Satellite Phones are Essential Survival Equipment



Even in today's urbanized world, nature is vast and beautiful. We've written many times before about stunning natural vacation destinations around the globe, where anyone wanting to get away from civilization can experience boundless adventure.

From the Polar Regions to rainforests to deserts, there's always something new to see, and it could take a lifetime to see everything Earth has to offer.We've also emphasized in the past how important it is that you can call for help if you need it for beginners experienced world travelers. The untamed wilderness has different standards than day-to-day life, and it's easy to underestimate your level of preparedness when you plan to travel into the unknown. You can be in fantastic physical shape, be fully stocked up on supplies, and even be quite familiar with the wilderness in which you want to travel, but most people are so used to life being a certain way that we're bound to forget how different the situation is when you're far from home. Small errors in judgment are one thing when you're in town, but their effects can be magnified a thousand-fold when you're out in the wild.
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Safety Tips for Skiing and Snowboarding

Safety Tips for Skiing and Snowboarding

Safety Tips for Skiing and Snowboarding

Snow means a lot of different things to people around the world. Some never see it. Some hate it, viewing it as a nuisance that requires hours of backbreaking shoveling just to get their car out of the garage. Others love to watch the snowfall… as long as they're watching through a window while curled up near a fireplace indoors. But for some people, snow takes on a whole new meaning: skiing and snowboarding season!

If you're one of those individuals who can't wait to get out on the slopes and feel the wind rushing past you as you soar down the side of a mountain, you're probably already planning a trip. There are tons of fantastic ski resorts all over the world, and some definite favorite destinations for snowboarders. Maybe you already have a favorite resort that's like a second home to you, or maybe you're looking for somewhere new to go. Either way, it's sure to be a blast!

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Satellite Phones for Sled Dog Racing

Satellite Phones for Sled Dog Racing

Satellite Phones for Sled Dog Racing

For generations, sled dogs have been known as one of the few reliable ways to traverse large distances over frozen landscapes. In frozen areas like Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, some places today are still only accessible by sled. Sled dog teams have contributed to mail delivery, supply runs, and exploration and were a major part of the gold rush in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Roald Amundsen relied on teams of sled dogs during his groundbreaking expedition to the North Pole. Undoubtedly, these hardy, fearless, and intelligent dogs are a part of history.

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Save Money on a Cruise by Bringing a Satellite Phone

Save Money on a Cruise by Bringing a Satellite Phone

Save Money on a Cruise by Bringing a Satellite Phone


Who doesn't want to go on a cruise? Visit exotic destinations, relax in a luxurious cabin, with access to great food and entertainment? It's no wonder cruises are so popular. Millions of people find them to be the perfect means of getting away to unwind while exploring parts of the world in the process!

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The Beauty and Wonder of the Appalachian Trail

The Beauty and Wonder of the Appalachian Trail

The Beauty and Wonder of the Appalachian Trail

For the truly dedicated hiker, there are few destinations more appealing than the Appalachian Trail. Stretching over a distance of 2,200 miles through 14 states, winding through forests and mountains, this unforgettable trail can truly be described as "epic." 
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The Top Five Peaks for Mountaineering

The Top Five Peaks for Mountaineering

The Top Five Peaks for Mountaineering

 

Adventurers all over the world feel the lure of the mountains. There is nothing like ascending a peak, rising to the challenge of climbing to the summit and feeling the cold, clean air far above the world. Some climbs are easier than others, but all are an incredible experience. Check out our list of the top five peaks for mountaineering, complete with information on the satellite network to rely on for communication in each area. Satellite phones are a vital piece of equipment for mountaineers of any skill level.

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Partnering With the Iditarod

The world is filled with all kinds of races from runners to cars to horses. But perhaps one of the more unique races is the Iditarod dog sled race, held in Alaska, typically in early March each year. Since 1973, brave men and women have tethered well-trained dogs to a sled and mushed from Anchorage to Nome, a distance through the Alaskan wilderness of over 1,000 miles, all in the course of 8-10 days.

Through the Wilderness

The racers begin in Anchorage for a ceremonial start, then move to Willow, AK, approximately 80 miles north of Anchorage for a restart. From then forward, there are checkpoints along the route; however, the trip is across rough, isolated terrain. Also working against the racers is the sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions. Wind chill temperatures can reach upwards of -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Checkpoints

Depending on which route is taken, there are 26-27 checkpoints along the route for racers to check in. Some mushers choose to camp on the trail so they can reduce stop times, while others stay and rest. The mushers send ahead “drop bags” of supplies for themselves including food, batteries, extra booties for their dog’s paws, and sled repair parts. The drop bags are delivered by the Iditarod Air Force and are a vital survival link for the racers.

