Sat Phones - Road Trip 2008





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  1. #1
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    Red face Sat Phones - Road Trip 2008

    Good day to all,, I am planning/working on my up coming road trip from Durban up through the Kalahari, Okanango Delta, Caprivi Stirp, Raucana, Etosha and then south as we make our way back to Durban. I was wondering if anyone has any feed back on using sat phones in any of these areas ( i.e. Iridium, thuraya, Globalstar). Any info you can provide would be outstanding.

    thanks.. Simon

  2. #2
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    Simon to buy or rent?

    To rent chat to Brian Cotton @ Landy Online (www.landyonline.co.za).

  3. #3
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    Or become a radio Amateur!
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  4. #4
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    Simon we did a similar trip from pietersburg last year and was surprised to have cell-phone reception most of the way. We went through botswana to the caprivi and then on to grootfontein into south of etosha out the north (wanted to go to ruacana but time was against us) so we came down south again ans on to the skeleton coast down to hentiesbaai and from there east through botswana back home. Did about 6500km. There were a few places with no reception but we made contact daily with family and gave them the next days planning if they dont hear from us by that evening where to start searching. Although you have to contact your cell phone provider so they could open it for international service.
    Johan

  5. #5
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    Hi Simon,
    A much cheaper option is to buy a pay as you go card for each country you visit. Charge it with some air time and let your family know what the number is for that country. Only hassle is that you may not have reception everywhere, specialy in Botswana.
    Have a good trip
    Andre
    Andre van Rensburg<br>Swambos baby V6 Pajero shorty<br>My overland vehicle "Datsun" 3.3l v6 hardbody d/cab.<br>Play vehicle Sizuki SJ413. Mods: Toyota 2c Diesel engin and 5 speed gearbox, 50mm lift<br>Love the bush, overlanding and crazy about animals.

  6. #6
    JeepOnly Guest

    Smile Sat Phones

    Hi Simon.
    I make use of a Thuraya Sat Handset in Nothern Kenya and also Southern Sudan, and I can assure you that you will be very happy with the Thuraya products.

    Airtime is however F*$&ún expensive as you would be looking at around US $8 per minute of talk time, but if you keep it just for emergencies, you should be fine. You can get the handsets and Airtime from many places in SA, and I would suggest you do all of that in SA whilst you get to know how to use the phone. (VERY SIMILAR IN LOOKS AND HOW IT WORKS to ANY CELLPHONE.

    I learnt an expensive lesson in Sudan when a friendly dude offered to load airtime for me because I did not understand the French prompts, and did so in a a few seconds and off he went. I only realised later that he had not loaded the pin at all, and instead made off with my US $50 voucher.

  7. #7
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    hi simon, i have an iridium sat phone and as far as i know they are the only ones to give full coverage in africa 100% of the time. if you buy or rent a phone then get an african pay as you go it's much much cheaper.(only works in africa) trust me it's nice to have the peace of mind when in the middle of nowhere in bots,accidents happen so quickly and to be able to call in an air ambulance immediatly is invaluble.
    enjoy your trip
    halfjob
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  8. #8
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    Outstanding and thanks for the info,, I have an Iridium phone and was most concerned about coverage in Africa. I have had great success using it in Iraq, Asia and all over South America I was just a bit concerned about coverage here in AF. As a certified pilot I also carry a handheld ground/air transceiver that also acts as an international distress squawk beacon. Its also great to hear that there is cell coverage in most of the areas granted there will be a couple of dead zones.

    Again thanks for the info and will continue working/planning my 2008 road trip..

    Simon

  9. #9
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    I have an Inmarsat BGAN terminal.This is a great unit for Internet, E-mail, Fax, Voice Calls, Video conferencing, streaming and more but due to being a terminal you will need to do a line-up to a satellite before you are connected. If you are connected you have a Bluetooth phone that you can use for voice calls.
    My old Inmarsat phone was by fare the best as you did not have to do a line-up to a satellite and you were always connected.
    For travelling in Africa I would suggest to get a basic handheld unit that have a magnetic antenna that you can mount on any vehicle and a car charger as all satellite phones is chewing the batteries.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks Tiaans, well seems i've narrowed it down to the following I have an older model 9500 iridium unit, with an external mounted antenna and misc, two batteries which i've tested and in standby mode hold a charge for about +/- 30 hours, I will also taking my flexiable/rollup solar panel for recharging electronics i.e. Laptop, cellphone, camera, sat phone, etc. I was able to find on the internet a prepaid calling card for 300min @ US 245.00. The primary use for this unit is calling in every night to check in and just in case. I am also thinking of taking my Nera/Inmarsat land based sat unit, which sound much like the unit you mentioned. I should have decent coverage in this area from the east atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean sats.

    Simon

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfjob View Post
    hi simon, i have an iridium sat phone and as far as i know they are the only ones to give full coverage in africa 100% of the time. if you buy or rent a phone then get an african pay as you go it's much much cheaper.(only works in africa) trust me it's nice to have the peace of mind when in the middle of nowhere in bots,accidents happen so quickly and to be able to call in an air ambulance immediatly is invaluble.
    enjoy your trip
    halfjob
    I've had an Iridium phone for 3 years now and never had a situation where it didn't have reception. I however also get a local simcard where ever I go, but they also don't have reception in the remote parts. HF radio is an option, but then again you can't call local tel numbers for bookings or other information etc etc.
    Disclaimer - All my posts on this forum is without prejudice, is based on my fair assumptions or perceptions, is in no way intended to cause harm to anyone and is acted upon at your own discretion.

  12. #12
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    Hi

    I have worked in Uganda, Angola, Mozambique this year. I use sms roaming to keep in touch in case of emergency. The cost is about R300 extra for reasonable use (per month). One good thing about roaming is that it will roam on any availible network, which means you have better coverage than buying a local sim.

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