SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 1 - Introduction
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Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/20/2013 17:53:02 MDT Print View

With the new inreach ( soon to be released) you won't even need your phone.

Personally I'm gonna wait another 5 or so years till sat phones and gps merge

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/20/2013 18:18:47 MDT Print View

Yeah, I want a unit that's both GPS and two way text. Camera too.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Satellite phones on 03/20/2013 18:50:08 MDT Print View

Hi Peter,

I have an inmarast unit which I bought two years ago and the minutes where very cheap, I went to renew a while back the prices had more than doubled, still not as expensive as Irdium.

I am packing for a trip this weekend and decided to leave the sat phone out in favour for a PLB.

Paul Schnoes
(psch) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 1 - Introduction on 03/20/2013 21:13:51 MDT Print View

Type 1 fun was fun when you did it and you thought it was fun afterwards.

Type 2 fun was NOT fun when you did it, but was fun when you thought about it later.

Type 3 fun was NOT fun when you did it and was NOT fun when you thought about it later.

A lot of hiking falls into type 2 fun!

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/21/2013 09:45:11 MDT Print View

Jeffs,

You mean the new DeLorme InReach SE, scheduled for release around April 1?

The InReach SE was announced while these articles were being edited -- and I was taking a break from obsessing over satellite devices. So you won't see the SE in Part 3.

For more information, try:

http://sarasotaavionics.com/avionics/inreach-se

Compared to the older InReach models:
- Built-in color screen, with virtual keyboard using the cursor keys
- Can send and receive free-form text messages without a paired device
- You can still pair with Apple iOS or Android
- Audible message notification
- $50 more, $299.95 retail
- 27 g lighter (200 g), taller but not as fat
- Non-removable, rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries, good for "100 hours of tracking"

Looks very promising, though I prefer to wait while others discover any issues.

-- Rex
DeLorme Inreach SE from cumulus-soaring.com

Edited by Rex on 03/21/2013 09:56:11 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/21/2013 10:10:04 MDT Print View

Now I'm confused

It costs $300

It has two way text capability and GPS?

I wonder if it has state of the art GPS reception

Just GPS is like $400 or $500

The InReach must not have the ability to display a topo map showing where you are

Do you have to pay something to send messages?

I agree, this looks very promising

Even if we're not quite there yet, it's close. I want GPS with display of topo map showing where I am, recording of tracks and waypoints so when I get back home I can see where I was, display tracks that were recorded so I can retrace my steps, and two way text messaging. Like the ability to send an email and look at at an email that was sent to me sometime in the past.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/21/2013 10:52:27 MDT Print View

The $300 is just the start. You surely will also have to buy a "plan" similar to your mobile phone plan. That is probably where they really make their money.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/21/2013 10:54:35 MDT Print View

ahhh - sort of like giving away the razor for free so you'll buy blades forever

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
More on the DeLorme InReach SE on 03/21/2013 11:41:23 MDT Print View

Jerry,

Like the older InReach models, the InReach SE has a GPS receiver, but will not show topo maps on the built-in screen. You will need to pair with an Apple iOS or Android device, and install the DeLorme app and maps. Maps on the paired device can be overlaid with your position, etc.

Like the older InReach models, you must subscribe to a DeLorme service plan to send and receive messages. Early reports state the InReach SE plans will cost the same as the older models. See www.inreachdelorme.com for details.

But the DeLorme InReach SE hasn't been officially announced yet, so who knows? A few dealers pre-announced this device; nothing official from DeLorme yet.

-- Rex

Dwight G
(diveslot100@mac.com)

Locale: Southcentral AK
Excellent info on 03/21/2013 19:05:56 MDT Print View

Thanks, Rex & BackpackingLight for this well-researched and informative guide. Was I the only one who wondered, only briefly of course, "how much would a carrier pigeon weigh...and eat?"

Perspective makes all the difference. Like any gear, suitability of a sat phone (or other sat device) depends on the best match with performance criteria needed in any given situation/application. For emergencies, the user's understanding of the inevitable tradeoffs/shortcomings is crucial. This article, like most BPL pieces, helps users sort cost/benefit in a practical, perhaps critical way before heading out to the field.

Looking forward to Part Two and thanks again!

