Submitted: Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 16:43
ThreadID: 6568 Views:1971 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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Hi All
I am in the throes of planning an extended trip to Cape York next year. One of the many things on the agenda is communications. While at least one of the party will have HF, I was thinking it would probably be a good idea to hire a satphone. My question is in several parts:
1. Of the three satellite services in Australia (INMARSAT, Globalstar-Vodaphone, and IRIDIUM) which has the best coverage?
2. Is it possible to hire a satphone in Cairns?
3. What are the ballpark cost eg per week per call etc for one of these things.
4. Some are handheld other are briefcase size - are the handheld ones as good as the bigger sets.
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Reply By: Solo - Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 18:37

Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 18:37
Hi, just returned from extended tour up the Cape right to the top.
Honest answer, you do not need one, I have been down this road. Too many others on all the roads/tracks, including OTL and short cuts like the
Batavia Downs, and track accrost Palmerville-Mitchell River. Only track never saw a nother vehical on was the CRAB.
AnswerID: 27922

Reply By: brad fnq - Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 20:00

Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 20:00
I travel the Cape a lot for work. We have tried all manner of sat phones. Consensus is that iridium (telstra) is the best. WIth others (globalstar) on many occasions tree cover and/or cloud has prevented use. Also they are often unable to pick up a satelitte while moving. The iridium (due to lower satelittes) uses less power, punches thru cover and works on the move.

Handheld new iridiums are better than the 5kg old style briefcase one - particularly with the external magnetic arial.

The plan we are on is $1.80 per minute. I don't know rental costs.

You can hire them in Cairns.

While I agree there are not many places on the tourist route you won't see another car (70 cars a day on average go up the peninsula road) I like the safety factor when going to truly remote places.

What has improved is CDMA coverage. Most towns/communities have good CDMA coverage up to about 25km from the repeater.

My advice if your concern is safety is to buy an epirb and put it in the back of the car and only use it for the greatest of emergencies. Then hire a satphone if you are going truly remote i.e. you have permission to go into traditional lands or some of the cattle stations.

Unfortunately the Cape isn't as remote as many of us would like.
AnswerID: 27935

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 20:42

Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 20:42
Patrol, I am guessing you live near QBN?
Watts communication in Fyshwick hire out handheld Satphones (Globalstar).
I used one of theirs over Easter and had faultless performance from QBN to Yuendumu and back. $120 per week and about $2 per minute. If you are doing an extended trip it would be better to buy one and sell it when you get back.Bob
AnswerID: 27943

Reply By: Stephen - Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 23:00

Thursday, Aug 14, 2003 at 23:00
Sat phones in the outback are about as useful as tits on a bull....
AnswerID: 27971

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Friday, Aug 15, 2003 at 11:19

Friday, Aug 15, 2003 at 11:19
Are these words of wisdom??? - care to elaborate Stephen or pass on personal experience ............... Your post in its current form is about as useful as tits on a bull.Moggs ( Normanhurst NSW)
FollowupID: 19357

Reply By: Patrol22 (Queanbeyan - Friday, Aug 15, 2003 at 10:06

Friday, Aug 15, 2003 at 10:06
Thanks everyone for your advice.......

AnswerID: 27994

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