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Old 12-22-2022, 03:06 PM #1
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Communications out of cell areas? CB? HAM? Sat?

Guys with CB being mostly dead around my area, and far up north most places have zero cell coverage? What is the best option? I was thinking a satelite phone? Anybody recommend any that are half decent? Or are there other options like HAM? Ive never had HAM and dont have a license for it, but could get one maybe. Any thoughts on this? I wheel alone sometimes, which I know is bad, but im limited with who can come along. My buddies all have cars that barely make it over a speed bump without dragging..

Suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2022, 03:56 PM #2
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If trying to communicate with outside works when wheeling alone (not a good idea), Ham is your best bet. But, youíll need the proper equipment, transmit on the right frequency and have someone on the other side on the same frequency to hear you. You canít just pick up an handheld and be able to contact someone.

A lot depends on what specific use youíre looking for. Satellite phones are expensive and have monthly fees.

So, it depends. A lot of YT videos explain the differences and capabilities of each.


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Old 12-22-2022, 04:10 PM #3
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I agree with johnny.graphic. I use Ham and I have a Garmin in Reach. However in a situation that requires immediate assistance nothing will replace having someone there with you to provide the needed assistance. There's really no replacement for wheeling in groups. Reaching out over Ham, satellite etc could be hours or longer till assistance arrives assuming you can accurately communicate your location which is important also
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Old 12-22-2022, 04:23 PM #4
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Moving this to General Discussion so others can participate.
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Old 12-22-2022, 05:30 PM #5
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Yeah that was my big concern with HAM, was that other than emergency frequencies who knows whos even listening or if you can reach anybody. Also if your remote enough and in heavy canopy or a valley I wonder if its got the range to be applicable in northern Canada. I get the sats have fees, just trying to figure out the best bet.

I wish I could find somebody to wheel with, but so far just me and the wife. I do pack extra supplies, tools, food and plenty of guns.. so I guess if im stuck in the swamp and its -40 I can maybe eat bear fat till spring comes?

Any other ideas or pics of solutions are great. Thanks for moving to GD as well for more comments.

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Old 12-22-2022, 09:46 PM #6
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Garmin inReach is what I got. For emergency use, I had a satphone for about 8 years, but the yearly prepaid fees kept going up. I never used it because it was only for emergencies and I never had an emergency.
The inReach and it's competitors (Zoleo, etc) allows 2-way texting not only with the emergency dispatch center, but also with anyone who has text or email service, which is just about everyone these days.
inReach (and competitors) have low monthly fees and some service plans have the ability to be switched off month by month.
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Old 12-22-2022, 10:12 PM #7
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+1 on the Garmin InReach. I have a Garmin GPSMAP 66i, which is a full-featured GPS with InReach capability. There are less expensive models with fewer features.

Some capabilities:
  • SOS button to summon help.
  • Send/receive texts via a smartphone Bluetooth link, or
  • Send/receive texts from the device (depending on the model).
  • Uploading breadcrumbs to the web so your location can be seen on a map.

There are several subscription options.

My wife is an avid hiker, and Iím an off-roader, so we both have an InReach in our cars. We live in earthquake country, so thereís some piece of mind there, too.

Using the InReach to text is neither simple nor intuitive, and I find the skills to be perishable, so my wife and I will practice them a couple of times a year.

I have GMRS radios to use if Iím with a group, or for communicating with a spotter.
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Old 12-22-2022, 10:49 PM #8
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2-Meter HAM is probably the easiest to aquire a license for. There are repeaters in many areas to extend range.

GMRS is also pretty good if you get quality equipment. I found this article informative - GMRS Radio Basics: The Best Way To Communicate Off-Road in Your Jeep and 4x4?

A friend has a Garmin InReach, and when he and his wife travel in remote areas - which they do often - they send me nightly ďcamped hereĒ messages. Sometimes we text back and forth with it as well (he on his InReach, me via the website that pops up when I click the coordinates link in my email).
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Old 12-22-2022, 10:54 PM #9
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I forgot to mention earlier if you are a ham person you can do APRS also so others can track your location and basic messages.
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Old 12-23-2022, 09:53 AM #10
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Garmin Inreach, Bivy Stick or something like that. For sat phones you can rent one pretty easy you dont necessarily have to buy one. The best thing is to spend the time thinking about everything that could go wrong, what equipment skills you need, and how to AVOID those situations. Guns and a radios is like 3% of it.

I guess it's "wheelin" vs "overlanding" mindset? Wheelin you're trying to push the edge of your skill and vehicle because it's fun and how you learn so you need other people. But overlanding you're avoiding risks if that makes sense.
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Old 12-23-2022, 10:39 AM #11
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Expanding on previous post a bit, if you're thinking you might need solo emergency comms you're committed to like 10 million other things now. Comms alone... what happens if the inreach is lost/broken? What happens if you have to hike out? What happens if I cant get a signal? What happens if the other person gets separated somehow? Etc.

