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Thread: Satellitephones

  1. #1
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    Default Satellitephones

    I am new to the yard here and will be getting a new Hewescraft and thought it may be a good idea to look into Satellitephones. I would think it is a good idea for many reasons other than hunting. What are the thoughts out there and what works and does not work in AK. Thanks T

  2. #2
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweepint View Post
    I am new to the yard here and will be getting a new Hewescraft and thought it may be a good idea to look into Satellitephones. I would think it is a good idea for many reasons other than hunting. What are the thoughts out there and what works and does not work in AK. Thanks T
    The iridiums are the only way to go. Probably the foremost authority on them and the provider with the most options for calling plans is the Surveyors Exchange in Anchorage. They are a great idea, and even though they are a bit of an investment upfront, if the time ever comes where you really need one, they're value would be beyond any description.

    You can find decent deals on ebay and then get Surveyors exchange to help you set up the calling plan, or you can get on the list for used phones from Surveyors exchange (smarter option in my opinion) if you want to avoid the full smoke retail price.

  3. #3

    Default Motorola

    The best overall performance from a Sat Phone seems to be from the Motorola series. The original Motorola Iridium was the 9500 model, it was upgraded to the 9505 model, the newest of the line is the 9505a model.
    Accessories on these models don't all interchange, but service is available for all models.
    Service is avalable via a pre-paid SIM card or via a calling style plan kind of like a cell phone. Check out the variables at Surveyors Exchange.
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  4. #4
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I won't leave without my sat phone I use the Motorola 9505A. As said, the iridium is the only service that works all over Alaska. Read 3 or 4 books this winter, Bear tail2 1 and 2, Oh @@it we are going to die and a couple more. Almost everytime something when wrong, there was always a epic journey just trying to get to or call for help. I keep mine on me at all times, 50 bucks a month is good life insurance for my Alaskan outdoor lifestyle. My phone and a spare battery fit in to a small pelican case and is EZ to carry. Worth every penny for the piece of mind they provide. Plus it has saved me from sitting in camp waiting for a plane to pick me up when the weather was bad. One quick call and you and the air taxi both are on the same sheet paper.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

    Steve

  5. #5
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    Default Thanks

    Well you guys are great, that is what i figured, i work overseas and we use them a good bit here for when we get in a tight spot and a radio or cell won't get out and they always work for us. I can't wait to get back and get on the water or in the hills.
    Thanks again T

  6. #6
    Member DEH's Avatar
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    You'll see all the previous posters all mention Iridium. In Alaska(at the moment) they are the only way to go.

    The company I work for bought quite a few Globalstars a few years ago. They worked great the first year but then service became very spotty and a lot of the time it was difficult to get a signal at all. We waited it out since we were assured the service would return to previous levels. It never did. We were told they had moved satellites to better cover Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and the sats would be returned to previous locations or the new ones that were supposed be launched would take their place. Well, as a business, we can't wait. We traded our Globalstars in for Iridiums and have had no issues at all. I doubt we'll ever go back.

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  7. #7
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    Default Sat Phone's

    I purchased Motorola 9505A and their 200min Northern Lights Plan from Surveyors Exchange about a month ago. Here are few things to know:
    1. Donít set up voice mail. You will be charged about $1.60 a minutes even if you call your voice mail from land line (donít forward you phone to voice mail at all, you will be charged $1.60 a minute even if someone leaves a message on your voice mail).
    2. Incoming text messages are free, but out going text messages are about $0.60 a message.
    3. Any out of state or international calls are charged much higher then local calls.
    4. Setup PIN code for incoming calls to your sat phone.

    I wasted over 40 minutes for nothing because I informed incorrectly, I was informed that calling in to voice mail wasnít charged other then long distance charge, I was informed that in/out text message was free, and was informed that interstate / intrastate / international calls were all charged the same ($0.99 a minute).

    Most of my wasted minutes were trying to setup voice mail from landline. Their sales/instruction sheet instructs you how to setup voice mail, but does not indicate any charges involved.

    New buyers beware and compare your options properly with above charges, and find out all the hidden charges.

  8. #8

    Default Iridium/Motorola

    I have a 9050A purchased new in 2007 from Dough at the Surveyors Exchange in Anchorage. It worked well on our Koyukuk moose hunt. Make sure you waste a few minutes and try it out before you leave your yard. We did and the phone did not work. After 2 calls to Anchorage and a call to the states I was told by the company in the states that Surveyors Exchange had not finished a complete set up on my phone. That does not mean they do not know their stuff. It means s--- happens and that we are all responsible to make sure the gear we take to the field is in good working order. They are a costly item that just might make the difference between life or death and my family and friends are worth every penny!

  9. #9
    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Default 9505a

    I was looking at a used Kyocera Iridium phone ($300), but was informed by surveyers exchange that that phone is obsolete. It will still work, but with very poor signal strength and if it breaks it can not be repaired. Batteries are also an issue.

    I just picked up a used Motorola 9505a kit with two batteries, external antenna, Pelican case, car charger, wall charger and all the international power adapters for about half price of new. There are some deals out there. Best of luck.

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