ntscout, et al,
First let me say that I'm NOT anti-satellite in ANY way!!!
And, that I love Iridium!!
But, allow me to give you some insight in how some things differ and why these differences may be important to some users...
Originally Posted by ntscout
Seems like a great deal if the service
quality is there.
The differences between operations of a data burst reporting device, like a Spot device....and a duplex voice device, like a phone (landline, cellular, or satphone), is that while outages, sporadic coverage, signals that are there one minute and not there a minute or two later, etc. cause little problems for the data burst devices, especially when the satellites can do a "store-and-forward" of the data received from the device once the satellite is again in range of a ground station....
But, this type of approach is not viable for a voice conversation, such as you have in a phone call....
And, while Iridium uses many satellites and inter-satellite linking, and transfers of calls / data from one satellite to another (just like the terrestrial cellular phone network)....Globalstar does NOT do this, and their satellites (and hence Spot's satellite connection) must be within good line-of-sight view, and significant signal strengths, of you the phone user AND an appropriate ground station, at the same time...so, of course when the signals disappear (either from the phone to satellite or satellite to ground station), the phone call terminates!!
So, sailorboy, unfortunately the answer is no..
As onestep and others have shown, even in areas of supposed good - excellent coverage, actual telephone connections are problematic...
Originally Posted by sailorboy1
So if I understand the responses the answer is that it a good deal if you area going to be in an area with coverage. Is that what people are saying?
Originally Posted by onestepcsy37
But even in areas with coverage the coverage isnt 100%, as friends of ours in the Bahamas
discovered. When they did connect, which was most of the time, the call would drop within a minute or two.
I'm not saying that a "Spot Phone" or Globalstar
phone doesn't work, as if the didn't, they'd never sell any nor actually have any customers.....but just trying to point out the technical facts of why some that say a "Spot device works great, so their phone must as well" are mistaken...
If you can live with occasional service and some dropped calls, etc. even in areas that supposedly have "good coverage", then a Spot Phone might be a usable piece of gear
But, if you are looking for a reliable telephone connection in remote/unserved areas and/or when out offshore
/ across the ocean, etc. then your choices are:
--- HF Radio
(i.e. "Marine SSB" or even "ham radio")
Now, specific to your question regarding Spot's promotion...
Originally Posted by ntscout
SPOT is running a rebate program where you can obtain a $499 rebate on the phone making it essentially free. They have an unlimited plan for $150.00 per month. Seems like a great deal if the service quality is there.
Even if the service was there, I'm not sure I'm say $150/month is a great deal....at least in my opinion, it's not...
And, since I don't know where you are at, where you are sailing, nor what you need/application is for a satellite phone
is, I cannot offer an opinion if this would work for you or not....
But, just assuming you're the typical cruiser or ocean sailor....the answer is, a Spot phone and service will probably be a waste of money/effort for you....
If you need reliable telephone service when out-of-range of terrestrial cellular/mobile networks, and are within 5000 miles of either the US Gulf Coast
or US pacific NW coast, or within 5000 miles of the Australian coasts, then you can use marine
for both commercial/business calls and personal calls (via Shipcom Radio's WLO/KLB, and the Australian HF-SSB-Radiotelephone network), for cheap
telephone calls....($0.99/minute, no phone to buy, nor service to subscribe to)....
HF SSB Radiotelephone Email, Fax, Satellite Marine Messages, Telex Sitor & Marine Weather Services
HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels
Or, you could use HF ham radio
for NON-business/NON-commercial calls....for free...
Or, if there is some other specific need for a sat phone, then I'd recommend Iridium.....
Sorry, if this info is a bit dry....and I didn't give 'ya a clear answer.....but the real answer will depend on where you are at, where you are sailing, and what your specific need/application is for a satellite phone
But, I do hope my info will help you out...
Here is a short video, showing a live, real-world, demonstration, of a Ship-to-Shore radiotelephone call (they also do shore-to-ship calls, offshore
and hi-seas weather
, HF-DSC, etc.)
For more info/instruction in Offshore Weather
, HF Radio
calling, etc. have a look at these Youtube Playlists...