Satellite Communication

This year, Outfitter Satellite has partnered with the Iditarod Race and Iridium to provide satellite handsets for race officials along the route. The remote nature of the checkpoints along the route presents a unique challenge for staying in contact with racers and other officials. Iridium handsets, however, function anywhere on the planet and therefore provide a perfect solution for race officials no matter where they are along the trail.

No matter where you travel, Iridium handsets are an unsurpassed safety measure. Whether on the Iditarod trail, the Brazilian rain forest, or the Colorado mountains, having a way to keep in contact with family and friends or emergency medical services is an inexpensive safety device and provides peace-of-mind in remote travel locations.

Outfitter Satellite rents the Iridium 9555 and the Iridium GO! New and used units for the 9555 and GO! are also available for sale, as well as the new Iridium Extreme 9575 with a ruggedized exterior, water resistance, and emergency SOS button. Service options include monthly and prepaid options.

#NoCellService

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Satellite Phone Brand and Network Comparison

Satellite Phone Brand and Network Comparison

Satellite Phone Brand and Network Comparison


When purchasing a satellite phone, you have some very important details to consider. The process is more complex than buying a regular cellular phone, because not only do you have handset features to compare to one another, you must also be mindful of the differences between each carrier’s satellite network. Coverage area, call quality, and reliability is all dependent on the satellite network utilized by a given provider. You cannot make an informed decision about purchasing or renting a satellite phone without this knowledge.


Our buyer’s guide goes into more detail, but here is a quick summary of satellite phone providers and their coverage areas, plus a few strengths and weaknesses of each one.

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Satellite Phone Choice - Which One?

When leaving on your next trek into the outer reaches, satellite phone choice is as important as bringing the right footwear or clothing. Depending on where your trip will take you, Iridium and Inmarsat possess definite strengths and a few challenges that will make the choice relatively painless.

A World of Difference

Iridium carries the distinction of being a truly “global” phone. An Iridium phone will function at any location on the planet. Use of their low-earth orbit constellation of 66 satellites makes this possible. Those satellites are in constant motion overhead, completing an orbit around the earth in about 90 minutes. For end users, that means that a satellite passes overhead from horizon to horizon rather quickly. And while it passes overhead, a satellite phone can lock on to place a call. This has the advantage of being able to be used even in partial obstruction.

Inmarsat utilizes 3 geostationary satellites in high equatorial orbit. Their essentially motionless satellites afford the end user long connection times without dropped calls. The Isatphone 2, Inmarsat’s primary handset, also registers to the network very quickly. The geostationary system, however, necessitates a line-of-site to the satellite to be used. This means, you must be below (in the north) or above (in the south) the 50 latitude line or the curvature of the earth will obstruct the signal.

Location, Location, Location

Where you will be traveling heavily influences satellite phone choice. Consider the following factors:

  • Tall mountains or deep canyons: large, natural obstructions can block equatorial views; choose Iridium
  • Canada, Alaska, northern Europe or Asia, Polls: above or below the 50 latitude line causes curvature of the earth obstruction; choose Iridium.
  • Open ocean: clear, unobstructed views; choose Inmarsat.
  • Geographic location close to the equator: angle to satellite nearly directly overhead; choose Inmarsat.

Pros and Cons

Basic functionality of both Iridium handsets and Inmarsat’s Isatphones are the same. All Iridium handsets from the 9505A to the current 9575 Extreme as well as the Isatphone Pro and Isatphone 2 have SMS texting abilities and low speed data transfer. The 9575 Extreme and Isatphone 2 also have GPS tracking abilities with programable emergency buttons. However, the similarities end here.

The Isatphone 2 offers superior call quality and call length to the Iridium. So if long, clear connection times are needed, the Isatphone 2 is the obvious choice. Also, airtime options for the Isatphone 2 are more economical than their Iridium counterparts. If, however, there is concern for possible terrestrial obstruction for an emergency situation, then the Iridium, with its ability to register and make calls even with partial obstruction, is the choice to make. Iridium also offers the GO! wi-fi hotspot which allows the pairing of a smart device as the conduit for a satellite device. This enables calls, easier SMS texting and even text-based email.

Outfitter Satellite provides new and used purchase options for the Iridium 9505A, 9555, GO!, 9575 Extreme (with service) as well as the Isatphone Pro, and Isatphone 2 (with service).  If your trip is shorter in duration, or if you don’t want to have to maintain equipment, rental options for the Iridium 9555, GO! and Isatphone 2 present an attractive alternative to purchase.

Satellite phone choice, either purchasing new or used, or renting, is easy when making an informed decision.  Knowing your terrain, location, and how you want to use the device are all factors in making the right pick.

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Wildfire Preparation

With the recent fires in East Tennessee, wildfire preparation is always a prudent decision.  Here are some simple things that can be done to maximize safety in a wildfire situation.

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