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Inmarsat or Iridium?

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Poll Question: Which would be a better satellite phone choice, Inmarsat or Iridium?
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Inmarsat or Iridium?
    Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 9:04am
We want to travel to Alaska from North Carolina. We have already encountered cellular dead zones in the western part of the US. I am considering buying (or renting) a satellite phone for use on this trip. Has anyone used one? If so, what type? The two choices are Inmarsat and Iridium. Globalstar would be a choice if they did not have a full year commitment for service.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 9:28am
Never having used inmarsat I voted for iridium for your specific application because iridium sats are in polar orbits while inmarsat's are in equatorial orbits, so they will be lower on the horizon and likely more susceptible to interference the further north you go. I would want to get some specific info on how well inmarsat works in Alaska before going that route. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 11:40am
Um...I thought you were camping?

This sounds like a military mission...Confused


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mcarter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 5:54pm
Used both in a tactical environment overseas. As I recall Inmarsat was larger, Iridium more reliable and practical. Cost would seem exorbitant, but your call. My vote is for Iridium.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 6:25pm
I am thinking Columbus didn't phone home once......
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 6:36pm
ET phoned home, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 6:36pm
Excellent, Sir John Franklin was never heard from again:) I think they just found his RV.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 8:04pm
I wonder if you are staying on the main roads, whether regular cell service would be practical? There aren't all that many "roads" in AK, and if they have any service at all, they would cover the main roads.

Out here, most of the dead zones are now covered with DAS.

Checking the map on this web site, it appears that ATT has pretty much all the main roads, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau covered.
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 9:58pm
We've been across the western US with plenty of cellular dead zones, even along Interstate highways. There are reasons I would like to be able to stay in touch. Elderly parents are one. Our house security system is self-monitored and although I could add someone in, I would still want to be notified if something tripped the alarm. One break-in in our lives is enough. Also, we would want to be able to call for assistance if we were to have a breakdown. It is taking a chance on cell service being there or waiting for someone to come along to take a message to some place where help could be summoned.

@GlueGuy: Please define DAS. I'm not familiar with that acronym. Also, we are on Google Fi. I'm not sure if AT&T towers would be accessible to us.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote crazycoyote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2020 at 10:57pm
I camped long before cell phones, and after 10 trips to Alaska they still have land lines at most business and camp grounds.
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