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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey y'all,
With the amount of riding we do where there's no cell service I'm feeling it'd be wise to have something to contact civilization with in the event of a breakdown. I don't know a ton about this, but I suspect a portable CB wouldn't work because no one will likely be close enough, and much of our riding is in the mountains where there'd be no line-of-site to another person. Do I need to find a satellite-based solution, and would that work even if there's no cell service, is that a 100% guaranteed solution? I see Garmin has a solution but it requires a subscription - is there some device I can buy that wouldn't require a subscription? I'm looking for anyone's experience and expertise.
Thank you in advance!
 

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I'm no expert but have researched this a bit as well as owning/subscribing to SPOT satellite device....(It is a satellite device that keeps track of your position and allows you to 'get help' from friend/family or S&R...It also allowed you to send a couple of per-recorded messages to family... and for family to track you...It was reasonably priced, but required a monthly/annual fee... It also required familiarity with their website and required some time to learn the ropes...There are other similar services, a couple, I think...I recently looked into satellite phones...Basically there are two companies. Both require a subscription with various options...One, a minute based charge that expires after a certain period..(monthly as I recall). Or a subscription for a given period with a limit on minutes...Satellite phones are not cheap! $500-700, I believe...With some offers of a package 'deal' which was 'reasonable'...But still not cheap! Google Satellite phone service...I've considered it, but I usually/always ride with a group and someone can go for help...LOL...I do have 'Life Flight' however...
 

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A spot device is the way to go imo.
I mean, a handheld or built in radio Would be great, but someone has to be listening, on your channel, to be able to help you... You would have to be pretty lucky for a random stranger to get your cell for help...
 

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Look at Garmins InReach before buying a SPOT. I flew with a SPOT for 2 years and it was worthless imho. Would lose signal and leave gaps that could mean you would never be found. InReach is so much better. So much that we bought a second one for my wife to tote with her hiking trips.

Rod
 

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Look at Garmins InReach before buying a SPOT. I flew with a SPOT for 2 years and it was worthless imho. Would lose signal and leave gaps that could mean you would never be found. InReach is so much better. So much that we bought a second one for my wife to tote with her hiking trips.

Rod
My Garmin InReach has gotten me out of one potentially bad situation.
 

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Garmin InReach explorer + is the way to go with full mapping topo-and texting availibity anywhere you can see the sky. Cost less than $1.00/ Day and your loved ones can even track your riding-and you can blue tooth to your phone so your not messing with the InReach it's self. Makes life so much easier using your phone with the inReach explorer+

I use mine summer/ SXS's and winter while out riding snowmobils
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the thoughts, I'll check out Garmin & Spot. Had another thought though - since my phone has GPS (which works even when I don't have cell service), shouldn't there be a way to utilize the phone for this - probably not the messaging, but at least the tracking so others could see where I am?
 

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Y
Had another thought though - since my phone has GPS (which works even when I don't have cell service), shouldn't there be a way to utilize the phone for this - probably not the messaging, but at least the tracking so others could see where I am?
Yes, as long as you have cell and data service. But if you go out of service area no one can track you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Y

Yes, as long as you have cell and data service. But if you go out of service area no one can track you.
But why does my GPS tracking still work when I don't have cell service? This is why I wonder if my iPhone's GPS (which I think is satellite based and not going thru my cell service) can be used for this.
 

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The GPS in your phone has the ability to talk to the satellites to determine it's location, it has to have a data connection for it to talk to other devices to relay that information. That data connection can be cellular or WiFi, even satellite if you have a satphone but your normal smart phone isn't a satphone.
 

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Your cell phone doesn't actually talk to the satellites, it can only listen. Basically, each gps satellite sends out it's exact position and time. The gps chip in your phone uses this data, along with the data from at least three other gps satellites to determine your position. Based on how long it took the data to reach your phone your device triangulates the difference between satellites and figures out where you are.
In order to actually send that location out to others from your phone, you need to have not just cellular (voice) service but also data service. This is different from how rescuers would find your location based on your phones location on the network. To do that they triangulate your location based on the signal strength of your phone from nearby towers, but that's not something you can use to send your location to your buddy, and it's not very accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, I’ll just grab a Garmin, but looking at Garmin.com there are so many options ($300-1500+), and I don’t see the Explorer+ (highrider) - any recommendations? It’s great that you can start/stop the service so you only pay for a month when you need it, kind of makes it a no-brainer. (For you Spot advocates, I’m primarily sticking with Garmin since a friend works there and gets products half off.)
 
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