Satellite text messengers are popular tools for backcountry communications.创建为负担得起的替代卫星电话，卫星文字和语音服务的价格差距不断缩小。每月语音计划从现在开始低至$ 65 - 有一个免费的电话。为什么文本时，您可以拨打语音电话？
One final call to Chile’s national police put our extraction in motion with no delay or drama. We could have achieved the same result with our satellite communication device, but voice calls undoubtedly expedited the resolution.
Breakdowns in the Andes aside, you don’t have to travel far to justify a satellite phone. Cellular service in the backcountry of North America is terrible. Drive an hour from Denver, and you might as well be in Mongolia.
Although only three providers dominate the卫星手机市场，这是很难知道选哪个。铱星，全球星，海事卫星和所有使伟大的产品背靠十亿美元的卫星网络。你最好的选择取决于一个变量：在您计划把它用。
该first step in selecting a provider is comparing coverage maps. Iridium’s 66 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites offer connectivity to 100% of the globe.
Inmarsat’s four satellites rotate in geosynchronous orbit over the equator at a staggering height of 32,000 miles. At such a lofty position, they cover 90% of the planet only missing sight of the poles.
Globalstar’s constellation of 48 LEO satellites, once chided for spotty coverage, continues to improve. Nonetheless, vast swaths of the world remain outside Globalstar’s reach, making it a non-starter for some users.
该国际海事卫星组织的IsatPhone 2一贯率作为卫星语音通信的最佳值。第三方零售商定期提供免费的手机在购买每年的合同。我的免费电话，这已经不是一年离开我的身边，来到70分钟每月通话时间只有60 $。对于一个额外的$ 5，未使用分钟滚过去。交易似乎来得快，去得也快，所以时间购买相应。
As a technical tool, the IsatPhone 2 includes several useful features. The dedicated SOS button connects to the GEOS dispatch center in Texas for one-touch emergency notifications. Capable of sending SMS texts and brief email messages, the battery provides an unmatched 8 hours of talk time and 160 hours on standby. Although it’s not the most compact phone available, it redeems itself with a weather-resistant housing, large color display, tactile buttons, and intuitive menu navigation.
Field notes:When used throughout most of North, Central, and South America, the IsatPhone 2 almost always found a satellite. The geosynchronous satellites, which remain stationary overhead, virtually eliminate the chance of dropped calls. But getting a connection isn’t always a given.
在喜马拉雅山脉和山谷Peruvian Andes, the IsatPhone 2 sometimes struggled to connect. Relocating to higher ground usually solved the issue. If I have one complaint, the sound quality and slight delay are a bit bothersome. Then again, it’s impressive for a signal bounced off a tiny satellite 32,000 miles away.
Owners of Garmin inReach Explorer and Bivystick text-messengers know the Iridium name well. As a longtime Iridium customer, I have sent and received more than 3,000 messages over the network from four continents. Whether in the Amazon Basin or the fjords of Iceland, I seem to always get a signal.
虽然它往往用于语音通话最昂贵的选择，它还是可以承受的。该铱星9555phonecurrently retails for $1,500, with select deals dropping the price to $799. A 90-minute talk plan now starts at $89. That’s not cheap, but that’s half the cost of what it was just a few years ago.
该main reason to pay the premium for Iridium, outside of the extensive coverage, is the reception quality. In January, I used an Iridium 9555 in Nepal to call a U.S.-based doctor to help diagnose and treat a badly infected foot. The Iridium LEO satellites, positioned only 1,200 miles above, provide crystal-clear communications.
该downside of LEO satellite reception is most noticeable in valleys and canyons where the line of sight to satellites overhead is compromised. Dropped calls are not uncommon, as satellites streak across the sky and sometimes travel out of reach. All the same, Iridium makes a superb phone backed by an impressive network.
Field notes:该铱星9555is convenient because of its robust build and compact size, even at the sacrifice of battery life. With just 4 hours of talk time, a second battery is a must. I also like having the programmable SOS button linked to the GEOS dispatch center for easy emergency notifications. Above all, it’s the sound quality I appreciate most. During the lengthy discussions with our mechanic in Chile, I heard his every word clearly.
最为人所知的背后无处不在SPOT信使网络，全球星是一个相对较新的语音通信。该全球星GSP-1700，the brand’s first and only phone, is a fine product with 4 hours of talk time, fast data speeds for quick transmission of texts and coordinates, and voice quality on par with (if not better than) Iridium. As an added convenience, Globalstar phones use a U.S.-based phone number without an additional fee.
Good deals on the GSP-1700 come and go, with $500 being a fairly consistent sale price when purchased with an annual subscription plan. If you’re inclined to pull the trigger, now’s the time. If you buy direct from the brand’s website, the phone is free with talk plans starting at just $65 for 150 monthly minutes.
Prospective buyers of the GSP-1700 must carefully evaluate the coverage map to ensure they won’t slip outside the network. For most users in North America, getting a solid signal won’t be an issue. If you plan to venture into Asia, Africa, or popular destinations in Central and South America, you’re better off with Iridium or Inmarsat.
Field notes:During a year of testing in remote parts of the United States and Central America, the GSP-1700 did okay, but not as well as it should have in areas with excellent views of the sky. When it couldn’t connect, waiting long enough for a satellite to come into range often solved the problem. Once again, even shallow valleys and canyons were enough to block signals to LEO satellites. If you currently use a SPOT Messenger, you already have a good idea where the GSP-1700 will and will not work.
该Impossible Nature of Direct Comparisons
While camped in Alaska, I was able to place a call in the morning with a Globalstar phone, but not in the evening. The Inmarsat phone failed to get a signal at all until we relocated to the next valley over. At a camp near Tibet, the Iridium phone was useless, but the Inmarsat phone connected in seconds.
Every phone had moments when it just could not make the link. A shift in time and place is the only remedy.
International Travel and Satellite Phones
5年期间我花了编译这些印象ions around the world, each destination required strict attention to satellite phone regulations. Many countries require expensive permits or ban satellite phones outright. Failure to obtain the necessary permissions can result in a confiscated phone or stiff fines.
Talk or Text Messaging: Which Is Best?
Before you chuck yourinReach，SPOT， 要么Bivysticksatellite messengers, evaluate the features you currently use and like. Satellite phones are great, but most don’t offer tracking features, GPS navigational aids, or detailed maps. In that regard, a satellite messenger might be your best bet.
As the cost of satellite phones and services continues to drop, one thing remains constant. When you’re in a jam far from home, hearing a friendly voice on the other end of a phone is priceless.