HF Radio vs Satphone

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1939 Views:1691 Replies:19 FollowUps:21
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I have the option of purchasing a new Motorola Series 9505 Satphone for just $1200 after Govt rebate of $1100. My dilemna or question is, and at the risk of getting into a Nissan/Landcruiser type debate, what would readers advise to be the best sytem. I like the idea of a Satphone but it's $30 per month plus calls (minimal use). What are the costs of HF Radio as opposed to this? The Gov't rebate offer expires December so I wish to do something soon.
regards
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Reply By: Coops - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
apologies all - I've just searched and I would believe all the info I need to be available already unless you have something new to add that is.
Sorry for the inconvenience
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Follow Up By: Steve - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
HF ..............
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Reply By: Cruiser - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Coops, You're right, the info is available. But it lacks one vital ingredient: your potential needs and usage. Think about what you want and need, factor it into all the information, then make your decision. Either will work but take note of the differences. Cheers, Cruiser
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Reply By: Bob - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
There are definite pros and cons for each but can't help feeling that the sat phone is the way of the future.
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Reply By: PETER - Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 08, 2002 at 00:00
Hi satphone is great as long as you know whom to phone if they are home and if they care. on hf everybody that cares hears you and offers assistance. beat that for $60.00 per year if your a member of VKS737

regards peter victor 4868
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Follow Up By: Bert - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Peter, I think it's pretty basic, but I'll tell you nevertheless. If you are in danger you ring the Police, if you are ill ring RFDS or a hospital, if you have a fire ring the fire brigade. Actually even more basic, ring the Police for any emergency and they'll coordinate the response. They are usually home and are much more use to you than friends who may or may not have their radio on. You can call VKS737 on HF and who do you think they will in turn call? ..... The Police!! I'm just amazed at the number of people who say when Sat phones are mentioned that you have to know who to call .... it just seems so simple to me - carry a list of Police stations for the area you are travelling in. HF or UHF are great for getting help with road conditions, vehicle breakdowns or recovery etc but in emergencies just call the Police. Cheers
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Follow Up By: Bert - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Just saw a very good point made further on by Coops - only HF owners can contact you with HF but with a Sat phone anyone with a phone can get you.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Bert in an genuine emergency the police will handle things for you, but with many other problems you need to know beforehand who is best able to help you. With a HF you have a network of people and their combined knowledge on hand. With a satphone you could be making many frustrating calls to solve a simple problem, if you don't have the benefit of local knowledge.
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Reply By: Bob Allan - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Coops, where do you have to live to qualify for the rebate? Is there a website with this info?
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Follow Up By: Coops - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
as I understand it anywhere where CDMA coverage is unavailable gives you candidacy
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Reply By: Darian - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Coops.......One of the best points I have heard re HF is the "community on the air" that you relate to while out in the bush.
Re the VKS network, you can listen in to scheds, request info, offer advice and catch up with other hf travellers you know,
all on free air time. Most users leave the HF on all day, and monitor any traffic going by...you can catch up with quite a lot of info.
A brief call on the satphone is very effective communications but there is no community........dp
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Follow Up By: Coops - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
I understand that this is what some may want but I'm afraid the last thing I want to do while out bush is a portion of my time talking to a community. No offence meant - we are all different.
Mine needs are purely for emergency uses only and I think I shall just hire a Satphone given the monthly costs, even though the opportunity to get one at near half price is almost too good to refuse.
My biggest concern with HF and the outlay of $$$ is actually trying to retain possession of it as I believe they are a prime target in vehicles for the many thieving mongrels that litter our society these days.
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Follow Up By: Steve - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Coops : if you can't afford an HF, don't rubbish them ... in a real emergency an HF will be by far the better of the two...no question about that...
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Follow Up By: Coops - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Steve - I don't recall saying I couldn't afford a HF radio and I fail to see where I could be accused of rubbishing them. It would surely be dependant upon where you live as to which is better also. I believe a Satphone would be much more use to me if I were in , say the middle of Great Sandy Desert mid summer and I could ring RFDS, friends nearby who would be prepared to come get me or the Marble Bar Police direct. What about the reverse where normal people without HF wish to contact my party in an emergency - HF wouldn't be much good to them now, would it ? I could present valid arguments to you from most angles as it is such a divisive issue to some but at least I can see the good side of HF as well. Appreciate your input..........no question about that !
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Follow Up By: Fred - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Darian - you'll find a much larger community on UHF. Almost all 4wders run UHF. A small percentage use HF.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Everyone should have a UHF (and the government should give us more channels) - but I know places within two hours drive of Cairns where you could wait all day for someone to come within UHF range (nothing kills UHF range more than rainforest and hills). You don't have to be in the outback to get use from a HF.
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Reply By: old soldier - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Coops, From what you describe as your needs I would suggest that Satphone is the way for you to go. Agreed that there could be a sense of "community" by using HF to communicate, but in my experience, voice communications on HF radio are quite often unreliable .
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Yep you can't beat satphones for simplicity of person to person voice communication. There are other factors as to why people choose HF, but unless you want to do a bit of learning, then satphone is definately the simplest option. Oof course as always, convenience comes at a price (per minute).
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Reply By: John - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
I just love Gadgets........buy both!

