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Thread: Sat Phones

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    Member FullCryHounds's Avatar
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    Default Sat Phones

    It still looks like Iridium is the only phone to go with. I spend two months a year in AK (May and Sept.) and would love to have a Sat phone but don't need to pay for a year round plan. So does Iridium have a monthly plan that would work for me? Anyone have one for sale? Can't afford one of the new Extremes that are coming out.

  2. #2

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    There is an Alaskan plan that is 6 months long available through Alaska Surveyors. That is the best I have seen.

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    There are a couple of ways to get airtime for a month here, a month there. You can buy a no-contract monthly plan or buy prepaid minutes that will expire. The Northern Lights plan is better suited to guys who maintain year-round service. http://www.tse-ak.com/default.aspx?c...ridium+airtime

    Watch ebay or amazon for a 9505a phone. There should be some around as guys have upgraded to the 9555 or 9575 phones. The 9505a is still supported by Motorola (so parts and accessories are available) and is still a rock solid sat phone and you should be able to find one for a fraction of a new phone price. Beware of standard 9505 phones. Those are not supported any longer. Still great phones but things like chargers and batteries will be hard to find. For what it's worth? I sold my old 9505 and upgraded to a 9555. I like the texting on the new phone but call quality was better on the old one.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have a 9555, with spare battery, bought 8 months ago and used on one hunt. Have the box and all accessories. $1000.00

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Depending on what level of communication you need to have another option, much cheaper then a Sat Phone is the Delorme InReach, that when paired with a smart phone allows you to receive and send text messages. This has only been there start of it, now there are several different options that are pretty cheap that allow two way text communication via sattilite.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have a 9555, with spare battery, bought 8 months ago and used on one hunt. Have the box and all accessories. $1000.00

    Steve
    Are you getting something else in its place?

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    I would bet Stid has his eye on this one:

    http://www.iridiumextreme.com/phone/index.php

    Surveyors Exchange will talk to you and they are pretty good about hooking people up with the best option. I use the Northern Lights plan and buy minutes in 200 min blocks. They expire in 6 months unless you buy another block (if you do, they roll over). I burn plenty of minutes during the summer, so it works for me.

    Yk

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GD Yankee View Post
    Are you getting something else in its place?
    Yea, thinking about the new extreme.
    My 9555 is like new used very little and has an extra 125.00 battery, this phone works great, I admit to being a gear junky.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Me too. I'm going to look at the 9575 later today. my 9555 works fine but the tracker in the 9575 is pretty cool. I'm also interested in the wifi access point that hooks into the phone. Of course that works with the 9555, too. Checking e mail and weather websites with the iPhone routed through the Iridium could be pretty handy. Then watch, Iridium will introduce a smart phone. Like they released the 9575 right after i bought a 9555. Typical! Technology is amazing.

  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    I would bet Stid has his eye on this one:

    http://www.iridiumextreme.com/phone/index.php

    Surveyors Exchange will talk to you and they are pretty good about hooking people up with the best option. I use the Northern Lights plan and buy minutes in 200 min blocks. They expire in 6 months unless you buy another block (if you do, they roll over). I burn plenty of minutes during the summer, so it works for me.

    Yk
    WOW. I didn't know about this sat phone. If anyone out there has one and would like to write a product review on it, please let me know. I'd like to talk with you.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Well, I just went off to buy a 9575 and after looking at it and holding it I came back with my 9555. The new 9575 is essentially the same phone with a little better armoring and the addition of a SPOT-like tracking and SOS function. Some guys will want those functions but in my case I don't need them. The armoring is as much a pain as a benefit. The 9555 already has little rubber doors for the plug-in ports and the only thing exposed is the tiny copper docking contacts on the bottom. The new phone adds a rubber door there. The new phone's SOS button resides under a pop-off plastic cap on top of the phone. I'd have that broken off and lost in no time. The new phone's antenna may be a little more robust but there's nothing wrong with the antenna on the 9555. Both antennae pull out of the phone to talk and stow internally inside the phone so there's little potential to break one. All other functionality is identical. The size and weight are nearly identical. The ads say the new phone is smaller and lighter. I held a 9575 and 9555 in my hands at the same time. There's no real difference. If anything the 9575 is about 1/4" shorter and 1/4" wider than the 9555. In my eyes that makes it slightly bigger. In reality they're so close it doesn't matter. If I was in the market for a new phone and was interested in tracking I'd buy the 9575. As a current owner of a 9555 and since I don't value the tracking and SOS? There isn't good reason for me to switch.

