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PLB's or Spot


Mors Kochanski
Apr 17, 2013
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A little tip for sat phones, this is a post i made on another forum

I purchased the complete kit as pictured on ebay for just over $900 direct from the USA which at the time was about half of what you payed over here.
The phone itself is very similar to mobile phones of the early 90’s with a basic LCD screen and limited page options. There is no cursor option when texting and you have to scroll through everything letter by letter. The phone searches and connects to the satellite very quickly and indicates when it has. This is important when people who are not familiar with the phone are using it in the case of an emergency. The longest it has taken to connect is about 10 minutes. Talking is very straight forward but you have to remember you are on an international call and there is a slight delay so if you are the type that can say 100 words without a breath you may overlap a little in your conversation.


I have trained the girls in its operation because if there is an accident they may be the ones to use it to call for help
There are a number of plans and payment methods but I will share mine. As the phone is only there for use in an emergency it may spend most of its life in the car unused. Based on this I saw it as pointless to sign up for a monthly post paid satellite plan as they are quite expensive. After much searching and consultation I did the following,
• I signed up for the cheapest normal Telstra post paid plan and attached that to the phone bill
• I enabled global roaming
• I simply fitted the SIM and the phone connected to the network.
• Its important you block premium services or Telstra will send you texts every few days and try to charge you for them
The things you need to watch out for with this are the calls are expensive (about $2.50 a min I think) and if someone calls you it still will be charged to your bill as well. To get around this if you are using the phone to let people know that your are ok you can TXT to save money. Also be aware that Telstra have no knowlage of this and will not help you in any way.
If you are travelling remote it’s a good idea to find someone you can trust and organise a time window you txt them every day. That way when they don’t hear from you they can start putting steps in place. The hard thing may be finding someone you can trust…
I hope this info has been helpful

I'm sorry this has digressed from the topic of you original post Auscraft.

Using a sat phone on the iridium network, if you have a Telstra mobile account you can use your existing sim set to roaming. As Darren said, incoming calls are charged to you at higher rates.
Another option is to get a casual $60 a month plan when you go away and cancel it when you return. This gives you $600 of calls at a flag call of $0.40 and call rate of $0.99, gives you 252 2min calls. Remember the phone is for emergencies, not chitchat, so the rates don't really matter.
Dont bother with other networks, the Iridium network really is the best.
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Richard Proenneke
Staff member
Jun 28, 2012
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Sydney, Australia
I went for the spot as the batteries are easily replaced and I have a means to let people know I am alright while I am camping (not just a means to send a distress signal).

I will also plan to have 2 texts. One is I'm ok. The other is I'm broken down and please come and get me at these co-ordinates.. I think its much more likely that I'd have car issues than safety issues....

I can definitely understand the reasons you guys have made your choices though..


Nov 11, 2011
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Lucky Country, where the geckos are paid to l
As this has digressed a little towards sat phones a little tip i do in my travels is note down relevant phone numbers before i set of, ranger stations, road houses, local police, stations etc, that are relevant to your trip. If you do get in the poo it not much use if you ring your mum to help.


Jack Abasalom
Jan 6, 2012
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Melbourne. [ Outer South East.]
Just having a look at this comparison of units...


and the first thing I notice is the IPhone "Find My Friends" app. [ Android available too]



It's not really in the same category as the units but worthy of consideration.

We use it and it works ok, but only if you have good phone reception.

which also reminds me that many mapping/navigation apps have the ability to send texts or emails to reassure loved ones.

"GPS+ SMS" is a good app for quickly sending a location and message, without delving into complex menus of more involved navigation apps.


The text or email includes a link to google maps.

I got it for free, and use it when out alone, but it now 99 cents.

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