View Poll Results: Which device have you personally owned?

Voters
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  • PLB of any kind

    7 30.43%
  • SPOT 1

    4 17.39%
  • SPOT 2

    5 21.74%
  • SPOT Gen3

    3 13.04%
  • DeLorme InReach SE

    10 43.48%
  • DeLorme InReach Explorer

    0 0%
  • EPIRB used on land

    0 0%
  • Other

    3 13.04%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Personal experiences with emergency locator devices

  1. #46
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    I like my InReach SE. I like being able to two-way communicate out where there's absolutely no cell service.
    I've found the following:
    -It takes a while for the first message to send. Like it almost needs to "warm up" i.e. establish the satellite connection, so the first message seems to take a long time to go through. Subsequent messages after that seem to go much more quickly though. Also, I've noticed shorter messages send quicker. Sometimes I just send acronyms to my wife to check in with her because it's quicker to type and sends quicker as well.
    -It would not send one under thick tree cover. So if you're in dense bushwhack territory, you better find some type of opening otherwise I think you'll be out of luck. That was my experience anyways.

    Question: Do Satellite phones work when it's snowing or extreme fog and cloud cover? Haven't tried that yet.
    Spencer
    Bigfoot

  2. #47
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
    • Preset Messages contain text and the intended contacts.
    • Quick Messages contain text only.


    1. Go directly to Preset Messages by pressing and holding the "Quit/Preset Messages Shortcut" button ("X").
    2. Scroll down to the desired Preset Message then press the "Power/Enter" button (checkmark).
    3. Done.




    https://youtu.be/vpaVpqtWjYo?t=6m59s
    Hey Trail Boss ... Thanks for the tip! That really is easy. That solves one problem. I also found I needed to add some contacts to the pre-set message set-up. I just now tested it out on the back deck and the message is transmitted and received in seconds. I heard the little tweet right away and come back in house to hear test message signal on my Android phone.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #98 of NEHH
    On #43 of WNH48

    "You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely." Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

  3. #48
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    For whatever it is worth, Garmin has just announced a new version of inReach that externally looks like a combination of GPSMAPS 64 and inReach.

  4. #49
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    For whatever it is worth, Garmin has just announced a new version of inReach that externally looks like a combination of GPSMAPS 64 and inReach.
    So my prediction came true already. Too bad I just purchased my Inreach. Maybe that explains the deep discount I got. Oh well. I'll probably fork out the money for the new Garmin as it really would be something to only carry one device. The directional keypad on the new unit looks like the Garmin keypad so looks like it solves my major criticism of the Inreach.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #98 of NEHH
    On #43 of WNH48

    "You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely." Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

  5. #50
    Senior Member Remix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    For whatever it is worth, Garmin has just announced a new version of inReach that externally looks like a combination of GPSMAPS 64 and inReach.
    I think its really bad to combine a GPS with a beacon...a GPS is for convenience and a beacon is for an emergency. If they both use the same battery, then its truly a bad implementation of technology. You could easily leave the GPS on and drain the battery. And then your safety may be compromised by some obscure menu setting.

    I certainly hope this device has some fixed function to turn the GPS off automatically long before the batteries become weak. Better yet... have separate batteries.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post
    I think its really bad to combine a GPS with a beacon...a GPS is for convenience and a beacon is for an emergency. If they both use the same battery, then its truly a bad implementation of technology. You could easily leave the GPS on and drain the battery. And then your safety may be compromised by some obscure menu setting.

    I certainly hope this device has some fixed function to turn the GPS off automatically long before the batteries become weak. Better yet... have separate batteries.
    Personally, I wouldn't mind carrying one device instead of two, however, I seriously doubt I would want to rely on a non-replaceable battery. I always carry more than one set of spares for my gps and and at least one extra set for Spot (it uses AAAs, so I could even pull them out of my headlamp if necessary, as I usually also have a 1-oz micro headlamp for backup.)

  7. #52
    Senior Member Remix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't mind carrying one device instead of two, however, I seriously doubt I would want to rely on a non-replaceable battery. I always carry more than one set of spares for my gps and and at least one extra set for Spot (it uses AAAs, so I could even pull them out of my headlamp if necessary, as I usually also have a 1-oz micro headlamp for backup.)
    Usb chargers with built-in batteries are very common these days. As a plus, the batteries are lithium and the energy density is incredible compared to alkalines. Most have "fuel gauges" so you can check them out before and during a hike. As far as I know, they still make AA-to-USB chargers as well.
    Last edited by Remix; 01-09-2017 at 11:54 PM.

  8. #53
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't mind carrying one device instead of two, however, I seriously doubt I would want to rely on a non-replaceable battery. I always carry more than one set of spares for my gps and and at least one extra set for Spot (it uses AAAs, so I could even pull them out of my headlamp if necessary, as I usually also have a 1-oz micro headlamp for backup.)
    Actually, the whole point of the non replaceable batteries is that they can be relied on in an emergency. The batteries can be checked before a hike and you are supposed to do a monthly check. It's one thing to replace batteries when all is going well and quite another to try do it in a dire emergency such as Kate Matrosova experienced. In those dire situations the only thing you want to be thinking about is getting the unit turned on.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

    Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks. Roger Caras

    100/100 NEHH with Duffy
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    48 X 4 including 1 winter Lauky
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    12 X 12 Belknaps with Lauky

  9. #54
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    Every airplane is equipped with transponders with "permanent batteries". PLBs are similar. One of the major failure points of electronics is leakage of water into the battery compartment. If this can be eliminated the electronics are far more likely to survive. The batteries can be replaced by a certified technician who has been trained to appropriately open up the case, inspect the internals, test the equipment and then if everything is to spec, install a new battery then reseal the case. My PLB has got a limited test mode, push a button and it flashes which indicates that it is functional and the battery is above certain power level. At some point it will not flash and then its time to send it out. I expect that even though the battery is guaranteed for 7 years, this is the worse case. I expect at the end of seven years I will probably replace it rather than paying to have a new battery but will worry about that when it happens. Barring a strong point impact or crushing it I don't see a sealed piece of electronics getting physically damaged very easily.

