View Full Version : Satellite phones
10-30-2003, 08:47 PM
Anybody have any real-world experience with satellite phones? I'm particularly interested in the Alaska area, but all feedback is appreciated.
10-30-2003, 09:06 PM
I have used the Iridium system all over the Seward Peninsula while doing geology work. Some friends who I used to work with have used them all the way up to the high arctic and the North Pole. Calls between Iridium phones are relatively reasonable. Often calls between iridium and regular phones are prohibiitvely expensive. From what everyone I have talked to has told me, Iridium is the only way to go in AK as there is complete coverage
10-30-2003, 09:37 PM
I live in Lake Clark Nastional Park and all I have are sat phones. I have both Globalstar and Iridium.
When Iridium went bankrukpt I bought the Globalstar. Now I use the Iridium hardwired to an antenna as my cabin phone. I'd say tha with few dropped calls now. Expensive, but worth it when you need it.
I kept the globalstar since it is still completely mobile. My answer service is on it and it uses a real phone number - with a Texas area code- instead of an international number like Iridium. The Globalstar stays in the cub as the survival gear. I'd guess that the coverage works about 40 to 50 percent of the time.
10-30-2003, 09:38 PM
You may also note from all the typos that I still use an oil lamp.
10-30-2003, 10:08 PM
I have an Iridium that I carry in the cub all the time. I live on Unimak island, so am flying there and the lower Ak peninsula mostly. About once a month or so I call home from somewhere to make sure it works... it always does. It's kind of expensive, but I consider it like insurance, and it makes me feel safer flying around in an area without much help close by. And it's great if the fishing's good and you need to call home to let them know you'll be late, or to call ahead if the weather is getting marginal. Out here there's no other way.
10-30-2003, 10:45 PM
I've used both Iridium and Globalstar. Iridium, although more expensive, WORKS. I hate the Globalstar cutting out EVERY single time I am on a Call. And it Always does. The Iridiums I have used Never did.
I'm getting an Iridium for myself whenever I can afford it.
10-30-2003, 10:56 PM
Thank you, Gentlemen,
You have all reaffirmed what the local dealer told me. Iridium is expensive, but you can count on it. Globalstar says they're installing a new "gateway," that will cover all the state, but won't guarantee it. Last winter I was 140 miles from the truck on a snow-go, with one other guy, and thought "what if one of us breaks down." There would be no riding double where we were. We've all been in places like that in our planes. My wife directed me to either stay close or buy a satellite phone. Iridium, here I come.
11-03-2003, 11:37 PM
Your wife is a wise lady. The Iridium is the way to go. I've used both, and if you go north of Fairbanks, the Iridium always works, the Globalstar rarely does.
11-21-2003, 08:31 AM
I just tried to use the GlobalStar while I was in Florida. It should work well here - right. It took me about 10 minutes to get a signal strong enough to call and was put on hold with a "your call is being processed notice" for several more. When I finally broke through they treated my call as a roaming cell phone call. Now how can you roam on a sat phone? None-the-less they also wanted me to punch in a major credit card number --LOL! Wonder If I can get two Iridiums on the same number and billing, one for the cabin and one for the airplane?
Yepper, Iridium is a cool tool. You can also get a CD to load up your laptop, if you use one, and use your computer anywhere in the bush. Works pretty cool if your working out about. Once you load the program on to your laptop, there is a small little plastic stand that you put your sat phone on and hook up the patch cable to laptop. Dail away! We all know that the per minute cost is not something you want to order pizza on, but if you gotta contact a client via web/email or transmit data this thing works. I once did my payroll while floating down the middle Yukon.
11-21-2003, 05:49 PM
JEEEEEZ!!! I wish you guys had been around 5-6 years ago!!!! Against the advise of my financial advisor I bought 3k worth of Iridium when it first hit the market!! I just knew it had to be the wave of the future. Needless to say my man was right!!! Sold it 2 yrs later for $59.00. I've got a bud in central BC with the Iridum system and talking to him is just like talkin' to the next door neighbor. Sounds like they've got it figured out!!
How much are we talking about cost wise here for the phone and the service?
11-21-2003, 10:47 PM
Phone=$1500 unless you can find a used one for about $600
Start-up= $ 200
Per Month= $20
Per Minute= $1.50
Different services will have slightly different prices, but these are in the ballpark.
11-22-2003, 05:19 AM
I have used both the old iridium and new iridium. They work great. All the way from Prudoe to King Salmon. The group that comes to the airshow in May gives the best deal on minutes. No monthly charge and $1 a min
Do you know that resellers company name?
11-24-2003, 12:45 AM
My Iridium phone, activated, with 200 prepaid minutes, totaled $1500.00. No monthly service fee. I bought it right here in Anchorage from a fellow pilot. I won't post his name, but I'll give it to somebody that PMs me. The coolest feature is your wife or kids or anybody else can send text messages via the Iridium website OR e-mail to the phone, for free. I can turn on the phone to get a message that all's well at home, or all's not well, etc. Mine isn't much bigger than a cell phone. Amazing.
11-24-2003, 06:50 AM
I've heard that a surveyor supply outfit in ANC sells refurbished Iridium phones for a decent price
11-24-2003, 08:33 AM
The Surveyors Exchange
3695 Springer St.
Thats where I got mine, but I would not say it was inexpensive. The service is good.
Another source for equipment is Radio Fairbanks, Vickie, at (907) 452-1049. I have purchased about fifteen phones from her, excellent customer service. I don't know if the 9500 phone is available any more. (refurb/flashed phones) They do have the 9501's. Currently I am using Statos for the service, but I'm curious who else provides these services? ACS in Fairbanks does sell the sims cards with time also.
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