Monday, January 31, 2011

Equipment: Part 1 - Sat phone

There is a lot of stuff we decided we need and want on our sailboat for the journey. Ok, not all of it is necessary, but we (or should i say I) have a soft spot for gadgets, have to admit.

This one is one of my favorites - the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro. I knew from the start that i want a sat phone, mostly because of our parents - i felt they need the assurance that we can be reached wherever we are and that we can contact them anytime and from everywhere. Couple of years ago, when i start looking at sat phones, there was not very much choice and the prices were high. I kept on looking at the market in hope that over the years things would improve, but for couple of years not much happened. And last year things finally came together - Inmarsat announced the phone that was affordable, had good coverage and a prepaid plan. In details - the phone itself costs far less than my iphone, Inmarsat satellites cover almost the whole globe except the poles (where it is to cold for me anyway) and in our 2010 summer sailing holiday in Seychelles i payed for calling my mom from my mobile almost 4 times the price i would pay, had i already owned the sat phone.

There are couple of shops in Europe that are selling sat phone with prepaid plan over the internet and it pays to check the current prices, they dropped considerably in few months since the phone was released. Currently phone costs about 500 €, one minute of calling about 0.8 €, SMS about 0.4 €.

We got the phone from Germany a week ago, 5 days after ordering it. It was loaded with 100 units, next day additional 125 units were loaded. I have to say, with Germans one can always count on speedy delivery and great customer care - we bought our phone on . Of course i tested the phone immediately, standing in our yard in my warmest winter coat - it was freezing outside, but the antenna must point towards the sky. Everything worked perfectly, from receiving and sending SMS and placing and receiving calls. Menus are very intuitive, so luckily i did not have to read the user manual in that freezing cold. Our friends will for sure mostly love the possibility of sending SMS from Inmarsat web site to our sat phone for free!

Isn't it kinda sexy.....

It is not as small as todays mobiles, but my first mobile was bigger and heavier :-)

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