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Old 02-17-2013, 07:26 AM   #1
jprism OP
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Question Help satellite phone

My plans are to ride up into Canada and Alaska, from the USA, in June-July of 2013 for approx 25 days. I am still connected to my business Mon-Fri and cannot be out of touch with my office/clients. So my questions are to those that have "been there done that" what are the best companies to rent phones from and what are your experiences with reception/clarity/etc?

Thanks in advance...Jim
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:38 AM   #2
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I've rented a couple of times from Outfitter Satellite Phone rentals. They are located in Nashville. Can't get more convenient for you than that.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
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I've rented a couple of times from Outfitter Satellite Phone rentals. They are located in Nashville. Can't get more convenient for you than that.
They have a terrible reputation with many bad reviews...I think I will pass! But thank you for your help. Jim
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:49 PM   #4
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I know you will need a Sat phone in Western Canada. Our cell coverage sucks big time. 100 miles from here...maybe I'd get a signal.
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #5
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They have a terrible reputation with many bad reviews...I think I will pass! But thank you for your help. Jim
Did not know that. I think I rented in 2007 and 2008 for trips Trans-Taiga in QC and Windigo Lake in Ont. Phones worked and I didn't personally experience any problems. It wasn't cheap. Maybe I just got lucky.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:37 AM   #6
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You can use your cell phone in Canada at about a buck a minute, just as when we go to the US it's the same. Or just buy a prepaid card or sign up with a canadian cell company with a new sim card. We have different cell companies up here but same idea as US.

Try koodo, bell, rogers, telus, public mobile.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:18 AM   #7
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I get the impression not many people use satellite phones, probably due to the expense. I've asked about them a couple times on here and didn't get much info - maybe I didn't ask the right questions in the right place. Most of the time the responses are primarily about how to use a cell phone internationally, which is great info, but totally useless if you're going to be in an area where there is no cell service.

Anyway, I'm in a similar situation as you - I get to travel a lot, but I need to stay connected to my family and business. I just rented an Iridium 9555 satellite phone from these guys for a three week trip that starts tomorrow. I don't have the phone yet - its shipping to my starting point in AZ and should arrive tomorrow, like me. Cost for three weeks was a little under $200 with 25 minutes of air time. I'll be traveling in Baja, and for my purposes with the sat phone 25 minutes is probably enough, but if not additional minutes will be billed at $1.78 a minute. My plan is to hopefully use it primarily by texting, which should use very little of my air time (about 20 seconds per text according to them) - we'll see how that goes. I'll try to remember to let you know how I made out, but I'll probably be pretty busy when I get back so if you're really interested PM me sometime after March 12th.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kobukan View Post
I get the impression not many people use satellite phones, probably due to the expense. I've asked about them a couple times on here and didn't get much info - maybe I didn't ask the right questions in the right place. Most of the time the responses are primarily about how to use a cell phone internationally, which is great info, but totally useless if you're going to be in an area where there is no cell service.

Anyway, I'm in a similar situation as you - I get to travel a lot, but I need to stay connected to my family and business. I just rented an Iridium 9555 satellite phone from these guys for a three week trip that starts tomorrow. I don't have the phone yet - its shipping to my starting point in AZ and should arrive tomorrow, like me. Cost for three weeks was a little under $200 with 25 minutes of air time. I'll be traveling in Baja, and for my purposes with the sat phone 25 minutes is probably enough, but if not additional minutes will be billed at $1.78 a minute. My plan is to hopefully use it primarily by texting, which should use very little of my air time (about 20 seconds per text according to them) - we'll see how that goes. I'll try to remember to let you know how I made out, but I'll probably be pretty busy when I get back so if you're really interested PM me sometime after March 12th.
Thank you, your answer is exactly what I was looking for. Have a great and safe trip! I will look forward to hearing your thoughts after you return... Jim
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jprism View Post
My plans are to ride up into Canada and Alaska, from the USA, in June-July of 2013 for approx 25 days. I am still connected to my business Mon-Fri and cannot be out of touch with my office/clients. So my questions are to those that have "been there done that" what are the best companies to rent phones from and what are your experiences with reception/clarity/etc?

