Anyone tried the Laptop Internet Email digital mobile hookup?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 25, 2005 at 20:59
ThreadID: 121746 Views:4510 Replies:9 FollowUps:6
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I hear that there is a Digital Mobile and CDMA setup that plugs into the PCMCIA slot on a newer labtop, and can run Internet and Email anywhere there is phone service... Anyone tried it or done the investigation...??? We are looking now, for a reasonable system to run Email from Bush locations.... We also have many Bushtracker Owners that would like such an easy E-mail hookup...

Full Satellite access is bulky and expensive for data transmission, and this could be a great little stop-gap. I expect satellite dish and satellite phone versions to continue to come down in cost significantly year to year, as much as $1000 to $1500 price decline per year or more... Yes, we will probably all be on satellite some day, but it is a bit awkward and expensive right now... Digital and CDMA attachment to the laptop is a good interim while we are waiting for reasonable costs and reliability on satellite equipment... Which is on the verge of becoming reality but not quit here yet...

I experimented around with a standard mobile phone attachment, but this new toy is a "Dedicated Device" that is supposed to be six times faster for downloading E-mail... I could use that to stay in touch while on the road. The BOGGER site is one thing, but I have a lot of other E-mail on our Bushtracker Site... And for instance I am thinking of going to the Victorian State Reining Championships and would be on the road for 10 days with horses... It would be nice to be able to keep up with E-mail on a daily basis... I hear this is fast and affordable.. Anyone had a play with it yet????

I will keep all interested posted on this new development...

Cheers from the Lone Ranger... Ha! On the "Last Frontier" in Oz...
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Jan 25, 2005 at 22:39

Tuesday, Jan 25, 2005 at 22:39
I know of some people who have a late model CDMA phone that is " 1X " whatever that stands for, and it is supposed to be something like 250kbs where my old CDMA is only 14.4kbs.

You have to be aware though that the CDMA 1X system only operates from a limited number of transmitters at present, which are probably more in the major centres and not in the more remote bush locations. You may be able to find out more from Telstra what areas the CDMA 1X system covers.

Another thing that you might also need to consider, is that the phone needs to be one that is able to connect to an external antenna at the same time that it is being connected to the laptop, so that you can get the improved signal and range.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 00:02

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 00:02
I was thinking of Digital, because it was supposed to be faster on the downloading than CDMA for some reason, and only using it in a town setting... For me that would be ideal travelling with horses, as I would be staying in Showground settings... Would I still need an external antennae? Anyone used this new system?

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Reply By: Freewheelers - Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 02:51

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 02:51
i saw an advertisement this morning for you might want to have a look its a bit early yet but the rollout has started in sydney soon for melb & then ???
Stephen & Deborah

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 03:00

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 03:00
Hello Stephen and Deborah,

Thank you for that... Todays research has come up with only the Telstra option for about $100 per month on a 24 month plan, to pay for the $700 hardware plug in... But there has to be a better one out there than that..

I am fishing for it, but as with the satellite, we are only on the edge of the practical...

Oooor... I hear that maybe another option is MacDonalds!!! Evidently Big Mac has WIFI in all their MacDonalds all over Australia!!! Anyone tried the WIFI there? (Wireless Internet Connection) with the new laptops... Might be another option..??? Sounds to easy... Download it there, answer all the E-mail, send it out at the next Big Mac??? Not that I am in to that kind of food.. Ha!

Cheers from Bushtracker...

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Reply By: Cobradave - Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 04:59

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 04:59
Here's how I send/receive emails all over the country:
I use a combination of laptop, Pocketmail and Globalstar PSP 1600 sat./CDMA phone. I write and reply to emails on the laptop using MS-Outlook. When all the offline work is done I connect a cable to the Pocketmail device and download all the mail in a few seconds. If I'm near a pay phone which are available in the most remote places these days, I make a 1-800 call and transmit the emails to the Pocketmail server. If I'm lazy and don't want to get off my butt, I use the sat. phone in CDMA mode if available, if not, then sat. mode and transmit the mail. For incoming emails, I call the same 1-800 number and they transmit into the Pocketmail, connect it to the laptop and process the emails further on the laptop using MS-Outlook. That's all there is to it.
We recently spent a month in the S.A., deserts and it worked fine all the time. The cost is minimal, reliability almost 100%.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 23:11

Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 23:11
Hello David,
Thank you for that, but what is the "Pocketmail" device? I can see how it could be the medium to hook to the laptop by a cable, But... Does it take digital encryption via sound from a pay phone? Do I understand you correctly? And does it transmit the same way over the pay phone? Like a digitally encoded Audio tone? Or am I not understanding...


