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Old 03-31-2020, 08:40 PM   #21
Schultzz
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If it's small and light, then users must be ready for limited data transfer and short battery life. I have a Garmin InReach which talks to satellites and is small and light, but it can only send limited brief messages. It can't funcction like a smart phone.

Of course car phones have no problem; they tap into a big heavy battery.

There's no way around physics.
https://www.bluecosmo.com/satellite-...20Phone%20Only
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Old 04-01-2020, 12:28 AM   #22
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To add more info (confusion), even though Verizon has the best network coverage with ATT close behind, there are a multitude of "MVNO" choices which use one of the major carriers networks and charge significantly lower prices...

(MVNO=Mobile Virtual Network Operator)

Sat phones are great if you plan to sail the oceans or go places with no cell towers. Modern sat units are compact and lightweight, but they still have the bottleneck of very limited sat com capacity (bandwidth) and significant delays (latency).
If LEO constellations become a reality in the coming years, sat com tech will change significantly for the better (at the expense of night sky pollution).
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Old 04-01-2020, 04:49 AM   #23
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Timberghost, can you elaborate about the MVNO choices as I have no idea what they are. Also, does CDMA vs GSM play into the equation when selecting one of them?
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:46 AM   #24
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Sat phone technology has improved in the last few years, no doubt. Thanks for the link, Schultzz. Last time I looked was about 3 years ago.

But still mostly for professionals (guide companies, etc.). For most people the sat phone is a cost on top of their existing smartphone, and an extra weight as they will still carry their existing phone. And for most public users, they will forget and leave it on voice mode, and run out of battery in 4 hours (like they do with their smartphones, only faster).

I considered sat phones carefully before I bought my Garmin InReach 3 years ago. Some reviewers suggested that a sat phone might be a better option, but at that time the function of cost + weight + battery life + what I needed it for indicated that the InReach was a better choice...
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Old 04-01-2020, 10:59 AM   #25
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Sat phone technology has improved in the last few years, no doubt. Thanks for the link, Schultzz. Last time I looked was about 3 years ago.

But still mostly for professionals (guide companies, etc.). For most people the sat phone is a cost on top of their existing smartphone, and an extra weight as they will still carry their existing phone. And for most public users, they will forget and leave it on voice mode, and run out of battery in 4 hours (like they do with their smartphones, only faster).

I considered sat phones carefully before I bought my Garmin InReach 3 years ago. Some reviewers suggested that a sat phone might be a better option, but at that time the function of cost + weight + battery life + what I needed it for indicated that the InReach was a better choice...
Thanks for your reply. Yes battery life is something to be considered and the more you carry the more you feel the burden. If you have a remote cabin you m ay want to consider a solar recharging system but if you are on a hike a GPS locator is also good.
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Old 04-01-2020, 11:34 AM   #26
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When I paddled the Yukon 1000 mile race a few years ago, we did not carry a sat phone on board, but I rented one for my wife and her friend, for safety of our pit crew on their way to the finish line in AK. $200 for the week, plus an extra charge for any minutes used. It was a good thing they did not need it because when we turned it back in at after the finish, the clerk told us that he had given us the wrong charging cord. In the boat we were required to have a SPOT device transmitting our location every 10 minutes, which performed very well during the entire race.
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Old 04-01-2020, 03:05 PM   #27
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Airplane mode should be changed to backpacking mode. I have done a week+ trip with my phone in airplane mode using it just as a camera on a single charge.
Haha...agreed!
Don’t bug me I’m saving my battery mode.
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:23 PM   #28
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Timberghost, can you elaborate about the MVNO choices as I have no idea what they are. Also, does CDMA vs GSM play into the equation when selecting one of them?
Both CDMA and GSM are going to be obsolete in 2-3 years so while it still plays a small role, not for long.
Most carriers are aggressively relocating their 2G / 3G spectrum (frequency allocation) to 4G LTE (and 5G) technology (which allows much more data to be transmitted via same spectrum). VZW threatened to turn off CDMA Dec 31, 2019, though they pushed that back to Dec 31, 2020.

MVNO lists are available from wikipedia and commercial sites like this (or use search engine of your choosing).

