Satellite/CDMA Phone Hire in NT

Submitted: Sunday, May 21, 2006 at 14:28
ThreadID: 34094 Views:1906 Replies:1 FollowUps:0
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I am keen to venture into 4WD drive country in the NT for the first time but I would not do so without reliable comms gear. I assume for a couple of one to two week trips per year the hire of a sat phone is the most cost effective way to go (rather than HF or other)?? I would expect to be travelling alone (rather than in convoy)most of the time.
In the broad area bounded by Darwin, Broome and Kalkarindji, where would you suggest I go for a first trip?? Gregory NP or Lake Argyle area perhaps?

Advice on equipment and/or hire companies and areas to visit would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers
calow
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 03:24

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 03:24
calow,

"Reliable comms gear"......What do you mean by that term?

Do you need the security a phone of some description provides to enable communication with others, or is it purely for use in emergencies?

If it is for emergency purposes, an EPIRB is the cheapest and most worthwhile "security blanket" you can have.

During our recent trip to the desert region of SA's north west, I lost reception about 30 km out of Coober Pedy and didn't regain it until 30 to 40 km from Olympic Dam/Roxby Downs on the CDMA phone. BUT, in between, at every minor township we went through and some Cattle Stations we visited, was a little device from Telstra. It was a telephone connected to a bloody great microwave antenna and only required the possession of a phone card, to call anywhere in the world.

In between, the EPIRB gave us the freedom to venture into the great outdoors, unrestricted by the lack of other communication devices.

If you need to verbally communicate with an individual at any time, the hire of a Satellite phone is the next most economical choice, but again you need to decide if it is only for emergencies or for regular conversation. If for rare/occasional use the most practical solution is the Motorola 9500 or 9505 satellite phone and a standard GSM mobile phone card which has had international roaming enabled. No plan needed. Just dial up and if you are outside of normal GSM reception, the phone will switch to satellite link automatically. It therefore doesn't matter if the call cost is higher than that with a contracted plan. Not unless you wish a ten minute conversation anyway.

To search for available phone hire companies in the NT, do a Google search, or check out the relevant yellow pages for the area you will start from. They should be readily available from Darwin or the Alice.

Bill


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