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August 23, 2013 Comments (0) Equipment/Reviews

Spot Global Phone, Satellite Phone for the Rest of Us!

Spot Global Phone Antenna

Spot Global Phone“The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed…” Do you ever wonder would have happened to the passengers and crew of the S.S. Minnow if they had today’s technology on board? Would Gilligan have saved the day by whipping out his trusty Sat Phone and called Search and Rescue and getting them pinpoint positioning with a GPS locating device. Technology wasn’t that advanced back then so we will never know what could have been, but what is certain with today’s technology is that no one should be left without contact and the ability to facilitate their own rescue for any reason.

I have used the Spot 2 GPS locator for almost a year now and it has served me well. Friends and family know where I am and I can send an emergency message when needed and a few customized messages as well as posting my whereabouts on Facebook should I desire, but what I couldn’t do was actually talk to anyone when I was way out of cell signal. Although I felt great knowing I could have this contact I still wanted more. For those of you that have been caught offshore when the weather started getting you nervous or perhaps went over that hill that was just a bit too far, you know that when in the great outdoors things change and the more information you can offer would be rescuers or family, the better it will be for all concerned. Also, sometimes, I just get lonely and want to talk, or brag about where I am and what I am doing. Globalstar has answered my prayers with an affordable Satellite Phone that does just that.

With a price of just $499 and reasonable plans that start at just $25 for a month to month plan, it is really well within the budget of the average outdoorsman and it really is tough to put a price on safety and piece of mind. Personally, I like to combine the features of both the Spot 2 GPS locator and the Spot Global phone. Things can change in a heartbeat when you are in remote areas and being able to get medical advice over the phone while giving SAR an exact location can make the difference between life and death. For me, I’m not in my 20’s anymore and the peace of mind I get by having these devices allows me to better enjoy my adventures.

Spot Global Phone Antenna

With the Spot Global Phone, a clear view of the sky and extending the antenna are keys to good signal

Using the Spot Global Phone is relatively simple, but you do need to follow a few simple procedures to ensure maximum signal strength. First, when powering up you need to make sure you have a clear, unobstructed view of the sky, this does not mean in a tent or car or cave, and wandering to far into a canyon where the horizon is significantly obstructed can be an issue as well. Next make certain the Antenna is full extended, I made the mistake of forgetting to do this and was wondering why my calls dropped after a few minutes and getting signal was sketchy, after fully extending I had no problems. Just because you have a Satellite phone does not mean you can call from anywhere in the world. Some places just have better signal than others so make certain you familiarize yourself with the coverage map. But for most of the USA, Canada, Central America and surrounding waters you should have no issues.

It has ample standby of about 36 hours and 4 hours of talk time, this should be good enough for most hikers and fisherman. There are those who may carry solar chargers for extended trips but since most of my trips are either in a vehicle or boat I found that a small cigarette lighter sized inverter for my vehicle works well or just have a car charging kit. Better yet, just carry an extra battery! In fact there a bunch of accessories to make it even easier.

Look this doesn’t take a rocket scientist (yes, I know Satellite Phone, rocket…I get it!) to power up, extend the antenna, check for a clear sky and then press a button for the number you want to call. But knowing how to maximize signal strength in an emergency is damn important. Again, I like having both the Spot 2 GPS locator Beacon and the Spot Global phone because it makes me feel like no matter what someone will find me and I will get to talk to someone, as I need it. If you are on one of the cheaper plans and use up your minutes and are in need of help, do you really care about a few extra dollars for more minutes, I sure don’t. I just love the fact that I can enjoy the great outdoors and feel that someone’s got my back!

Spot Global Phone Coverage

Spot Global Phone Coverage

Specs
Height: 5.3″ (13.5 cm)
Width: 2.2″ (5.6 cm)
Depth: 1.5″ (3.8 cm)
Lightweight: 7.1 oz (201g)
Operating Temp: -20°C to 55°C
(-4 to 140°F)
Storage Temperature: -40 to 85°C
(-40 to 185°F)

Battery
Type: Lithium-ion 3.7V, 2600 mAH
standby Time: up to 36 hours
talk Time: 4 hours

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