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Discussion Starter #1
I have seen some discussion on a couple of threads over the last few months on outback communications, and HF radios vs Sat Phones etc.

I do a bit of outback and remote travelling, and thought I'd throw my 2c in...

I looked at HF radios - $3,000 plus with tunable amntenna, where to place it in the car, issues with sun spots and drop outs etc etc.

Then looked at Satellite phones.... telstra iridium being the only way to go, the competition still not having enough satellites in the sky to make it a reliable service.

Happened to be talking to a mate who works at a major Melb based Uni in the earth sciences dept and he gave me a good tip.

He 'lent' me a work sat phone for free, and told me to go and get a Telstra 'Freestyle' sim card- no plan, no up front, just $10 per month min spend.

Rang Telstra to get some settings changed, as on these sims the international call roaming is automatically barred- this needs to be un-barred by Telstra for the sim card to work in a sat phone.

And..... done. The phone worked a treat in negotiating to sell our house from the middle of the Frenchline in the Simmo. :) The total bill for about 35 calls to/from and heaps of texts was a touch over $300. (the sale price made up for it though...... )

I've also since used it up past Jamieson etc. At $10 per month the calls cost a bit, but what $ do you put on comms when you need to make a call?

If you are able to borrow a sat phone,(or rent one without a sim card installed) this is the way to go. When you're done, cancel the sim card/account with no costs.

Sorry if it sounds like a plug for Helstra, not intended to be.
 

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nissangupatrol
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thanks Richo really helpful! i will be looking into when i look to go remote nexttime!
 

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nissan
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Good post Richo...

Not disagreeing any way just suggesting that to help people decide between HF and Satphone the question to be answered is of simply "Do you want to speak point to point or point to multipoint?"...

Point to point IE Satphone where you need to call the one and only party you need to talk to and have their number or get help from a remote party EG Cops
OR
Point to multipoint IE Radio where you want to chat to anyone in the area, assist with queries, just socialise or can assist if they are close by and phone patch to the Cops, Family etc.

IMHO that "one off" trip is definitely Satphone but if you are getting out there a bit then HF is possibly better.

also IMHO, neither takes the place of an EPIRB (or more correctly PLB) tho... very cheap life insurance those little suckers
 

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nissan
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I agree with above. The HF is a bit of a hobby combined with safety. I love radio, always have so the decision to go HF over satphone was based on the fact that I can listen into the HF every night to hear what other people are doing, even when I'm not traveling. Sitting by the campfire staring at the satphone doesn't have the same appeal as listening to the nightly skeds on VKS737. :)

Also, there are some bargins to be had with second hand HF radios. I bought my remote head Barrett for $600 with an autotune antenna and it's great. There is absolutely no need to go out and spend $3000 on a brand shiny new one.

In saying all of that, before I bought the HF I did research Sat phones and the method mentioned about using a normal Telstra sim card is the best way to do it for people that are not using the phone alot or just or emergencies. There is lots of info on which phones you can use with that method on the net (other forums).

I also agree that the PLB is essential in either case. We have a GPS locating PLB and that is great peace of mind if things get really pear shaped.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Absolutely agree with HF comments listening in on scheduled transmitions etc... also we had one avaiable a few years back when we toured the high country in jan at the peak of bushfire season....had Elvis the helitanker circling overhead, so it was GREAT and very comfortting to listen in on the bushfire alerts and updates.

Each has their benefits and downfalls I guess. The best possible set up is to have both, but then I guess you can also now use HF radios as mobile phones effectievly by calling in through your base..... at an annual cost though I believe.

An epirb is also a good idea, i keep one in the car on alllong/remote trips.
 

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Good post Richo...

Not disagreeing any way just suggesting that to help people decide between HF and Satphone the question to be answered is of simply "Do you want to speak point to point or point to multipoint?"...

Point to point IE Satphone where you need to call the one and only party you need to talk to and have their number or get help from a remote party EG Cops
OR
Point to multipoint IE Radio where you want to chat to anyone in the area, assist with queries, just socialise or can assist if they are close by and phone patch to the Cops, Family etc.

IMHO that "one off" trip is definitely Satphone but if you are getting out there a bit then HF is possibly better.

also IMHO, neither takes the place of an EPIRB (or more correctly PLB) tho... very cheap life insurance those little suckers
That has to be the most reasoned and well explained way I've seen it put.
I do this sort of gig for a job, and usually it turns into a ford Vs holden style debate.
One thing I have to add: I've never seen a HF antenna survive any rollover that was bad enough to stop the vehicle from proceeding. IE when you need it most you've probably just smashed it. If you're out alone always carry a 406MHz EPIRB too.
 

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nissan
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I'm with you Richo, we travel mostly solo when remote, and I have HF, Iridium satphone and Epirb with gps.

Inmarsat have just released a new model Isatphone which looks as if it may be the goods. Great prepaid plan which lasts two years and the phone price is very realistic. Got a few contacts checking out the reception etc. now, so if it's a goer might give it a try.
 
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