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  1. #1
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    Satellite phones?

    Every agency acknowledges that communications was a major problem in this catastrophe. Electricity was out. Cell phone towers were down. Phone lines were down. So my question. Why don't those people at the decision making levels of government have satellite phones?

  2. #2
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    The National Guard in the area had one . The rest are being utilized in Irag at the time.
    Welcome to the World Baby Caleb!!!

  3. #3
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    When I went on my trip to the ranch, I rented an Iridium Satellite phone. It is a hefty thing with a thick antenna - but it worked great and I was able to stay in touch my office

    I noticed reporters using the identical phone on news segments (they were letting hurricane victims make calls)

    I don't know why the police/government could not get ahold of these iridium systems - they were cheap and easy to use - you could also email to them.

    This is what it looked like - you would have to hold it up and move the antenna around until you picked up the satellite. A couple of times it took a good 20 minutes to get a strong enough signal - but it worked every time I needed it.

  4. #4
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    The other night we had dinner with a guy from Florida. He said he and about 20 members of his ham radio club offered to go in and help with communication in the early days. They were turned downbecause they didn't have satellite gear.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casshew
    When I went on my trip to the ranch, I rented an Iridium Satellite phone. It is a hefty thing with a thick antenna - but it worked great and I was able to stay in touch my office

    I noticed reporters using the identical phone on news segments (they were letting hurricane victims make calls)

    I don't know why the police/government could not get ahold of these iridium systems - they were cheap and easy to use - you could also email to them.

    This is what it looked like - you would have to hold it up and move the antenna around until you picked up the satellite. A couple of times it took a good 20 minutes to get a strong enough signal - but it worked every time I needed it.
    Cass, I apologize for not remembering the name of the man who was crying saying "she called, Monday, she called Tuesday....and so forth then said "she drowned on Friday".

    I gathered from where he was located that they were making contact by Satellite phone then weren't they? How else could they have been communicating......

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tybee204
    The National Guard in the area had one . The rest are being utilized in Irag at the time.
    Tybee, more than the Nat'l Guard had them. See some SNIPS from a post 6 days ago

    Posted 9/5/2005 7:50 PM
    Satellite phones provide critical link to outside world
    By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
    Once-maligned satellite phones are serving as critical lifelines in Gulf Coast areas that lack other phone services after being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
    The National Guard, the American Red Cross, utility workers, reporters and people in search of relatives are among those snapping up satellite phones to communicate.

    Globalstar, the other big U.S. satellite company, sold more than 11,000 phones and leased 1,000 more for use in the region last week, senior marketing manager John Dark says.

    Satellite phones are immune to terrestrial hazards because they communicate directly with satellites that hover more than 500 miles high and work virtually everywhere around the globe.

    Federal emergency workers have lent the phones to those in New Orleans shelters who quickly call loved ones before handing them back, says Dennis Allen, Globalstar's senior vice president of sales.

    About 130 workers from Tampa Electric toted 23 Iridium phones when they were dispatched from Florida to help repair outages in the New Orleans area, says Keith Sims, the company's telecom chief.

    "Cell phones don't do you much good after a hurricane," Sims says. "The (satellite phones) have worked excellent, even better than some of the cell phones."

    Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald editors have been using about 25 Iridium phones. "It's the only way they can talk" to colleagues, says Polk Laffoon IV, vice president of corporate relations for Knight Ridder, the newspaper's owner. Sometimes, he adds, "The phones cut in and out."

    Despite such limitations, satellite phones have become white knights during disasters, such as the 2001 terrorist attacks, last year's Asian tsunami and the hurricanes that pummeled Florida the past year.

    Hurricane Katrina, like other calamities, sharply raises the industry's profile. While federal agencies and utilities already had stocks of satellite phones, they are ordering more and keeping them, the satellite executives say. Many would rather not wait a day or two for additional satellite phones to arrive during a crisis.

    ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE:

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/2005-09-05-satellite-phones_x.htm?POE=TECISVA

  7. #7
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    They are expensive though - the cheapest one I could find was $800 and service is $30 (minimum) a month. It would take supplying EVERY person involved with their own phone and maintaining service on them. At $800 that's aprox $1600000 to equip the New Orleans PD alone plus $60000 a month (minimum) for service. To make it effective in a crisis you would have to equip all not only PD officers and support personnel (including dispatch), but additionally, all Fire Fighters, all Emergency Workers, all EMT's, all officials, and all hospitals. That's a HUGE bill for something you don't actually NEED except in a natural disaster/crisis. Hard to justify to the voters and citizens to spend that much on something that really isn't needed in "normal" operations and which does not improve their safety in a visible way daily. Logically, voters would want the additional officers (et al) or lifesaving equipment used frequently that directly saves lives and property and increases security instead.

