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stephen.trenery


Aug 24, 2012, 4:15 AM
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Using a Satellite Phone
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Does anyone take a Satellite Phone with them?


Gmburns2000


Aug 24, 2012, 5:39 AM
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stephen.trenery wrote:
Does anyone take a Satellite Phone with them?

where? when? under what circumstance? do I take one with me to Rumney? Do I take one with me to Patagonia? Do I take one with me when driving across country?


Kartessa


Aug 24, 2012, 5:54 AM
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I took one to Afghanistan


stephen.trenery


Aug 24, 2012, 6:21 AM
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In general when you go climbing... However in areas with no cell coverage.


Dip


Aug 24, 2012, 6:29 AM
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I like areas with no cell coverage because there is no cell coverage. So no.


Gmburns2000


Aug 24, 2012, 6:32 AM
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Kartessa wrote:
I took one to Afghanistan

I don't think that's what he meant, but I get it.


cclarke


Aug 24, 2012, 6:55 AM
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I use one in Bolivia. My wife insisted that I get one to call home when on climbing trips. Expensive but worth it for keeping the peace. It works ok although finding the satellites can be a problem and calls get dropped a lot but it works to let her know I am ok.


ecade


Aug 24, 2012, 7:25 AM
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stephen.trenery wrote:
Does anyone take a Satellite Phone with them?

I've never taken one climbing, not at the level where i feel comfortable going so remote to warrant.

I have used them on remote northern river canoe tripping. Best to rent, I recommend taking out the insurance, and getting a pelican or otter box style case, the insurance premium is often nominal in comparison to your possible liability, many talk plans exists when renting one. I know of a few companies in Canada if you need more information.

They don't always work like people think, you do need to have clear unfettered access to the sky, and sometimes you have to wait until a satelite is within range (they orbit) sometimes calls get dropped, but when you consider how remote you can be and the fact that you can call your mother (ah how sweet) its a damn good deal if you ask me.


chadnsc


Aug 24, 2012, 11:05 AM
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I've rented them a few time for longer winter backpacking trips where there is no cellphone coverage (95% of Minnesota's North Shore)

I've never taken one with for climbing. Come to think of it I've never even taken a cellphone with on any backpacking or climbing trip. I suppose that's because we don't own one. Tongue


TScott27


Aug 31, 2012, 7:31 PM
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Here's the thing. I consider a satellite phone both a boon and bane. Just imagine when you are in a difficult position and the phone rings, it will surely be a distraction. on the other hand, it can keep the peace between husband and wife.

In my case, I don't bring one, except when the wife explicitly wants to monitor my activities. Cool


vinnie83


Sep 1, 2012, 8:35 AM
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TScott27 wrote:
Just imagine when you are in a difficult position and the phone rings

Based on my experience (rescue operations everywhere from alaska to afghanistan) and the models I used they are really more practical for making calls instead of receiving them. Unless you have a pre arranged time for calls it is a pain to leave it on and with the antenna out.

Like others have said sat phones don't always work perfectly, make sure you know their limitations. They aren't the kind of thing I would bring on a weekend, or even weeklong climbing trip. Long expedition or work related stuff where I need a communication link, yes, but even then it is usually a backup.

EDIT: If you don't need to have long conversations and just need to let people know you're ok look into some of the emergency beacons that allow you to transmit location updates and pre programmed messages to friends.


(This post was edited by vinnie83 on Sep 1, 2012, 8:41 AM)


marc801


Sep 1, 2012, 8:39 AM
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chadnsc wrote:
Come to think of it I've never even taken a cellphone with on any backpacking or climbing trip. I suppose that's because we don't own one. Tongue
That's pretty surprising in 2012!


USnavy


Sep 1, 2012, 8:24 PM
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I spoke with customers on a daily basis who were using satellite phones at my last job. The phones we were using were provided by the military, they weren't some random commercial phone you can get on eBay. But I can tell you that the voice quality is complete utter crap. But again, we all used one brand, so a different brand may offer better performance.


climbingaggie03


Sep 2, 2012, 4:49 PM
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I've never bothered with one on personal trips, but I have used sat phones alot when guiding. Like someone else said they're not really for receiving calls unless you're expecting them.

One company I worked for had a pre-determined hour every day for me to have the phone on in case they needed to get a hold of me. I've found that texting is more useful than voice communications usually, or I'll text to set up a time to talk to whoever I need to call. They're hit or miss, but usually pretty good once you find a spot with good service. I don't think I'd ever take on with me unless I was on a trip that was a month long or longer, or if I was going to be somewhere and knew I'd need to stay in touch with the world.

For working though, they are really useful. Depending on the company and the setting, I'll touch base with them if I'm changing the groups itinerary, need to change a resuply, or evacuate a participant. I even called my mom one time to get a recipe (don't tell though, that employer didn't allow personal calls on the sat phone)


stephen.trenery


Sep 4, 2012, 6:12 AM
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From my own experience, and others I've spoken to, it's better to have a Satellite Phone on you than not. I've spoken to people where a Satellite Phone has saved their lives, just because they have been able to make one phone call where a cell would have been useless.


jsunmatthews


Feb 11, 2013, 9:22 AM
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Kartessa wrote:
I took one to Afghanistan

Kartessa, thank you for your service (assuming that's why you were there).

