Mar 21, 2013 at 9:10 am #1968161
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.Mar 21, 2013 at 9:52 am #1968186
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.Mar 21, 2013 at 9:54 am #1968189
ahhh – sort of like giving away the razor for free so you'll buy blades foreverMar 21, 2013 at 10:41 am #1968217
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 http://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.
— RexMar 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm #1968370Dwight GSpectator
@diveslot100mac-comLocale: Southcentral AK
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!Mar 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm #1968397Rod LawlorBPL Member
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!
RodMar 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm #1968406Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
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.Mar 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm #1968439
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.
— RexMar 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm #1968667Jim MilsteinSpectator
@jimsubzeroLocale: New Uraniborg CO
Yes, one would expect a bird to eat like a bird. Birds aren't ravenous. Oh, wait . . . . I think ravens are birds.Mar 24, 2013 at 1:11 am #1968965Wim DepondtBPL Member
@wim_depondtLocale: The low countries
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).Mar 24, 2013 at 6:52 am #1968989idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
"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.Mar 24, 2013 at 7:41 am #1969001
"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?Mar 24, 2013 at 8:59 am #1969015
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.Mar 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm #1969226Mark SchultzMember
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.Mar 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm #1969244Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
And then your drone malfunctions and crashes leaving you stranded.Mar 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm #1969249
Yeah, I was thinking helicopter – easier to landMar 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm #1969252
Not sure why I am shifting to being serious on this point, but by "drone" I mean a hover or copter drone. The kind that are going to be everywhere in the future. The control systems are now good enough to make them autonomous.Mar 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm #1969258
There have been a number of documentaries about these. Really cool.
To be called a drone doesn't it have to be autonomous?
Advances in computer hardware and software, cameras,… is making these cheap and available to the masses, for example, backpackers.
Good for harrassing wildlife, probably not so good for ferrying supplies : )
Need to mount some sort of offensive weapon in addition to camera.Mar 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm #1969800Jim MilsteinSpectator
@jimsubzeroLocale: New Uraniborg CO
Cool! Little drones would be just the thing for target practice. So much more fun than skeet. Bring 'em on!Mar 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm #1969850Douglas FrickBPL Member
I had a Globalstar phone from 2005-2009, until their failed-amp problems got so bad that I wasn't able to make a connection even during predicted windows. I also had a 9600-baud Internet kit, which was useful when traveling by car outside of cell coverage.
I then switched to an Iridium phone. It has worked reliably whenever I've used it, including in areas with limited sky view. The contract price keeps creeping up ($55/mo. not including minutes), so I'm considering moving back to Globalstar when they become fully operational again.
I consider the sat phone to be a 1-pound penalty for my freedom. It's a business thing, and as long as I can check that my machines are running smoothly and thump them when they aren't, I can be away doing what I want. I also go solo, off-trail, year-round, and as long as my wife knows I can call if I'm in trouble, she doesn't worry about me. I don't consider that I'm 'chained to the grid'; instead, because I only use it to call out and it's turned off otherwise, nobody can bother me until I am ready to check in for a few minutes once a day. Since I don't have an Internet kit for it, I can't check my e-mail ("so sorry").Mar 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm #1971553
DeLorme released all the specs for the inReach SE today:
"Now accepting pre-orders. Expected ship date is mid to late April"
And I've started a more appropriate discussion for this device:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=75378Oct 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm #2036294
For whitewater raft trips in the Grand Canyon, NPS recommends (PDF) satellite phones or handheld ground-to-air radio transceivers for emergency communications. With the radio, you raise a passing airplane on a monitored frequency, relay a brief message to the pilot, and the pilot passes the message onward. If you get a commercial airliner, the message might go you -> pilot -> LA, Denver, or Albuquerque ATC -> local sheriff -> NPS.
I rented a ground-to-air radio for a 1996 Grand Canyon trip, which never came out of it's Pelican box. No small sat phones back then.
Example: A Yaesu FTA-720 transceiver weighs 9.9 oz. (280 grams) with antenna, and costs about $300.
I don't know the legalities of using ground-to-air radios for emergency communications anywhere else. Also, not very useful if you backpack in areas with very little air traffic.
— RexOct 21, 2013 at 11:49 pm #2036301Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
A little over twenty years ago, a ground-to-air transceiver saved some lives on Mount Whitney. Backpackers were in the summit hut one afternoon when it was struck by lightning, killing at least one outright. Others were severely injured and others only mildly burned. One survivor ran to get help. [Try running at 14,000 feet sometime and see how far you get.] He ran down to Trail Camp at 12,000 feet where some boy scouts had a transceiver. Once they understood the emergency, they transmitted a Mayday to an airliner passing overhead. The pilot got the message and radioed ahead to the tower at LAX, which telephoned the Inyo County Sheriff. The sheriff could not do much that afternoon, so they called the Air National Guard which flew a small helicopter up to the summit for rescue… that very afternoon. That is pretty impressive. They took the two severely injured people right then. At dawn the next morning, a large helicopter flew up to the summit and flew the rest of the party off.
It never would have happened without the scouts with the radio.
–B.G.–Oct 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm #2039707
As of August 28, 2013, a complete constellation of Globalstar second-generation satellites is fully operational:
This means Globalstar phones and Spot Global phones should work anytime you have a clear view of most of the sky, and you are in the Globalstar coverage area.
The problems with the old satellites did not affect Spot devices, and the new satellites will not improve Spot performance.
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