The satellite phone was once tech-heavy neighbor's answer to common issues regarding communications. But now, it's a much more affordable and accessible technology. Having a family reunion in the Gobi desert and still want to get in touch with the office? The satellite phone will take care of it. Heading somewhere no mobile phone has ever gone before? No problem.
A satellite phone is the one gadget to have if you ever get lost in a desert island. But what about if you're trapped in a deep crevasse or having a party deep in the Grand Canyon? Can the satellite phone still keep you in touch?
Canyons and satellite phones
The bottomline is that satellite phones CAN work in canyons. That is, provided there is a clear line of sight that will allow signals from the satellite to reach the phone and back. That means, the more open your view of the sky is, the better reception you'll have, even if you're located deep in the canyon.
Assuming that you will be using a hand-held satellite phone, you will require a minimum of 80% unobstructed view from where you stand and the sky above you. Locations in a canyon that are partially enclosed or obstructed by protruding rocks or trees will affect the strength of the signal, resulting to dropped calls or difficulty in making and receiving calls.
A good solution would be using an external antenna that can pull in the signal and make it available for you. Of course, this too, will require a minimum of 80% unobstructed view.
Another issue that may affect the use of satellite phones in canyons is the positioning of the satellite at the time you attempt to make a call. However, there are providers that use Low Earth Orbiting satellites or LEOs. These will make it easier for you to use your satellite phone when you need it most.
Other good news
Some providers plan to improve their satellite phone services in the coming years, so there's plenty of stuff to look forward to, particularly those of you who might go on a trip to the canyons. The service will make it possible for satellite signal to be coursed through terrestrial cellular sites when satellite line-of-sight is a problem. It can then switch back to satellite mode once the ideal line-of-sight is obtained.