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  • Satellite Phones

    Globalstar is now offering an annual North American unlimited minutes calling plan for under $50 a month. Add in a QualComm phone for under $500 and the Satellite phone begins to look like a reasonable emergency communication tool. Outfitting both the family cars with such a kit still isn't cheap but worth considering if you also camp outside of cell range.

    Having never used a SAT phone my question becomes is it reliable? What can I expect if I invest in this technology? Anything you wish to share would be appreciated.

  • #2
    I am by no means an expert on Comms but it seems to me that digital signals and fractal pattern antennas have greatly improved signal integerity since the 1990's. Sat Comm phones are now an everyday part of location news broadcasting. Sat Comm should be as viable as GPS service. Still, if it is a war situation those sats may quickly disappear.
    Last edited by kenno; 11-04-2008, 07:31 AM.
    The road to serfdom is paved with free electric golf carts.

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    • #3
      My only experience with sat phones has been talking to some folks who were in the sandbox (I was on a land line). There was the minor delay in communication (bouncing signal off sat. I guess). Don't know if weather (clouds, heavy rain, etc) would have any effect like it does with sat tv and sat internet. My guess is as long as you have a clear view of the sky you would be good to go.
      ENJOY AND STAY SAFE

      TEOTWAWKI happens to all of us everyday. Always be prepared!

      P.A.W.T. = PROUD AMERICAN WHITE TRASH

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      • #4
        Sat phones are pretty neat and there is a high cost, but even that is coming down. Going to the Amazon, the Congo or Nepal??? Probably worth the money if you need to stay in touch...

        If you want or need help a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon ) like http://www.tigergps.com/spotsm.html?...gps|2575730864 or http://www.acrelectronics.com/PLBorig/gypsi.html is a cheaper and easier method to ONLY call for help. The SPOT unit also offers some neat tracking features to let your loved ones track you @ home...

        Sat phones work very well. Have used the older briefcase style and some of the newer ones with the large antenna built in on the headset. Like nitehawg said, there is a delay with them but not too bad, just annoying until you get used to it.

        There used to be places where you could rent them from and that would be my option if I needed one for a few days or weeks...

        For the money though, IMHO you cannot beat Ham radio. It does take more effort than dialing a number and rquires you to earn a license as well as the person you wish to talk to, but works ANYWHERE. All you need is the one time radio purchases to fill your needs, and a license renewal every 10 years (less than $15).

        Take a look @ http://www.aprs.org/ for info on messaging and map tracking.

        Not pushing Ham Radio on anyone, but it is very versatile tool :cool:
        73

        later,
        ZA

        Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to
        beat you to death with it because it is empty.

        The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

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        • #5
          ZA,
          Good information. I believe there are certain times during the day when signals are degraded based upon the Globalstar satellites being available. For someone like myself who spends 98% of my time in cellular range the ability of a SAT phone to utilize this as well as satellites is a bonus.

          To be frank I just don't use a phone that often anyway. If I could replace my cell phone with a SAT/Cell phone I would be a very happy camper....literally, lol.

          My concern with HAM is will I carry it? I have never owned one so I can't say I have been terribly motivated to learn/test for the certification. Same with the GPRS radios and certificate. HAM could well be THE solution for hardcore survival communication but at this point it isn't what I need.

          What I need is something my wife will use in an emergency when her cell phone will not work. I am not ready to drop the grand required for SAT phones but I am intrigued.

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          • #6
            Well some of the Ham radios that one would use to talk from remote areas are much larger than the handheld sat phone. The ham radio works well in a vehicle or portable base camp style in this instance. The handhelds you see are mainly for the LOCAL comms of line of sight and repeater use, but their range can be extended with amps and/or antennas...

            So you are correct, there is alot of stuff to ham radio vs. sat phones in knowing how to use them. The main advantage is that the ham radio requires no infrastructure to work, whereas a sat phone is useless without the sats, downlink and landline infrastructure.

            Not slamming ANY communication method here, just covering all the bases. Pick what is right for you:)

            If I could get a Sat smartphone with WAP internet capabilities (soon to follow I am sure) I would like to own one:D
            73

            later,
            ZA

            Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to
            beat you to death with it because it is empty.

            The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

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