Posted: Jan 22, 2013 03:11 pm EST (HumanEdgeTech) Previous entries of the current tech week covered the smartphone revolution and solar power. Today's entry revisits tried and true expedition comms: satellite phones.
Thuraya and Iridium will once again dominate handheld satphones among explorers in 2013.
Thuraya for Asia and Africa; Iridium for the Americas, polar regions or if you need a phone with true global coverage.
Cool on the Lhotse wall
Thuraya advantage: Lower hardware price, mostly lower minute cost and much faster data speeds if you want to hook up to your smartphone or computer.
At 2.4 kb/s Iridium is slow (don't believe ANY other claims) so expect less from it than from the Thuraya.
For a more solid solution, bring a netbook and connect to the Iridium with a USB cable.
At 400 kb/s Inmarsat BGAN is next step up from Iridium (2.4kb/s) and Thuraya (40kb/s).
Small and solid (1.6 kg/3.5 lb) for years Wideye Sabre has been a great deal at $1700 but 2013 favorite is without doubt the new Hughes 9202.
It does have a $3,000 price tag but the modem is really small (1.4 kg) and has a simple interface. Switch it on, aim at the satellite, and there's your WiFi multi unit.
You could easily bring this baby to the summit of Everest and do a live Skype video from your Galaxy S3.
Satellite tracking is blowing up these days. SPOT is still favorite where it has coverage (almost global) but a bunch of Iridium based trackers - Solara, deLorme and Nal Nano Shout among them - will do the job in polar regions and other areas outside SPOT reach.
Some units allow you to send emails (but not pictures) over a bluetooth connection to your smartphone but the value is limited if you carry a satellite phone since they have text messaging options.
Rent or Buy?
If you plan one expedition only and are unsure about your future adventure plans, renting is a great option.
HumanEdgeTech rent satellite phones, high speed modems, solar panels and batteries.
HumanEdgeTech is a unique, no-nonsense virtual expedition tech warehouse for satellite communications and edge technology. Created by explorers for explorers, the store is user-friendly with no-hassle pricing, expedition-tested gear, expedition-ready hardware, fast delivery and payments. HumanEdgeTech.com accepts most international credit cards, and delivers worldwide within 72 hours. Contact the team at +1 212 966 1928 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org