Satellite phone??

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Satellite phone??

Postby eloise23 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:54 am

Hi!

I have never been to Burning Man, this would be my first year and Im dying to go, but I have one major obstacle I would love some help with. I am completely unable to get time off from work for this my ONLY option is to call in sick. The way it works is I have to call in everyday. Miss a day and I lose my job.

I realize cell phones are unreliable so I was considering renting a satellite phone to be used only once a day to call work. Does anyone know if this works? Are they reliable? Will I ruin my whole experience by having to take a time out to do this?? I would consider postponing my first burn until next year, But I plan on being out of the country, I know my situation isn't ideal for the best experience, but I don't want to miss out!

Thoughts? Suggestions? Much appreciated:)
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby jkisha » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:02 am

I rented one my first year. Yes, they work.
Between the internet for Skype calls and cellular service (if you have AT&T or Verizon) I doubt that you'd need a satellite phone, especially if you could call in early in the morning before the networks get busy.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby TomServo » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:04 am

Not sure what the cell phone situation is these days, but my Nextel direct connect worked on Jungo road, a few years ago. Last year, I was able to txt message during exodus. Can't you just tell your boss a relative died in a fire, and you need the week off?
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Igneouss » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:08 am

I hear rumors that cell service improves every year. (assuming that you think cell service is a good thing)
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2005 $243K
06 $855K
07 $1.0M
08 $1.1M
09 $0
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12 $1.2M
That’s $6.8M that thousands of volunteers deserve to know about. Capitalism is alive at BM. Tickets are the commodity. Others have estimated higher profits.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby jkisha » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:32 am

Even if there were a few days you couldn't connect via cell or skype, you could hop the bus into town to make your call. Still probably cheaper than having to rent a satellite phone, though not as convenient.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby DustHand » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:07 pm

Inmarsat BGAN units can be rented and aren't terribly expensive...if you use sparingly.

And you could even surf the web and update your Twitfacespace. :D

http://www.allroadsat.com/inmarsat-satellite-internet?gclid=CMK3p8GQk6oCFYaD5QodGgfCzw
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby some seeing eye » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:44 pm

Renting a satphone is not that expensive. It's peace of mind, though there are other alternatives, like the shuttle to the Gerlach payphone and the on-playa phone and text system. But that on-playa system may not be up early in the week, or guaranteed. If your economic situation is favorable, you may find the satphone a major contribution to your camp and the community. There is a whole "third world" economy around community mobile phones.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Eric » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:43 pm

You also might want to bike waaaaay out to K or L to make the call so that the sounds of the playa don't go through the phone.

Got any friends who are doctors who will write you a note for a week off ("muscle sprain that needs to be iced & elevated" or something?). It might actually be easier to do.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby zscott57 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:39 pm

I rent a Satallite Phone every year. I make a call in the AM and PM to check in with the family. They work great but the sound of your voice always seems very muffled. The phone number that dispalys on the caller ID is also a strange number. Just a few things to think about when tring to trick the boss. The phone will run about $250 - $300 for the week
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby eloise23 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Thanks everyone for the input. My work doesn't accept Drs notes, I work for one of the 2 major casino companies in Vegas and they operate on a point system if any of you are familiar with that. They don't give a crap why you're out (unless you have FMLA) you still get the same number of points for days missed. Reach a certain number of points in a year and youre fired. .

Soooo, notes are not an option, Im not willing to say someone died or one of the other drastic excuses that could get me off the hook (people talk too risky)

My ONLY option is to call out. Trust me I've weighed all possible options, this is it.

Happy to pay the money if it will do the trick. Thanks everyone!!!
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Lassen Forge » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:13 am

Just remember that, I think it's Globalstar, is good for blocks of 1-3 minutes about 2x a day. Highly unreliable. I used to have one of their phones, and rent the service, but that was when they had birds in the sky. Now, I wouldn't touch them period.

Iridium is far more reliable, but it's also far more expensive. I got a surprise bill post-burn last year that made me think I should have BOUGHT the phone (yeah, that bad) and rented the minutes. Be careful of your usage... I think each call was like a minimum of $10, and most were 2-3x that much.

I'd do it again, but shop the hell out of your rental company, get the absolute cheapest plan you can (because all Iridium service is the same!), and use it as sparingly as possible.

Question - what happens if the boss tries to call you back? You give them an 011-8816-xxx-xx-xx number and they'll KNOW its a satphone. Something to think about.

You can't take time off? Gads, every casino I worked for would either give you a week (or some, 2) vacation a year, or let you go no-pay for the week. Even MGM when I was with them (and they were kinda sorta assholic about stuff). Hell, I had to come to CA for my granddad's funeral and they took me off schedule for a week, no harm no foul.

Good luck!!!
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby zscott57 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:29 pm

I rent from ALL ROAD Communications. I get the IRIDIUM phone with a per paid minutes package. I get the 60 minute plan. If you go over your plan it does get expensive. If you stay with in your minutes plan it works out great.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Boijoy » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:40 pm

Can you have someone pretend to be you & call everyday??
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby DustHand » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:52 am

I was thinking about this, and the comment about the sat phone caller ID. Depending upon your cell carrier, you may have selective call forwarding available. You can then forward your cell phone to your boss's phone ONLY if the incoming call to the cell is the sat phone. You call your own cell, it forwards to your boss and appears as your cell #.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Sham » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:40 pm

what kind of job do you have anyway? It sounds like some crazy rules.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:24 pm

Yes, it sounds crazy. It also doesn't surprise me. Employment law and custom are so geared to put a huge burden on the employee, that all sorts of weird practice occurs.

