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Old 05-17-2007, 06:29 PM   #1
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Default Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

Does anybody use these. If so how well do they work? Which one do you guys prefer? Thanks!!
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

How far off shore do you expect to be able to make a phone call? These devices are for two entirely different scenarios.
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Old 05-17-2007, 10:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

i have a cell booster by shakespear its good for about 15 to 18 miles off the s/e side of nantucket with a 8' digital antenna with the base of the antenna about 7' off the water.. if that helps
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

30 to 70 miles off!
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?


A cell phone won't work anything like 70 miles from shore no matter what you connect to it. If you really expect to be able to make a phone call at 70 miles out, you need a sat phone or SSB.

Ken
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

Sat phones are crazy expensive, not only for the hardware but for the service iteself. You'll get your 70 miles, but you're certainly going to pay for it. SSB is a less expensive option when you take into account the cost per minute of the sat phone and sometimes just the hardware (depending on the phone you get). But you can't really make a phone call with SSB.

There are some combo cell/sat phones out there where it first tries to get cell coverage then switches to sat when cell isn't available. This is awesome with a cell booster since you can maximize cellular range then still continue to have coverage offshore when no product can boost the signal.

The question then becomes "do I want to pay for a cell phone, sat phone, and cell booster". The answer should be based on how far out you're going and how often you're going to do it.

Most folks go for the booster based on sheer cost. Some of them can accomodate guests' phones, boosters are less expensive, and most don't go more then 50 miles out.

~ SS
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

The sat phone will give you coverage anywhere and does not have a limited range like a cell phone even with a booster. Plans are more expensive than cell phones but I use mine for emergency use only and therefore the plan I chose is reasonable.

If you go with a satellite phone go with Iridium and not Globalstar. Do a search on this site for threads explaining why.
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

I have an old analog cell phone with Alltel. Gulf stream 65 miles back to shore ...no problem.
The problem is that analog phones are becoming a thing of the past, and they will not renew your contract.
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

I have an old analog cell phone with Alltel. Gulf stream 65 miles back to shore ...no problem.
The problem is that analog phones are becoming a thing of the past, and they will not renew your contract.
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Old 05-18-2007, 03:22 PM   #11
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Default RE: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

If you go towards the sat phone and handheld, you basicly have two choices, Iridium or Globalstar. Do your homework and research it well as they are not equal. I had a Globalstar for 3-4 years and just switched to Iridium. The Globalstar is cheaper for the equipment and service, but in the northern gulf of mexico the service has become zero due to tech issues with their satellites. I've only had th iridium for a few trips, but it has never failed to pick up a satellite in less than one minute. Also came with a niffty remote antenna.

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Old 05-18-2007, 03:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

I have an Iridium "Sailor" that I bought used from a dealer. Got it for a song. It's not portable, it's a trunk mount, designed for large vessels (25-watt, pbx capable). Best sat phone available. 66 low earth orbit satellites; 100-percent worldwide coverage. Incoming calls are free, out-going are $1.25/minute. Iridium to iridium are free too.
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

My Iridium has worked flawlessly in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil.
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Old 05-20-2007, 10:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

Could also use a cell phone booster but put the antenna in a kit towed slowly behind the boat to about 100 feet to extend range for out going calls
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Old 05-20-2007, 06:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

Who are you trying to talk with?
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

How about this .... http://www.seasmartvhf.com/

Anyone using it? 25 miles beats a cell phone.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: Cell Booster or Sat Phone?

It's just the old marine operator repeater service in a new dress. You are still limited to line of sight from the repeater antenna to the horizon plus from your antenna to the horizon, added together. You'd need their antenna to be at 500 feet to get out and receive 25 miles on VHF. I think that's pushin' it, plus I have my doubts about how well they would hear you. The shore station is allowed much more power than the boat station.

For NON-COMMERCIAL communications between you and your home, say, ham radio would do the trick. License required for operators at both ends, though, but no more morse code. The written test questions are on the web, including sample exams.

But try commercial coms, and you'll get an expensive letter from the FCC. Hams are very diligent about policing their frequencies.
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