2 way satellite

Submitted: Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 09:58
ThreadID: 96633 Views:2821 Replies:2 FollowUps:29
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Can anyone help with some plus and minuses with 2 way satellite messaging "Inreach" v "Yellowbrick". Form what I can see one cost more but is more rugged and rechargable the other cheaper but limited battery life.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 14:51

Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 14:51
Are they similar products to SPOT messenger jlAU?

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: jlAU (SA) - Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 17:25

Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 17:25
yes but 2 way messaging
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 18:02

Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 18:02
Thanks jlAU - I Googled them but did not find full pricing structure of both. Can you post these costs from your comparisons?

From the Yellowbrick site, with the costs in UK currency, it seems there is a considerable purchase cost plus monthly fees which depend on the number of tracking positions transmitted per day. What about messenging sent? That no doubt would come at an additional download cost.

I would still prefer the flexibility of a satellite phone (which i have and needed to use when we had a breakdown in a remote location and parts sent by courier went astray). You can use these with a SIM card from a mobile phone on a plan (even a $10 per month casual plan) rather than take out a monthly fee plan with the satellite phone like we did. However the monthly fee included $10 of calls, so a few short calls home to say where we were was covered. I don't need people to track me - i will them them where i am when i want to.

Mh
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Follow Up By: jlAU (SA) - Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 18:27

Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 18:27
I've herd some of issues with voice over (bad reception) v text messages and I do want my family to track me and also emergency beacon in case of emergency. I still haven't ruled out the Sat phone. I'm just trying to way up all options.
Link below.
Yellowbrick About $800 AU plus $15/Month
http://g-layer.com.au/?page_id=112

InReach about $250 and $25/ month for limited messages
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 18:39

Monday, Jul 02, 2012 at 18:39
Thanks, i will look them up later when i get a chance.

I had some drop outs with my Motorola sat phone until a chance meeting with friends who turned up where we were stranded due to a change in their plans. Lady said not to use the small antenna, but always use the car antenna. She has hers on the car roof (strongly magnetic) and the cord shut in the door. Using it even when travelling she has no problems. I used mine several times a day for two weeks and it always worked well with the car antenna. Without the phone, it would have proved a very difficult and costly exercise for us.

Mh
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Follow Up By: G-Layer - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 09:39

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 09:39
Hi guys,

I'm John from G-layer.com , we're the yellowbrick distributor in aus. Please message me if you have any questions about the Yellowbrick3 tracker/messenger.

Fwiw, we've tested all the tracking devices we can get our hands on, and the yb3 blows the others away in terms of ruggedness and accuracy - like actually being able to get a message out in marginal locations (tree canopy/ canyons etc.)

Of course, I'm biased cause I sell them, but this reliability is why we decided to stock them. There's some reviews here:
http://g-layer.com.au/?page_id=296

and oz pricing is here:
http://g-layer.com.au/?page_id=112

Cheers,
John.


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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 17:11

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 17:11
Do I read it correctly that it is about $700 plus $12 per month plus about 15 cents for every time you mark a position?
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Follow Up By: jlAU (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 17:52

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 17:52
Something like that. Sounds about the same as the InReach but more expensive buy price but I believe the YB3 is more robust and more flexible. Still both are quite a bit cheaper than a Sat phone.
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Follow Up By: G-Layer - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 18:56

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 18:56
I've had a couple of enquiries so here's the yellowbrick3 prices in aud, inc gst:

Basic Model: $658.90
Includes tracking, basic messaging, basic alerts.

Standard : $768.90
Adds advanced messaging, bluetooth, app support for IOS, Android.

Pro: $878.90
Adds advanced alerts, waypoints, multiple device support

Corporate: $988.90
Adds encryption, multi language support.

Monthly fee:
for any single device: $12/month
For pro and corporate fleets: $22/month
This is the service fee only - is month to month, no contract.

Credits:
50 credits = $9 = 0.18 per credit
1000credits = $130 = 0.13 per credit.
Each message in or out is one credit, and each position report is one credit.

I hope that info is helpful
Cheers,
John.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 17:59

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 17:59
jlAU, are you eligible for a Government subsidy for a satellite phone based on days away from a terrestrial phone service? This can make a considerable difference to your equation. PM me if you would like the full details. Have you made a comparison to purchasing an IsatPhonePro on the Inmarsat network? They are considerably cheaper than those in the Iridium network, but there are other things that need to be considered in the balance. If not, a search here will bring you plenty of information.

