Satellite Phone recs
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Brendan Murphy
(mbmurphy777) - MLife
Satellite Phone recs on 07/18/2007 19:32:35 MDT Print View

Anyone have any recs for satellite phone rentals from any particular company? There are several online available for reasonable rates... has anyone tried any of them?

I plan on going into the N. Cascades area in August and my wife is insisting that I take one, just in case.

Edited by mbmurphy777 on 07/18/2007 19:33:54 MDT.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/18/2007 21:13:30 MDT Print View

I have a GlobalStar phone. I don't really like it. You need an exceptionally clear sky to get reception most of the time (nearly 180 deg totally open view). I bought it last December to try out, mainly so I could keep my wife aware of changes to my plans on-the-fly. It is somewhat useful for that, as cell phone coverage is poor in southern Utah, where I'm frequently going for my outside adventures.

It won't be practical for your wife to call you. The antenna needs to be out and the phone on. She could SMS message you for free. Then you return the call. However, there is a huge chance that you won't be able to call her on a daily basis and she may then just worry more.

I believe a PLB is a better choice overall to decrease your wife's concerns than a satellite phone.

In the Colorado Rockies, at the top of peaks, you can almost aways get cell phone reception. I don't know about the Cascades.

Craig

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/18/2007 22:19:03 MDT Print View

If you're going to rent a phone for the trip, then it's probably going to be a function of what is available.

One question you need to address is how often do you plan on calling? If you're only going to use this for an emergency, then you may not need spare batteries. On the other hand, most of these phones draw a fair amount of current, and don't last that long, particularly if you're going to be gone for more than a week.
You could carry spare batteries, or a solar charger, which can be very light, just a few ounces. I like the solar charger option.

I have an Iridum phone, and it works reasonably well, lighter would be nicer, but it's a good option. You can call for help, early pickup, or just status or say hi. You can accept incoming phone calls without burning the batteries by setting a predetermined time to turn it on for say 10 minutes.

One nice thing about all of the LEO, Low Earth Orbit satellite systems is that in a deep canyon or other obstructed area, you can typically at least get a quick call out, where with the Geosynchronous satellites, you can be out of luck.

Per the comment about using a PLB /EPIRB, these also work well in a real emergency, and typically are lighter than sat phones. There is no middle ground activating one of these beacons: If you really need it, then activate it. If you're anything from homesick or want a different pickup, it is of no use to you. The beacons only send a message of where your at and that you need immediate help.



One other note: You need to get the direct phone number for the local rescue / fire /ems / police for the particular area(s) that you would be in, as 911 from a satellite phone may not get you who you think you're going to call (or anywhere at all). If you call 911 and asking them what their direct dial number will probally only yield a 'what?' / 'just dial 911' response. In most places, there is a non-emergency number that is a direct dial number that gets you to the same call center.


Hope that helps,
MikeB

Edited by eaglemb on 07/18/2007 22:26:28 MDT.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/19/2007 08:40:02 MDT Print View

As Mike said, a PLB is not the same, but from the perspective of satisfying a worried wife, it can be a big step toward addressing the same need.

Craig

Brendan Murphy
(mbmurphy777) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/24/2007 18:48:59 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice.

Any particular PLB recommended?

Now she wants me to get both. LOL

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Re: Re: Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/24/2007 21:40:43 MDT Print View

Here's the problem: Compact PLB's are so new, that very few people have actually used them successfully. Further, there are virtually -0- options to test them, as bells go off and lights flash when one of these gets activated.
The good news is they're all about a pound or less, and run for 1 to 2 days in non freezing weather.

The best suggestion I can offer is to Google / Dogpile PLB comparisons, throw out the obviously manufactured comparisons and make notes from there.

REI might have someone that has good background with these, but again, very few people have actually used PLB's.

The specs should be a pretty good guide, but the real proof will be in several years after there have been a number of legit deployments.

I hope this helps. I don't own one of these, but at down to 10 oz for solo hiking, they look pretty cool.

MikeB

Edited by eaglemb on 07/24/2007 21:55:18 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/24/2007 22:02:53 MDT Print View

www.andrewskurka.com is using the mcmurdo fastfind.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Re: Re: Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/24/2007 22:27:53 MDT Print View

I have the McMurdo Fastfind, 11 ounces (with built in GPS). It is waterproof made for falling into the ocean and then using it. I like it's looks and built better than the ACR (I have both). Never needed to use them but carry the McMurdo FastFind for peace of mind--I will not need to ever cut my hand off with one!

Brendan Murphy
(mbmurphy777) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Satellite Phone recs on 07/25/2007 07:15:40 MDT Print View

LOL.

Thanks (he probably would have lost that arm anyway though).