Edited by diveslot100@mac.com on 03/21/2013 19:09:22 MDT.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Typo? on 03/21/2013 20:49:18 MDT Print View

Yeah,

I'd be surprised if a pigeon could eat 500g (>1 lb) a day. I think this is probably more like 50g (just under 2oz)

Of course, you could probably forage 50g a day, and if you were stuck, you could eat the pigeon!

Rod

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/21/2013 21:13:12 MDT Print View

Hey jerry!

Yeah if you want to use gps on the inreach se you have to couple it with your smarty phone and use an app. It is in 24k resolution. Ive seen pics of what it looks like but they were zoomed out. But AFAIK it 24k Is as good as it gets.

The thing with cameras is its probably a half- ass camera good for documenting 'this feature is here' as in waypoints. Anyone who wants a 'real' camera should probably stick to a dedicated camera.

I think they will offer a external battery pack just in case. It uses a mini usb plug to charge the internal.

Imo the Spot is obsolete.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Re: Typo? on 03/21/2013 23:52:24 MDT Print View

Rod,

Good catch. 50 g per day to feed a pigeon is about right.

Not sure about the foraging part - wouldn't they tend to fly home? But I am not a pigeon expert.

-- Rex

Jim Milstein
(JimSubzero) - M

Locale: New Uraniborg CO
Re: Re: Typo? on 03/22/2013 17:01:18 MDT Print View

Yes, one would expect a bird to eat like a bird. Birds aren't ravenous. Oh, wait . . . . I think ravens are birds.

Edited by JimSubzero on 03/26/2013 14:48:26 MDT.

Wim Depondt
(wim_depondt) - F - MLife

Locale: The low countries
mixed reviews for Iridium on 03/24/2013 02:11:21 MDT Print View

Not all readers live and/or hike in the US. For those hiking in the EMEA hemisphere, Thuraya would be my advice. I have one: low rates and good coverage in most parts of EMEA. Bought mine on Ebay for €320. Weight is 130g, including battery.

@ Iridium: I have met some people with mixed review:
- sometimes a high drop call rate (My theory is that the LEO-satellites do not stay put on in the sky, compared to GEO-satellites). One could lose line of sight during a call, especially in mountains due to this.
- same latency as GEO-satellites. My theory is that this is the result of the existence of only one ground station (Arizona). I one would call e.g. from Nepal to Europa, the Iridium signal first has to travel through numerous Iridium-satellites to Arizona, then via cable back to Europe. My hypothesis is that latency could be generated due to the extra distance and the 'call queuing' of signals through this relatively complex system.

Once the Globalstar satellites become online, we might be in for a positive surprise with regard to the latency issue (combination of LEO-satellites and a bent-pipe system). No global coverage though (e.g. Indian subscontinent).

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/24/2013 07:52:14 MDT Print View

"I want GPS with display of topo map showing where I am, recording of tracks and waypoints so when I get back home I can see where I was, display tracks that were recorded so I can retrace my steps, and two way text messaging. Like the ability to send an email and look at at an email that was sent to me sometime in the past."

How tedious. I just have a small plane continuously fly over me while I hike to take pictures of me and the trail the entire way. I signal messages to the plane with a mirror, and they mirror back. Better than text messages.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/24/2013 08:41:39 MDT Print View

"How tedious. I just have a small plane continuously fly over me while I hike to take pictures of me and the trail the entire way. I signal messages to the plane with a mirror, and they mirror back. Better than text messages."

Good idea. That would weigh nothing. Maybe a drone?

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Two way texting - InReach on 03/24/2013 09:59:27 MDT Print View

Hiking drones...hey hush. That is my new Kickstarter idea. Combine a view cam, GPS tracker, and food cache. You just send it off to the nearest MacDonalds to pick up a meal deal, fly it back to you and air drop it. And if you need help you send it off to the Ranger station instead of use a PLB. Sort of like Lassie crossed with the Terminator.

Mark Schultz
(mgschultz)
Re:Re:Re:Re: Drone Resupply on 03/24/2013 21:12:27 MDT Print View

Great idea, but I'm going with the helicopter drone model for landing and take off (two-way communication). Now that's backpacking light - having your gear delivered to your camp each afternoon and hauled off in the morning to the next camp.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re:Re:Re:Re: Drone Resupply on 03/24/2013 22:06:15 MDT Print View

And then your drone malfunctions and crashes leaving you stranded.