The real question is "What sat phone system is the best"

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
If only I could afford both - but for me a radio is of more use than a phone when away from home (and I can still make the occasional radphone call). I think the concensus is that Iridium is best (esp in northern areas). If only you could buy a satphone and only pay for access during the months that you are travelling.....

At least I can still get use from my HF while a home and it doesn't cost me anything to use it.
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Sep 09, 2002 at 00:00
Neither is better - they are different forms of communication and for some particular purposes one may be better than another, and vice versa.

For emergency communications either will summon help.

Cruiser is correct - it deepends entirely on your needs and interests as to which one will suit you better.

And as for the bloke who suggested that only people with HF's can contact you if you have a HF - there's an invention called a telephone interconnect that lets anyone with a phone contact anyone with a HF.

When satphone companies introduce a broadcast mode where all users in a large area can hear you and it costs nothing to talk to them, then satphones may replace HF. Until then HF will be used for long distance RADIO communications and Satphones will be used for remote PHONE requirements.
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Reply By: Cruiser - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
Isn't this fun! We get to discuss this about every month! I am fortunate enough to have both - for different purposes. Had my iridium for a year now and have used it all over Europe, at sea and in Oz. Never let me down but I admit I was probably lucky to get reception amongst the trees and valleys in Vic High Country. Point about emergencies: The RFDS website only lists one telephone number - for their Jandakot (WA) base. For those who opt for the satphone, that would be a good starting point, together with a police number which you can dial from an international phone. (ie, full number with area code). Together with a UHF that ought to get you help if you really need it. (Provided you can accurately describe and pinpoint your location of course.......)
Cheers, Cruiser.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
It's lilke trying to decide whether a fax machines is better than a newspaper.
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Follow Up By: Darryn - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
Cruiser could you please e-mail me at djones5@vtown.com.au as I am very interested to hear about your experience with the Iridium in the Victorian high country. Regd's Darryn
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Follow Up By: Cruiser - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2002 at 00:00
Done.........
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Reply By: Jayson - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
I recently went through the HF/satphone dilema and settled on Iridium with a 9505 handset. Here in the north west of WA the phone only cost $895 after rebate and $28/month. I was looking at a new Codan HF but the $4400 up front scared me off. The satphone will give me ten years before it adds to that (I know! excluding call costs of $2/minute). I don't go bush to yabber all day on the radio but to get away from the buggers so unless I have an emergency that $28 will usually be the monthly cost.
It gives my non HF family piece of mind to be able to call me as simply as calling my mobile phone and they can send an SMS too. One point missed through this whole discussion is I can put my very small satphone, running off its own batteries, into my backpack and leave my vehicle for a walk. Along with my GPS (and personal EPIRB - should always have a spare gonk) I can confidently go bush on my own to places my vehicle can't get and should something happen then all is OK - unless unconscious when neither HF or satphone is any good until you wake up. Theft and breakage of autotune antenna and having HF headset visible in car is also eliminated. A satphone in a small pelican case is much more useful to you when your HF is underwater with your car in a creek. Less weight/space taken in your car and everything you need for your phone is included in the kit, two batteries, external antenna, leather case, car charger, wall charger and more.
Cheers Jayson
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Follow Up By: Coops - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
Jayson
I too live in the NW of WA. Can you contact me on allyn@wn.com.au to discuss where you bought 9505 for $895 as I have been quoted $1200 after rebate so obviously this makes things even more appealing as well as lets me know who to deal with from now on for comms gear.

