Satellite Phones

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 08:50
ThreadID: 3951 Views:1853 Replies:8 FollowUps:5
This Thread has been Archived
The big Question.....Sat phone or HF?

Just looking at the long range comms options...HF $3000 one off fee or Sat phone, on going costs.

Globalstar network with vodaphone sounds pretty attractive. A $1200 phone, on a $50/month plan that you can use in GSM mode as well.

The calls are a bit exy in Sat mode, but hey its only for emergency/essential use so what the hell, what is your safety worth?

Is the Satphone a reliable form of comms, even in a handheld???
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Clarry - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 11:16

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 11:16
There is some comment on that subject at www.vks737.on.net (via the sitemap page).
AnswerID: 15661

Reply By: Mario - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 11:57

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 11:57
G'day dolfn

I went through the same exercise about 18 months ago. The sat phone beats the HF hands down. (Though, you will get the usual "Engel-Waeco , Nissan-Toyota, Cooper-BFG" type arguments until the cows come home!

Forget Global Star. It's unreliable and the system is down/not working quite a bit. The Iridium network (recently bailed out of insolvency by the US military that decided they had a close future need for access to a sat phone network....can't imagine where!!!! and run by Motorala in the US of A ).

Connected via Telstra is the way to go. It's NEVER EVER let me down be it in Central Australia, SW Tasmania, Cape York, the Kamchatka bleepula inthe wilds of far western Russia or in the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia (far southern Argentina). ET can phone home (and be phoned) anywhere any time! Can a HF radio do this?

So you can't "have a chat" , or experience the social aspects of a HF radio network? Well, it depends what you want. My phone is a piece of safety equipment like an EPIRB or a GPS and I use it as such. It's a serious piece of high-tech kit. The only thing that stops it is wet thick rainforest canopy. Though, once you've got a view of the sky, you're back in business. The sat phones are not subject to the atmospheric interference that the HF radios are.

You can use the phone in your vehicle (12V car adaptor is standard, as is a magnetic roof aerial) or carry it in your pack. Can you do this with your average (new) approx. $4000 HF radio?

You can get a Motorola 9500 (first generation) sat phone from Telstra for $995 or a Motorola 9505 (second generation-slightly smaller) phone for $1995. I'm on a Casual Plan which is $28 per month and calls at $1.98 per minute. If you pay about $49 a month the call rate drops to half.

When I'm out climbing or trekking in very remote areas I use my sat phone like like a radio. It's turned on for an hour each morning and an hour each night. Message bank takes care of any calls in between. Of course, I can turn it on any time to make a call. If you have on in a car, you can have it on all the time.

I carry 2 spare batteries as well as the one in the phone which gives me about 80 hours stand by time and 8-9 hours talk time. I had comms for 6 weeks while driving (24V Russian diesels, so no car charger) in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan and could speak briefly to my wife everynight to let her know I was still OK.

I leave my sat phone number with a number of people ranging from the house sitter to the Maritime Safety Bureau (the S&R organisation that will respond aircraft to go look for you if you're overdue). I also have a laminated sheet with all relevant phone numbers in the area I'm going into (Police; RFDS; Fuel, mechanical and recovery; Nat Parks etc.

If you live in a remote area (eg The Kimberly) there is a fed gov rebate of about $1000.

When I looked into the cost effectiveness, the sat phone won hands down. Do a serious analysis of what service you need and see which unit fits the bill for you. I got my phone second hand and I will need to have used it for five+ years (including calls) before the cost comes anywhere near the cost of an new HF radio. Lets face it, HF is old technology.

Ever had something knocked off out of your vehicle in an Alice Springs car park? HF Radios are commonly stolen there (personally, I can't imagine why), a sat phone fits in a backpack, handbag or sits on the belt(a bit pretentious) can a vehicle mounted HF do this?

Hope this helps. Cheers
Mario
AnswerID: 15667

Follow Up By: Voxson - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 13:54

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 13:54
you have sold me.....
i have been contemplating which one of the two....but now i am not.._____________________________________________
Countin the days till July 5th. *Cape York Trip*
_____________________________________________
0
FollowupID: 9542

Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 16:59

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 16:59
Ha ha ha. The censoring software thought that when you said the word for a long pointy piece of land you were referring to the male organ. Did you misspell peninsula? If not then what I just said will come out as bleepula. Hello to everyone on the Mornington bleepula.
0
FollowupID: 9552

Follow Up By: Jayson - Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 00:52