Most new cell phones can work with any provider, with few exceptions - esp. if you want / need 5G.
In most cases what restricts you from using your phone with 3rd party provider is what's called "carrier lock" (the company that sold you phone and service made sure the phone can only be used with their SIM cards)

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Haha...agreed!
Don’t bug me I’m saving my battery mode.
If you turn it OFF, battery will last for months if not years
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Old 04-02-2020, 08:15 AM   #29
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If you turn it OFF, battery will last for months if not years
Id miss this forum too much.
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Old 04-02-2020, 03:38 PM   #30
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When I got my first cell phone, it was an ATT iPhone 3. Couldn't evaluate it very well because I had no service at my home on Long Island, but didn't have service from any other carrier either, so I purchased an ATT Microcell, which worked in my house, since I have wired internet there.
When I started using it in the Adirondacks in around 2002 or so, ATT didn't work too well, except in Lake Placid. Imagine my surprise when, on the top of Adams, I got an email telling me to meet my party somewhere. The screen showed "no service", but I still got that email!
When it became time to upgrade my phone, I decided to also switch to Vz, which definitely worked better. Fast forward a few years, Vz built towers in KV, K, and Jay. About the time I got my house in Etown, they put in a "tower" in the attic of one of the buildings in town.
Regarding MVNO, I was on a hike with a friend on Noonmark. I got good reception but her Verizon-based MVNO didn't get anything.
So, now, in the High Peaks region, I can get reception in most of the towns, but not so well in between. I know this because when driving, I like to stream NCPR through my phone and there are definite gaps. If I drive from Etown to Plattsburgh, I get reception most but not all of the way. Also, when hiking in the EHPs, I usually get signal often enough that if someone sends me a text or an email, I get it. When day hiking, I have it on all the time doing GPS tracking and the battery usually lasts all day, even if I forget to put it in airplane mode. I have an iPhone7
Bottom line: Verizon.
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:09 PM   #31
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Regarding MVNO, I was on a hike with a friend on Noonmark. I got good reception but her Verizon-based MVNO didn't get anything.
Interesting.
Assuming this was fairly recently and your friend had LTE device that supports both bands, did your friend ever update the PRL (preferred roaming list)?

MVNO service is often based on "non-priority" data, so while data connection speeds may be slower the coverage is usually identical...
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Old 04-03-2020, 12:45 PM   #32
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Interesting.
Assuming this was fairly recently and your friend had LTE device that supports both bands, did your friend ever update the PRL (preferred roaming list)?

MVNO service is often based on "non-priority" data, so while data connection speeds may be slower the coverage is usually identical...
It was 5 or so years ago, and I'm sure the PRL was never altered.
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:07 PM   #33
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Carriers can filter different types of traffic and I suspect (just a gut feeling) that their higher paying clients get priority and folks on MVNO take a back seat to their branded customers. I have a Wal Mart trak phone that is NOT linked to a specific carrier, so I presume I am using MVNO. Cell coverage at my home in the woods does not get good coverage and I have tried utilizing a cell phone booster with some success. I was getting 1, sometimes 2 bars and with the booster would get 2 to 3 bars. This is good enough for me to text but to make calls, my phone has to be within inches of the inside antenna that retransmits the signal. My booster got fried in a lightening strike last summer so I am not looking at getting a new one. I get better reception in the early spring and late fall when the leaves are not on the trees. From what I read on the booster reviews, the issue with the phone having to be very close to the inside transmitter is a very common one. I'm also trying to determine if an omni (nondirectional) antenna would be better for me than a yagi (directional) one. So I'd be interested if anyone has experience with boosters, and what make/model you use.
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:43 PM   #34
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You could always ask your provider to put a repeater closer to you. Sometimes they will. Boosters run the gamut pricewise. Here are some from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/s?i=mobile&rh...37&ref=sr_pg_4
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Old 04-05-2020, 09:31 PM   #35
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Traditional boosters are nothing more than repeaters, so you really need to plan well on how the signal propagation is handled otherwise they just create extra noise (interference).
I have an old Wilson DBPro and it works fine, the antennas are directional so that cuts down on 'crosstalk'. It will be useless when VZW shuts down CDMA (their main LTE band is on 600Mhz and this booster is only 900/1600, iirc).
Omni VS Directional really depends on specific location (one cell tower or several) and situation (if you use one carrier or two).

If you know someone from local amateur radio (HAM) community, they might give you some good advice (if you get lucky, they might even come out to you with a signal meter and tune your setup)
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:41 AM   #36
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Is the problem the repeater getting a strong enough from the cell tower, or your phone getting a strong enough signal from the repeater. It sounds like it's the latter.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:46 AM   #37
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I can recommend the WeBoost brand booster. At my camp, AT&T shows one bar or less. With the booster's external antenna pointed toward a known tower, I get 3 bars 4G and LTE. Good enough to stream Roku channels without interruption in the camp, as well as providing good cell signal for any phone provider, and give me hotspot internet service where I would otherwise have no other choice. Not cheap at around $500, but worth it if I spend much time hiding out here away from the public (like now).
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Old 04-08-2020, 12:54 PM   #38
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I have Verizon and was able to text in and out of Lows lake on my old flip phone. It takes several minutes, but within 10 minutes I was able to send something even though there were no bars showing. I have yet to try my I phone at Lows, but I wasn't able to send or receive at Cedar River Flow with the I phone.
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