A trip to the back woods of Alaska, Canada or numerous places in the lower 48 will leave you extremely frustrated with the old Verizon commercials and the guy running all over the country saying “Can you hear me now”. I’m sure many of you have said, “Follow me around on an elk hunt for a few days and I’ll show you where you don’t get service”.
We could be expecting a little much from our networks and we probably don’t want roads or cell towers in all of our favorite honey holes, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to stay connected. Satellite phones could solve this connection problem and they have been around for many years, but they have been extremely expensive to buy as well as operate.
SPOT, the makers of the affordable and reliable satellite messaging technology we’ve all come to rely on, has just introduced the new SPOT Global Phone. It retails for just $499 and plans as low as $.25/minute means affordable satellite phones are now available to nearly every adventurer out there.
The phone is small and compact and not much larger than your average cell phone. The phone is 5.3” high, 2.2” wide and 1.5 inches deep and weighs just 7.1 ounces. It comes with a Lithium-ion battery that will provide you with four hours of talk time and 36 hours of standby usage.
During the past four months, the Sportsman’s News team has taken the SPOT GLOBAL PHONE to the far reaches of western Alaska, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and numerous out of the way places in the lower 48 states to put this product to the test. It performed well and we were able to check in at the Sportsman’s News office, say goodnight to the kids and brag about our trophies to our friends from some of the most remote locations around North America.
Being a veteran sat phone user, I was a bit skeptical in the claims of call clarity. An echo of your own voice is usually standard operating procedure when using these types of phones. However, this isn’t the case with the SPOT phone. The reception with this phone is crystal clear with absolutely no echo whatsoever. Calls sounded like the person was standing next to me.
Making calls to home, the office or to check your cell phone voicemail doesn’t require you to call an international number as all previous sat phones have required either. All phones are pre-programmed with a United States phone number which is a huge benefit when family members or employees need to call you to check in because they aren’t charged for an international call. If text messaging is your mode of conversation, you will be happy to know you can receive text messages with up to 35 characters.
In the event that you need to use your phone as a backcountry modem, you will be happy to know that you are capable. A data cable kit (sold separately) will connect your phone direct to your computer allowing you to send and receive emails at a rate of 9.6 kbps which isn’t exactly 3G speed, but is slightly faster than a traditional dial up connection and way better than smoke signals.
Overall, the phone performed extremely well under all of our testing and in some very extreme locations. This phone is an absolute MUST HAVE for every fisherman, hiker, camper, hunter, etc.