Thank you, stg at Bushtracker
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Follow Up By: Cobradave - Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 00:20

Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 00:20
Regarding the Pocketmail device (PMU) see
I believe that the current purchase price is $99. Usage costs $20/mth for unlimited send/receive of emails using a address. Limitation is that no attachments can be received.
It's a very simple device using a built-in modem and acoustic coupler, the same prehistoric technology that has been around for 30 years.
Works for me.....................
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Reply By: Boystoy - Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 08:24

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 08:24

I downloaded some useful information on the CDMA 1X from a Telstra website
This also has a link to CDMA1X Coverage maps

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Follow Up By: Boystoy - Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 21:33

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2005 at 21:33
Have just remembered another unit, I saw a Maxon CDMA 1X demonstrated at a Mining exhibition in Perth last February running at around 400k.
I havn't used it myself, so can't comment. Just doing research at present.

Check out their website

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Follow Up By: Bogger John - Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 22:31

Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 22:31
I checked out the Maxon site reported elsewhere ( and they have a MM-5100 modem for $663 plus antenna. This accesses the fast 1XRTT CDMA and older IS/95A networks. No phone is needed, just connect to computer and antenna and is good for heavier usage such as regular data downloads. Some sort of plan from Telstra is necessary. They also have a PC card for mobile broadband access. Do you ever get the feeling that it's getting harder and harder to keep up with all this?

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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 06:57

Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 06:57
G'day Steve,
Been Using the Maxon card (goes in PCMCIA slot) for about six months now. Permanently on the road means its my only source of internet so the$99 plan with 50hrs access suits me fine. Speed varies on location and how busy the system is. Speeds of up to about 230kbps are possible although this is only in "hotspots" and not in the bush where I'm down to a much slower speed. Having said this, it's speed is quite acceptable for most internet usage and where ever you can get CDMA you have internet. The size of these hotspots are increasing all the time according to telstra and I believe there is plenty of info on their website (wireless data section?).

Have been told about another option using the same 1X system that might suit light users. Don't need the $500 card or sign up for 24months. Just need 1X phone cable to join laptop and phone together. You then pay on monthly basis, $30 I think for 20hrs.

Posted info on the 1X card and network on old BOGGER site but no one was interested. Most opting to use their digital phone and the no longer available "My Hour" to quickly dowload emails each day. Different kind of users I think. I believe CDMA 1X is much, much faster and economical than digital network and as I said it works where ever CDMA coverage is.

Works for me anyway!


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Reply By: Meg and J - Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 00:56

Monday, Jan 31, 2005 at 00:56
Hi all

We have been on the road for 2 years now and have used a Kyocera CDMA mobile phone with a data service from Telstra which is not all that expensive - we only pay for the time we are on the net. I only use it to download my emails or send them and can only use it when we have a service obviously. I connect to my laptop and I retained Optus as our service provider with 5 hours per month which is all I needed as I only wanted to download emails.

It has been the simplest of ways to keep in contact and I think one of the cheapest. For all other internet needs I used telecentres in WA and libraries everywhere else with the occasional internet cafe if library closed.

It has been a very cheap way to keep in touch and needed to be very simple for me to operate.

Keep having fun while travelling
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Feb 01, 2005 at 00:21

Tuesday, Feb 01, 2005 at 00:21
Bushtracker Sez...
Thank you one and all for your help...

If I pack up horses and run to Victoria for the State Reining Championships, I will pick one of them to stay in touch... On the road for ten days with horses... If I couldn't so something: With 40 Emails a day stacking up, I might not come back ! Ha!...

Kind Regards to all, stg at Bushtracker
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Reply By: Grafton BT - Monday, Mar 28, 2005 at 10:38

Monday, Mar 28, 2005 at 10:38
Try the MiniMax from Telstra, $49 per month with 20hrs connection to surf the net. It uses the CDMA network and can get speeds up to 300Kbps in capital cities. The MiniMax is a USB device and is dead easy to use. I just got back from Tassie and used it at Lake StClair. Very acceptable speed, I had ADSL at home. I am currently using it to surf the BOGGER site
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:32

Monday, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:32
While in Victoria I saw a friend connect his late model laptop up to the internet by placing a card in the slot in the side of Laptop. It has an antenna about 30mm long, and he said that it was connecting via CDMA. It was also running around the 300kbs which is pretty good for mobile connection.
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