There are very few places in the world that compare to Alaska’s rugged and wild remote areas. Hunting big horn sheep or the huge grizzly bear is the trip of a lifetime. It’s a trip you want to make sure you come back from. There are three primary options to connect with home when you are in the Bush country of Alaska: a PLB (personal locator beacon), a satellite phone, or a satellite messenger. Once you have used a satellite phone you will never want to go back. That being said, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of the satellite phone for hunting in the Alaska wilds.
You Would Want a Satellite Phone If…
- You are heading out to the middle of no where in a high risk area
- You have complicated logistics on your high risk adventure
- You are traveling with a group of people, some of whom might have histories of medical conditions
Satellite phones offer the best in wilderness communication. They allow for two-way communication, which provides the best quality in the exchange of information. There is the capacity to request medical assistance, request and evac if needed, get information directly to and from a doctor in emergency situations. You have the capacity to reassure loved ones and receive much-needed updates on weather.
One of the most powerful pros to carrying a satellite phone is the peace of mind your loved ones have that they can reach you and that you can reach out if there is an emergency. In addition to making phone calls, you can now receive voicemails and send and receive text messages. It is well worth the extra ½ pound of weight.
To operate, satellite phone transmit radio signals to a satellite, which then sends them to a station on earth. The signal then gets routed through the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN). Depending on the service you need and/or purchase you could have coverage just in a specific area or across the entire earth.
There are however drawbacks to this piece of technology. Namely that you must have a line of sight to the satellite, which means you, cannot call from within a building. Even once you have gotten outside, other buildings, trees, mountains and other obstructions can mean you will not be able to get a call through. The satellite you are trying to connect to is also always moving so there can be challenges in connecting with it there as well.
Most satellite phones are battery-operated and usually have about 4 hours of talk time and 36-40 hours of standby time so carrying extra batteries or solar panels for recharging adds extra weight, but can be a life saver.
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