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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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  #1  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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Are Sat phones etc really needed?

How nesscsary is it to carry a Sat phone, cell phone, personal locator beacon or a SPOT?

I have said in other threads that any of these are unmistakeably handy in a tight situation, but how often does that need arise?

I have been in plenty of out of the way spots without such kit, and I've had problems out there too, but I'm still not convinced if I should bother taking one on my future travels. I only ask for opinions because it seems that these devices are becoming very popular among adventure travellers (particularly Sat phones which have dramatically reduced in price recently), and every person I seem to meet has one of these things. Most people say that they are for emergency use only, others for peace of mind, and some like them because they can call or text their mates from the middle of the Sahara.

To me, it takes away a bit of the adventure factor by having such easy comms to the outside world. I understand their benefits, but I'm not convinced about their nessecity. Those of you that have them - how much do you use them and would you be without them?
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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over-the-horizon-radar

who needs it?
man, i leave my cellphone at home as often as possible, even in daily life. do you really want to be as contactable as all that?
there is absolutely no need at all to take this stuff (and all the cords).
take bugger all. go where cellphones don't have coverage.
later,
andy.
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  #3  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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I took a satphone on a trip to cover Kazakhstan, bits of Russia and Mongolia when it was just me and a mate. Carried it for voice in an emergency only, and GPS data uploads for our sponsors when we had no GSM. When we weren't uploading it was always switched off.

If I needed one, I'd pay far more than the $400 rental for a few months to get myself out of an otherwise nasty situation. Being able to have the option of calling someone with medical experience, your family, an insurance company etc was valuable to us.

There is a certain bravado about going it alone, but I see no shame in carrying one and never powering it.

Also, I like the idea of personal trackers. I have one that I use whenever I'm riding, which my family can see online if they want. I'll never know if they check it, and they won't need to hassle me when I'm away. Ideal
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Last edited by KTMmartin; 1 Nov 2008 at 18:35.
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  #4  
Old 1 Nov 2008
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I hate the thought of them, and think how only a few years back we just had callboxes or nothing. Mind you I'm no luddite, and can see the point of loads of things, but a satphone? I so don't want to be called up in the middle of nowhere, or alterantively have people hassling me saying "why didn't you call?". And a big question I always wonder "Who are you going to call when you're in the middle of nowhere, and who do you reckon will come to your rescue?"

So no satphone for me unless I had to for some sponsorship reason. I'll take my cellphone, because it's got so many other functions, a decent MP3 player text editor for blogs when I get to civilisation etc, but I'd put it in flight mode.
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Old 1 Nov 2008
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Hummm. Two for and one against so far. I think I'm still of the opinion not to bother. I may feel differently when I've busted my leg in the back of beyond, but then, as Alex says, who would I call?
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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Butchdiamond;

There are some threads in the archives, which points out the pro's and con's quite well.
The ones I could find quickly ('cause I contributed to them):
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...t-phones-24305
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...te-phone-32885

Don't get me wrong it's always good these kind of questions popup from time to time, to hear new opinions and rethink older choices.

cheers
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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Thanks Sophie/Bart, those links were quite useful. I think I'm going to stick to my guns and go without.
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  #8  
Old 5 Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butchdiamond View Post
How nesscsary is it to carry a Sat phone, cell phone, personal locator beacon or a SPOT?

I have said in other threads that any of these are unmistakeably handy in a tight situation, but how often does that need arise?

I have been in plenty of out of the way spots without such kit, and I've had problems out there too, but I'm still not convinced if I should bother taking one on my future travels. I only ask for opinions because it seems that these devices are becoming very popular among adventure travellers (particularly Sat phones which have dramatically reduced in price recently), and every person I seem to meet has one of these things. Most people say that they are for emergency use only, others for peace of mind, and some like them because they can call or text their mates from the middle of the Sahara.

To me, it takes away a bit of the adventure factor by having such easy comms to the outside world. I understand their benefits, but I'm not convinced about their nessecity. Those of you that have them - how much do you use them and would you be without them?
I would be dead now had I not carried a Sat Phone, (got myself in a bit of a muddle on the edge of the bleedin Simpson Desert) For remote travel in Australia, it is definately required, as a normal mobile will not work. If you are planning to cross the Simpson in summer, when only one or two vehicles per month cross, then a Sat phone is more than a fashion accessory, I took an epirb as well. Having said that I have cross the Sahara twice and have not even bothered with a GPS. Depends where your going really.
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Old 5 Nov 2008
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Really depends what's your "travel style" - how you travel and where.

I like to spend my time in remote places, away from dense civilization. In remote places I see sat-phone as an "insurance", to call for help.

World's GSM coverage:


As you can see, in the "third-world" (Africa, Asia, S-America & Australia), GSM coverage is only in the bigger cities thus the GSM is basically useless for real adventure travellers spending their time off the beaten track if there's really an emergency.

I always have a scenareo in my mind I crash in the middle of nowhere, get an illness etc million scenareos it'd save your life. At least one of us (I travel 2-up) can call for help.

With Iridium phone you don't even need to have a SIM card to call 911 - you can just buy (a cheaper second hand-) phone for the emergency calls only

Like with any "insurance", you won't notice a need for it until you really need it...

If you travel in western-world or in very civilized parts of the world - sat-phone is not needed.

Last edited by Margus; 6 Nov 2008 at 12:36.
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Old 6 Nov 2008
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As you can see, in the third-world (Africa, Asia, S-America & Australia), GSM coverage is only in the bigger cities .......
I'm only half Australian, but even I take offence at the Third-WOrld classification.

Quote:
I always have a scenareo in my mind I crash in the middle of nowhere, get an illness etc million scenareos it'd save your life. At least one of us (I travel 2-up) can call for help.
But, to quote a memorable line from the 80's - Who you gonna call? Nice as it is to be able to give your mum your last words over the phone, can she give you much help when you're in Sub-Saharan Africa?
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Old 6 Nov 2008
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Originally Posted by Margus View Post
...As you can see, in the third-world (Africa, Asia, S-America & Australia...
Australia, third world... love it.
Most Kiwis would agree with you.
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Old 6 Nov 2008
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Sorry guys, absolutely no offence was ment - what I mean under "third world" is the lack of GSM-coverage in this post

In fact personally I like so called "third-world" more than the western-world.

I put "third-world" into those thingys then not to confuse people

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexlebrit View Post
Who you gonna call?
Quite short-sighted "memorable line" then, it's not 80s anymore with wired telephones and nearly non-existant travel insurances. With todays network, many insurance companies have (medical) evacuation insurance covered to the most remote parts of the world (that otherwise would cost a fortune for you to get evacuated if really neccessary). If you have it done before your trip - you'll know exacly where to call and who's your momma

Anyways, like life, it's your own risk-and-reward balance. Some say sat-phones take away the real (risky) adventure, others say it has saved their life when sh*t really happends. Take your pick.
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Old 6 Nov 2008
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Sorry guys, absolutely no offence was ment...
Makes no difference to me... I ain't Australian... thank god!

I know where you're comming from folks. Some valid scenarios have been raised here, and I realise that these devices have their place. As has been mentioned before, it all depends on where I'm going, what my objectives are and who's going with me (am I responsable for them?). But in general, if it's just me, I think I'll go without. Maybe that's foolhardy, but then as far as a lot of people are concerned, most of the things I do are foolhardy.
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Old 6 Nov 2008
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Who you gonna call?
YouTube - Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters


BTW: No sat phone for me.
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Old 6 Nov 2008
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Well if you're insured that's different, what I was getting at was that a Satphone is only as good as the number you call.
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