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Old 06-10-2014, 09:52 PM   #1
crazycruiser OP
Joined: May 2014
Location: San Fran Bay Area
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GPS and Satelite phone

Hi, I am starting my adventure from California to Ushuaia in September.
Do you guys have any suggestions to what GPS and Satelite phone (with tracking) is recommended, and which I should stay away from?

Thanks for your input.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:28 PM   #2
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For what it's worth, for GPS/Satellite tracking, I really like my spot.

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Old 06-11-2014, 07:17 AM   #3
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Get a Delorme InReach SE with the unlimited text messaging plan.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by udoggie View Post
For what it's worth, for GPS/Satellite tracking, I really like my spot.

Spot might not cover the southern tip of Argentina.

If I had to have a Sat phone, it would probably be an Iridium.

A PLB might be a relatively cheap backup option.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:57 AM   #5
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This could turn out like an oil thread
Every system has its positives and negatives and you will need to weigh your needs before pulling the trigger. There is really only 2 consumer satcom providers iridium and global star. GS used to have a bad reputation but with additional satellites their service has bee repaired. Now as the Iridium network ages they are starting to see the service impacts GS was once plagued with. Service type will also help determine product, prepaid or monthly contract? PLBs are great for all the cost is upfront but unless you spend lots of $$$ the batteries are not replaceable so its a one time deal (sure there are exceptions). I have owned both GS and Iridium have no preference one way or the other both functioned as required I do suggest renting 1st. Keep in mind satcom's don't function like regular phones and will have windows of communication largest being about 15 minutes before call drops and will require acquisition of a new host.

Now all I use is SPOT which is on the Global Star network, medivac insurance is also nice through spot good discount!
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:31 PM   #6
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Go to "layin down tracks" section of this site,thats where all the GPS and a lot of PLB/tracker info already resides.

SPOT or Delorme for a tracker,but look at the coverage maps,Delorme has larger world coverage.
With Delorme,you can download maps to your cell and it can function as a basic GPS.But for a trip like this,a dedicated GPS is probably better.

Look at Garmin Montana,Monterra,590,62 or 64 series units,depending on your size,mapping needs.

It's a bit of work and instructions are available at the above forum,but Open Street maps(OSM)has many downloadable free maps that would likely cover most/all of your route.Otherwise you need to buy the proper Garmin maps.

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Old 06-11-2014, 07:57 PM   #7
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We have 2 sat phones at work, a Global Star that doesn't work at all and an Irridium that is far more reliable.

Global lost a satellite years ago and have not replaced it, when the phone quit working the gave us a Spot Messenger to try and sooth us.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:18 PM   #8
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There are 34 satellite phone companies. Iridium, Inmarsat, Globalstar, and Thuraya.

Thuraya doesn't have service in North/South America though.

Globalstar was having issues with increased satellite degradation up until 2010 when they started putting their second set of satellites into orbit.

So really, all you need to look at is the pricing of prepaid/postpaid plans, pricing of the phone itself (buy/rent), and the coverage zones.

I believe they all offer voice, text, and data services.

Iridium has the best coverage, they cover essentially everywhere on earth. Inmarsat covers almost everywhere, the exception being some parts of northern Canada along the arctic ocean, top of Greenland, Svalbard island, part of northern Russia. Globalstar is missing a significant part of southern Africa, and South-East Asia.

If you are sticking to North/South America and Europe, than any of the 3 will be fine.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:29 AM   #9
crazycruiser OP
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Thanks, guys. Really appreciate all your feedback. Guess, I have some work to do now researching all these options. Safe riding!
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:46 AM   #10
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I have used a spot before but eventually had issues with it, the simple spot would have been much better in hindsight, the problem with Spot is its coverage, they have their own satelite system. Immersat, not the same coverage as the Iridium network that satelite phones work on has some areas that coverage is iffy on. The iridium network of satellites has no blank spots in its coverage, that is why I now use the Delorme Se, great system, used it in Africa last year very dependable, it is more expensive but I think that the cost is very justified and worth it.

The question of sat phones again is a no brainier, Iridium, the question is what type, two models, the iridium 9575 extreme, has the tracking features of the Delorme Se built into it and a GPS also, though would still get a separate GPS. The other is the iridium 9555, it's. Little cheaper and doesn't have the tracking or GPS abilities, but as I already have those I don't see the need for the added costs.

Hope this has been helpful, good luck on your journey, take care.
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