SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 1 – Introduction
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Mar 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm #1300661Stephanie JordanSpectator
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:Mar 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm #1967577
Very interesting, looking forward to part 2 and 3
I'de like to be able to send and receive text messages
My cell phone rarely works in the wilderness, but occasionally it surprises me where it worksMar 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm #1967578
Its good to see these series of articles.Mar 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm #1967579Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
What is type 2 & 3 fun? Is there type 1 fun a what is it?Mar 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm #1967580
Here is a good example for Mountaineer Kelly Cordes.
Type I Fun – true fun, enjoyable while it’s happening. Good food, good sex, 5.8 hand cracks, sport climbing, powder skiing. Margaritas.
Type II Fun – fun only in retrospect, hateful while it’s happening. Things like working out ‘till you puke, and usually ice and alpine climbing. After climbing the West Face Couloir on Huntington, Scotty and I both swore that we hated alpine climbing. The final 1,000′ was horrific – swimming up sugar snow that collapsed beneath us, roped together without protection – and took nearly as long as the initial 3,000′ from camp. On the summit, Scotty turned to me and said, in complete seriousness, “I want my mom so bad right now.” By the time we reached Talkeetna our talk of Huntington turned to, “Ya know, that wasn’t so bad. What should we try next time?”
Type III Fun – not fun at all, not even in retrospect. As in, “What the hell was I thinking? If I ever even consider doing that again, somebody slap some sense into me.” The final 1,000′ of Huntington, when I stop and think about it…but, then again, a friend climbed it the next year and had perfect conditions.
I guess you never really know what sort of fun you’re getting yourself into once you leave the couch, which is fine, because it doesn’t always have to be “fun” to be fun.
Maybe the whole goal, the path of the enlightened, is to turn Type III situations into Type I fun. Right. Anybody had any luck with that?Mar 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm #1967583
Okay, where did the concept of type 1, 2, and 3 fun come from?
and if it's not fun at all, even in retrospective, why is it called fun?
us old guys are always amazed by the viral nature of this modern worldMar 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm #1967586
I dunno where it came from, I have heard it a couple of times over the years.Mar 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm #1967589John S.BPL Member
@jshannMar 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm #1967598
That's where I pulled it form, I mean I have heard it before that.Mar 20, 2013 at 1:16 am #1967712Derrick WhiteBPL Member
I am surprised you didn't mention the InReach device which offers two way texting and SOS features. It can also link to a smartphone or GPS via bluetooth. Great device.Mar 20, 2013 at 5:47 am #1967743IanBPL Member
Just an FYI for global travelers.
I travel overseas quite a bit and have considered buying a satellite phone until I traveled to India. They were really concerned about cell phones in general and wanted to know if I was going to leave one in India. They also were very concerned to know if I was carrying a satellite phone.
I didn't want to prolong that conversation any more than I had to so I didn't ask the obvious question of "If I did would I have to give it up?" The thought of forfeiting a $1000 phone was a little unnerving.
This is the only country which has ever asked me these questions but it's something to be aware of.Mar 20, 2013 at 7:54 am #1967786Mar 20, 2013 at 8:12 am #1967793
At least they asked you in advance! You could have been thrown in jail for bringing an unlicensed satellite device into India, like the unfortunate Andy Pag:
A few other countries have strict laws about satellite devices, including China and Burma (Myanmar).
Hence the advice in the article:
"Be sure to check the latest coverage maps and local laws before you choose a device, or take a device into a new area."
— RexMar 20, 2013 at 10:54 am #1967857Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Is the Spot Messenger (black SPOT, W/ Bluetooth for yer cell phone texts) a "bentpipe" or sat network setup?
Seems the SPOT Messenger and yer cell phone gives the best combo for sending short texts. This way you can specify exactly your situation, location and needs W/O a "911" call for the calvalry.Mar 20, 2013 at 11:03 am #1967862Madeleine LandisBPL Member
@yurtieLocale: Central Oregon
We have hiked with a 75 year old friend who uses a SPOT for tracking and sending an "ok" to his wife from remote areas ( across the state of CA thru desert regions) and SEKI) It worked most of the time pretty well but only keeps records for ten days (so someone else has to capture the screen shots of the route) We do not own one and have very mixed feelings about such devices in the wilderness. We like to do ten day mostly off trail backpack trips in the Sierra and have had only one emergency in 35+ years on a Sierra Cub outing. The leader, our older friend, had to hike out 20 miles over a big E side pass, get a helicopter for a HAPE victim, which we got him out successfully on, then he hiked back in. It saved the man but pretty exhausting for the leader). My husband is a very fit 71 and I am 57, small & fairly fit and also do ten day solos. For me, ANY extra weight for a device must be reliable and worth carrying around just in case something really bad happens. I would only want a device for rescue and possibly weather reports. Just curious, does anyone have any experience or thoughts on how to get a wx report, ie on a small ipod thru radio or noaa radio or ??? Thanks. I look forward to the next installments.Mar 20, 2013 at 11:06 am #1967864
All SPOT devices use the Globalstar satellite system, which is a "bent pipe" system.
SPOT devices can send text messages, but can not receive text messages, so they are not "two-way" devices. This article series does not describe SPOT devices in any detail.
— RexMar 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm #1967883
It will be interesting to hear your take on the Isat phone pro as I have one for about 2 years, its a bit heavy so just got a Res Q link for UL trips.Mar 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm #1967887Michael FisherBPL Member
Good one for including the carrier pigeon as a communication device. This brought to mind a quote I'd heard before: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway." That was from Andrew Tanenbaum. While totally off-topic for backpacking, it does bring to mind the importance of thinking outside the box. What other methods could be used for backcountry communication? Messages left in known areas that will be checked by someone at a specific, for example?Mar 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm #1967888IanBPL Member
Thanks for sharing that article Rex. Seems extreme but their country so their rules. I've been all over the world but before this trip it never occurred to me that it might be a problem.Mar 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm #1967959Peter VickersonBPL Member
I live in Australia and have used an Immarsat phone for hiking in Australia and New Zealand. I did a lot of research and came to the conclusion that Iridium had much better coverage. I went to the Sat Phone shop to buy an iridium phone but the owner talked me out of it. He said that that in theory iridium had better coverage but in practice Immarsat gave more reliable coverage with little dropping out. He sold both types and in fact the Immarsat was way cheaper with a flat rate of $100 for 100 minutes prepaid and two years to use it in !
Australia is a vast empty continent with lots of areas of no cell phone coverage. Exploration companies use satellite phones and most go for Immarsat.
I have used the Immarsat in very mountainous areas of New Zealand without a problem. I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of iridium not working very well in deep valleys.
The Immarsat is also a lot cheaper to buy and call .
In fact, I'm thinking of buying a second one for my wife, just in case we get separated in white out conditions. The phones will also give you your exact position.
Just my two cents worth.Mar 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm #1967961Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
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 mergeMar 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm #1967969
Yeah, I want a unit that's both GPS and two way text. Camera too.Mar 20, 2013 at 5:50 pm #1967977
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.Mar 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm #1968030Paul SchnoesBPL Member
@pschLocale: Rocky Mountains
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!Mar 21, 2013 at 8:45 am #1968147
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:
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.
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