Thanks in advance...Jim
Hi, Jim. Back in 2006 I spent 2 months San Diego to Prudhoe Bay...floating Yukon River, riding Fairbanks to PB, 2-weeks sea kayaking, etc. Mobile phone service outside major areas sucks, period. Valdez, ok. Fairbanks, ok. Anchorage, ok. Outside places like this though, it sucks. Kodiak Island was ok in town, but forget the bush. So while I'd like to say that was a long time ago and things have gotten better, they haven't. In fact, my phone reception and coverage back then seemed better back then than now.

If you must stay in contact, sat phone is the only high-reliably strategy. Even then there are times when the connection is not so clear, etc. Plan on drops, static, etc. I used an Iridium phone--not just North America but in South America and Asia as well. You won't want to have major conference calls on it...I'll leave it at that.

My recommendation is to do EVERYTHING you can so that you can focus on your mission instead of your business-- for obvious safety reasons. I'd look to limit your contact to an absolute minimum by PREPARING you clients. Yes, your clients are important, but so is your personal time and safety. There is plenty of time to prep and condition your clients and rely less on staying in contact vs. taking your business with you. A good client should understand, and besides you need to have a contingency plan in place to handle when you're not around.

As for phones/services: Iridium. I've found it has the best phones, coverage, service, etc. under the most demanding circumstances globally. As far as vendors, google search. Compare prices for phones and service including number of minutes noting activation, expiry, extending minutes, etc. I own my own Iridium phone, so it's just a matter of finding a fee/plan and sobbing a bit when $500 of minutes expires unused. It's insurance to me, so I don't cry any harder than if my insured house didn't burn down this year.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #10
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Through buisness we have our satellite phones through
http://www.roadpost.ca/Iridium-Satel...akK6FcUVZHuNso
Im sure your cell phone will be fine through the states.
What I would do is have the phone sent to a inmate up here stop and pick it up then on your way south ship it out again. That way you could get away with less use.
Dont know if you have used sat phones much but they are pretty useless for someone to call you when you are on the road, and unless you get hooked up with a service it will cost a fortune for someone to call you.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbellion View Post
Through buisness we have our satellite phones through
http://www.roadpost.ca/Iridium-Satel...akK6FcUVZHuNso
Im sure your cell phone will be fine through the states.
What I would do is have the phone sent to a inmate up here stop and pick it up then on your way south ship it out again. That way you could get away with less use.
Dont know if you have used sat phones much but they are pretty useless for someone to call you when you are on the road, and unless you get hooked up with a service it will cost a fortune for someone to call you.
Thanks for the advice. I looked at the place above but wanted you to know about another that is somewhat cheaper on the rental http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=RENT-SP03

Thanks, Jim
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
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I recommend calling your local sat phone shops/rentals and asking them about coverage up north.

For years Iridium coverage has been renowned as being better than Globalstar when this far north.

But, a few years ago Globalstar increased the power in their earth stations to increase coverage as has been proven by the SPOT locating device.

Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:54 PM   #13
jprism OP
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Advice

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Originally Posted by AKDuc View Post
I recommend calling your local sat phone shops/rentals and asking them about coverage up north.

For years Iridium coverage has been renowned as being better than Globalstar when this far north.

But, a few years ago Globalstar increased the power in their earth stations to increase coverage as has been proven by the SPOT locating device.

Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
Thanks for the update on GlobalStar. I also use a Spot Locator on the bike and hope to send tracking info along with OK messages back home each day.

Jim
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:29 PM   #14
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. . . I also use a Spot Locator on the bike and hope to send tracking info along with OK messages back home each day.
I carry a SPOT and do this all the time when I'm traveling - works great.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:02 PM   #15
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Irridium

I've had a sat phone for years...started with Globalstar, it was great, fair minute plans, good connection times and clear transmissions but the connections become sketchy or not at all and the signal would fade in and out-I read it had something to do with their satellites antenna were degrading from radiation or some such nonsense and they were not replacing them quick enough.
I switched to Irridium in 2009 and haven't looked back. I purchased the 9505 phone for 975$ and pay by the minute for its use. NEVER had a bad signal or failure to connect, most calls sound like they are coming from across the room-that good! I believe there are a couple of rental places around but if they don't use the Irridium signal...I would not go there! I do alot of solo trips and the phone has saved my butt a couple of times-and some other folks too. I never receive calls only send-if a person is trying to reach you they have to pay international rates.
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