Sat Phone rental for Grand Canyon trip? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-19-2010   #1
 
Redwood City, California
Paddling Since: 2009
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Sat Phone rental for Grand Canyon trip?

Yo,

I'm looking for input from anyone with 1st hand experience, be it good or bad, for renting/using a sat-phone in the Grand Canyon.

Thanks, John

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Old 08-19-2010   #2
 
Redwood City, California
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Join Date: May 2010
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One other question...

Please chime in if you have any first hand experience using some kind of compact solar charger for keeping batteries charged for a camera, video camera, GoPro Hero helmet cam, sat phone, etc...
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Old 08-19-2010   #3
Fry
 
The OC, Colorado
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So much for a relaxing trip...
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Old 08-19-2010   #4
 
Carbondale, Colorado
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Hey John. We took an Iridium phone on the Grand last March. Very mixed bag depending on exactly where you were. In the inner gorge it was very difficult to connect and hold a call. Later when the "sky" opened up, it was pretty reliable. We rented the phone on-line and if I remember right, the phone and a block of minutes was about $240. For a battery charger, I used a small ammo can, 20w soalr panel, AGM type battery and a 300W inverter. All the material cast about $100. We had an inverter problem so it was only so so in the final result but the concept is solid. Having AC lets you charge a variety of camera's phones, etc. My only caveat it to try everything for awhile before you go.
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Old 08-19-2010   #5
 
Carbondale, Colorado
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Good point. While it's almost mandatory to have some form of emergency communication on a trip of this length and remoteness, taking a phone can be an issue if people want to use it to stay "connected". best to discuss this among the group before hand. Another alternative for emergencies if you don't want that outside contact is eithe a surface to air radio or the personal emergency beacons
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Old 08-19-2010   #6
 
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San Juans, Colorado
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Check out Carbon County Recreation in Price UT. I rented a phone from them (Iridium) they send it ASAP, and it was about $40/week. Way cheaper than anyone else. 'Outfitter Satellite' is a shady company, they are all over the internet but I have have heard nothing but bad from them.

Carbon County bills for minutes at the price Iridium bills them, so its a great deal. Steve C (utahrafters Yahoo group) runs the dept, so that's a plus. The phones comes in a Pelican Case as well.

We took a month trip around xmas, and NY, so people wanted to call friends family for the holidays. I put a notebook and pen in the phone, so people could write their name down and minutes used each time the phone was used. It wasn't a problem. If you have concerns about someone screwing you on minutes you don't need them on a Grand trip.

I heard a rumor that at the Nankoweep ruins, and where you can see the desert watchtower from the river there is cell service, but who wants to have a cell phone....

I wouldn't rent a sat phone if you are going during motor season, every commercial trip has a sat phone and/or radios.

sn
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Old 08-19-2010   #7
 
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Helena, Montana
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Sat phone - for a March/April trip this year, we rented a Globalstar phone (rental was about ~$200). We first tried to use it at Ledges and it wouldn't hold a signal for more than about 30 seconds. Same at Upper Cove. Finally got a signal long enough at Whitmore Wash to make about a 5 minute phone call. We also tried it about a 1/2 mile above Pearce Ferry, then again at Pearce Ferry and couldn't get a consistent signal. Pearce Ferry is about as flat as one can get.

Solar charger - one guy brought a few solar panels to hook up together and charge cameras and such. I brought extra batteries and thus didn't need the charger but someone that tried to charge their GoPro fried the camera. I believe this was user error (they hooked it up backwards or something), so I'd echo the suggestion to make sure you've become comfortable using it prior to the trip. I believe they successfully charged other devices.
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Old 08-20-2010   #8
 
San Jose, CA, California
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If your looking for a quality but cheep emergency communication option check out the spot.

I have used the devise on two different grand trips. Each day we would press an OK switch on the devise which would do three amazing things.

First it would send our location to a web link connected to a google map. This allowed all the participants facebook friends to click on the link and follow our progress.
Second, it would email our location important family members.
Third, it would send a text message stating our OK status to family members cell phones.

Furthermore, the spot is waterproof and I kept mine in my PFD pocket. It has also been used for successful grand canyon rescues.

Last you cant get the devise up and running for under $200. And if you need sat phone commutation down there even in the non motor season there is almost always a trip in your launch bubble with one. Save some beer and trade it for time on another trips sat phone.

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=101
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Old 08-20-2010   #9
 
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Albany, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgosn View Post
Check out Carbon County Recreation in Price UT. I rented a phone from them (Iridium) they send it ASAP, and it was about $40/week. Way cheaper than anyone else. 'Outfitter Satellite' is a shady company, they are all over the internet but I have have heard nothing but bad from them.
sn
Here's another endorsement for CCR. We rented from them for our 2007 Grand trip and a couple shorter ones since. Best deal I could find and good people to work with.
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