which sat phone to go for

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 13:52
ThreadID: 21167 Views:2246 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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Hi everyone
I'm looking at purchasing a sat phone, I've heard so many stories not sure what to go for. I need data capabilities so I can send email's and remote area phone contact. I'm looking at the telstra motorola 9505 and the global star qualconn 1600, the motorola being dedicated sat and the qualconn sat and cdma. I've been told the motorola is more rugged and some problems with the qualconn. Telstra system has a delay in talking due high orbit sats and the global star system does not have this delay. the global star system has the advantage of being cdma if in a cdma region giving normal call charges. I have applied for the government subsidy also,
anyone got any clues and recomendations and may have used either, or both ,
regards Ian
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Reply By: Gajm (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 15:38

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 15:38
For what it's worth I have a 9505 and have not had any problems...But!..it's been used bugger all, it gets taken with us on trips away, and then is only used enough to check messages and make calls until the free $10 worth of credit runs out, and of course for emergencies. It was also the only phone that I could get interest free with telstra, so it's not like I picked it because I thought it was better than any other model....not much to go on, but I thought it was better to reply and at least let you know its given me no hassles.
AnswerID: 102176

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 17:39

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 17:39
Hello Ian,
The Motorola Iridium 9500 and 9505 will do CDMA and also GSM. It requires an expansion module to be clipped on the back in place of the existing battery cover.
I have the GSM module and in a digital enabled area I just make normal digital calls using the Satphones number. Note: These calls are charged at satellite prices.
These Motorola's will do data also, you'll need the data kit.

I've found Skycomm in Qld very good when I've needed honest information on the Motorola phones. They also sell another brand, not sure what it is. 0732521115

Hope this helps,
Geoff.
Geoff,
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AnswerID: 102180

Reply By: Big Woody - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 18:14

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 18:14
Hi Ian,

I don't know too much about the Telstra system but we purchased about 4 and a bit years ago, what was supposedly the first Globalstar phone in Queensland. They wouldn't even guarantee it would work because the northern satellite was not up and running yet. The brand was a Telit through Vodafone and it has worked perfectly across northern and central Australia at all times it has been as clear as a bell.
We purchased this phone as a back-up to our HF radio for the opal purchase side of our business so you can imagine the sort of conditions it has been in with extensive use throughout the opal fields of western Queensland. It was just thrown uncovered on the top shelf in a 75 series landcruiser ute with heaps of corrugations and dust to contend with.
I also think the advantage of using the one phone on 2 networks is hard to beat as it sure does keep the cost down when you don't have to use the satellite connection and others only need one phone number to try and contact you on.
I can't answer your question about data capabilities but I can say that the connection is much clearer than my digital mobile phone that I use at home so I wouldn't imagine any problems.

Hope some of this waffle helps mate,

Brett
AnswerID: 102181

Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 18:22

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 18:22
I've got the Motorola 9505 with Telstra and got the really good deal with the subsidy. Have friends who went Global Star/CDMA route and are kicking themselves now - they use theirs all the time whilst travelling but are not happy with it. I have a CDMA which is really cheap and we use the Sat if we have to.
AnswerID: 102182

Follow Up By: Ian Wall - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 23:20

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 23:20
Thanks ruth
we'll call in and see you in birdsville about the middle of July, think I will have seen enough desert for a while then, at least until the bug bites again. I'll get the 9505 and hopefully get the subsidy. I'll get a cdma soon too instead of my gsm. so with the new phones and the uhf and hf my comms are sorted out for the trip.
Ian
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Reply By: Oleg - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 21:46

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 21:46
Ian,

IMHO Telstra-Iridium is much better service than Globalstar.
GlobalStar sats actually orbit much higher (1414km) than Iridium (780km) so GlobalStar has slightly longer delay.
Have a look here for technical details
http://cnes.cborg.net/aiaa-icssc/proceedings/972.pdf

Before you buy any phone, apply for subsidy. The criteria for approval is very simple - You have to spend around 3 month per year outside of GSM/CDMA coverage.
AnswerID: 102198

Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Epping .Syd. - Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 22:10

Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 22:10
Hi Oleg ,
I saw your post about the Sat Phone subsidy being available if you are out of range for three months of the year . I am , but I do not know how I would prove this to Telstra or the government .
How do you do it ?
Thanks ,
Willie .
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Follow Up By: Oleg - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2005 at 16:31

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2005 at 16:31
Willie,
You don't have to prove it. They take your word for it.
In fact the people in that agency are very friendly and if you do not meet some criteria, they will give you some ideas how to get it approved.
Regards,
Oleg.
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Reply By: Steve L - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 21:53

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 21:53
Ian,

"Telstra system has a delay in talking due high orbit sats and the global star system does not have this delay". Not sure where you got this information, but the Telstra satellites (Iridium satellites actually) are much lower in their orbits than the Globalstar ones - around 600kms compared to 1300kms. I haven't heard of Iridium customers having any more of a delay than Globalstar ones - usually it's around the other way.

