Has any member ever used a satellite based phone?
If yes, what did you like? What was easy? Did you down load any data?
My need would be primarily data (weather routing) and some one is seriously unhappy when I am out of contact for up to 2 weeks. Off course it is not a member of RUA.
I've set up and used several stationary satellite phone/internet packages to service a small, remote office. The last three were from this outfit: http://www.xplornet.com/
Typically, I would have one or two phone lines and internet service from one dish. The system was set up to give priority to the telephone so calls would be clear. Using the phone was no different than a landline other than a slight delay. It didn't take long to get used to it. There were a few choices of which city you could have the phone number from.
I found these systems to be pretty reliable. Stable installation of the dish is important so it doesn't shake in the wind or get moved off the satellite. The only problems I recall were wet snow sticking to the dish, which was easily brushed off, if the dish was accessible. Installation took about half a day.
I've also used handheld satellite phones. They were good for emergency use, and okay for calling out. Practically useless for receiving calls because the phone would have to be opened and it took some time to locate the satellite.
Note that the last of these that I used was in 2007, so things may have improved a bit, particularly with the handheld phones.