  10. #55
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    I think non-removeable batteries may be ok in many circumstances:
    1. they are used in a PLB that does not get activated except for emergencies
    2. they are used in a GPS or satellite tracking device for dayhikes or when they can be easily recharged
    3. the owner is fine with carrying a USB battery pack.

    After all there are millions of smartphone users who are happy recharging daily. USB battery packs also got much better and a lot cheaper recently. However, to be fair I must say that every few days I see a passenger on a NJ Transit train who pleads with a conductor that he is unable to activate his electronic train ticket because his phone is out of juice.

    From a personal perspective, I occasionally go for multi-day backpacking trips with no access to electricity, so I find carrying spare AA & AAA batteries easier to deal with. On one of my backpacking trips I forgot to turn off my gps for the night and it was really not an issue since I just popped in another set of batteries a day earlier than I would otherwise. Even for day hikes it is easier for me not to worry how much charge I have in my gps knowing that I have spares I can use any time.

    While I would never attempt the same winter hike Kate Matrosova did (realistically I think I lack skills as well as physical abilities to do this) every time I set out on a non-trivial day hike I recharge batteries in my Spot, so that I wouldn't have to deal with them in difficult situation such as weather turning bad.

    Finally, one more thought on a single device combining GPS & satellite tracker - if the devices are separate the chance of both failing at the same time is probably pretty small, however, a single device going bad can be more of an issue, especially for a solo hiker. I guess a phone can be used as a gps backup but I generally prefer to keep its use down to minimum during my hikes.

  11. #56
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    I have used Spot 1 for going on 5 years, through hiked the JMT, Foothills Trail (SC), 50 miles along the AT Hundred Mile Wilderness, various other AT and Whites excursions. My wife and my sister have been able to plot my position from the Spot website and anticipate problems on occasion. When the batteries go bad the device flashes red. There are occasional skip zones in canyons, forests usually pretty good. Never used the rescue service, happy to say, but I did see choppers descend for injured parties in the Sierras. Not good for temperatures below -22 degrees, signal gets weak producing spurious positions. For family purposes quite a practical tool, but not for general communication.
    Walt

  12. #57
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    You need to add the original "DeLorme InReach". It is a different device than the SE or Explorer. You can't buy it any more, but there are a lot still in use.
    Adopter for the Reel Brook Trail

  13. #58
    Senior Member
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    I'm an Inreach Satellite Communicator for SmartPhone "classic" user. It has no fancy display, no touchscreen, just a couple of buttons and lights.

    Owned it for 4 1/2 years (April 2012)

    Important features:

    1) replaceable batteries. 2x AA size, can use Alkaline, NiMH, or Liithium. I always use lithiums, and always have at least a few spare sets. My GPS also uses AA lithiums.
    (I hike a lot in winter, and most rechargeables are very slow & inefficient to recharge in the cold. I can pop a new set of AAs in in a matter of about 15 seconds).

    2) 3 pre-programmed messages: "OK". "Stopping for the night", "Delayed, but fine".

    3) big fat buttons are easy to use, but the SOS button has a lock to prevent accidents.

    4) can link to smartphone (bluetooth) for free-form 2-way messaging.

    5) long battery life when not using tracking. The manual says 60 hours while tracking, but I recall a firmware update several years ago that improved the battery usage. So when I'm hiking, it always stays on.

    6) REMOTELY LOCATABLE. If I haven't checked in in a while, and the spouse gets worried, they can hit a button on the web page, which sends a round-trip message so the device reports its location w/o any interaction from the user (as long as it is on -- but I always send a "stopping" before powering down).

    Features I don't care about:

    1) realtime tracking. Nope. Never turned it on or activated a subscription that includes it.

    Costs:

    "Safety" plan currently runs about $12/mo, includes unlimited pre-set messages, pay-per-use free-form text messages.

    Observations in use:

    1. It does take time to sync up with the satellites when you first turn it on. So just leave it on all the time. The first message may take a while to get out if it's been off for a long time. The status lights confirm message transmission (2-way communication is good...)

    2. tree cover can affect how long it takes. Since I don't stare obsessively at the blinking lights, I have no quantification.

    For the first 3 years, I never even owned a smartphone that could pair with it. But since then, I've found several occasions where I was in a cell dead-zone where it was Reeeallly useful to be able to turn on the phone, and send a text through the InReach. I now sometimes carry the cell-phone (off) when hiking.


    No, I don't want this device combined with my GPS. And I don't want a non-replaceable, rechargeable battery, which is why I haven't "upgraded" to the newer models.
    Adopter for the Reel Brook Trail

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