    It's my opinion only - and I like it. Yours may be different
    and I may not like it, but we can just agree to disagree and move on.
    Stop Habitat Destruction - Do We Really Need To Pave Paradise?
    ~Peace~

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynder
    They are expensive though - the cheapest one I could find was $800 and service is $30 (minimum) a month. It would take supplying EVERY person involved with their own phone and maintaining service on them. At $800 that's aprox $1600000 to equip the New Orleans PD alone plus $60000 a month (minimum) for service. To make it effective in a crisis you would have to equip all not only PD officers and support personnel (including dispatch), but additionally, all Fire Fighters, all Emergency Workers, all EMT's, all officials, and all hospitals. That's a HUGE bill for something you don't actually NEED except in a natural disaster/crisis. Hard to justify to the voters and citizens to spend that much on something that really isn't needed in "normal" operations and which does not improve their safety in a visible way daily. Logically, voters would want the additional officers (et al) or lifesaving equipment used frequently that directly saves lives and property and increases security instead.
    I'm not suggesting the average "Joe" should have one. I was just responding to Tyee's post.

    They were in use for those who could afford to either buy them, or rent them like the press and city officials. They certainly weren't all in Iraq!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom'sGirl
    I'm not suggesting the average "Joe" should have one. I was just responding to Tyee's post.

    They were in use for those who could afford to either buy them, or rent them like the press and city officials. They certainly weren't all in Iraq!
    According to Newsweek, city officials had a FEW old satellite phones and the batteries on these went dead pretty quickly. It appears the FEMA officials sent in did NOT have their own - they asked to borrow a phone from someone else.
    The state does have an emergency communication set-up with tha Nat'l Guard, I think this is what is being referred to, because this system was in Iraq - they had to arrange to bring in another one from another state, this took 6 days (I think) to arrive in New Orleans.

    It's my opinion only - and I like it. Yours may be different
    and I may not like it, but we can just agree to disagree and move on.
    Stop Habitat Destruction - Do We Really Need To Pave Paradise?
    ~Peace~

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynder
    According to Newsweek, city officials had a FEW old satellite phones and the batteries on these went dead pretty quickly. It appears the FEMA officials sent in did NOT have their own - they asked to borrow a phone from someone else.
    The state does have an emergency communication set-up with tha Nat'l Guard, I think this is what is being referred to, because this system was in Iraq - they had to arrange to bring in another one from another state, this took 6 days (I think) to arrive in New Orleans.
    Well, "whatever", I hope they are now planning on having them along with batteries and anything else they can to communicate like Florida has done.

    The Press seemed to able to get them..........hmmmmm!


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom'sGirl
    Well, "whatever", I hope they are now planning on having them along with batteries and anything else they can to communicate like Florida has done.

    The Press seemed to able to get them..........hmmmmm!
    The press does not have to answer to the voters on why a few million dollars of their money is being spent on something that is rarely used. This is a high crime city, I am sure the voters would rather see more cops on the streets - the reality is the cost is HUGE and the practicality hard to justify when money is tight.
    And we're not talking about the Mayor buying a few satellite phones here. A few key people having satellite phones would be of little impact in a situation like Katrina - every single responder would need one for a communication system to be effective.
    The press also has a much larger budget for such things and it is justified based on being vital to doing their job.
    How do we know Florida has them? And as far as I know, never has any city of a million people in Florida been flooded with 20 feet of water for more than a week - it is hard to compare, New Orleans is a different senario than anything in any other state.

    It's my opinion only - and I like it. Yours may be different
    and I may not like it, but we can just agree to disagree and move on.
    Stop Habitat Destruction - Do We Really Need To Pave Paradise?
    ~Peace~

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynder
    The press does not have to answer to the voters on why a few million dollars of their money is being spent on something that is rarely used. This is a high crime city, I am sure the voters would rather see more cops on the streets - the reality is the cost is HUGE and the practicality hard to justify when money is tight.
    And we're not talking about the Mayor buying a few satellite phones here. A few key people having satellite phones would be of little impact in a situation like Katrina - every single responder would need one for a communication system to be effective.
    The press also has a much larger budget for such things and it is justified based on being vital to doing their job.
    How do we know Florida has them? And as far as I know, never has any city of a million people in Florida been flooded with 20 feet of water for more than a week - it is hard to compare, New Orleans is a different senario than anything in any other state.
    Fortunately, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer were able to obtain 30 satellite phones last week from Globalstar.



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