In terms of a safety net, I'd suggest looking into a PLB. There are no subscription fees and it's going to be your best best if the turd hits the proverbial windmill. If you want to be able to call your friends from some faraway peak and don't mind the hefty bill, what the hell, but otherwise go the PLB route.

Hunt around on ebay. I found a brand new ACR for $150. SPOT locator beacons and the like are shit, IMO.


jsunmatthews


Oct 4, 2014, 1:46 PM
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Old thread I know but anyone ever use these guys?
http://www.textanywhere.ca

Website looks like it was made by a four year old and I can't find diddly review-wise.


jmeizis


Oct 5, 2014, 1:51 AM
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Seems pretty similar to other satellite messengers like the SPOT or inReach only from a company probably nobody has ever heard of at a price that isn't any better than more well known companies.

It brings me to my next question for those who commonly use satellite communications (phone or messengers). Which do you think is better for basic communication?

If you are commonly heading out to remote places without cell service and need an emergency communication device that also can communicate basics on a regular basis (all ok, taking different route, I want a beer) which is the preferred?

It seems like a sat phone is really only preferred if you're needing to have a conversation beyond a few paragraphs. Can't really see the benefit but maybe someone can explain it to me.

It seems like satellite messengers are more affordable but perhaps a little less reliable depending on the model.


jsunmatthews


Oct 5, 2014, 7:58 AM
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Personally I'm interested in one only as a safety measure, not to update my Facebook while on a climb (which some people want to do.... Whatever, not going to have that discussion). Sat phones are just still butthole pricey. You can get the actual phone for cheap but then you're looking at several hundred dollars for minutes that all come with a shelf life (usually a year). Devices like the spot connect and this text anywhere thing link to your smart phone, which already has sat GPS capabilities, and the text anywhere specifically only charges five bucks a month if you won't be using it that month, while it's thirty bucks a month for the times you'll be using it. Again, nothing beats a plb both in cost and emergency service, but as a new father I'll admit I would not mind being able to shoot the wife a text from the middle of an epic (which I can usually still manage to sneak off to a couple times a year) and know she can get ahold of me, all without dripping mad cash or paying for something when I'm not using it. Not dying to get one either way, after all I figure every damn smart phone on the market will probably also be a sat phone in five years. Unsure


dynosore


Oct 5, 2014, 2:50 PM
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For 170 bucks I got a McMurdo PLB. Five year battery life, no subscription needed, and much better at getting through in case of emergency than the SPOT types.

It doesn't transmit ok messages or anything like that, but if it hits the fan I'd much rather have one of these. Signal WILL get through, and much quicker than SPOT devices. I did my homework before buying it.


jmeizis


Oct 6, 2014, 1:56 PM
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Yeah, I think it would be nice to get a little back and forth in the middle of an epic.

I'm curious for anyone who knows, what happens when you trigger the SOS in foreign countries without rescue services.

From my understanding the timeline of how things go when you trigger an SOS in somewhere like the states basically goes:

[SOS Trigger]-->[Rescue Coordination contacts rescue services or first responders]-->[First Responders organize and respond]

What about in places where there is no organized SAR like outside of the US and EU? Who do they contact if anyone? It seems like there wouldn't be much benefit to triggering an SOS if there isn't an organized rescue service. Not really any benefit of calling home with a Sat phone if it really hits the fan except to say goodbye. They're too far away to be of any real help.

So what happens when people get into trouble in the way back of beyond?


marc801


Oct 6, 2014, 4:16 PM
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jmeizis wrote:
So what happens when people get into trouble in the way back of beyond?
They get themselves out using their own resources and ingenuity. Or they die. Both have happened and will continue to happen. And sat phones have indeed been used to say goodbye to loved ones.


majid_sabet


Oct 6, 2014, 10:02 PM
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I start a big fire


jmeizis


Oct 7, 2014, 10:49 AM
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What are companies running trips in like the Himalaya and SA doing? Are they putting up their own infrastructure to support a rescue or do places with enough popularity to have a lot of climbers capable of cobbling together rescue services?

I can see self-rescue as a viable option for small groups of competent climbers but I can't see that for commercial parties who are often actually carrying sat phones and that sort of thing. It sort of seems like what's the point from an actual rescue perspective?

So then are sat phones and communicators a false sense of security for all but relatively minor injury (ie not actively dying) in the least remote places in the developed world?


marc801


Oct 7, 2014, 12:19 PM
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jmeizis wrote:
What are companies running trips in like the Himalaya and SA doing? Are they putting up their own infrastructure to support a rescue or do places with enough popularity to have a lot of climbers capable of cobbling together rescue services?

I can see self-rescue as a viable option for small groups of competent climbers but I can't see that for commercial parties who are often actually carrying sat phones and that sort of thing. It sort of seems like what's the point from an actual rescue perspective?

So then are sat phones and communicators a false sense of security for all but relatively minor injury (ie not actively dying) in the least remote places in the developed world?
What infrastructure? If there are other groups around willing to help, sure, that gets added to the mix. But to think that there's some kind of rescue organization in place, even for the larger commercial companies, is optimistic. You're aware of the dead bodies you get to climb past on the popular guided routes on Everest, right?

The sat phones on those kind of trips aren't for rescue - they're for keeping the trip sponsors updated.

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