Satellite Phones

Submitted: Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:18
ThreadID: 119938 Views:8490 Replies:15 FollowUps:0
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If any Bogger is considering purchasing a satellite phone, it's worthwile checking out the latest Telstra offer. They are offering the just superceded model for $995, half of what they were previously. They come with lots of extra's included. We purchased our's from Telstat in Melbourne, but I image that they are available through any Telstra dealer. You can check them out on the net at or Paul & Barb.
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Reply By: Paul and Barb - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:21

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:21
Hi Cracker, According to the latest Iridium stats they are using 66 low orbiting satellites, however the Ericsson phone seems a very good price. Paul & Barb
AnswerID: 558869

Reply By: Cracker - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:22

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:22
Hello Paul /Barb, the ericsson phone is cheaper - but more importantly for me, I'm not locked into a contract. I also didn't like Telstra's additional $26 per mth for data (e-mail) transfer. It will be interesting to see what globalstar offer - Telstra have shot themselves in the foot in the past, with their customer service/milking. Then along came competition and mobile number portability - and down went Telstra shares. Cracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:23

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:23
G'day cracker Be wise to check out the Ericsson's performance under hot conditions before committing if you have not already done so ("committed" that is). Contact me off line if you wish on this. Globalstar coverage and all round service, by the way, is excellent Myles
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:24

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:24
Used a Westinghouse unit and Optus for six years and recently switched to Iridium/Telstra for its portability.

On the whole prefer the original but the Iridium's portability (we have a 4WD Hilux plus a Troopy as well as the OKA) - is a big plus - as anywhere north of where we live is out of range otherwise.

We obtained ours for about $300 (including 18 month contract) via govt subsidy for outback dwellers/workers.
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Reply By: Cracker - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:25

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:25
Hello Myles, to late - I have already purchased the phone. I bought the Ericsson R290 new, with international plug kit, and spare battery for $590AUD. The phones are located in the U.K. ( and I believe there are more of them available). Beats paying $1400+ (and being locked to a contract) I checked out the call costs for both the Iridium system and globalstar, and found that he Telstra associated Iridium mob were alot dearer than globalstar. Cracker
AnswerID: 558873

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:26

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:26
Greetings again to you Cracker We purchased a Telit SAT550 when the Globalstar service hit Australia in 2000.We(Kathy and I) were in Broome at the time and wanted a simple communication system that did not cost the earth to install and would not require us to reinvent ourselves technically to be able to drive the thing. (Even clock radios fazed me but Kathy had progressed to elementary use of a VCR, several steps ahead of me.) Have never had to use the Sat phone in anger, but have had much fun in practicing! The only time it was used seriously was in the middle of the Fitzroy River in WA when I was compelled to call and boast to my son-in-law about the 6kg barra I had just caught! He was working in Brisbane at the time and I gather, from his colourful language, that he was suitably impressed !!! Seriously, they are a great investment in safety for gypsies like us - and that is not said to knock HF radio. I have a very healthy respect for what they and their devotees can do in emergencies. Myles
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:27

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:27
Satellite phones in emergencies - yes indeed. About five years ago we came across a clown who'd run out fule between Weipa and the tip of Cape York - over 200 km to nearest fuel. He had two babies in the car and no water - in about 39 degrees C - who were by then seriously dehydrated. They were only saved by an earlier truckie with a satphone who telephoned for immediate medical advice and a rescue helicopter.

We had to rely on ours some month later in the same area when the OKA's gearbox presented a choice of six neutrals - necessitating a mechanic 4WDing the 450 km each way from Wepia. .
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:28

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:28
Hi Cracker, Does these sat phones have incoming and outgoing SMS capabilities?? Mike.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:29

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:29
Hi Guys, sorry to be so long getting back to you, but busy playing nurse to a couple of sick kids. Re the Ericsson R290, users manual has 8 pages on sending & receiving SMS, so I guess the answer is 'yes'. It makes the point that you don't have to do anything to receive a message regardless of the status or current activity of the phone, but you need to set the service centre number before you can send one. They also suggest you check your service provider to confirm which services your subscription supports. Suggest check with Globalstar/Vodaphone. Cheers Griff
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:30

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:30
G'day Cracker, How are things? Could I ask where did you get your R290 phone from for $590? I have tried looking on Australian ebay and cheapest price I can find is $750. I really would like the R290 so that we can have outgoing SMS for the price of 33 cents a message on the satellite network and 25 cents on the GSM network. Also, rang Vodafone regarding their plans. A lady who claimed it was a year since she had a Globalstar/Vodafone enquiry said that cheapest plan was $30 a month. I read somewhere that they do have a $15 a month plan. Any comments? Cheers, Michael.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:31

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:31
Michael Here is some information which may help clarify some of the issues you raise. I understand that any new Vodafone-Globalstar user would be offered one of the twelve month contracts starting at $30 per month. Check for details. Once the initial contract is completed, a customer can then opt for "Casual Access" to the Globalstar satellite service for $10 (including GST) per month. Call costs under this arrangement are currently $2.84 per minute for inward and outward voice and 33c per SMS in satellite mode. GSM calls and SMS are as per Vodafone's "No Plan". Contact Vodafone if you already have a handset (Telit SAT 550 or Ericsson R290) and see what deal you can strike. Myles
AnswerID: 558879

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:32

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:32
As a follow-on to the last post from Myles, in August I purchased a Nokia mobile from some helpful guys in Brookvale (Sydney) that had actually used Sat phones & knew what they were about. They then set me up with a Vodaphone/Globalstar Service agreement on a no plans tariff (as the rates are the same as on the $15 plan (ie the max, as described by Myles) and I owned the equipment). When I got the Ericsson R290 (from the e-bay site), I then popped in and had them activate the satellite service. No probs so far (but I have yet to receive first bill - we'll see). I think it helps to find someone who actually has a clue about what you are trying to do by virtue of having used the gear themselves. Good luck Griff
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:33

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:33
Thanks Myles and Griff, Griff, would you be kind enough to let me know where I can go in Brookvale to see these guys? I am in Maitland in the Hunter Valley and I might pop in to see them on my way to Sydney on Thursday. Ta, Mike.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:34

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:34
David Potter or Paul are the guys to see. Paul is an outbacker who uses Sats and Paul's parents should be just completing a Big One (ask Paul how his mother's knee is - he'll tell you the story of their two day drive to medical attention after she fell & cut it badly. They then carried on & she got septicemia!). Their address is:- Brookvale Digital Communication 2/658 Pittwater Rd Brookvale 9905 2922 Ground floor on East side of the main Rd near the corner with Sydenham Rd Hope they can help Regards Griff
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:35

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 06:35
Ta Griff. Will pop in and say G'day. Mike.
AnswerID: 558883

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