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M SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 2 - Satellite Phones

by Rex Sanders

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Article Summary:

Satellite phones have been available for decades. The earliest "portable" satellite phones were transported in several suitcases, and required hours of set up time, including unfolding a large dish antenna. Second-generation "briefcase" satellite phones can be set up in a few minutes, but must remain stationary to be used.

Satellite phones practical for lightweight backpacking appeared in 1998 using the Iridium and Globalstar satellite systems, followed by Thuraya, Inmarsat and Terrestar. See Part 1 for a description of these satellite systems.

This Part 2 covers satellite phones suitable for lightweight backpacking. Part 3 covers two-way satellite text-only devices. All the information in this series comes from vendor web sites and online reviews, except for the "Personal experience" sections.


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