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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 28 Sep 2005
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Sattelite phone YES/NO?

Hiya!

Need some outside input to settle a dispute between my husband and I. What is the general consensus about taking a sat phone through Africa? We are leaving for a year long africa trip in a few months and obviously the budget is getting tighter. We now need to decide what is luxury and what is needed. As a woman and knowing we are going off the beaten track, I feel having a sat phone will give me peace of mind.. Hubby feels no need for sat phone and would rather spend the money on a dash mounted GPS system ( we have the hand held etrex - will this not do the job?).
So please anybody with an opinion let us know, if you had one and never used/needed it, etc.
Ta
Renee
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  #2  
Old 28 Sep 2005
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that seems like an easy question but is in fact impossible to answer..i travelled through africa and had a sat phone and didnt need it..i also travelled with two spare wheels and didnt need them...in both cases i didnt need them but would leave home without it..the gps was great fun"boys and toys!"said my wife. I would travel with both..e mail me if yu wish to talk further..good luck
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  #3  
Old 28 Sep 2005
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What a woman wants , God wants !
More seriously , I think the sat phone is a good thing but only necessary in (very) desert zones : those where nobody will came to help you before several days .
Have a good trip !
RR
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  #4  
Old 28 Sep 2005
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As someone with both a sat phone and an etrex gps, you'll be able to guess what my answer will be.....

Etrex works fine, even if the display of lat/longs is a bit small. Most of the time you're just looking at where the arrow is pointing and that is large enough to see.

Sat phones are useful for times other than an emergency. If you're away for a long time you might well want to call 'home' a few times. Doing so on your own terms, in your own space is often nicer and can be cheaper than going through a telephone shop. Phoning out of one of these in Niger, for example, can break the bank pretty quickly.

Also, people can phone (text) you if you have your own phone.

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  #5  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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Hi,
Get the Garmin vehicle mount for the etrex, mount it on the dash close to windscreen - It will work fine -(unless you have a front heated screen)
Use emails, fax's to communicate, unless you are spending lots of time in remote deserts, save the money from the sat phone and spend it on your trip - the money is a good few extra weeks on the road doing what you probably wanted to do in the first place...getting away from it all.
It wont be as difficult as you expect and there are nearly always people about to help if you have problems.
Have a good Trip
Cheers
Grif
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  #6  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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I use Etrex and take a satphone, always...

Sam.
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  #7  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Rutherford:
I use Etrex and take a satphone, always...

Sam.
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  #8  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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I wonder how the likes of Livingstone,Park,Burton,Thesiger and the like ever managed?
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  #9  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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Personal opinion...Sat phones and GPS is for girls! No seriously, I think if you're going to Africa you are obviously looking for adventure. Are these devices really in the spirit of adventure? I guess you could argue that our star/compass/map using ancestors would have loved to have such useful equipment and maybe that's true. But in our technologically advanced day and age I think they're just more devices that stop us using our wits, initiative and common sense, all of which are very useful and rewarding skills to develop on a bike trip through Africa. I guess it’s obvious that I did not have that equipment with me on my travels but then again, if I had got lost in the middle of the desert would I have felt the same way…I really couldn’t say but I hope so.

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  #10  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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I wonder how the likes of Livingstone,Park,Burton and the like ever managed?

With hundreds of porters, rank disease and covering about 5 miles a day!
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  #11  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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Satellite telephone? Here’s my penny’ worth –
(imho) a Sat-tel is a very desirable but generally non-essential item.
Suggest you do what I did – buy a Sat-tel on Ebay (it cost me around £350).
Then do what I didn’t ! – sell it again after the trip (also on Ebay).
This leaves you with a 12 month connection contract to pay for. Mine costs £200 pa, and maybe you could sell that too…
I travel wild places, but I always join up with another traveller locally when going really off-piste, and they would probably be more use than a Sat-tel call to the AA back home!
Good luck - kitmax

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  #12  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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I said I took them, I didn't say I used them!!

Certainly the satphone is one of those items that if you really need it, you have it. If you don't have it...

If you have a satphone, you are not going to die in the desert (at least not unless someone is after you). If you don't have a satphone, then, just possibly, you might.

Ask cool Karim!

Sam.

PS also don't forget that with Iridium your friends can send you unlimited free text messages...
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  #13  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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Putting aside the "wimps vs machos" side of the argument, could anyone update me please on the best suppliers of Iridium "pay as you go" SIM cards?

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[This message has been edited by Roman (edited 29 September 2005).]
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  #14  
Old 29 Sep 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulJ:
Personal opinion...But in our technologically advanced day and age I think they're just more devices that stop us using our wits, initiative and common sense...
Paul, you need plenty of wits, initiative and common sense even to send or receive a call using a gizmo that offers a hundred menu options http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb/icons/icon10.gif


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  #15  
Old 30 Sep 2005
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i'm working with amateur Radio.
Yaesu FT-857D with a mobile antenna.


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