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Thread: Sat Phone Coverage

  1. #1
    Member AKluvr95's Avatar
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    Default Sat Phone Coverage

    Okay, I was convinced we needed a sat phone both for off shore fishing as well as on shore / interior hunting. We were out with friends the other night and basically had our parade rained on...

    The wife mentioned she was going to purchase a sat phone and she immediately received my undivided attention as I've always wanted one. The couple we were out with has a fair amount of experience outdoors but they were not advocates of sat phones in coastal environs due to their experience with extremely limited connectivity.

    Please let us know your experiences good and bad as we begin a more refined search for a product / service that may serve us well in both areas.

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    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    If you buy a GlobalStar then make sure you take matchs. Then if you get in trouble light a fire, dump on wet green spruce boughs and make smoke signals. You'll get your message out quicker. Globalstar has like a 7% signal coverage in most of Alaska.

    Iridium is the way to go. The GPS Accupoint store in Anchorage will set you up good.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I can vouch that Iridium phones generally work everywhere from the beaches of Kodiak, to the Bering Glacier, to points all over the north slope. Can't speak to PWS, or anywhere off shore.
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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Iridium phones work great in PWS. You can get good deals off EBAY.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Has everyone noticed the increase in cell service in PWS this year? I've been getting full bars in Culross and beyond now. I wonder if they put up a new tower. BTW I have AT&T.
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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    My Iridium Sat phone works everywhere I have been. All over PWS, Yukon to the Koyukuk, all up and down the Haul rd.

  7. #7
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    I have had great luck working with Surveyor's Exchange for years. They sponsor one of the forums too.

    http://www.tse-ak.com/default.aspx?c...tellite+phones

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveintheburbs View Post
    I have had great luck working with Surveyor's Exchange for years. They sponsor one of the forums too.

    http://www.tse-ak.com/default.aspx?c...tellite+phones
    X2 for surveyors exchange, there Northern Lights package, (sim card) is the way i have been going for several years now, just under 200 bucks every 6 months, can set up on automatic renewal and you keep and accumulate your minutes. Iridium IS the only way to go.

  9. #9
    New member Sockeye Salm's Avatar
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    I deal with Surveyors Exchange also. I have had the Iridium 9505A for about 7 or 8 years. I can get hooked up anywhere. You will occasionally lose a call and have to call back. I get the marine weather anywhere in PWS. Weather #1-907-266-5145 extension 3.....2.....2......4. for PWS

    There is a new model Iridium phone out now that is supposed to be even better.

  10. #10
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Global star made the mistake of ignoring their satellites and not provisioning new ones when they rotated in their standbys as older ones died. As such they ended up almost completely losing coverage when they dropped down to just 3 satellites from an original dozen or so.
    This happened in the late 90's early 2000's when they had a cluster of satellites die all at once.

    Cost to launch new satellites was more than they could afford and they are still not any where near they were before the satellites failed.

    Go with Irridium and make sure you keep the service current or it will cost you an extra $200 for a new SIM card when they deactivate the old one due to non use.

  11. #11
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Sad thing is the SPOT emergency transmitters are GlobalStar. When I had mine it couldn't even get a signal in my backyard here in Anchorage. AND if you think you can cancel your account by just not paying it the next year think again. You have to actually call and cancel otherwise they will keep adding the bills up until they turn you into a credit agency. Tehn you have to argue to get the bill reduced. (ask me how I know THAT one , no credit agency though. I got it cancelled before it went that far, but imagine my attitude when I got the 350.00 bill from them after I had quit using it for a few years)
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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I have an Iridium, and have the same deal where it is $200 every 6 months. If anyone knows of a way to keep it active, but not buy so many minutes, please speak up. Coverage is good in PWS. If you are in a cove with a big mountain to the south, then it seems like you can drop calls but you can redial right away. I noticed the increased coverage in PWS for cell phones as well this year, but it is not everywhere, just mainly out in the main/middle part of the sound. Once you go up the arms to the north, it seems to drop off. It is a good thing and a bad thing as people can get a hold of you on the water. One of the things I like about the Sat phone is the ability to make call, but generally not receive them without a lot of work on the part of the caller.
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  13. #13
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    One of the things I like about the Sat phone is the ability to make call, but generally not receive them without a lot of work on the part of the caller.

    It's even harder for anyone to call if you don't give them the #.

  14. #14
    Member AKluvr95's Avatar
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    Default Thanks to all for the good comments.

    Thanks for the very informative and helpful information.

    I really liked link with all the good research information too.

    Good to know this is still a viable option ~ I've always wanted one and was envious of those who had them.

    Soon it will be us! I look forward to the added safety/security and piece of mind for the family.


    Thanks Again,

    Guy

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKluvr95 View Post
    Thanks for the very informative and helpful information.

    I really liked link with all the good research information too.

    Good to know this is still a viable option ~ I've always wanted one and was envious of those who had them.

    Soon it will be us! I look forward to the added safety/security and piece of mind for the family.


    Thanks Again,

    Guy
    one life saving call and it is all worth it!!

  16. #16
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    You can receive free text messages on the Iridium phones

  17. #17
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    When I use HF to communicate from the bush I told my wife I would be listing between 8-9 pm at the top of the hour. Another thing you could do is leave a message on a phone they could call and leave a messages.

  18. #18
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have also been using a few different models of Iridium sat phones. Have always been able to make my calls, get a few dropped if close to a mountain. Have used it to call the Coast Guard and will never be without one.

    Here is a link so that anyone can send a text to your Iridium phone and it will deliver them when you power up and then you can call whoever back.

    http://messaging.iridium.com/
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by robbentler View Post
    Has everyone noticed the increase in cell service in PWS this year? I've been getting full bars in Culross and beyond now. I wonder if they put up a new tower. BTW I have AT&T.


    Cell coverage in PWS..

    OK.. just back from the sound where I commercial fish. maybe I can save a few people some trouble with cell coverage..maybe..

    The sound now has pretty extensive coverage.. but can be a bit complicated. I had 5 phones this Sumner to make it happen.

    Copper valley wireless has good northern and eastern coverage. SW district not so good. South of Pt Helen you lose COpper vlley.. and most carriers.

    GCI has coverage in AFK.. Evans island and surrounding.. UT you must have the GCI phone with a simm card for that area. I had two GCI phones.., and needed a third to finally get coverage there.

    I had a wilson cell booster that extended my coverage quite a bit for all carriers(for sale)..


    ATT phones with minutes work almost no where in the sound... must be a contract phone!!! same with ACS!!

    this is frustrating.. three ATT phones on the boat.. only one worked..

    In a few years maybe all this is resolved.. but lots of frustration with cell coverage in PWS.. thing is.. almost no one working for these companies knows what is going on. ATT rep sold me a phone that did not work there.. and then when I told them about it they did not make it right.. ATT customer service is ridiculously bad..and they do not know what is going on.

    Copper valley is better.. and actually will make it right.. as will GCI..

    good luck..

  20. #20
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    We have a different satellite communications carrier, and while it won't work for hunting, it is a great system all the same.

    We have a KVH V3 satellite voice and internet system. The unit is a pod, about 18" in diameter and about 18" tall so its not portable.
    We get around 2MB download speeds and good clear voice almost everywhere we've been. There's a satellite over the north pacific so we don't have to see the horizon for it to work.

    Inside the boat there is two modules about 6"X18"X18" they sit in our stereo cabinet. We have a Wireless Access Point hooked up so that the laptop and Iphones all connect to the internet.

    The system isn't cheap, but it works great and allows us to run our business from the boat, so it extends the time we are able to be out quite a bit.

    Here's a photo of the unit


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