Sat phones?

jjrgr21

New member
What's the consensus on sat phones?

I have the inreach se+ and have had issues with it and have grown to despise garmin.

So I thought I might try a sat phone instead.

I've been looking at the inmarsat and iridium.

Amazon runs a deal on an unlocked inmarsat with a call card for around$700.

I don't want a monthly service as I'll only use it 2-3 times a year fir 2 weeks at a time.

Planning a trip to prudhoe bay if this covid ******** ever levels out
 

OllieChristopher

Well-known member
I have had riding buddies that rent them for trips like you describe. I can't remember what company does the rental. It seems like they ship it to you and you ship it back when you are done.

Have you considered the new SPOT X. It has a texting feature and is not as bulky as the Sat Phone. I'm still running my Gen 3 Spot and the service has worked with no issues. I've been using SPOT for over 8 years now. Only thing with spot is you have a yearly subscription. For me it is well worth it.

Now that I have mentioned this I am sure other members are going to rebut SPOT and say how much better In Reach is. The reality is they both have plus and minuses.
 

jjrgr21

New member
I had nothing but issues with the inreach, wouldn't send a message without turning off and back on, and wouldn't receive messages from another inreach 2 units away when really mattered. And garmin sucks.

So I'm gonna try the sat phone deal, we had iridium's when I was a contractor overseas, and they worked pretty well
 

crazysccrmd

Observer
Have you talked to Garmin about your issues? I have experienced none of those problems with mine. Other than the lack of voice calling it is superior in every way to a satellite phone for me.
 

Joe917

Explorer
Is it wort $200 a call? I am not a fan of Garmin, but our InReach worked fine for texting and weather all over North and South America. Their mapping is pretty poor outside largely populated areas. Looks like you just got a lemon.
 

emulous74

Well-known member
I have had a Garmin inreach explorer+ for a few years and can never get it updated and just get the same response from Garmin over and over. I started researching sat phones and the biggest issue I see with them is that people that try to call your phone have to pay ridiculous fees per minute (I've seen anywhere from $5 to $15 dollars a minute) to call you. Text messages are different for each service, inmarsat gives folks a website where they can text message your phone for free, others charge for it. If you choose to pay for a US number, then the service companies also charge you when folks call it minute by minute on top of the monthly fee they charge you to have a US phone number. On most services, your monthly minutes/credits are used up by received text messages on top of calls. Overall it's a very expensive service, enough so that I'd rather stay on the phone with Garmin for hours to get my inreach working properly.
 

jjrgr21

New member
I had the same issues as above, and garmin just had nothing but excuses. I'll never trust it again.

I would have to type and send a message, then power off and on to get it to send. But a buddy was hunting 2 units north of us, sent me a message to let me know if a real bad snow storm, and he jacked his knee up.

I got his message 2 weeks after I got back, and continued to get messages that had been sent for over a month, even after I stopped the service.

And garmin was completely useless on the whole matter.

I'm looking at the inmarsat, amazon has an unlocked phone with a 100 unit call card for $650. Has anyone tried one?
 

pluton

Adventurer
I've had the gen 1 Inmarsat iSatphone Pro since 2011. With Inmarsat (and, presumably, Iridium) there's no BS about why the satellites don't work as Frenchie described with his early Globalstar service. Inmarsat and Iridium are real communications companies with very important clients: Inmarsat-the global maritime industry, Iridium-everyone, including the US DOD.
If you have the $$$, get Iridium. But that's the problem: $$$. Advantage: works EVERYWHERE.
Inmarsat service is global, except for the polar and near-polar regions. So: No good in northern Alaska.
Iridium uses many Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites constantly transiting the sky. There's almost always one in the sky or there soon will be.
Inmarsat uses a single satellite (for your region) and you have to point the antenna directly at the satellite---so you can't walk around while talking like you do with your cell phone.
Inmarsat service was quite affordable at first (2011 to about about 2016), but has crept up in price ever since.
Inmarsat has prepaid blocks of service you can buy, but they expire and you have to buy more before you go on your "next adventure".
I agree with those that have suggested getting that getting the InReach working properly is a good plan, or investigate some of the other satellite messaging services that are now available. A review of current services.
Do not get anything that works on the Globalstar system.
 

grizzlyj

Tea pot tester
I was looking into an Inreach but read that you are restricted to one message every maybe fifteen minutes roughly speaking? Maybe not officially but that is what the system actually allows so it doesn't get overwhelmed. So one sent every now and again and it's a good thing. Try to converse in an emergency and you may as well burn it and send smoke signals. Actually speaking to someone with the knowledge you need in that emergency will be better than texting in many circumstances I would think.
The ability to decode the likes of a Scanguage fault may also end up being mission critical with newer vehicles?
I'd like a satphone as a just in case, buy it, charge it, put it with the first aid and never touch it. Preferably one of those in the movies that work in concrete bunkers many floors down :)
But any suggestions welcome thank you.
 

crazysccrmd

Observer
I was looking into an Inreach but read that you are restricted to one message every maybe fifteen minutes roughly speaking? Maybe not officially but that is what the system actually allows so it doesn't get overwhelmed. So one sent every now and again and it's a good thing. Try to converse in an emergency and you may as well burn it and send smoke signals. Actually speaking to someone with the knowledge you need in that emergency will be better than texting in many circumstances I would think.
I haven't used mine in about a year but used it frequently for four years prior to that. I never ran into a time based restriction on messages. They send as quickly as you can type them and your recipient replies.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Sat phones have their place and purpose but, come with a cost and many times are inconvenient to use. The last 10 years on the job I was issued 3 different brands of sat phones/calling plans. While all of them were hit and miss depending on location, weather, charge, sat position, if the phone was in the mood to work or not........I generally found them useful.
The most useful time was after swamping my bike in a flooded stream in Colorado and had to spend a cold, wet night I managed to call my wife and let her know everything was fine and not to send-out SARs....
 

poohbearusvi

Well-known member
I have an Iridium phone. Used it in Botswana and Namibia with no problems as well as no cell service places in the US and Caribbean. Wouldn’t go in the middle of nowhere without one. I use roadpost.com They have a 10 minute a month plan for $55.90 which is perfect for me. They also do monthly rentals of phones for $195.00 for one month. Might be good choice if you only need it once or twice.
 

tacomabill

Active member
You did not state your intended use, voice communication vs emergency/rescue. For the latter, I carry the ACR Electronics ResQLink 400, which has no subscription but requires registration that must be updated every two years. Paid about $300 for it four years ago. 5 year battery still works in test mode which sends signal and beeps when it gets signal back. Works off " the three Cospas-Sarsat satellite systems including the new MEOSAR, ensuring they will offer the near-instantaneous signal detection." Just read on their website they added an SMS/email option for $50/year. That was not available when I got mine.
https://www.acrartex.com/survival-products/resqlink
 
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grizzlyj

Tea pot tester
That sounded appealing but reading their website the SMS option seems to just be to send an "I'm ok" message to a predetermined person as part of an occasional test, not actually converse via text?
 

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