Wilderness Cell Phone


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Chester32141
April 5, 2009, 06:44 PM
Is there a type of Cell Phone that can be used just about anywhere, no matter how remote or mountainous a location may be ? If you know of one please post a link if you have it ...

Thanks ... :)

Chester

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Hungry Seagull
April 5, 2009, 06:57 PM
A satellite phone might do it if you can gain enough height.

jmr40
April 5, 2009, 07:28 PM
Look into the SPOT technology. Unfortunately I do not know a lot about them but it uses GPS technology to allow you to send texts to your family. They can go on line and track where you are. If you get into trouble you can contact your family if not too serious or 911 in case of a serious problem. Prices are fairly reasonable and the units can be rented at some backpacking stores.

Art Eatman
April 5, 2009, 08:54 PM
If you live in a very, very rural area, you can qualify for a subsidized satellite telephone from Dial Tone Services. $14.95/month, which is less than the usual commercial rate. The neat part is that you can call anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world. If you're not in an isolated area, though, the cheap rate isn't available.

MCgunner
April 5, 2009, 10:06 PM
I take it, Art, that you get the cheap rate. ROFL! It's "rural" around here, but I think you're talking desolate isolation. :D I mean, when it's two hours to the hospital by life flight, well, I can see a sat phone.

I know a lot of off road and adventure touring type motorcyclists that are getting the "SPOT". It sounds affordable and very good to have if you spend a lot of time in the wilderness or in wild areas. I think we're pretty well covered by cell service anymore. Last time I was down at the land cut, I could get a bar or two on the signal. If I can get a signal down there, hell, I can get one about anywhere. I think there are some places out around Matagorda Island that might still lack a signal, down at Panther point which is across the bay from Aransas NWR. I don't know, though, cause I haven't been down there in a while. It's a LONG boat ride. 15 years ago, I'd have bought one of those SPOTs.

BFE
April 6, 2009, 08:22 AM
A satellite phone is what you are looking for and you will need to either buy or rent plus thye service cost.
As far as the spot unit you can sent a text message but it has to be pre set before use, it has no way to write one in feild. It does allow someone to see your track on a comuptor and they have a button for the text where you can send it saying you are okay or what ever you pre programed it to say.

bdg146
April 6, 2009, 11:47 PM
Not to nitpick, but I figure any detail is important when it comes to a device people might use to save their life someday...

SPOT may use GPS to locate itself, but it can't transmit via the GPS satellites.

Per Wikipedia:
The device can, in theory, work anywhere in the world the device has a line-of-sight to a Globalstar satellite. In practice, reviewers have found this to be largely true. However, placing the device in a pocket, vehicle, under tree cover, or among tall buildings may prevent a message from being received. The device will repeat transmission of its emergency messages at predefined interval until the user cancels the emergency, turns off the device, or until the batteries run out. SPOT's transmission ability is one-way only so the device is unable to give the user confirmation that a message was successfully sent.

I'd be sure to check whether there are limitations on what parts of the globe are covered by Globalstar satellites. Oh, and the GPS tracking service appears to be $100/year.

If you truly want a phone, you'll have to go with satellite.

nalioth
April 7, 2009, 01:51 AM
A satellite phone might do it if you can gain enough height. Satellite phones will work if you're in Death Valley. Height means nothing.

Being outside is a plus, though.

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
April 7, 2009, 04:12 AM
Chester, I'm currious where you're going that you might need such communication ability? That might get a different response from our membership. During bad weather or extreme solar activity, the sat phone or spot may not be able to transmit. Certain areas, the VHF radio communicating to a relay/base station is still the standard. But, even in area's of the western Cascades, standard cellular signals are available. One service may be better than others in certain locals.

-Steve

hardluk1
April 7, 2009, 02:57 PM
Check out the spot emergency locator. It will let you call home, it will notfy 911 also if needed and give a gps location if you really screw up. Good all around safety system for a single outdoorsman.

JImbothefiveth
April 7, 2009, 03:16 PM
However, placing the device in a pocket, vehicle, under tree cover, or among tall buildings may prevent a message from being received.
That is a big risk there.

bdg146
April 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
Yeah, the tree cover thing caught my eye as well. There are tons of variables there, and I don't have an EE degree, so i'm no expert. I do know a thick canopy can block satellite signals though. My thoughts are if you are lost and mobile then you won't have any trouble finding a spot to transmit. If you are injured and immobile there is a chance communications may be difficult. My guess is that most of the time your signal will get though.

hardluk1
April 7, 2009, 07:57 PM
Dam guys you could take nothing. Like we did years ago.

bdg146
April 7, 2009, 09:44 PM
Hmmm... if someone has the money and feels it's necessary for safety reasons, i see nothing wrong with it. You know, "years ago" they used only bows and arrows and didn't post on the Internet either :)

My point is the reason for technology is often to make our lives more convenient and/or safer. Always has and always will be. It's just up to us individually to decide what is reasonable and what is not.

MCgunner
April 7, 2009, 09:56 PM
That guy that got his arm caught in a crack in the rocks and had to cut it off with a pocket knife, well, he had nothing, but a pocket knife. :D On the plus side, he got his 15 minutes of fame on the morning news shows, for what that was worth. Rather have my arm, myself.

I'm always lookin' for a safety tool. When I used to hunt the Guadalupes, they had a CB club up there doing monitoring and I had a walkie talkie in my backpack on the faint hope I'd be in range of 'em if I got in a bind.

Hungry Seagull
April 7, 2009, 11:57 PM
nalioth, Ive been through the Humdolt and Death Valley many times ...

Many loads to various parts of Nevada towards Reno. Great desolation. Satellite comms have never failed me in all that time via Qualcomm in the truck.

If you can stay consious and alert when over 12,000-15,000 feet then you can talk to me about height.

nalioth
April 8, 2009, 01:28 AM
nalioth, Ive been through the Humdolt and Death Valley many times ...

Many loads to various parts of Nevada towards Reno. Great desolation. Satellite comms have never failed me in all that time via Qualcomm in the truck.

If you can stay consious and alert when over 12,000-15,000 feet then you can talk to me about height. I believe you are mis-understanding this thread.

Your original response was A satellite phone might do it if you can gain enough height.
Height has nothing to do with satellite based communications, but is more related to radio frequency communication (getting a good line of sight from higher up, etc). All one needs for satellite commo is an unobstructed sky.

WardenWolf
April 8, 2009, 02:06 AM
CDMA phones (Verizon) work places most GSM phones won't. GSM is a higher frequency and requires a greater density of cell towers in order to provide a reliable signal. In moving to the by-now-obsolete European GSM standard, cellphone providers actually made their phones less effective for their primary function: being a phone. And to what end? To put voice and data on the same frequency. I've repeatedly been out in remote areas and been able to get a stable cellphone signal in places GSM phones can't touch.

bdg146
April 8, 2009, 07:56 AM
3G ATT phones use CDMA now. Their 3g network is still somewhat lacking though. Higher frequencies are more ubstructable, but another factor is the modulation technique. CDMA allows for a lower SNR. An area with poor verizon coverage is still worse than an area with good GSM coverage though, so it's good to check out both.

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