Review of the Globalstar GSP 1700 Satellite Phone

UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:06.650]
Hello. Hi, this is Thomas Farley of Southwestrockhounding. Com. Southwestrockhounding. Com thomasfarley KD Six NSP KD Six NSP.

[00:00:22.110]
A friend recently asked me about my experiences with satellite. Communicators. Over the last few years. He goes fishing in British Columbia out of cell phone coverage, quite often needed something to check in with, communicate with his wife out in the field from out in the field.

[00:00:50.890]
My experience has been with the Global Star products. I pay for my own equipment. This is a non sponsored video, I think for him and for 90% of the people out there 95%. Perhaps the Spot X is the way to go for checking in. It’s texting and limited to email, no attachments, no HTML, limited amount of words of characters.

[00:01:18.500]
But I think the Spot X is so heavily covered by other people making videos that I should turn to the other products that you might be considering, which is a full on Sat phone.

[00:01:36.890]
I can do another video on this Spot X. I’ve done one a couple of years ago. This is Global Stars offering if it looks like 90s, maybe early 2000 cell phone, that’s because it really is. It’s just been configured for a different frequency. And how did we get here?

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Actually, let’s back up a bit. You may have seen on YouTube. My videos for a Global Star product called the SatFi2. The. SatFi2 was very difficult. It was another satellite.

[00:02:18.740]
Communicator and it’s saving Grace was, despite all of its problems, the ability to have limited Internet access, no voice, but you could email. I was able many times to work in the field on Short Word docs. I would download them and then work at them on a laptop and then later upload them. I wouldn’t keep the same communication link going all the time. Just download work on them upload.

[00:02:53.750]
And that was successful for Short Word docs. However, Global Star pulled down the band on the Sapphire Two. They eliminated the product. Even if you have the hardware today, it’s not going to work because the band has been reallocated by Global Star for other purposes. So what Global Star did for me and the other Satfi Two users was give us what they thought was a deal.

[00:03:29.330]
They shipped us all out these Global Star set phones. So it goes from being an emergency and work device to sort of like exchanging an Apple for an Orange. But I think this is now running me 70 $75 a month. But I’m in the Death Valley region of Nevada, and I go into California and you talk about off the grid. In most places, there is no grid.

[00:04:06.090]
You have to get to a really high mountain to see the grid, if you can. The grid is something for those fancy city folks. A lot of the area. So yeah, the quick opinion really cost value wise. Spot X Global Star let’s go over some of the this here one really good excellent point is the long battery life, especially if you’re just checking in.

[00:04:39.710]
If you’re doing a couple of minutes of phone conversation every couple of times a day or a couple of times a week. You can let this sit for a week or two.

[00:04:56.410]
Pardon me, and it will still hold the charge this particular one. Just a second. I’m in a coughing fit.

[00:05:15.830]
Pardon me. This unit that they originally sent me went south as far as transmitting and receiving, but they didn’t ask for it back. Not sure they’re really repairing these units. They’re working off of old stock from 20 years ago, but it still charges, so I’m keeping it essentially as a battery holder. This is the second battery and I can put it in the one in my truck, which is I can get to that later.

[00:05:46.780]
You can see maybe in this photo here I have this unit. This is a radio kit, which I can do, but I’ll discuss this later. This is extremely expensive option, but right now I’m just talking about the phone itself, so I have red one. I don’t think the color matters so good battery life, but you are charging off of AC for it.

[00:06:20.170]
If you are at home or you have AC, this plug here just charges off of AC. The car kit will charge in the phone under DC, so maybe you could find a way to Bake DC charging through this Port here.

[00:06:46.370]
So maybe a word about customer service now that I think about it, customer service is very odd. Last time I checked, they were running 24 hours a day, five days a week, Monday through Friday. So if your boat is taking on water in the North Atlantic and it’s Saturday afternoon, maybe you should start swimming.

