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Old 17-09-2008, 22:48   #1
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Handheld satellite phones

I am looking to buy a handheld satellite phone, not only to take with me on board, but also on hiking and camping trips.
I had a look at Iridium and a few others, but it is hard for me to decide. I simply don't know enough about them.

Any suggestions what to look for, or feedback on specific models which would be good for my purpose?

Thanks in advance,
Andreas
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Old 18-09-2008, 10:47   #2
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Rent one and see how it works for you. Between cell phones and SSB I don't personally have any need for a sat phone.
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Old 18-09-2008, 10:59   #3
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Iridium is the only real worldwide sat phone. Globalstar is very patchy offshore and anywhere outside N America.

I used an Iridium phone for several years for downloading emails. I used mailasail.com compression software. If you don't then you'll find it expensive!

You may also find the new Spot Messenger (based on Globalstar) useful if you only want to let people know where you are and as an emergency phone. Again I used that successfully to keep family informed of our position when doing the Swiftsure this year.

Hope this helps

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Old 18-09-2008, 11:03   #4
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I have a friend with an Iridium phone he uses while cruising the Pacific. He says he uses it primarily to get his emails and secondarily so he can phone home to say hello or to order things. The price per minute is astronomical though. As for camping, I think a cell phone (where you can get reception) or a hand held Ham, business radio or a FRS radio might be more cost effective.
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Old 18-09-2008, 18:29   #5
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Thank you all for your input. I think I will go for the Iridium, as I am only going to be using it for emergencies and short calls to let the home front know I am ok. The better coverage, makes the difference for me.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:29   #6
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We have had an Iridium for 5+ years and are very happy with it. It worked perfectly in the Bahamas through 2 hurricanes while globalstar did not. While it seems expensive it is less per minute than our cellphone down there. Plus there are still spots in the US that have no cell phone coverage and we live in one so when we go jeeping we take the sat phone with us. We buy our minutes through Satellite Phone - Satellite Equipment and Services - Inmarsat, Iridium, Thuraya, VSAT and if you buy new minutes before your old ones expire you keep the old ones. We usually use the sat phone to call the voice mail for our cell to see if we have any emergency messages. For email, there is usually internet access around but if there's not we use skymate wireless which has a base charge of 18.00 per month.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:38   #7
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I will second the iridium sat phone. Used it for a crossing and around the islands. It is not affected by local power outages. There are many areas here that do not have cell coverage. By your minutes in bulk and it can get as low as 89 cents. I use satellite outfitter. I bought the data package and a marine mount fixed antenna.
We have used the phone in iraq with out any problems.
I now take it on most of our foriegn travels.

Mike
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