regards
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
Coops I'm not suggesting that you should buy a HF if it doesn't suit your needs, but I would like to make this point: You mentioned earlier that you don't want to be part of a "community", yet I see that you've just potentially saved $300 because of your involvement in the "community" of the Exploroz Forum. Now if you were only using email for your online communication, then you may have very well missed out on this cost saving information, but because of the forum you could talk to more than one person at a time and therefore have access to a much larger pool of knowledge. That is the essense of the difference between broadcast radio and person to person phone calls.
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Follow Up By: Coops - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
I only said I don't wish to be a part of a community while I am away camping. I think this forum is fantastic, as would be evident by my responses and questions, but I fail to see the comparison between it and my choices of communications. Thank you all for your great input. May you all have happy camping and off-road experiences for many more years to come.
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Reply By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry Coops, I wasn't trying to criticise your choice, I just saw that as a good way of explianation of the real difference between HF and Satphone. I think if people can understand that difference then they will be less likely to make rash statements about the subject. Both HF and Satphone have a purpose. Cheers Nigel
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Reply By: Darian - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2002 at 00:00
Nope...not quite finished yet :-)....having brought up "community" on this post, I could have said "optional access to community". Heh...I turn it off when I want some quiet too. But like the bloke in the Simpson the other day who couldn't get his Disco to disco, if the chips are down I would canvass advice and possible assistance from anyone on the air....hell....they could be just x sandhills away. While not claiming to be "right" if it's one, or 'tother, it's HF for me.....dp and Coops...you're right...this is THE forum.
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Reply By: Gordon - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2002 at 00:00
Coops, with all these replies from dedicated HF users, I can't understand why nobody pointed out that HF radio can be connected to the telephone network by paying about $100 per year to someone like Radtel. I haven't connected mine but this is what I was quoted in May this year. Then you can make and receive telephone calls just like any one else. They have several call plans as with any mobile. The HF has more functionality than SatPhones and is free for any community communications but it costs you more to buy and you can't easily carry it with you. The best things about HF are 1) access to the community when you want it, and 2) the ability to get help from someone close to you who you didn't even know was there.
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Reply By: Steve - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Coops, My family and I are planning a 14 month trip around Oz. I was hoping to purchase a satellite phone for emergency use. I made a phone enquiry regarding the govt rebate for Satellite phone purchase and was dissapointed to find out that I did qualify as my intended use is "recreational". I'm curious to know, will you be using the phone for a similar purpose to us, or is it work related ...or some other reason ? Regards, Steve.
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Follow Up By: Coops - Thursday, Sep 19, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Sep 19, 2002 at 00:00
Steve
I have actually decided on hiring a Satphone as I've decide the number of times that I will actually need it are limited and as such the ongoing expense is unwarranted despite the rebate. My intended use would have recreational but my job would allow me to embellish the application somewhat and get away with it.
cheers
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Follow Up By: Steve - Thursday, Sep 19, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Sep 19, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for the reply Coop - sorry, I should have noticed in your earlier response that you are going to hire one :-) Regards, Steve.
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Reply By: Steve - Wednesday, Sep 18, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Sep 18, 2002 at 00:00
Damn, don't you hate it when you leave out the most important word in your reply !!! - The above should read "I did NOT qualify" - Regards, Steve.
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Reply By: Mike - Sunday, Sep 22, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Sep 22, 2002 at 00:00
Wow, what a forum response! I might as well add my 2 bobs worth!

True emergency: EPIRB
Serious emergency: Satphone
General Emergency: HF

MY logic:

If it all goes to s*%t big time then you might not have the time, energy or resources (read vehicle or power) to use the HF or satphone and therefore a self powered and standalone EPIRB (for $200?) is the way to go.

Now about all this know who to call etc - what happened to 000 for emergencies? Even if this doesn't work for Satphone then I'm sure that there are other similar country wide numbers. Satphone is definately an easy option and it will work almost everywhere - above ground anyway! This is probably the way of the future for outback calls. I was recently in Singapore and you can buy a full system now for $1200 (phone & aerial pod etc) with 25c a minute call!

HF - great for open channel listening to a number of folks. And consider that HF probably became established because satphones weren't available and are were expensively prohibitive. HF would probably be better if you use it to communicate back to base from the long paddock etc because it has low running costs.

Ignoring EPIRB for true big time emergencies. I'd probably choose HF because of the open channel feature and relatively low running costs. However, if I had a one of need for a single trip then a satphone would be the choice.

Only an opinion!

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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2002 at 00:00
About knowing who to call... Those comments were in relation to situations were a 000 call is not approriate. If you have a good list of the various places that may be able to assist with mechanical or electrical problems, etc then it will be much less effort to obtain the services you require. And with the high cost of calls I figure most people would not want to be ringing around to find the services they need.

In a real emegency if 000 doesn't work then try the international emergency number of 112.
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Reply By: Liz - Saturday, Oct 12, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Oct 12, 2002 at 00:00
I purchased a Telit Sat phone last year ($2023) as we were travelling across the Gunbarrel, Canning and Kidson track then back home via the Anne Beadell Hwy. It has been terrific and was well worth the cost. It is a normal mobile phone as well at standard mobile phone rates. We considered a HF Radio but decided on the phone as is can be used all year round, whereas the radio would sit in the cupboard most of the year. I also enquired on the rebate as I heard about it whilst in WA. I was told no as I live in Victoria. It appears that unless you live in a remote area you will not be eligible. In Victoria they had not even heard of the rebate. I hope this helps you
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Thursday, Oct 17, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 17, 2002 at 00:00
How would you get your 4WD into a cupboard? :)
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