Mh
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Follow Up By: jlAU (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 18:48

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 at 18:48
Hi MH
Satellite to me seems at least twice ass much to purchase and twice as much per month so Satellite is out for me I think. The others will give me piece of mind. I can at least send SMS when help is needed ( and get a reply) and send my position as required on how often I feel like it (eg 1/day or 4/Hr) I'm thinking $200/yr including Subscription. A whole lot more than that for a Sat phone?
JL
P.S. no subsidy for me but it wouldn't make any difference, Still a lot more expensive.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 08:37

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 08:37
$650 for the IsatphonePro and about $1 per min for calls. 2 year expiry on prepaid calls. No monthly fee. SMS/email possible. The phone has GPS and you can send coordinates.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 08:46

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 08:46
... and you can set the phone up to send a personal alert with coords. and a set message:

link
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Follow Up By: Member - pedro1 - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 10:29

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 10:29
Can't see the 2 year expiry on prepaid calls on the website -
Best is : 500 Minutes $550.00 365 Days.
Not cheap for using for a couple of months a year.
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Follow Up By: jlAU (SA) - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 10:51

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 10:51
Also from your link, company won't send to southern hem. No way of getting them in AU.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 11:16

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 11:16
We have a number of contributors here using the IsatPhonePro as their satellite phone. As i was not aware of the alert service that Sigmund has pointed out, i will ask to ascertain if anyone has found a way around that, however is i most likely not a service they were seeking in purchasing a satellite phone for emergencies and occasional contact with home.

There is a lot on good conformation building up in this thread - more different aspects than the usual oft ask question about satellite communications.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 13:11

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 13:11
Pedro, that was a US site, just outlining the alert service setup. Do a google for local suppliers and their terms, on IsatphonePro. There are a number. Some have backed away from a 2 year prepaid expiry but when I checked 4 weeks ago mine was still offering it.

Motherhen, I followed the instructions on that site to set up the alert service. Seem good except it has to be an SMS as the phonebook won't accept the length of an email address. Haven't tested it yet.

I bought mine in Jan. and used it on the recent outback trip for calls out and some 160 char max emails and it worked fine. But you have to bear in mind that signal strength can vary a lot in the same position and orientation, over a matter of minutes. Mine wouldn't register with the sat network late afternoons in the Channel country (prob. a matter of network load) but otherwise worked as advertised.

I've had a PLB and still have a Spot Messenger 2 which I take on overnight bushwalks and ski tours. The satphone obviously has duplex comms and with ageing parents I'm pleased to have the ability to get an emergency SMS or email.

Note that to use a landline to call one of these phones the costs are high depending on your service provider. $20 per min. with Telstra; less with some resellers of landline services ($16 or so with Westnet). But with the right website you can send free short emails and a user can then call you back.

Hope this helps.
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Follow Up By: Member - pedro1 - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 20:08

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 20:08
Back to the differences.
Looking at the various websites, Spot Connect has only one way communication where the other products are two way . Therefore for tracking purposes the two products Yellowbrick and Delorme are good options. Comparing them is like chalk and cheese. Both have strengths:

YellowBrick
Strengths –
Has a screen, External antenna possible, Monthly plan option, long life battery, able to create short messages if your smartphone is unavailable, 100s of predefined messages. Rugged
Weakness -
Incoming email addresses have to be preregistered on website,
Battery is not user replaceable,You are charged for every tracking position reported. No emergency call to Search & Rescue, More Expensive to own

Delorme InReach
Strengths -
Emergency call to Search & Rescue, Minimum 4 mth plan , no fee for tracking, Uses AA batteries, Cheap to own
Weakness -
Only 3 predefined messages if your smartphone is unavailable, shorter battery life than YB

I did a rough calculation for costs over 4 years for all products using the smartphone option , assuming I will use it for 3 months of the year.
Spot Connect - $863.05
Delorame InReach- $883
Yellowbrick - $1055.70
Isatphone Pro Prepaid Plan ( 75 minute a year ) - $1225
Please correct me if any of the info is incorrect !




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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 20:39

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 20:39
Spot Messenger 2: unit is about $200 and then USD115 X 4. OK, it's simplex not duplex, so just good for OKs and emergency call-outs.

IsatPhonePro: unit is around $650. Calls on current offer on your scheme maybe $400. But you can talk with this unit, which sets it apart from the rest, as well as send out predefined msgs and coords, receive and send short SMSs and emails cheaply. Folk can email you direct for free.

You have to compare apples with apples to be fair.
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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 20:40

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 20:40
Hi Pedro,

how does the cost of Spot Connect get up to $863.05, by your calculations?

Steve
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Follow Up By: Member - pedro1 - Friday, Jul 06, 2012 at 16:50

Friday, Jul 06, 2012 at 16:50
Sigmund
I agree with your thoughts re value of Sat phone however I did assume the main function required for the product was for tracking purposes.

eighty matey
$111 is annual fee , $48 is additional fee for tracking service

Spot Connect
Yr 1 $227.05 Purchase price
$111
$48
Yr 2 $111
$48
Yr 3 $111
$48
Yr 4 $111
$48

Total $ 863.05
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Jul 06, 2012 at 18:09

Friday, Jul 06, 2012 at 18:09
What I do with Spot Messenger 2 is just sub to the basic service, not the tracking service, and send an OK msg each night. So $$ as above.

You only need Spot Connect if you want to customise your msgs on the fly. And you need a smartphone for that as well so factor those costs in as well.

