Follow Up By: Nigel - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
ISP's generally use PAS8 or PAS2 and Austar uses B3 which are all high orbit geostationary satelites.

The new phone systems use low earth orbitiing (LEO) satellites which is why their is no lag, as they are closer to the surface of the earth ( remember to duck if one is going past :)

If the LEO satellites use the same power as the Geostationary ones then they would be less affected by weather.

I don't know of anyone who has used a LEO Satphone in bad weather to prove this theory, but I thought I'd point out the differences anyway.
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Follow Up By: Sam - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
Ah, gotcha. Was aware of the actual sat's the ISP's were using. Just wasn't aware of the orbit factor. Cheers!
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Reply By: Greg Harewood - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
In reply to post 2..Goran wrote" The truth is HF is dying as far as the 4x4 use and nothing can save it now."
Goran I am interested to know what information you used to reach this conclusion - is this really the truth or just something you made up to support your argument? My research indicates that HF use is increasing. Prime illustration (and only one example from Australia) is the A4WDRN - membership is booming.
We sold our HF radios here at work and replaced them with Sat phones because they suited our needs better. Sold all ~12 of the HF radios and most, if not all (or maybe parts from some) are now in 4x4's around the country.
Cheers Greg
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Follow Up By: P.G. (tas) - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
Greg, I was in Alice Springs, July 2001. On a tour of the RFDS base I asked the obvious question, HF or Satphone? The response? "We are heading more and more towards Satphones and away from HF"! While it appears the RFDS is still using HF, they are obviously looking to wind down their service on HF. If emergency calls are a priority, it seems Satphones are the way of the future. PS I don't have either, yet, I'll wait a little longer and see how this discussion develops. Cheers!
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Follow Up By: Goran - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00
Greg , as far as i know , cost of HF capable of australia wide coverage is about $2.500 to $3.500 affair. You can get new sat phone for about $1900 . According to 4x4 magazines sales of this units are trough the roof and sales of HF have been in decline for past 2 years. Main trouble with HF units is the price and they are destined to go down the path of AM CB .
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Follow Up By: Nigel - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00
So what Goran is saying is that the satphone has cost you MORE after only 2 - 4.5 years (depending on the HF model). And that's assuming you've made no calls on the satphone.

Sure if you need to make lots of private calls then the satphone can be justified, but for safety and security the HF is the cheaper option in the long term.

It all comes down to your needs. Claiming that one system is better for everyone is just stupid.
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Follow Up By: Ngiel - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 00:00
With regard to HF sales figures, I'd like to know the trend of domestic HF sales for private use, which dealers assure me are growing.

The reason for the overall decline in sales is most likely because the last major United Nations purchase of HF gear was 3 years ago.

Also Satphone sales are boosted by the fact that with every change of network, new handsets are required, so even if a satphone handset could last as long as a HF radio, it most likely would be replaced much earlier due to other factors. Most people who buy a new HF will use it for 20 or 30 years.
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Reply By: Nigel - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 00:00
While the predecessors to the RFDS were the original reason for HF radio in the outback, the RFDS would now prefer people to use satphone for a couple of reasons:


It's cheaper for them to have a landline phone than a HF base
The voice quality of LEO satphones is more consistent than HF


But this does not mean that HF is in anyway dying. HF is growing. The use of HF for radphone is diminishing. But a whole new generation of HF users is emerging. These new users are not taking up membership of radphone networks, they are mostly joining VKS737 and other purpose based networks.

For these users a HF is as much for lifestyle as it is for safety. There are more people than ever travelling the outback and once you own a HF you can keep in touch with those you meet along the way for free.

Once again I fail to see how people can claim that HF or Satphone can completely replace each other. If you choose one method only then you miss out on the benefits that the other method can provide. For example I choose to use HF only and I miss out on constant annoying phone calls from the office while I am away (the sacrifices we make),
but I still have the safety of long distance communication, just not the convenience of private, clear phone calls. I can live with that and I'm sure there are others who can live without HF and only use satphone (doesn't necessarily mean they are anti-social).

That's my $1.02 worth.
AnswerID: 3731

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