Satellite Phone

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Jeffery
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Satellite Phone

Post by Jeffery » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:56 pm

As most of you know, cell phones generally do not work on Isle Royal, and there are no land line phones either. But the Park Service does have one satellite phone available for visitor use. I generally don't mind getting away from phones for a few days, but since my elderly Mother is in poor health, I wanted to check on her at least once while I was away.

The satellite phone is located at the Rock Harbor Lodge office. The cost is $1.99 per minute. The satellite phone looks much like an ordinary cell phone, except it has a big antenna on it. The clerk at the lodge office asked to hold my drivers licence and credit card while I was using the phone. And they suggested that I take the phone out to the dock for best reception.

When I called my Mother's house, I got a recording that said "This customer does not accept calls from anonymous users" At the time, I did not know what that meant. I later found out that her phone is set up to not accept calls from people without caller ID. But anyway, I was able to call by brother and have him check on our Mother.

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DonNewcomb
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Location: Miss. Gulf Coast

Re: Satellite Phone

Post by DonNewcomb » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:52 am

Cell phones may (or may not) work on Isle Royale. Much of the southern side of the island receives an ATT signal from UP and the NW side of the island may get a signal from Minnesota. The northern part of the island can receive a Rogers signal from Thunder Bay. There may also be Verizon and Bell (Canada) CDMA signals. The trick is that you need a phone that can make use of these signals. The major issues are that you need a little elevation, a clear line of sight and a phone/antenna combination that can reach the distance. Here's the rub, most cellular phones these days have no provision for an external antenna connection. Without a high-gain antenna, it's pretty much luck.

Often cell phones can send and receive text when there is not enough signal for a voice call.

I know the frustration of phones that reject anonymous calls. I used to travel abroad frequently and used all sorts of methods to call back to the US. My brother's phone had anonymous call rejection. I flat out told him that unless he had an alternative way for me to call him, he should not expect any calls from me while I was traveling.


Redbad
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Re: Satellite Phone

Post by Redbad » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:23 pm

Keep in mind that there is free WiFi service in the lodge at Snug Harbor. If you have a smartphone or a tablet you can send email or potentially Voip, Skype or Facetime (depending on the bandwidth available). WiFi may also be available in the Windigo area (perhaps by the employee cabins -- someone may have to test this out...)

Free WiFi certainly beats $2/minute that I paid for a proof of life call by the lodge's satphone to my folks after my last trip.

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Ingo
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Re: Satellite Phone

Post by Ingo » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:36 pm

Don't count on wifi at the RH Lodge. Was pretty worthless ths summer. Hopefully the bandwidth will be improved, because it was nonexistent for all practical purposes (even just email).

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shtsteve
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Re: Satellite Phone

Post by shtsteve » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:23 pm

WiFi was available around the store in Windigo Sept 1st-5th...Pretty decent allowing me to text my kids and send emails..The store is closed now though....

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