With Messenger I can online, before heading out and while out there with a phone as modem internet connection customise the OK msg and the custom msg to suit my needs.

So 'OK' says just that and includes coords and time. Custom msg says 'I'm OK but delayed'. You can also add your own msg on the 'Help' button. Mine tells the family that things have gone pear-shaped and S0S has been sent. The latter means the key family contact will be approached about my plans to make sure it's not BS and it also means that AMSA will get called.

Over and out.
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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:09

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:09
Thanks for your info Pedro and Sigmund.

You helped us a lot.

Regards,
Steve
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:32

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:32
Happy to help.

slAU, you may want to 2x check that Connect is duplex.

I can't see any evidence for it.Click me
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:53

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:53
Sorry, should've been jlAU.

Just to add re SPOT devices: as always you need a decent horizon to connect. With the OK msg, you have to allow 25 mins to be sure the msg goes out. If the unit can't get a fix from the GPS it will still try to send a msg without coords. So if you're lying in the bottom of a gorge you may be out of luck.

My unit has on 2 occasions been 400-600 metres out. That can put you either side of a steep ridge in mountainous country and make it hard for S&R.

Given the nature of the sat and comms constellations, a PLB/EPIRB is still the gold std for an SOS device but obviously it's single purpose.

Re sat comms, there are 4 constellations covering Aus and they vary in their reception. Using a Telstra SIM in an Iridium-connected phone is a simple and cheap solution for many but my readings on the web show many users dissatisfied with drop-outs.

There is now also a Thuraya dual GSM/Sat phone with GPS on the market which helps to simplify your kit but I don't know how that constellation performs.
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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:59

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 09:59
Hi Sigmund,

we have ordered a Spot2 and we're also getting an Emergency Strobe Beacon.

We can send for help if we need it, let family know where we are and they can track us, so if we do send an SOS are latest position has been recorded.

We decided against the Spot Connect because the "smartphone" has a short battery life and we don't have to have more plugged in than we have to. The Spot Connect can just do it thing on the dash.

Thanks again,
Steve
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 10:12

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 10:12
I think that's the best simple, simplex, option.

AMSA have an agreement with the owners of SPOT to respond to their alerts.

The unit has a low drain on the batteries (but you must use Lithiums); it can run for 7 days with a clear sky in full-time tracking mode.

It meets a standard for rough use/conditions but is not all that robust in the buttons department.

You can add a bunch of email or SMS recipients of messages in your online account; I include my own so that when I get home I can see on Google Maps where I've transmitted from.

SOSs get priority and are quicker than the 25 mins allowable for non-urgent messages.

It uses Globalstar comms sats and a couple of years ago the coverage was significantly upgraded with a set of 2nd gen sats.

I have in the past been critical of msg lags and inaccuracy on several occasions but once you know the limits the device works as advertised.

It would be good to see a Spot3 with an LCD coords read-out along with coords format and map datum options.

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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 13:01

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 13:01
We travel with a Spot2 and are happy with it. The only occasion on which the message did not go was on a very wet afternoon south of Thargomindah when I didn't give it enough time to penetrate the cloud layer. I have it set to send a text message to my phone so that if I am in a Telstra Next G area I know the message has gone out. That was for the OK message, of course. We have not needed it for an emergency. It does give a feeling of security, particularly for our children.
Cheers,
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 19:33

Saturday, Jul 07, 2012 at 19:33
Thanks very much Kevin.
I appreciate your feedback.

Steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 10:44

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 10:44
My pleasure eighty matey. Just one more point. You would know this, but for the information of other readers, we use the free to members EO Track Me facility which my blog audience love and that our family watch. It is a great back up if the OK signal doesn't send for some reason. In the instance I mentioned in the previous post, when my son did not receive the expected text message he checked the EO web site and could see that we had arrived.
As we were new to remote travel we had advised the folk at Kilcowera Station (they are EO members) that they could watch us on EO Track Me. It unexpectedly rained heavily on the day of travel and they knew that we would be ploughing through mud on the Dowling Track so they watched our progress. It was good to know that if we did not turn up they would be able to check to see where the line stopped crawling across the map.We arrived very mud covered but had a great stay.
Cheers,
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - pedro1 - Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 11:11

Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 11:11
It is interesting to note advances in technology re Sigmunds comments :

"It would be good to see a Spot3 with an LCD coords read-out along with coords format and map datum options. "

I now have 3 portable devices that give me my GPS position
Panasonic ZS20 Lumix Camera, Tom Tom , and my old Magellian GPS.
Now when I am lost, least I know where I am lost !.

Re my research , I managed to get a secondhand Iridium 9555
for $750 ( been used for only 6 minutes in its life ) combine that with my existing
Next G Sim card means my total cost will be $750 for the 4 years timeframe
Of course I will be probably be up for replacement battery at some stage.
But as it is for only emergency use, it may hopefully never be used ...

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