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Old 07-04-2019, 12:46 PM   #21
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I carry an Reach Explorer as well. I have a monthly plan that is about $25. Not cheap but it is always there if I need it. So far I have had no issues communicating with the device. I haven't needed to use the SOS feature yet but I expect that to work if I ever do.
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Old 07-04-2019, 02:43 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ableami View Post
I also vote for the Inreach. The thing I most like about it is that you will get a reply if you have been heard. If you don't get a reply withion 20 minutes you know that you are on your own.
With the Spot you don't know whether your message ever got out.
the Inreach is international and also works on the high seas. I buy the $12/mo option and leave it on year roiund. that is, ultimately, cheaper than turning it off and than paying a fee to turn it back on.
The navigation on the Inreach is pretty basic ands not so hot. I use a Garmin GPS for real navigation.
I am on a SAR team and we use nothng but Inreaches to track our teams.
I have heard that from other SAR members as well. Just a couple months ago there was a major SAR rescue in Bridgeport CA (backcountry skier broke leg, compound fracture, storm coming in, difficult terrain, took something like 15+ rescuers all night to get him out). The skier's group had used the SOS feature on the SPOT, but the message apparently never made it out. Eventually one member hiked out to cell range and called 911.

Some more information on that incident in this other forum thread on TGR here, I pulled some text from my post there:
https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...90#post5677990

I switched from a SPOT Gen 2 right when the inReach came out, after 2 separate incidents with the SPOT had me questioning it:

1) A buddy did a trans-Sierra tour, and took a SPOT and used it to check in with family. One night, the SPOT said the check-in message went through successfully, but it never actually made it to family, so they eventually called SAR on an unncecessary rescue.

2) On Bloody mountain (near Mammoth), completely open view of the sky on a completely clear day, and WITH 3G CELL COVERAGE, I sent a couple SPOT check-in messages, and I had it set up to send those messages to my phone as well as family members. The device indicated that the messages went out, but I never received them. Ever. After that trip I called SPOT and they checked the comm records associated with my account and never found evidence of those messages ever getting sent.

The "normal" SPOT device (excluding the SPOT X, which is more like an inReach in that it can do 2-way communication) only has one-way communication with the satellite link. So it tells you when it *thinks* it has successfully sent a message to the satellite, but there is no guarantee that it actually went out. So, if it is possible for a "normal" message to never make it out, then what about the SOS message? Well the answer is that the only difference is that the unit attempts to send that message a lot more often than a non-emergency message, so it's a lot more LIKELY to go through. Sure, the units work fine most of the time. Sure, they have been used successfully in many rescues. But I personally have had enough failed messages to not trust it.

The inReach, on the other hand, has true 2-way communication. And being able to send custom text messages when you need them is invaluable. One time we were on an overnight ski trip on the north side of Mt. Adams. No cell coverage for miles. We had just descended a pretty hairy face with some pretty real objective hazards. I was able to send a custom text to my friend's wife and let her know that we had made it down safely, and the approximate time that we'd be back within cell coverage... and receive a text back from her. Nothing close to that with the SPOT (again, not talking about the SPOT X model). My friend bought an inReach immediately after that trip.

Having 2-way communication in a real rescue scenario is invaluable. Being able to communicate the nature of the injury etc allows SAR to optimize the rescue and know what they're getting into. Pretty much everyone I've talked to who is actually involved in SAR recommends the inReach for this reason.

A few other random tidbits about inReach:

- The new inReach Mini is TINY! The UI on the thing isnít great, but if youíre pairing it with a phone itís a non-issue. Itís so small now that thereís no reason not to always have it.

- On an iPhone at least, when paired via Bluetooth, iOS shuts down the internal GPS since it's using the one in the inReach. This helps with battery life on the phone. You can use any mapping app you want on the phone, not just the Garmin Earthmate app (though you do have to use Earthmate for sending custom text messages practically speaking; it's doable on the inReach Mini standalone but the interface for typing is horrendous; it's easier on the older/larger inReach devices). Typically when I'm in the bc with the inReach, I have my iPhone in airplane mode with Bluetooth turned on so it's paired with the inReach. Cache any maps in your map app ahead of time.

- You can enable offline dictation to do speech-to-text with no cell connection. So, if you're in the field and the shit hits the fan, you can open Earthmate and *speak* the text into it directly, the iPhone converts it to text, then you send that and it goes out via the inReach. One less thing to worry about (typing) when you're stressing in an emergency situation.

- Technically, SPOT/inReach are not a "PLB" in the traditional sense, they are a "satellite communicator". Some people are picky about that difference. PLB = emergency/SOS only via dedicated satellite SOS system. Satellite communicator = communication/messaging + SOS capability via satellite comm system.

- I just accidentally sent my inReach Mini through a full washing machine/dryer cycle. Still works fine.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:01 PM   #23
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This has all been very informative. Thank you all for your contribution to this thread. I am looking into getting the inReach. Not sure if I want the explorer or mini, it will always be paired with a smartphone. Not sure what I want as a backup yet, a PLB or Sat Phone...
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:54 AM   #24
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We have a small hot shoot business mainly oil field stuff- 80% of the time it was in the middle of no where - we got a weboost mobile from best buy it was about 300 bucks It was the best investment we made / the cell service plus the 4g was mind blowing , we have sevvice in places we never had before- it helps so much I put the big version in my shop there worth the money for sure!
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Old 07-05-2019, 01:23 PM   #25
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i have a Garmin inReach. I have yet to find a roadservice provider, such as AAA or GoodSam, that will receive text messages. To me this is a big limitation. Does anyone know of a roadservice provider that will accept text messages??

I have read that if you use the SOS feature they will relay your message to a roadservice provider. However, this seems to me to be inappropriate us of the emergency feature. Has anyone used the SOS to summon roadside service?
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:34 PM   #26
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Qualcomm has a text message system-it’s in almost ever new 18wheel big brother is always watching !
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:59 PM   #27
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For those that may have interest: Visited West Marine earlier today and noticed they had a deal going on for the Spot gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger... its a 50% OFF Device & Service - believe the deal lasts till sept 3rd
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/spot-...93?recordNum=1
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:33 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_gendreau View Post
I also need the function that allows be to be apprised of emergencies at home. You have to sort of train folks on how to access the Garmin Inreach web page to do that (they can't simply text on their phone to you) but it does work, and for many of us is essential.

Rob,


I don't find it necessary to train folks to go to the Inreach web page to contact my unit.


You can simply text them from the Inreach before a trip (I usually ask them to reply, but its not necessary). By you initiating the text, you have essentially authorized that number to text your Inreach. This is what we do for people who may need to contact us while we are in the wilderness (rafting or overlanding). This authorization is necessary as unknown numbers are blocked so as to prevent spam from being transmitted .


You do need to warn them that it is not a permanent phone number but I don't think Inreach will change the number if it has been used recently. For the record, my number hasn't changed in over 3 years.


--Joe
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:35 PM   #29
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Rob,
I don't find it necessary to train folks to go to the Inreach web page to contact my unit.

You can simply text them from the Inreach before a trip (I usually ask them to reply, but its not necessary). By you initiating the text, you have essentially authorized that number to text your Inreach. This is what we do for people who may need to contact us while we are in the wilderness (rafting or overlanding). This authorization is necessary as unknown numbers are blocked so as to prevent spam from being transmitted .

You do need to warn them that it is not a permanent phone number but I don't think Inreach will change the number if it has been used recently. For the record, my number hasn't changed in over 3 years.
--Joe
I find that info very useful - wasnt aware you could do it this way. Really glad you shared this.
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