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Old 06-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #1
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DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

Anyone using one of these?

I was recently in the PNW and out of cell range a lot more than I expected...darn trees. I've been under some pressure to get something to be connected back home. I'm not interested in SPOTs; they are one way. They now have a cheap ($500-various rebates, starting about $400) Globalsat phone, but even with a discount it's more than the DeLorme's, and although it can do voice (and NOT text) it's pretty expensive even with a prepaid.

The InReach SE also has a $50 rebate expiring June 30th, bringing it down to $250; you can get a one-month minimum use for about $50. The same rebate applies to the orginal communicator, which didn't even have a screen; they're as low as $189 before rebate at Cabela's. It requires a smartphone to use, something that is optional for communication with the SE; the Explorer can use a smartphone but is fully functional for both communication and navigation).

So I'm having a harder time fending off complaints I'm incommunicado, plus the last non-SMS user friends and family I had have now joined that bandwagon, so a text-only phone is more appealing.

Anyone using either of these?
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:39 PM   #2
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

Kinda, sorta. I have a DeLorme PN-60W that pairs with SPOT. I think DeLorme had a falling-out with SPOT, or that partnership was just temporary while DeLorme developed the InReach. The texting via my setup is very cumbersome, but their newer systems, paired with a smartphone or tablet, should fix that.

Works for what I need, but I'm starting to rethink it as I would also like two way emergency communications. On my trip just the other week, I was out of cell phone reach 75% of the time, and while I had SPOT, there was no way my wife could tell me she had to go to the emergency room with wild blood pressure spikes.

Someone here was selling an InReach if I recall correctly. You may be able to get a deal if it hasn't sold.


Herb

[EDIT: make sure you investigate the cost of the service, not just the device]
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

I have the delorme inreach SE and the new explorer. Texts and emails are delivered quickly. The device checks for messages every 20 minutes. The location logging service works exactly as one would expect updating location on a website map.

The unit has to see the iridium satellites. It connects occasionally from the dash below the windshield, but otherwise needs to be outside. I am working on a place to stash the unit to make it a poor mans LoJack. My primary use is for tracking on long backcountry runs and hikes.
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

Herb, that's EXACTLY what I'm concerned about. Some friends of mine had a SPOT and I was on their list so got lotsa updates about where they were (lucky stiffs). Meanwhile a family emergency came up (theirs, not mine) and although I could pinpoint where they were it was sorta useless: we just kept getting "I'm OK" messages from them, ironically.

I checked your tip and the unit for sale here is the older one, without stand-alone texting; not what I need.

I think GlobalStar (which owns SPOT) dropped texting. Iridium has a web site where anyone can go online and send a text to you; I think they get charged to you in the InReach scheme. That might be important because some sat owners I've talked to say that the automatic reply feature in some of their friends phones didn't get back to them on their sat phones. Their sat coverage also seems great.

I also like that I would be available to others for rescue. Again, the irony of the SPOT was that I could receive a preset distress message from my friends when I was home or otherwise checking email with a cell or wifi connection. But when I was sitting back in camp, with no reception, their SPOT cries for help from me, when I would be but a few miles away, would go unheeded.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:09 PM   #5
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

SPOT has a satellite phone now, but from what I've seen, the reviews aren't that great.

Every two years or so, I go through an internal debate about whether to get a satellite phone or not. Maybe I should rent one some time and see how I like it.


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Old 06-27-2014, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

I really will stop hijacking this thread now, but two things that come to mind in favor of SPOT over a sat phone, is that all I (or my 8 year old son) has to do to summon help is lift the little flap on the SPOT device and press the SOS button, and second is that I can be tracked and presumably located if I were in an accident off some remote road whether I pressed the SOS button or not.


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Old 06-30-2014, 08:53 AM   #7
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

If you want something to summon help in an emergency situation (you're injured, you're out of food/water, you're lost) then get a PLB.

There is no monthly fee for a PLB. The batteries last longer (although they must be replaced every 5/6 years).

Signal from a PLB goes to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. We work with these guys and they are very on the ball and will get your report to local rescue teams ASAP.

SPOT etc and other SEND devices go through a private rescue coordination center. I don't know if they have the right contacts for every county and area. I don't know how good they are. We get calls from them, and we've rescued people, but personally I would not trust them with my life.

If you need something to communicate in two directions by text etc, and are ok with their emergency reporting and don't mind paying for the service, by all means get a SPOT, InReach etc.

Here's an article I wrote: http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/r ... thout-one/
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:30 AM   #8
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

My overly simplistic view.

If your primary concern is:
Rescue --> PLB
Communication --> Sat phone, or to a lesser extent InReach, or to a much lesser extent SPOT
Being tracked --> InReach, or SPOT

Unfortunately most of us have more than one concern, so it comes down to a combination of our requirements balanced by costs.

While highly convenient and easy to use, I don't think I can justify the purchase cost of a Sat phone, though I could rent for the few times a year that I think I would need one. I'm starting to lean towards getting rid of my SPOT/DeLorme GPS combination in favor of an InReach Explorer which I believe can operate by itself, or pair with my tablet (I wouldn't always want to carry my tablet with me especially if I'm traveling on foot). I could even justify, or rationalize to myself, the possibility of also getting a PLB for ease of use while injured or that my son could easily use. The one-time purchase price with no fees makes that one pretty easy to justify.


Herb

[EDIT: looks like the ResQlink PLB has a $50 rebate if purchased before 7/31/14]
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:21 AM   #9
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

I have rented sat phones for trips in Alaska, there are companies that rent them.

Your summary is spot (ha ha) on.

A ResQLink costs about as much as a tire or two. I take mine everywhere with me.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:48 PM   #10
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Re: DeLorme InReach Explorer and SE

I know we're veering off-topic here, but ...

I have a Spot, and it's worked OK over the past 6+ years. It's user interface is not very satisfying. Did my message really go through?

For major trips, I bring a sat phone as well. It's reassuring to see my Spot check-in message downloading to my sat phone, so I know it's gone through!

I've rented Iridium-brand satellite phones for various trips.

Just this year I finally bought my own sat phone -- an Inmarsat-brand phone. Inmarsat phones are cheaper than Iridium. People complain that while the Inmarsat phone needs a clear view of the southern sky (fixed-position satellites), I prefer this over the Iridium phones -- which work under most any sky view, as long as you are willing to wait for a satellite to pass over.

Once again, you still need to purchase service for your sat phone, prepaid or monthly. $$$

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