Friday, Mar 21, 2003 at 00:52
My Motorola 9505 Iridium phone on the Telstra $28/month plan is the ducks guts (cost me $895 with the $1100 govt rebate compared to $4500 for a new Codan). I've lived in Karratha for nine years and came here to start my career as a surveyor. I've used satphone comms since its commencement. My wife works for Conservation and Land Management and although they use HF (on their own network) they still have a satphone for mobile comms on boating and island visits for mobility. Having been through the pros and cons of both HF and satphone that is the best selling point of satphones - mobility.
I send it down to my folks in Perth for their trip across the nullabor and to my in-laws who are walking the Bibbulmum track, all for a $10 post bag. Even though it's just turned off most of the time (to not destroy the peace and quiet) you don't even need message bank because people can SMS the motorola with a message you'll get when you turn it on.
I do a lot of shooting and walking long distances away from my vehicle (new facelifted TD 100 series currently having a new engine put in it because of a cracked head - courtesy of Toyota of course) and the Camel Back, GPS and satphone are THE best safety combination along with the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum Sendero SF for terminating ferallys.
0
FollowupID: 9591

Follow Up By: Paul - Sunday, Apr 06, 2003 at 20:27

Sunday, Apr 06, 2003 at 20:27
Mario

You also sold me on the idea (around Oz for 9 mths in May)

Thanks
0
FollowupID: 10594

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:14

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:14
Mario is right of course, the satphone provides more reliable and convenient communication. But then bitumen roads would be more reliable and convenient than the tracks we use in the bush. While driving up and down the dunes of the French Line a few years ago the satphone rang and it was the mother of one of the guys in the group ringing to say Happy Birthday. It sort of destroyed the ambience of the Desert. The HF radio on the other hand seems to fit the scene a bit better. The communication is less reliable, many people listen in to the comms etc As Mario said its what you need. If you need to have reliable voice contact at all times the satphones the go. If you want to get away from it all, but still have a reliable means of emergency comms, and maybe want to chat to the VKS737 network then get the radio. On our upcoming Easter trip we will have both phone and HF, but the phone will be stowed out of the way with the Epirb, so as not to wreck the isolation of the trip.
AnswerID: 15698

Reply By: ERIC from Cape York Connections - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:57

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 17:57
DOLFFN
WE USE HF AND NEVER REALLY HAD AN TROUBLES.
I MAKE PHONE CALLS FROM MY HF VIA RADTEL IN NEWCASTLE.
CALL COST IS ABOUT 90 CENTS PER MIN .
ALSO THE VKS NETWORK IS HANDY WHEN ON TOUR TO FIND OUT WHAT TRAKS ARE OPEN OR CLOSED.
ALSO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM OUT THERE YOU CAN CALL VKS AND 9 OUT OF TEN TIMES SOME ONE IS CLOSE BY AND COME TO YOUR HELP.
FOR EMERGANCIES YOU CAN CALL THE FLYING DOC.

ALL THE BEST ERICCape York Connections
AnswerID: 15702

Reply By: sean - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 20:59

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 20:59
Whatever you do do not buy vodaphone if you want reliavel comms.

Do a search on this site for previous posts

Sean
AnswerID: 15725

Reply By: bushbikie - Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 23:04

Thursday, Mar 20, 2003 at 23:04
Hi dolfn!

Just my two cents worth - satphone is handy for calling someone direct - but there is no substitute for broadcasting your problems, using HF, when you're stuck below the highwater mark and the tide's rollin' in.

Good luck with whatever you decide to use and I hope you never have to use them for an emergency.

Cheers!
AnswerID: 15747

Follow Up By: sean - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 09:55

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 09:55
UHF might be better here. HF is not the best for the shorter disances.

Sean
0
FollowupID: 9654

Reply By: rugs - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 14:18

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 14:18
My advice to remote travellers is to avoid hf radio like the plague. There have been many times I've been able to receive only overseas stations on my hf transceiver.
My iridium sat phone has always worked when needed. I expect personal insults from the hf protagonists for this comment but don't care if it saves others from the mega bucks I've wasted on hf radio.
AnswerID: 15854

Reply By: Darrin - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 10:09

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 10:09
I have an Iridium sat phone. It is a great piece of gear. Have had HF before found it difficult to get out when I wanted to.

My point today though is I am based in Cairns we have a shop here called Teletalk(07 40402000) they will connect your Iridium sat phone with no connection fee or contracts. I use the $28 a month deal $1.98min. There are other rates with cheaper call charges. All other dealers I have come across have 12 and 18 month contracts which is a bit expensive if you only want it connected for a trip or two each year.
AnswerID: 15962

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)