Satelite Phone - Which One is Best?

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SteveC-Pro4X

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I live in Pennsylvania. In March, I am heading west to overland in Arizona, Utah, Wyoming & Montana. I don't have a Satelite Phone yet.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom regarding brands, features and usage?

Thank you.
 

outside.perception

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The texting, SOS, and tracking features are what I want. So Garmin Inreach Mini sounds like a solution. Thanks outside.perception for the quick reply.
Sure thing. There are lots of reviews on YouTube. It's great since it pairs with a iPhone/Android phone so you can manage tracking and do texting via the Garmin Earthmate app paired to the Inreach device. It's worked well for communicating with my wife when outside of cell phone range. It has some annual fees and a monthly fee. But the monthly fees can be paused when not planning to use it for awhile.
 
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Alanymarce

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Sounds as if you're not going far this trip, however if you travel further afield then you could consider Thuraya and Iridium. I've had an Iridium for many years - works everywhere. Thuraya doesn't cover the whole planet.
 

trikebubble

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Based on what you say you are looking for, another vote for an Inreach. It is has served me well over the past few years, definatly provides a sense of security. We bring it when hiking, offroad, camping, or traveling anywhere on the highway really. I've been on a solo 2+week journeys and my Wife likes the fact I can text and check in with her when out of cell range enjoying life somewhere.
 

Tundracamper

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Sounds as if you're not going far this trip, however if you travel further afield then you could consider Thuraya and Iridium. I've had an Iridium for many years - works everywhere. Thuraya doesn't cover the whole planet.
Can you shoot us a ballpark on how much those cost to operate? I’m thinking mooochoe!
 

LONO100

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I have had an inreach for a while now and it is the ultimate in giving you piece of mind. the minimum plan is about 18 bucks per month, no contract, you can activate it and deactivate it whenever you want.

I pay the minimum plan every month so I can always have it at the ready, for quick trips, short excursions, and when I'm on my boat in the ocean. When I know I'm going to be on an extended trip and I will be out of cell range for days on end, I pay for the top plan (about 60 bucks) so I can have unlimited texts so I can check in back home with people or whoever is house sitting for me. I highly recommend getting one, it's worth every penny if you're a "piece of mind" guy like me.
 

bgenlvtex

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I'm seeing the Iridium hotspots for what seems to be a reasonable price ($500-$700) considering the features and flexibility , can any of you give us the inside story on using a device like this?
 

Alanymarce

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We’ve had an Iridium satphone for 20 years. Not used often, and not inexpensive, however when we’ve had to use it it’s worked. Iridium has the best coverage and has proved reliable in our experience.
 
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MegaBug

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I can give another whole-hearted endorsement of the Garmin Inreach devices. It might be noted they connect with the global Iridium satellite network, so you have all the coverage of that proven system. As others have said, it provides great peace of mind. Especially when traveling alone.
 

LostWoods

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I'm seeing the Iridium hotspots for what seems to be a reasonable price ($500-$700) considering the features and flexibility , can any of you give us the inside story on using a device like this?
From what I understand, those are a lower level of service (i.e. no voice) that are basically a global inReach that benefit from the worldwide coverage. Same general concept as the Garmin though so not really necessary unless you find yourself venturing outside Garmin's coverage.
 
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bgenlvtex

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From what I understand, those are a lower level of service (i.e. no voice) that are basically a global inReach that benefit from the worldwide coverage. Same general concept as the Garmin though so not really necessary unless you find yourself venturing outside Garmin's coverage.

That link gives a good description, basically serves to merge your cellular device to satellite, so phone, internet sms, GPS, etc.

I would rather use a bridge device than a stand alone device, the Iridium allows up to 5 connected devices at a time.
 
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mep1811

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If you have to have a Sat phone get an Iridium . Thuraya is for the Middle East and South Asia.

There are all sorts of used InReach devices on Ebay. You can save quiet a bit of money buying a used device. I have an Iridium and an InReach. The Sat phone is for an extreme emergency. The InReach works well for texting and I can also get weather reports for the area I'm in.

Get the service one higher than you think you will need.
 
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bgenlvtex

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If you have to have a Sat phone get an Iridium . Thuraya is for the Middle East and South Asia.

There are all sorts of used InReach devices on Ebay. You can save quiet a bit of money buying a used device. I have an Iridium and an InReach. The Sat phone is for an extreme emergency. The InReach works well for texting and I can also get weather reports for the area I'm in.

Get the service one higher than you think you will need.
So that's the thing, I don't know that I "need" a satphone, but I do like the idea of one.

I also very much like the idea of tethering my everyday device as opposed to a stand alone unit.

Casual researchssays there isn't a huge leap (or decrease)in acquisition costs, I'm really looking more for "how does this work,subscription and use costs and general advice" more so than a categorical "go buy this brand" thing.
 

mep1811

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So that's the thing, I don't know that I "need" a satphone, but I do like the idea of one.

I also very much like the idea of tethering my everyday device as opposed to a stand alone unit.

Casual researchssays there isn't a huge leap (or decrease)in acquisition costs, I'm really looking more for "how does this work,subscription and use costs and general advice" more so than a categorical "go buy this brand" thing.

You can rent a Sat phone for a trip if it is not too long. . I bought my Sat phone because the cost of the rental was going to be more than the cost of buying. I get monthly service when I need it. $79.95 for 75 minutes of airtime. Easy to set up before I leave and to cancel when I get home.



 
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Nomad164

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I live in Western Australia and within a couple of hours you are in remote country with no mobile / cellphone reception. In fact most inland country (within 3 hours of major cities or towns is remote) so you need good comms at all times.

I have two systems:

1. A Spot Gen 3 Personal Locator Beacon; and

2. Iridium Go - what I like about it is that I keep in mounted in my vehicle but I can pair up to 7 devices to it, so I have mine and my wife's mobile phones paired to it so that someone will always be able to send or receive a call.

In 2019, approximately 7 people died in remote country due to vehicles breaking down or were bogged and none of them had any form of communication device other than their mobile phone which was useless.

I find that having both devices, they act as a redundancy in case one fails of you can't get it to work. It might sound over the top to have the two devices but then you have to decide how much is your life worth?

Best of luck with whatever you choose.

Karl
 
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mep1811

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II don't I was clear but I also carry an InReach with us. I keep it on all the times. That way the device is always connected to the satellites. A side note, I used the InReach to make hotel reservations in Deadhorse while out on the Dalton Highway. In addition to texting , you can send a message to an e-mail address.


The Iridium can take up to 30 minutes to see satellites and get registered if not turned on in a while. I try to keep it on each day for an hour or two so if I need the phone I hopefully don't have to wait a half hour incase of an emergency.
 
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bgenlvtex

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II don't I was clear but I also carry an InReach with us. I keep it on all the times. That way the device is always connected to the satellites. A side note, I used the InReach to make hotel reservations in Deadhorse while out on the Dalton Highway. In addition to texting , you can send a message to an e-mail address.


The Iridium can take up to 30 minutes to see satellites and get registered if not turned on in a while. I try to keep it on each day for an hour or two so if I need the phone I hopefully don't have to wait a half hour incase of an emergency.
Is there a purpose in having it off?