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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 2 Sep 2006
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Smile Is a satellite phone essential-how many have carried one?

although our trip departure has been postponed, we look at that as a blessing in disguise-more time to earn, learn, and select. in reading the many blogs offered here, we find very few mentions of people using the iridium phones.

kwang hee and i will only leave pavement when forced to, so we will rarely be out of reach of help. i know we need to be able to yell for help, talk to grandchildren, etc., but will a standard cellphone with global capability be good enough, or should we spend the cash and buy the iridium? btw, the surgery on kwang hee went quite well and the new hip works well enough that we went for a few short rides last week.
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  #2  
Old 2 Sep 2006
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Globalstar Tested Last Weekend

My wife and I attended the travelers meeting last week-end in Nelson and rode about 700 KM on logging roads along the way. I decided to rent a Globalstar sat phone to see how well it worked.

We dumped the bike crossing a small rock slide about 50 KM from the nearest highway or town. No real damage or injuries but seemed like a good place to try the phone so I called home just to say hello. It worked fine. Tried it again a couple of times in remote areas with the same success. Had we needed help we could have gotten it. This was the "comfort level" I was looking for so I intend on buying one in the future.

Whether you need one depends on where you plan on riding and your comfort level. For me it seems worth the expense in case of an emergency.
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  #3  
Old 2 Sep 2006
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My wife and I have had many discussions on the satelite phone question...safety vs cost (and I'm not sure I want to be that contactable)

I'd be really interested to hear from anyone whose bought a satelite phone in the UK recently...phone cost & call costs & where you got it...because my understanding is that they're still pretty darn expensive in the UK vs the USA.
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  #4  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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Thumbs down Who you gonna call?

So, you're carrying it for the comfort of contacting someone in an emergency to bail you out of a tough spot.

You're out in the bush, miles from anywhere, strange country, can't speak the language. Your bike died/you hurt yourself. Who you gonna call? What # are you gonna call?

Calling home for help seems like a waste -just gets the folks at home anxious and how the hell are they going to provide help getting you out of the situation you are in, thousands of miles and a continent or two away.

Essential? I don't think so.
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Old 3 Sep 2006
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'I'm sorry, we're out at the moment, please leave a message after the beep....'

<beep>

'Hi Mum, I've fallen off, I'm surrounded by hungry lions, my leg is broken and I can see the bone poking out.....'
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  #6  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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If money isn't too tight then you may as well get the Sat phone - even if you never use it it will give you, but equally important those you leave behind, some peace of mind. If, like most of us, you want to keep costs down then don't bother, take an unlocked mobile phone and buy sim cards along the way which is by far the cheapest way of staying in touch. I have just done Africa down the west route, and I reckon I had mobile reception 95% of the time. It's amazing the global coverage mobiles have these days.
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  #7  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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Point taken....but what about phoning the local embassy or contact you have in the country....
hi I'm 150miles south of <insert capital city name here> off the beaten track and have fallen off my bike/crashed my 4x4/been captured by rebels any chance of getting a tow-truck(haha)/ambulance(ha)/policeman/delta strike force/SAS team/fresh bread and marmite to me in the next 8 hours?

Although, knowing my wife, it'll be phoning her mom/best friend for their weekly 2 hour chat....see why I'm worried about costs!!
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  #8  
Old 4 Sep 2006
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Some countries don't have ambulances...

You need money to pay for the resue services in some places..

The advantage of a Sat phone ? You have to consider the 'who yer gonna call' problem...
Some points in there favour - you can get advice, order parts (provided you have an address to use ... even if travelling 'poste reseante' (sp?) will work)

Nothing beats the 'beam me up Scotty' service ... but that is a way off.
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  #9  
Old 13 Sep 2006
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2 points of view + an option to hire!

Me and my mate bought an Iridium Sat-Phone(Iridium is the onlt truly global network, i think) for a Asia to UK trip last year.

We didnt really use it much, just a couple of times to call our friendly mechanic when the bikes went tits and to speak to family etc at xmas etc.

On Iridium network you can get a contract or "top-ups" at $200US for 3 months service + 75 mins of talk time. When on the road if this runs out you ring the operator and top-up from a credit card.

On our return we decided to try and rent the phone out to recoup some costs before maybe selling it. So far ive done this once to a chap who rode solo across Siberia and Mongolia on a GS1150. We charged him £200 for 3 months hire not including the top-up costs.
He was really glad to have it and used it on a daily basis whilst in Siberia to chat for a couple of minutes with his wife and kids at home. If you have a similar family set-up i'd imagine it to be wonderful both to reassure and make them feel a bit more part of the experience.

Thats my experience

And the phones still available to hire for £75 per month. I think they cost about £1000 to buy new. May sell instead.

Chris
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  #10  
Old 14 Sep 2006
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Wink Borrow one from the Mounties

From my readings in preperation for traveling the Labrador Highway from Goose Bay, it would appear that you can 'book out' a sat phone from any of the hotels, then book it back in to any hotel in Labrador City. Don't get too excited though, it only calls 911, but it does have gps tracking so if you don't turn up after a couple of days, at least they know where you dropped the phone while running away from the bears

Not sure if any other state offers this service.
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  #11  
Old 15 Sep 2006
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If you can afford it

Like the saying goes, it's better to have it and not need it, than to not have it and need it. I look at it as part of a med kit. It's one of those things thats good to have as a just in case. If you can spring the coin for it, then why not. It doesn't take up much space and may make a possible situation better by being able to contact the proper people in case of an emergecy. As long as you have the right phone numbers.
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  #12  
Old 15 Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesy.b
If money isn't too tight then you may as well get the Sat phone - even if you never use it it will give you, but equally important those you leave behind, some peace of mind. If, like most of us, you want to keep costs down then don't bother, take an unlocked mobile phone and buy sim cards along the way which is by far the cheapest way of staying in touch. I have just done Africa down the west route, and I reckon I had mobile reception 95% of the time. It's amazing the global coverage mobiles have these days.
I think a very sensible approach. I dont feel the need of a phone by my wife insisted i have one when i go off on my little trips with the bike. I pay 7 euros a month line rental and calls cost 50c a minute. I only switchh it on when i want to use it. that has been five times in last two years. In a ense dont want topay rental, and don't care about the cost of calls when I need to cal.
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