    I was told the access point advertising is ahead of availability. They aren't available yet. I was warned that the wifi speed will be slower than local 3G service. I'll wait until I can test drive a unit before I'll buy one.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Well, I just went off to buy a 9575 and after looking at it and holding it, I came back with my 9555. The new 9575 is essentially the same phone with a little better armoring and the addition of a SPOT-like tracking and SOS function. Some guys will want those functions but in my case I don't need them. The armoring is as much a pain as a benefit. The 9555 already has little rubber doors for the plug-in ports and the only thing exposed is the tiny copper docking contacts on the bottom. The new phone adds a rubber door there. The new phone's SOS button resides under a pop-off plastic cap on top of the phone. I'd have that broken off and lost in no time. The new phone's antenna may be a little more robust but there's nothing wrong with the antenna on the 9555. Both antennae pull out of the phone to talk and stow internally inside the phone so there's little potential to break one. All other functionality is identical. The size and weight are nearly identical. The ads say the new phone is smaller and lighter. I held a 9575 and 9555 in my hands at the same time. There's no real difference. If anything, the 9575 is about 1/4" shorter and 1/4" wider than the 9555. In my eyes that makes it slightly bigger. In reality it's a dead heat. If I was in the market for a new phone and had anything other than a 9555 I'd buy the 9575. As a current owner of a 9555? Since I don't value the tracking and SOS? There isn't good reason for me to switch.

    I was told the access point advertising is ahead of availability. They aren't available yet. I was warned that the wifi speed will be slower than local 3G service. I'll wait until I can test drive a unit before I'll buy one.
    Where did you find it, and what was the price?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    WOW. I didn't know about this sat phone. If anyone out there has one and would like to write a product review on it, please let me know. I'd like to talk with you.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    Mike,

    The Extreme's are brand new and just now being stocked at most places, so I suspect that there has been very little field time put on them by most users. If somebody HAS gotten there hands on one, I would certainly be interested in a report also.

    Yk

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    Surveyor's has about 10 on the shelf. I'll leave the price quotes to them. Antonio @ Surveyors told me the hardware and screen are identical to the 9555. All phone functions and performance are the same as the 9555 EXCEPT the addition of the tracking and SOS. The rubber armor would be handy if you expect to get wet. My 9555 is water resistant but the 9575 is resistant under pressure. If that matters.

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    Mr. Pid,
    Thanks for the quick review. It is time I come out of the dark ages and buy a Sat phone and was all set to buy one of the 9575's sometime this year but seems like there is little to gain over the 9555.

    Does Surveyor's offer better prices at the Sportsman Show? Seems like anywhere you look online the prices are comparable once you figure everything in.

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    I've always assumed Iridium forces their retailers to maintain advertised pricing. I like to ask the dealers rather than read their ads.
    Surveyor's didn't have the axcesspoint unit but I found one available on-line. The checkout price was less than the internet advertised price.

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    To clarify I do not mean to criticize the 9575 in any way. It looks like a great phone. As for the SOS function I'm completely satisfied with having the phone for communication purposes. I don't need the protected/shilded SOS button when it's easier for me to hit a speed dial button and talk to RCC directly. As for tracking? That's kind of cool but I already have that covered. I don't know about other guys but in the field I try to minimize sat phone use so the battery stays good and charged should I need it for a real emergency. If a guy uses a phone as a tracker that will require the phone to stay on. That probably means that guy will need to carry extra batteries and/or a solar charge device. More function requires more equipment. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Something to think about, for sure.

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    Comparing the 9555 with the 9575 has me thinking the 9555 would be easier to "dial" without my glasses on. Not a big deal to someone with younger eyes but in an emergency a big plus to us old geezers.
    There is a point of dimishing returns with the smaller is better concept. Might even consider the 9505A if I can find a nice one.

    How does the 9505A compare against the 9555 as far as ease of use, reception, picking up a sat, etc?

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    I believe the keypad and screen are identical on the 9555 and 9575.

    The 9505A is a great phone. I remember receiving text messages for free on mine but I don't recall being able to send texts. The 9555 and 9575 are definitely 2-way text friendly. I still receive texts for free and to send texts costs me 20 seconds of airtime per message so it's the most economical way to communicate in most cases. Texting is my favorite feature of the newer phone.

    The country code is programmed into the new phone while you're required to dial it on the old. Dialing +1 was never a big deal so the advantage of the new phone in that regard is minor. Truth be told I think the call quality and phone reception was better on the 9505. My 9555 drops calls occasionally. The 9505 never did. I have friends who think their 9555s sound better than their old phones. I can't recognize any difference between mine.

  20. #20
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    You can send txt's with the old 9505A, but it's a pain in the neck to figure it out. Recommend having the manual handy when you try in the first couple of times.

    Running the 9505A and the 9555 beside each other, the voice quality and dropped call rates were very similar (ie, equally lousy) in my experience. I'm talking about a sample couple of dozen phones, not just one or two. There is probably more variation between phones than between models. The biggest advantages of the 9555 are the slightly smaller, lighter size and more user friendly menus and screen. The 9555 is certainly more intuitive to use if you aren't used to Sat Phones. That said, I sure as heck wouldn't throw out perfectly good 9505A just to upgrade if it were my personal dollars. Both are very tough and can handle rough use, being frozen, getting wet, etc. You just need to figure out how the txt features, address book, etc work BEFORE you have to do it one handed under stress!

    Yk

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