So now you're thinking you know ham license, knowledge of antennas, repeaters and so forth, list of repeaters, cab ham radio, handheld radios, and at least one Inreach.

Then extrapolate what's involved with comms to recovery, mechanical, medical, weather, having to hike out, etc... it's probably years of research, gear, prep to go remote solo like this responsibly. Lots of little details and layers of redundancy like can you read a map and compass when your all your tech is burning up in a vehicle fire and all you have now is your grab bags? Can you filter water? Can you stay warm? Can your glock 20 kill a Grizzly? Sorry I get a little OCD on doomer scenarios it's too fun ok I'll skip the part where you're dealing with a sucking chest wound from a gun fight with narcos after accidentally overlanding in to their herion poppy grow op and have 3 grizzly bears on your blood trail
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Old 12-23-2022, 11:21 AM #12
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This book Guerrilla's Guide to the Baofeng Radio is awesome for the quick and dirty on the ham side of things btw. After you've learned the normal stuff for the exam you know. Then give an itinerary to a friend and log your track with Inreach as someone mentioned, but think about what happens if there's a mudslide or whatever and you have to make a detour. The inreach should be clipped on to your person at all times.

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Old 12-23-2022, 12:52 PM #13
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Quote:
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Garmin Inreach, Bivy Stick or something like that. For sat phones you can rent one pretty easy you dont necessarily have to buy one. The best thing is to spend the time thinking about everything that could go wrong, what equipment skills you need, and how to AVOID those situations. Guns and a radios is like 3% of it.

I guess it's "wheelin" vs "overlanding" mindset? Wheelin you're trying to push the edge of your skill and vehicle because it's fun and how you learn so you need other people. But overlanding you're avoiding risks if that makes sense.
yeah this is sort of what I was thinking. I avoid must stuff that could be truck wreckers. Where I go its mostly mud or frozen ground. Not a ton of rock with alot of forest and stuff like that.

Guys ill check out the Garmin Inreach, thanks. How does this compare to the emergency beacon SPOT? Ive heard alot of bad stuff about SPOT recently with missed service and grey areas with no reception. Is Garmin pretty much bullet proof all across the map? Any negatives to the Garmin?
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Old 12-23-2022, 12:56 PM #14
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Expanding on previous post a bit, if you're thinking you might need solo emergency comms you're committed to like 10 million other things now. Comms alone... what happens if the inreach is lost/broken? What happens if you have to hike out? What happens if I cant get a signal? What happens if the other person gets separated somehow? Etc.

So now you're thinking you know ham license, knowledge of antennas, repeaters and so forth, list of repeaters, cab ham radio, handheld radios, and at least one Inreach.

Then extrapolate what's involved with comms to recovery, mechanical, medical, weather, having to hike out, etc... it's probably years of research, gear, prep to go remote solo like this responsibly. Lots of little details and layers of redundancy like can you read a map and compass when your all your tech is burning up in a vehicle fire and all you have now is your grab bags? Can you filter water? Can you stay warm? Can your glock 20 kill a Grizzly? Sorry I get a little OCD on doomer scenarios it's too fun ok I'll skip the part where you're dealing with a sucking chest wound from a gun fight with narcos after accidentally overlanding in to their herion poppy grow op and have 3 grizzly bears on your blood trail

I got a 45-70 for the bears, where im going its mostly Black bears and Mountain lions, no grizz. I got water filtration systems, a few types. My Glock 20 is the old style with thick grip..I cant hit a ****ing bus with it

I got asherman chest seals for the sucking lung wound..lol. I like your post..its like we think a like! I got fire suppression as well. Recently I sharpened my Spetsnaz shovel razor sharp...so if all else fails, im going with the shovel.. lol!!

Merry Christmas!!
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Old 12-23-2022, 12:58 PM #15
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Guys with CB being mostly dead around my area, and far up north most places have zero cell coverage? What is the best option? I was thinking a satelite phone? Anybody recommend any that are half decent? Or are there other options like HAM? Ive never had HAM and dont have a license for it, but could get one maybe. Any thoughts on this? I wheel alone sometimes, which I know is bad, but im limited with who can come along. My buddies all have cars that barely make it over a speed bump without dragging..

Suggestions?

Thanks!
Several years ago, my son gave me a SPOT (SPOT Satellite Communication Devices | Saved by SPOT | US). It is completely satellite based, no cell phone service needed, just GPS to find your location and overhead satellite communication to send for help, or just keep your family informed where you may be.

Subscription fees are about $160 a year.

One of the beauties of SPOT is if you are in the need of rescue, they will do that for free world wide (except China). They usually first notify any local search and rescue or sheriffs department. If those are not available, they will even send in a helicopter.
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