Thursday, 25 June 2015

Space age in the backwoods

Navstar-2F satellite of the Global Positioning System (GPS)
The expedition to get to my friend Monte's land is a month away. Friends and relatives are concerned for our safety and Monte's oldest son is worried that, without a gun, Dad will be eaten by a grizzly. My daughter and son-in- law suggested that I rent a satellite phone as cell-phone reception in the area is almost non-existent.

After looking at various options and their products, I have decided to purchase the Delorme inReach Explorer which advertises itself as "The world’s first satellite communicator with navigation built-in". The cheapest solution would have been the Spot Gen3 emergency satellite beacon, but it has no two-way communication and its satellite plans are by the year. The Delorme inReach Explorer has plans which allow you to suspend service when not needed for only $4.95 a month and to switch back and forth between plans instantly and at no extra charge. A lesser model, the SE, omits the navigation features and just tracks. That might have been adequate for this trip as we are fairly familiar with the surrounding territory, but we could run into a maze of trails in the forest which are not mapped, besides, different trips are certainly in the future and this gizmo works anywhere in the world. An added bonus for the Delorme is that, until the end of this month, I can get a $75 rebate on my satellite service.

Right now, I should get ready to go buy the gadget at Mountain Equipment Co-op, with a few other odds and ends like some bells for us and the dog, bear spray, and protection from the commonest predators of all: bugs.

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