As per Ruths comments, I have heard of a number of people who have Globalstar, and if they had their chance again they would choose Telstra/Iridium instead. If dual band is that important (I expect you probably would have a GSM or CDMA phone already if you're part of the majority in Oz), you can either get the plug in adaptor, or keep your current phone (terrestrial phone calls - as opposed to those requiring a satellite for connection - are cheaper that way).
AnswerID: 102199

Follow Up By: Ian Wall - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 23:08

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 23:08
thanks for all your comments it helps when making a decision of this nature. the people selling the qualconn/globalstar system said their sats were lower, figures eh!
I'll go for the 9505 with iridium, and keep it as a dedicated sat phone for trips, it should last longer this way and it seems the choice of most everyone.
hopefully I might get the subsidy as I will sort of be working out there, writing etc,and wrote a long detailed explanation of what I will be doing.
I have a gsm phone and its contract runs out in june. so I'll get a cdma phone next, and have the best of both worlds.
happy trips everyone and thanks again. I leave sydney on the 25th march so I'm getting real excited now.
best regards
Ian
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Follow Up By: Jason_R - Wednesday, Mar 23, 2005 at 20:51

Wednesday, Mar 23, 2005 at 20:51
Steve L
Good to offer corrections, hoever always good to know the facts. Iridium satellites are lower than Globalstar 780Kms vs 1414Kms, however any gain is lost with the signal needing to land in the USA at Iridiums earth station and be transmitted back to Australia. Globalstar have the earth station facilities here in Australia.
Few other facts,
The DATA speed on the Iridium service is only one quarter the speed of the Globalstar service. (4 times faster or 1/4 the airtime cost). Both services offer a data compression service that can increase perceived performance by up to 4 times.
The Globalstar QUALCOMM dual mode service is fully compatible with the Australian telecommunications network that allows your single phone number to work in terrestrial CDMA (telstra) and satellite mode(Globalstar).
From my experience the perception of problems with Globalstar occur with peoples lack of differentiation between a cellular service and a satellite service and this handsets ability to offer both. The carkit option when correctly installed works excellently and allows the best of both worlds. The Globalstar product appears to have definitely improved with the new products and services, I still believe they are a definte viable alternative.
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FollowupID: 361159

Reply By: rudu - Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 14:49

Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 14:49
IAN
IVE JUST SIGNED UP WITH GLOBALSTAR WITH MY SUBSIDY. THE WAY I LOOK AT IT YOU WOULD ONLY USE SATELLITE MODE IN A REAL EMERGENCY SO GO FOR THE BEST RATE THE BEST PRICE AND MAKE SURE YOU CAN USE THE SIM CARD IN YOUR NORMAL MOBILE PHONE AROUND THE CITY. It SOUNDS LIKE WHEN THE GPS FIRST BECAME POPULAR ONE WAS BETER THEN THE OTHER AND ONE WAS FASTER,OR MORE ACCUARATE. BUT REALY THEY WERE USING THE SAME SATS AND WHEN USED IN THE SAME PLACES WHERE THE SAME.
AnswerID: 102231

Follow Up By: ginga - Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 18:52

Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 18:52
Hi
I was a Globalstar cdma/sat phone user (erickson phone - that's another story)!
Problem is that when you need satellite you may really need it & from my experience Globalstar service was very unreliable!
I hope your experience doesn't duplicate mine!!!
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FollowupID: 360029

Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 19:26

Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 19:26
I have an old Motorola 9500 with Telstra. At $30 a month and one 4 minute free call included I make that call when I remember :o). Used the phone last night out of Murray Sunset NP. Have also used the phone o'seas. Works well. I didnt get the subsidy although it was approved as I bought the phone second hand
AnswerID: 102255

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 21:53

Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 21:53
Willem that sounds like a damn good phone. LOL.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 22:01

Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 22:01
LOL

Hey, where ya been Big Fella? Missed you at Murray Sunset but got the message, thanks.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 22:17

Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 22:17
Hiya Willem
I went up the High Country, Tom Groggin / Davies Plains / Hells Gate down to Swifts Creek.
Bloody Brilliant the place was dead quiet, real surprise expecting heaps of bodies being long weekend.
No hassles at all could camp anywhere and no issue with passing others on the tracks.
Weather was brilliant about 30 every day, nights a little cool as you would expect at altitude.
Just love that area had a Brumby bolt past our camp last night in the dark scared the $hit out of the kids. LOL.

Looks like you had a good time at MS. LOL.
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Reply By: rudu - Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 18:37

Monday, Mar 14, 2005 at 18:37
Ginga

Maybe it was just your phone, globalstar say the're the best we can believe what they say cant we.
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