[00:07:15.690]
I don’t really get that, but the people that I have had on customer support are knowledgeable within the time that they are available, it’s hard to do compare and contrast. But when you buy a Global Start subscription, what will happen is that you get the handset and you get a charger and your account is linked to a third party. One of their people they partner with called GEOS. Geos is a worldwide personal recovery service, so they’re always going 24/7 because GEOS provides emergency response for other carriers and other providers around the globe.

[00:08:10.490]
So they’re going to get you help at any time or day.

[00:08:16.060]
At least that is what you’re counting on.

[00:08:21.770]
There’s no way to unfortunately experiment with 911 or zero for the operator. I think zero will trigger GEOS nine One one probably will not work. The Sapphire Two was engineered to direct your Nine One One call to your nearest emergency service center wherever you were in the States.

[00:08:48.870]
So I’m sure I can get a hold of GEOS when something happens, but I’m a little more comfortable talking direct. I’ve got voice.

[00:08:59.590]
The car manuals never leave the truck, so I keep direct numbers for these are local County Sheriff direct numbers, and I’m more confident talking with them directly, giving them my location, which shows up on any of my NAV units and talking to them directly.

[00:09:31.370]
Call Quality Clarity kind of depends on the time of day and other atmospheric conditions that you’re not really going to be able to change other than having a clear view of the sky. And it’s difficult call clarity on the handheld. When you’re using it by itself, extend the antenna. It will not work indoors. Only drug Lords in the movies have sat phones that work indoors.

[00:10:11.660]
You are not getting coverage, just you are not.

[00:10:17.990]
You’re going to be out there with the wind noise, the rain, whatever you need, a clear view of the sky and unobstructed. It’s nice to have a lot of clear space around you. Canyons difficult.

[00:10:36.990]
So most of the time the call clarity is very good, but in reality there are enough times that you will have to be talking like on a walkietalkie. The friend that I talk to that I check in with in California, we’re often talking like on a walkietalkie. Can you hear me now? Over. I can hear you now over.

[00:11:09.090]
And that way talk slowly enunciate. The most common problem she has is garbling, and this could actually be on her end. The SAP phone could be working perfectly, but when you’re talking to somebody, you’re connecting into their cell phone, right? So if she’s not in good cell coverage herself, if she’s on the margin of a cell one or two bars, it’s really possible that that’s going to mess up the clarity and it won’t have anything to do with your cell phone. And it’s going to be kind of hard to diagnose.

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Really best practices, I suppose, is to have your friend move to a good location to ensure that everything is as good as possible.

[00:12:12.930]
Also, you need to be stationary as much as possible. I have driven around communicating with the Sat phone while under power, but that pertains to having the car kit, which I will talk about. But getting back to Clarity if you’re stationary and she’s in a good sell site, then there’s a slight lag going on between you so that I find even with this unlimited plan that I’m on, you really don’t have extended casual conversations, because if you’re talking, I can hear you now over. I can hear you now over.

[00:12:58.190]
It’s pretty stilted, but it’s going to work.

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It’s just a different kind of speech. And of course, in an emergency, this is basically insurance to me in an emergency. Nothing beats voice. I mean, we know that as far as quickly immediately talking about a complex or difficult scene.

[00:13:28.390]
Campied voice and let’s see going back to reception about how ideally, the part of your calling is in a good sell site. Because you are off in the field, you have to find the best possible area to transmit from. So it’s best for you to call the person you want to contact. It’s extremely rare that a person could call you at the spur of the moment with, like, if somebody tried to call this number now, I probably don’t have the phone on. I’m saving battery and I’m indoors and I’m not in the field and I don’t have it on except to check in.

[00:14:26.390]
So when are they going to get a hold of you? They’re going to leave a message on your Sat phone voicemail somewhere in Texas for you to call them. And the fail safe way is if you need a daily check in to arrange a time. So you would say to the person, I’m going to give you a call at 500, and I will continue to call, say, every 15 minutes until I get a hold of you, I will be stationary. I will be in the same spot, and I want you to hang on until you hear from me.

