Sat phone recommendations?

  1. rustyshakelford

    rustyshakelford Well-Known Member
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    Before our trip to Moab last year I had been considering a sat phone because I assumed the cell coverage wasn’t great out on the trails. We were told that it was pretty good infact so tabled the discussion. Well after all that happened there last year and the fact we had very little cell service I’m seriously considering getting one for our 2020 trips but was wondering if anyone had any experiences or recommendations. This won’t be used for general chit-chat but rather for emergency use only. Fee per min should be negligible because hopefully I’ll never need to use it.

    There’s also several stretches where the phones have no service and would be a great safety measure driving there and back too.

    Brett
     
  2. Adventure.AS

    Adventure.AS Well-Known Member

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    #2 Dec 15, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
    I would recommend something like the Garmin inReach Explorer rather than a sat phone. It has a GPS with topo maps and is capable of two way text messaging via satellite, plus an SOS button. It will be cheaper to buy and the monthly operating fees are also much lower than a sat phone. SPOT also makes a satellite communicator - the SPOTX, but it doesn't have the GPS.
     
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    rustyshakelford

    rustyshakelford Well-Known Member
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    I’ll study those up. Only issues is text to 911 is typically only available in larger metropolitan area not the backwoods or smaller communities. The intention is having the ability to call local resources in the event of a medical emergency. Jeep already has the gps coordinates covered but just need a way to quickly relay and LCAN report if needed

    Brett
     
  4. RemoteHiker

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    I also recommend Garmin InReach which I use for both off-road and multi day hiking. Previously I used an Iridium satellite phone. The only advantage for a sat phone is voice communication. But texting is much more important - precise information that can be forwarded on rather than relying on the memory of the person you are talking to - and who listens to voicemail. (And to seemed that I mostly called when my wife was in the middle something.) Garmin can blue tooth to your phone which makes texting back and forth very easy. Most important to me - SOS button if you are injured which activates govt rescue response. Also it can track your position on a website to find you in case you go missing. Has maps showing your current position and route track. I could go on...
     
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  5. RemoteHiker

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    Brett - one more thing regarding your 911 comment. After pressing the Garmin SOS button, emergency personnel would start sending you texts to access your situation and respond accordingly.
     
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    rustyshakelford

    rustyshakelford Well-Known Member
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    Ahhh. That’s good to know. That part I didn’t know. Shoot, that might be the ticket!

    Brett
     
  7. AlamedaJeep

    AlamedaJeep Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for the Garmin InReach. I have one coming for Christmas, but I haven't been able to open it and play with it yet.

    As I understand it though, if you use the SOS button someone will coordinate whatever help you need for you. If it's not that kind of emergency, you can text someone else and arrange for your own help. That's the only way (hopefully), that I'll ever need to use it.

    They also have flexible plans, including monthly plans that you can turn off and on as needed.
     
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  8. RemoteHiker

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    Yes, you are right. First the SOS goes to the GEOS International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center and they contact the appropriate local emergency responders of your situation, all of which can text you back and forth. Enjoy your Garmin!
     
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  9. wcjeep

    wcjeep Well-Known Member

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    Weboost Cell phone booster. Greatly extends current cellphone coverage. No fees
     
  10. NewTXJL

    NewTXJL Well-Known Member

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    #10 Dec 16, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
    I'm working on my communications setup right now as well.

    Step 1: I got the WeBoost cell booster, to try and maximize coverage

    Step 2: I got the InReach explorer for its emergency features, GPS, text message, etc. Note: you can get month to month and turn off service when not needed. Cost of entry is relatively low

    Step 3: planning on getting an Iridium phone that I will use for work in case of non cell coverage. I know it's expensive, but my work allows me the freedom to be anywhere as long as I'm available and connected, so no network is not an excuse

    Step 4: likely be getting a HAM for radio communications. CB will likely be a handheld.

    Hope this helps
     
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  11. Martindfletcher

    Martindfletcher Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about that advice, the trip we took this year ventured a bit further out than where we went prior year. Close to town it was fine for our carrier, top of the world we had nothing at the bottom.
     
  12. Kajmcbride

    Kajmcbride Well-Known Member

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    Another option would be to rent a satellite phone for your trip. I have rented satellite phones when racing and exploring in Baja California. I find having voice communications much easier to use over texting in most cases and you can send texts via Iridium sat phones. Good luck and have a great trip.
     
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    rustyshakelford

    rustyshakelford Well-Known Member
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    Haha! It wasn’t your advice, it was pretty much everyone implied it would be good. Who would’ve known the adventures we’d get ourselves into!

    Looking forward to april. We’re going to have a vendors booth this time!

    Brett
     
  14. Adventure.AS

    Adventure.AS Well-Known Member

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    A big advantage of the inReach over a sat phone is the SOS feature. No dialling, just press one button and your coordinates are instantly sent to Search and Rescue.

    On a side note I have always been disappointed with my Iridium sat phone as it regularly drops calls - even with clear sky view when in the middle of Lake Ontario.
     
  15. Kajmcbride

    Kajmcbride Well-Known Member

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    The SOS feature is great. Another plus for the spot and Garmin Inreach is that you can leave a bread crumb type trail that others can view on the internet and you can follow back if you get lost. Defiantly has advantages over the sat phone
     
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