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  1. #1
    Registered User Steppin'Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Know anything about SatPaq?

    Hello All,

    I have been researching satellite communication devices and have become a little discouraged by the high prices and monthly fees.

    Then I ran across a device called Satpaq. It is basically an antennae that turns your cell phone into a satellite communication device. You can send and receive text messages, and have access to SOS and weather info. There is no monthly fee to have it and you pay as you go with text messaging, etc. Their website is: http://satpaq.com

    Does anyone here have any additional info or personal experience (or even opinions) concerning this device?

    Thanks,

    - Edd

  2. #2
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    Default Know anything about SatPaq?

    we just got the Garmin explorer mini. never heard of this but checked out the site and sounds good in theory. I to am interested in hearing more. they do use different sat though. the Garmin relies on iridium sat.

  3. #3

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    Where are you planning to use this? I drove up to Alaska this summer and Sirius radio which uses satellites in geosynchronous orbits had extremely spotty or no reception once I was in the Yukon and Alaska. The Inreach SE+ I had along never had a problem finding a satellite.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  4. #4

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    Smaht Pahk?

  5. #5

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    Geosynchronus satellites are located above the equator. The farther you are from the equator, the larger the attenuation of the signal due to both the distance and the amount of atmosphere it has to travel through. 5.8 GHz has a fairly high rate of atmospheric attenuation.

    The little cell phone bluetooth adaptor probably has to be aimed pretty close at the satellite to work reliably. Actual user reviews would be helpful.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6

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    If it was using Iridium for communication it would be lot more usefull. Probably a nice down near the equator not so nice at near 45 degrees off the equator.

  7. #7

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    I find it very interesting and informative that there are not reqular user reviews on this system after over a year. My google search quickly made me think that some search result scrubbing work had been done. All the reviews I saw were basically sponsored. Having used a variety of pieces of location equipment like this both professionally and recreationally over 27 years, I am very dubious of the quality of the service that can be provided. If you are curious, and have a 3d mapping app like topo, look to see if the satellites would be in view where you want to use them. I looked at the Bigelows, just before Flagstaff Lake. It was in the Bigelows that I had my most signifcant fall of my 2019 thru hike. I would have been out of sight. I looked just off the Blue Ridge Parkway where I had another interesting event, and don't believe I'd have been helped there either. I can't say for sure if I wouldn't have had reception, though, because I didn't bother to get the detailed sat data (didn't see it either).
    I believe you would have a much worse time with tree cover and humidity impacting the signal with this system. For what it's worth, I've essentially always been able to get a signal through even under heavy tree cover and heavy clouds with the Iridium systems. The two times I did not, over many years, I only waited a few minutes because it wasn't an emergency, just a tracking poing along the way, and I wanted to keep going.
    Trail name Catnapper

  8. #8

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    Iridium is making big upgrades on their new satellites. Pretty good for a company that was going to splash all their satellites until Uncle Sam handed them contract to keep them flying as they needed them to support various military applications.

  9. #9

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    Interesting article about the frequency allocaton. https://www.rrmediagroup.com/Features/FeaturesDetails/FID/719
    Trail name Catnapper

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by renais View Post
    Interesting article about the frequency allocaton. https://www.rrmediagroup.com/Features/FeaturesDetails/FID/719
    Very interesting. They are limited to a total of 50,000 terminals (I'm guessing the cell phone adaptor) 5,000 a year. The spectrum they are using is highly congested and highly contested by previous users, so the long term viability of this service is in question. Probably not a good thing to buy or invest in.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  11. #11
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Default

    If you read a bit and watch the how to videos, it seems they only currently have coverage in the US, via two satellites. You have to aim it (at least to some degree) and keep it aimed at one of the two satellites using a satellite locator app that displays on your phone. You aim it at the southern sky (no details on how clear that view must be) at approx 45 elevation and then follow dots to center up the satellite in an aiming circle. Messages (480 characters max) are 17 to 37 cents each, but you have to prepay/buy in bulk, with the minimum being 150 messages @ .037 for $55 (the 17 cents price is if you buy 10,000 messages). Those messages expire unless you buy more messages within a year.

    It might have appeal to some who simply have to be able to send non-emergency texts where there is no service, but otherwise, meh. It doesn't replace a PLB in my opinion. As an emergency device, it still requires both it and your phone to be working/charged, plus you have to aim and interact with it in an emergency. So now you're relying on two electronic devices and being capable of a higher level of mental and physical interaction than a PLB requires. Maybe if I was in an area for an extended period of time with no cell coverage, but otherwise I'd just wait until I found a signal to communicate my non-emergency brain droppings.

  12. #12
    Registered User Steppin'Wolf's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the thoughts and info. When I first found out about it, I was really leery having never read anything about it on any hiker forums. Since no one here seems to be personally experienced with it, I think I will let someone else be the guinea pig!

  13. #13
    Registered User Steppin'Wolf's Avatar
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    Just a quick update. I contacted the SatPaq people and asked about how reliable it was and if there was a satisfaction guarantee. Turns out it is not as reliable as those that use other satellites and there is no money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. So I went with the Garmin Inreach Mini.

  14. #14

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    Have had mine about 2 months. You won't be sorry. However, I did experience some "learning curve" issues. I didn't find the videos on the website to be overly helpful.

    Scott

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