[00:15:15.930]
So a scheduled check in. It’s a good idea if all else fails, because again, the chances of you having the phone on at the same time. A person’s calling is just really rare unless, well, if you have the car kit and you have the phone on, maybe somebody could get a hold of you if you’re driving at 60 miles an hour, doubt it. So schedule a check in time if necessary. And just something to think about.

[00:15:51.390]
Let me pause it for now, and I’ll take a look. We’ll take a look inside my cab and see how this really expensive car kit goes together. You’re not getting this from Global Star. They don’t even sell this car kit. What this does before we look at it, what you see here, and I don’t have this handset.

[00:16:17.870]
Sort of a nice I have this little microphone here, this lavalier microphone. If you’re going to get the car kit, you need this antenna. It was designed for marine use on a boat. But Global Star says there are just so few handsets out there so few Sat phones that they’re servicing that there’s not enough of a market for them to produce this anymore. So you have to go on Ebay and look for one that’s in good condition.

[00:16:53.430]
They’re asking $1,000 on this. I paid like 700 for mine, and so I would offer 500 and go up to 700. Why would you pay that crazy money? Well, I wasn’t paying that crazy money before with my Satfite two. It’s just that now I’ve got a Sat phone.

[00:17:12.540]
Now I have voice now. What? Well, on a stormy day at night, in the rain, I can sit in the cab and communicate. It won’t work inside the cab with this antenna. Also, I can run the air conditioner and when it’s really hot and I can see the screen better because there’s less glare inside.

[00:17:39.980]
But you’re out of the weather. And when you cut out the wind noise. If it’s really windy, it’s just like the cell phone you’re barely being heard. And when you’re on a tenuous connection over a satellite, having the background quiet down is really important, but you are going to pay for it. And that is, of course, like I said before, the reason they’re using these 2025 year old model cellphones rebanded to a different frequency.

[00:18:19.080]
They’re just not enough of a demand to do a next generation at this time. Let me pause it now.

[00:18:36.790]
Well, I was going to wait till morning with perfect light. Maybe this is a little more realistic, even if I am in a garage, at least I’m doing this under headlamp, which is what we’re all going to be doing when that front axle gives out, the phone normally holds up really well in the field in my backpack. I don’t give it too much of a special treatment.

[00:19:07.850]
The antenna has been folded up. Is that a term folded up and then the antenna telescopes volah. As Kelly Bundy would say, this has to be fairly straight up in a really clear view of the sky and all sorts of features going on. But the phone is so old that you can read almost anything about it in Internet reviews. I just found somebody claiming that from, like 2016 that you can press a couple of buttons and get your exact GPS location.

[00:19:56.010]
I don’t know how to do that. I assume it’s still there. I certainly didn’t see it in the manual. They tell you to press a few buttons, but they don’t tell you which buttons to press, and then you find that everybody else is copying the original poster.

[00:20:18.490]
So much of this is a mystery, but it does work for straightforward voice calling. It has an address book and contacts and some memory.

[00:20:31.130]
I continue to learn about it, but you are going to be a victim of past information, of which there is too much. This is in its car kit form the way I’ve put it in. It’s not hard mounted as such. Like the CB radio. Yes, I have a CB radio.

[00:20:58.050]
So this is the speaker. They give you standard Jack and they give you a fair amount of cord cable and the lavalier microphone give you a lot of cable so you can place this anywhere. Short cable runs, of course, are the best. And the power cord here, which I have going to cigarette lighter. This is the shortest run.

[00:21:36.090]
Now again, I said, it’s not hard mounted.

[00:21:44.090]
I tried to get the same guy that did the professional install on the CV radio to do the satellite phone. He didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He complained that there was no mounting bracket and there isn’t. It’s probably meant to be installed in a number of situations. And like you get a helical antennas for a marine install, so on a boat.

