By Ben Ellison
Keys to the Kingdom
What’s the best satphone deal for fishing the canyons? S.T. via e-mail
The complaint I hear about Globalstar (and Iridium) is that the handsets don’t always work inside a cabin and that use on deck can be awkward and/or too noisy. The common solution is a marine kit that includes an exterior antenna, secure cradle for the actual satphone, and separate handset. There are benefits besides inside use. The phone is constantly charged, the better antennas typically extend its range, and a permanent data cable is easy to rig. Besides, though I have no hard evidence that it’s harmful, I’d just as soon not put a transmitter strong enough to reach a satellite right upside my brain. There seem to be lots of choices in Globalstar (and Iridium) kits. A few places I know to look are OCENS (www.ocens.com), Sea Tech (www.sea-tech.com), and Marine Computer Systems (www.marinecomputer.com).
If you should go fish the Great Barrier Reef or cross an ocean, then you may want an Iridium, which has truly global coverage (even at the Poles) and also a uniform global service plan. Both kinds of phones, by the way, can be rented by the week or month from the sources above and others.
Got a marine electronics question? Write to Electronics Q&A, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail PMYElectronics@primedia.com. For fastest response, visit the Electronics forum at www.powerandmotoryacht.com. No phone calls, please.
This article originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.