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Thread: Satellite phone

  1. Default Re: Satellite phone

    I have an Inreach device. Have had it for about 4 years. Does what I need it to do. My family can track me and we can text back and forth. Hopefully I never need the emergency button. I keep my account suspended for most of the year because I'm not generally where I don't have cell service.

    Josh

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

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  3. #12

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    Thanks for all the replies. It's given me some really good information to start my search with. Appreciate it.

    Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk

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  5. #13

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    Another vote for Garmin InReach. Cost is reasonable and it allows to way communication. Should also cover emergencies with their SOS system. I carry it with me frequently.

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  7. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    SF Bay area California
    Posts
    1,248

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    If my life is on the line I want the equipment that is most likely to get me help. In which case that is a PLB (Personal EPIRB backed by a combination of the Inmarsat satellites and a 121.5mhz radio signal) This is the same technology used on commercial vessels sailed throughout the world and required equipment on all commercial vessels. They all have GPS built-in and send their signal through the Inmarsat system along with a radio signal that is universally recognized as a distress frequency. If you are deep in the woods or a tight canyon you may not be able to reach a satellite but the radio signal can be automatically picked up by any commercial aircraft that happens to fly near by or overhead.

    I have by accident activated my PLB n my boat before and although it only went off for about 30 seconds before I shut it off. When I fired up my VHF radio under a minute later the USCG was already announcing my position. They were also preparing to scramble a helicopter. I was able to contact them and let them know of my mistake without having to incur any charges for the helicopter thank god.

    If I am not as concerned about loss of life and want realtime communications from out of the way locations than I would choose a system backed by Iridium satellite systems. The in-reach or an Iridium phone or the latest offering from Iridium a portable satellite based modem which can be used for web access and it has an app that runs on your smart phone to turn it into a IP based phone would be my choice.

    I currently carry both an Iridium Extreme Satellite phone and a PLB. So I am confident I can get help on one of those two systems if needed. There is one problem I found with the Iridium extreme phone is that when left submerged for several hours it can fail. The PLB however, is rated for submersion so no issues there. I had an extreme phone fail when the waterproof bag it was in failed and it sat for many hours submerged in my kayak during a three day trip. I tried to dry it out but alas I had to send it in for service.

    Funny story with the Iridium phone was when one of my companies executives was out in the middle of nowhere and his car broke down he called for a tow. It took a while for the tow operator to agree to come out there because the tow operator said he knew there was no way the executive had cellular service where he was. The executive had to convince the tow operator he was able to contact him because he was using a satellite phone.

    Regards,

    Tim C.

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  9. #15

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    Quote Originally Posted by tcorfey View Post
    If my life is on the line I want the equipment that is most likely to get me help. In which case that is a PLB (Personal EPIRB backed by a combination of the Inmarsat satellites and a 121.5mhz radio signal) This is the same technology used on commercial vessels sailed throughout the world and required equipment on all commercial vessels. They all have GPS built-in and send their signal through the Inmarsat system along with a radio signal that is universally recognized as a distress frequency. If you are deep in the woods or a tight canyon you may not be able to reach a satellite but the radio signal can be automatically picked up by any commercial aircraft that happens to fly near by or overhead.

    I have by accident activated my PLB n my boat before and although it only went off for about 30 seconds before I shut it off. When I fired up my VHF radio under a minute later the USCG was already announcing my position. They were also preparing to scramble a helicopter. I was able to contact them and let them know of my mistake without having to incur any charges for the helicopter thank god.

    If I am not as concerned about loss of life and want realtime communications from out of the way locations than I would choose a system backed by Iridium satellite systems. The in-reach or an Iridium phone or the latest offering from Iridium a portable satellite based modem which can be used for web access and it has an app that runs on your smart phone to turn it into a IP based phone would be my choice.

    I currently carry both an Iridium Extreme Satellite phone and a PLB. So I am confident I can get help on one of those two systems if needed. There is one problem I found with the Iridium extreme phone is that when left submerged for several hours it can fail. The PLB however, is rated for submersion so no issues there. I had an extreme phone fail when the waterproof bag it was in failed and it sat for many hours submerged in my kayak during a three day trip. I tried to dry it out but alas I had to send it in for service.

    Funny story with the Iridium phone was when one of my companies executives was out in the middle of nowhere and his car broke down he called for a tow. It took a while for the tow operator to agree to come out there because the tow operator said he knew there was no way the executive had cellular service where he was. The executive had to convince the tow operator he was able to contact him because he was using a satellite phone.

    Regards,

    Tim C.
    This is pretty close to my set up for offshore fishing. I added a mounted Epirb in a location passengers where can immediately activate it, if something happens to me. I believe in redundancy when boating. I grew up in the era when boats leaked and motors inexplicably failed on a regular basis.