[00:22:13.530]
So I just did this and I don’t drill anything if you’re going direct from the battery, setting a fuse. If you’re breaking into a power cable somewhere, then you don’t need my help. I need your help.

[00:22:36.710]
If you start that sort of thing, then I assume you know what you’re going to have to do when you get in trouble.

[00:22:47.910]
Let me see if I can rest it out. This is actually two hands held. There is not a bracket, but a mounting plate behind it. That’s steel or iron, and I’ve got super magnets holding it to a steel bar so that I can still kind of move it around. When I need to let me show how this is taken out, that contact there that Port.

[00:23:39.450]
That’s the weak spot in this device.

[00:23:51.550]
See this at the bottom. That tab that has to go in at a tilt and then slide down. You do not want to break this tab. Do not break that tab.

[00:24:17.610]
I’m checking here to see if you can see this in the video. It’s a little out of frame, but see those shiny nickel looking things as a supermagnets holding this in place and it does well off road. I’m not going to try to put back the whole thing whole, but with that much weight, it does well. And again, you can then take it out and every installation is different and I don’t really want to drill anywhere. So I was thinking a stereo installer could do it, but for now it’s buttoned up and I can proceed with it.

[00:25:22.450]
You know, it’s working. The main thing that goes wrong is if it’s not securely into this tab and this clip, you won’t get the language on the screen. It’ll come up with car kit installed or recognized. And if you’re having problems, it may say that the antenna is not recognized. You may have to shut it off the phone, turn it on, turn it off.

[00:25:53.830]
Now it’s into a cigarette Jack under here. But as soon as you put the power cord into the cigarette adapter, cigarette lighter, adapter, whatever you want to call it. As soon as you put that plug in. Even if this is off, it comes up and powers on. And then you can probably take me 20 minutes to set up a video showing the process.

[00:26:31.390]
But that’s the main problem you’re going to have is you need to see that the car kit is recognized with a text on the phone. If the antenna isn’t recognized, it may even say rotate the antenna. That’s often what you will see when you’re out in the field without this install. When you’re just walking around. It may say rotate antenna same way with a car kit.

[00:26:56.230]
And I’m going to try to show you the antenna now, which didn’t drill through the well, let me stop this and show you what’s going on again. This is the optional car kit that you can get on ebay for a goodly sum, not from Global Star.

[00:27:22.150]
This is the helical antenna, an active antenna.

[00:27:35.810]
You will see advertisements for what’s called a patch antenna, which is non amplified just to make it simple. They’re very inexpensive, and I can’t imagine them working at all. Whereas this is amplified. This is boosted. This is why it looks so peculiar.

[00:27:58.110]
Although everything marine looks peculiar.

[00:28:04.950]
That’s my invention. There the street LS and the flange. This is what you actually get.

[00:28:15.790]
You just get the antenna, but it is threaded to conventional pipe thread, which you can pick up at any hardware store. And I’m using two street LS and a flange.

[00:28:35.210]
You probably know normal L’s. Street L’s are a little unusual, but it’s Street E-L-L.

[00:28:47.970]
And at the bottom is a steel flange, which you can also get at the hardware store.

[00:28:57.550]
And then there’s I think, four or three sets of supermagnets that I am using to hold it. And I have never had a problem. If you’ve never dealt with and make sure they’re decent sized supermagnets, sometimes the only ones you can find in the store are these tiny little ones. Go to Amazon if you want some decent size ones.

[00:29:20.630]
So sometimes the antenna is tilted a bit, but it has never, ever come off. And then I just run the wires down to the cab window in the back and I’m in the desert so it doesn’t get that freezing cold. Otherwise, of course, you’ll have to make a provision for insulating all of that.

[00:29:50.070]
So that’s it for now. You can email me Thomasfarley at Fastmail. Com.

[00:30:03.970]
Yeah, that’s about it. I’m sure. I’ll think of about 30 minutes of additional stuff later, but it’s the video has gone on far too long as it is. So thanks for watching.

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