*does that "shake the head at the state of the world" thing*
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby SnowBlind » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:07 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Yes, it sounds crazy. It also doesn't surprise me. Employment law and custom are so geared to put a huge burden on the employee, that all sorts of weird practice occurs.

*does that "shake the head at the state of the U.S." thing*


Fixed that for you. ;)

While I generally lament the state of the world on a lot of things, when it comes to employment laws, the U.S. is more in line with the third world than the rest of the first.

At least compared to Europe, it's mind boggling what U.S. Corporations are getting away with. And employees have to put up with.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby graidawg » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:45 am

1 or 2 weeks holiday? A YEAR? omg that is ridiculous

op cant you just go for a job with a different casino? plan to start after labour day?
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby trilobyte » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:26 am

Aside from technical issues and the risk of the boss either hitting redial, or (worse) calling you back at your home number to ask a question or check up on you, there are a couple really really big things that jump out at me.

1 - background noise is going to be your worst enemy. You won't actually be able to get rid of the background noise (neighbors, big sound systems, etc) unless you either get out into the deep playa or even consider leaving the event each day. And then, you might have the sound of wind blowing in the background. Hard to convince anyone you're home sick in bed when it clearly sounds like you're outdoors.

2 - your boss may be dumb, but is not likely a complete idiot. Vegas has heard of Burning Man, and I suspect the people who run those places are familiar with the fact that it takes place every year in the week that leads up to labor day weekend. And then, even if you somehow manage to call in sick every single day, and nobody happens to notice the echo of a million watts of sound or the great outdoors in the background, and nobody hits redial, and the boss never thinks to call you back at your home number because you've been off for days.... you are going to come back a very changed person. Forget the mentally and emotionally for a minute, you'll be more tanned (or burned), and depending on your hair color it may be lightened.

Good luck with your plans, hopefully it all works out.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby essjay » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:36 am

graidawg wrote:1 or 2 weeks holiday? A YEAR? omg that is ridiculous

op cant you just go for a job with a different casino? plan to start after labour day?



2 weeks holiday is the norm in the States. Even the 2 weeks is not required and not all jobs offer it. Only a few U.S. employers give more than 2 weeks.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:46 am

essjay wrote:
graidawg wrote:1 or 2 weeks holiday? A YEAR? omg that is ridiculous

op cant you just go for a job with a different casino? plan to start after labour day?



2 weeks holiday is the norm in the States. Even the 2 weeks is not required and not all jobs offer it. Only a few U.S. employers give more than 2 weeks.

One being the ... oh heck I'm not going to say, in case some Wisconsin governor get's delusions of grandeurer...
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby headquarters » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:55 am

And what of it when you come back all super tan and smiling?

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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:36 am

If this is your virgin year you are prolly gonna need to save a couple of those sick days for AFTER your return to the real world.

And yeah, be prepared to explain your sunburn/extreme tan when you return.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby phil » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:39 am

http://pinboard.in/u:philip/t:satphone/

Globalstar's satellites are failing, so do not rent a phone that uses that system.

Run the numbers on each Website. Some charge less for rental, but bang you big bucks for shipping; some charge more for rental but less for minutes; some charge more for rental but include free shipping. You have to add up the costs at each site to be surprised which works out cheapest. You can rent an Iridium phone for under $40 for a week, with minutes of call-time on either side of a dollar a minute.

Some satphones have European call-back numbers, some are in Arizona. Read the Web site carefully to find out what potential glitches there are.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby jkisha » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:42 am

Ya, if you know you are only going to be making short calls, you can even buy say 30 minutes in advance, or whatever you think you'll be using. You pay up-front, sometimes it's cheaper, but you don't get refunded for unused minutes. (At least that was the way it was when I rented on about 5 years ago now.)
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby chris2010 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:01 pm

Last year was my fist time at Burning Man! I had a great time. I did not really have any use or need for my phone, but I know that there are people who do. I did come across a camp I believe it was called the "Burning Phone" (Photo below) where you could make "Short" Free phone calls. It was not a satellite phone, but it used a BIG ASS antenna to get a signal. I was told they have been there for the past 4 or 5 years... I know there was a website for it, but for the life of me i can't find it now...

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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Sic Pup » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:19 pm

They are on the 2011 theme camp list:

http://www.burningman.com/themecamps/11 ... =2011&ci=B

I don't know if they're placed or not, the website is:

http://boxcarcabin.com/bman10.html

Contact info is in the theme camp listing.
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby chris2010 » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:33 pm

Sic Pup wrote:They are on the 2011 theme camp list:

http://www.burningman.com/themecamps/11 ... =2011&ci=B

I don't know if they're placed or not, the website is:

http://boxcarcabin.com/bman10.html

Contact info is in the theme camp listing.


YEP! Thats it! Thanks for posting it! I feel better now :)
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Re: Satellite phone??

Postby Shpilkus » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:20 pm

This giant phone actually had a working red desk phone that made calls on the playa. More mind boggling playa miracles!
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