    OP, in your situation I would recommend a PLB, unless you are willing to pay the high price for a Sat phone and monthly service. For me the Sat phone is just a part of the cost of offshore fishing. This is a nice PLB unit. Error You can go to any of the really large boating forums, The Hull Truth, for example, and find endless debates over the merits of the various options. The important take away is almost all agree on the benefits of some type of location device.

    Your post has me thinking. I get really poor cell reception in parts of MT. I normally leave my Sat phone in FL. I may start traveling with it.

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  11. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Snake, Clearwater and tribs
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    Like others, I often fish alone. I camp alone during the week all summer in remote areas of ID and MT. I carry InReach so I can check in every night with my spouse, and it is always there for emergencies.

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  13. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    SF Bay area California
    Posts
    1,248

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    I will note that the IMO (international Maritime Organization) SOLAS regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea) require all vessels have an emergency locating device. The only device that meets the specifications is a device capable of operating on 406 MHz (INMARSAT Satellites) and 121.5 MHz (VHF Radio). It must also have an emergency strobe light. The ship version must be capable of operating continuously for a minimum of 48 hours. Note that the smaller version PLB's that meet these requirements are guarenteed to operate continuosly for a minimum of 24 hours.

    Note that devices that operate on the proprietary SPOT system or the proprietary Iridium system do not meet these standards and are not recognized as being as capable of being a sole source of communications in a life-threatening situation. That is not to say they do not work but they are not as capable of getting emergency help as an PLB that uses the 406 MHz (INMARSAT Satellites) and 121.5 MHz (VHF Radio). The two different bands used to transmit the radio signals are used for locating purposes to detect the casualty, while 121.5 MHz radio signals are used mostly for homing purposes by SAR vessel/helicopter/plane involved in SAR operation which is trying to find EPIRB with its radio direction finding equipment.

    As I said before the SPOT based system and the Iridium based systems are good for transmitting where you traveled and for two-way communications however, they are not as reliable in a rescue operation as the Inmarsat based PLB system. One caveat to that is that Iridium based systems operate better in the polar regions from 0-70 degrees latitude where Inmarsat does not operate. However a PLB also operates on 121.5mhz so commercial aircraft will still pickup the signal.

    That is why I carry two systems. One system for communications with the family/authorities in perhaps non-life threatening emergency situations (Iridium) and a PLB (Inmarsat and 121.5mhz radio) to use if my life depends on a swift rescue.

    Here is a link to an excellent technical review that describes the pros and cons of PLB/SPOT/Inreach devices.
    The Great Book of BASE - Emergency Electronics Review

    Regards,

    Tim C.

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  15. #18

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    My fishing buddy and I are happy users of the Garmin InReach mini.

    First off, let me say that I have a backpacking friend who rents a Sat phone. He's had some heart scares, and the only way his wife lets him backpack solo is if he calls in daily. Problem is, when he's canyoneering in narrow canyons there's a very limited time when the satellite passes overhead to call his wife and make a connection. So many times, it's just a quick voicemail. At that point, you may as well just be sending a text.

    That gets us to the Garmin InReach mini. It's about the size of a deck of cards chopped in half, with a stubby antenna. It's got power, up+down, and emergency "come get me" buttons. The up+down buttons could be used to laboriously send a custom text by scrolling through the alphabet, but nobody does that. Instead, your can either (a) scroll through some preset texts ("all is well - no worries") or - and this is the sweet feature - you bluetooth sync with your smartphone and you can now send all kinds of texts through Garmin's app.

    I used it last summer in the Bob Marshall wilderness. We were camping in a narrow area where satellite connection would come and go. I'd write a text on my smartphone, and the Garmin mini would store/queue until it had a satellite connection, then would send it in a quick burst. My wife would get a text message link from Garmin, she'd click on the link, and it would take her to their website where she could read my text and see a map of my location. We had their cheapest plan, which had free outgoing messages from me and a small fee for incoming texts to me (which we did not do).

    ADDED COMMENT: The great thing about a device that allows communication (rather than solely have an emergency beacon) is for those times when you do need help, but not 911-level help. Say you are fishing 30 miles deep on an a seldom-used forest road and find that your car died. That situation is not worth pressing the search-and-rescue-emergency-beacon button. But via text you can still let someone know how to come and get you.

    R_InReachMini_HR_1001.27-1078x516.jpg
    Last edited by yikes; 01-11-2019 at 03:39 PM.
    There's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder how dreary this world would be if elk were bald and birds had no feathers.
    - Hank Patterson

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  17. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Southeast Idaho
    Posts
    762

    Default Re: Satellite phone

    One more note on the InReach. I am sometimes in deep canyons or heavy cover where it could not get a good gps signal, but even if it can't get a full gps fix, it gave me the option to send the text anyway. My family received all my texts, just a few were without a gps link.
    Cindy

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