satellite phones

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 17:36
ThreadID: 31582 Views:2485 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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g'day out there

we are travelling the tanamai track and gibb river road in april/may. we are looking at hiring a mobile satellite phone from when we leave sydney till our return, about 6/8 weeks later. what's the best place for rental deals

cheers
lambo
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 17:57

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 17:57
lambo,

I would check out if you can hire and return the phone in Alice Springs. It would save the hire on the drive time to and from Alice.

Wayne
AnswerID: 159544

Reply By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:00

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:00
Are you looking at using it ONLY for emergency backup i.e. Ambulance or Police only.

That is my need (having had one minor heart-attack) and teh cheapest solution I found was to buy a Satphone outright. No plan, no SIM card.

In an Emergency I dial 112 from anywhere in Australia - yes, I have tested it. It's a Motorola 9505 on the Iridium Network.

Mike
AnswerID: 159546

Follow Up By: Aston - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:11

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:11
Mike,

I will be up there in the middle of may,

I also have considered doing something (pressure from the better half)about a sat phone as I have the same medical track record.

have a look at this web site which after trawling through many appeared to be reasonable in cost

click on the link
link text

Cheers Aston
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:16

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:16
CDMA really useful (Not) when the network is shut off in a year or two.
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Follow Up By: Glenn (VIC) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 20:08

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 20:08
Hi John,

I have read up a fair bit on the shutdown of CDMA, as well as talked to a few people in the know, and from what I can fathom, it will take longer than 2 years to shut it down. It looks more likely to be more than 5 years all up.

Cheers

Glenn
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Reply By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:53

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 18:53
Keep in mind that Globalstar Satphones have more unavailable times than Iridium Satphones because -
1. There are fewer Globalstar satellites than Iridium.
2. For Globalstar you can only get coverage when the satellite can see the phone AND an Earthstation. Iridium satellites link to an Earthstation via any other satellite nearby.

Although both networks advertise "Australia-wide coverage", they don't explain unavailability times !

Mike
AnswerID: 159556

Follow Up By: myfourby - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:08

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:08
I found unavalability to be minimal to none with Globalstar when using it for a year constantly.

I wouldn't use this as an excuse to not use it as a method of emergency communication.

-myfourby
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Follow Up By: Member - Clay G (WA) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:09

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:09
As a doctor who has had to rely on Satphones in a medical emergency on more than one occasion I would strongly reiterate that Globalstar should NOT be relied upon. Iridium is much more dependable although not without it's problems too. The good old HF has saved our bacon on two very memorable occasions.
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Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:21

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:21
Interesting, I've recently bought an Iridium Satphone because as an HF user for 35 years, I'm well aware that you can have HF outages for hours or days.

Clay - how long were the outages on Globlstar and Iridium, that you had to resort to HF.
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Follow Up By: Member - Clay G (WA) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:30

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:30
With Globalstar we consistently found there would be no service at all despite positional changes for up to 45 minutes at a time. Iridium would continue to work regardless. Also you could get a good signal with Globalstar and then without moving at all it would just drop out...very frustrating and potentially dangerous. I know what you are saying re HF but it can be a boon when Satphones fail for whatever reason. We now always go with both HF and Iridium if the medical situation dictates we need totally reliable coverage. The VKS network has been very helpful for medical situations.
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Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:54

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:54
Clay, thanks - that verifies that what I have done is money well spent !

Prior to the no-damage heart attack (Stent in the RCA) I thought that HF would give me adequate comms while travelling outback, but since then, I've decided that an Iridium satphone would give me coverage during HF outages.

Mike
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:57

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 21:57
Clay G, I've heard the same thing about the two providers. Some people who've hired Globalstar sets have ended up rubbishing sat phones. (and some people who've hired HF have done the same to HF). As a HF user I'm still looking for a s/h Motorola 9505 so that I can have the best of both worlds.
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Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 22:02

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 22:02
I've just bought the cheapest one I've seen on eBay - $850 - Mint condition.

Mike
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FollowupID: 414229

Follow Up By: Footloose - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 22:04

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 22:04
Mike, I saw that one and was too late to have a go. Haven't seen any more there unfortunately.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andy Q (VIC) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:01

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:01
G'day, I bought an Ericsson R290 Satellite Phone nearly 3 years ago (on E-bay for $500), we were(went) out and beyound the black top. Connected to the Globalstar netwrok (44 satelites at the time). We found there places especially in the Gulf country that there were drop out areas but overall we had good service. On our return to Melbourne I contacted Globalstar and explained the problem, they were very helpful/sympathetic and explained that some of their Satellites were down at the time. The up shot being I recieved a cheque in the mail for a months plan fee and no cost for all the calls for the 10 weeks we were away.
If you can get the(sat) phone on the rebate plan go for it
andy
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:06

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:06
I agree with Clay, I have been with others who could not get a signal on the Globalstar Network and I have used my Iridium standing at the same spot with no hassles.
The comment from them was, "Happens all the time".
They sure were one pi$$ed of Globalstar customer.

The other issue appears to be that the phone does not default to the CDMA network when within CDMA coverage and the owner gets a really big sat phone bill thinking they had CDMA coverage and were being billed accordingly.

I guess it has nothing to do with the possible situation that more profit is made by using their own satellites as opposed to paying Telstra for use of their CDMA network.

I have never had issues with Iridium Coverage at any place in Aus I have been.
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Reply By: OzRoamer - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 22:30

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 22:30
I have 2 Qualcomm 1600 dual mode CDMA/Sat phones for HIRE if you need one.
We Air Express them to anywhere in Aust and supply a return pre-paid Air Express bag for the return.
Let me know if you are interested
paul@ozroamer.com.au
AnswerID: 159606

Reply By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:09

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:09
G'day Lambo,
E-mail me on pezzamailatbigponddotcom (obviously replace 'at' with @, and 'dot' with . ) and I might be able to put you onto someone who can help you for that time period,

Avagoodn
Pezza
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Follow Up By: Member - John - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 00:02

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 00:02
Perry, thanks for that. John
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Reply By: russ36 - Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:39

Thursday, Mar 09, 2006 at 23:39
i have an ericson 4 sale suited to the globalstar network...$800 pc....brisbane
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