Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Emergency Locators

  • 33 Replies
Re: Emergency Locators
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2009, 01:25:13 PM »
Undertaker, that is the best advice anyone could give regarding survival--and from what I've observed, keeping your wits about you is often the difference between coming back walking on two feet, versus in a bag. 

No one should use a "gadget" as a substitute for being very well prepared.  Competence with  basic outdoor craft is the essential foundation that all who venture into the wilderness should develop.  Then, you can add the technology on top of that foundation to further reduce the risk of Murphy ruining your day.
"No, that did not happen to me.  You have me confused with someone else."



  • Guest
Re: Emergency Locators
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2009, 10:05:10 PM »
New one is on store shelves.

Old one is at a discounted price.

They are supposed to have a "trade-up" program for customers who already have the old model. 

New one has a much better design on the buttons - instead of having to remember which sequence of buttons to press and hold for tracking, etc.  Still, the track mode is fixed at every 10 minutes - wish it was more often or variable - at 95mph out in West Texas, you can cover some distance.

Willing to bet that Garmin and others are working on coming up with an integrated unit with GPS functionality - along with XM Radio, XM Satellite, etc.  Battery life remains the huge issue.  Go nuke.  Just a small puck of uranium to keep it charged up.

Would also be nice to have some confirmation that your messages have got out - especially the 911.  Still, for the price, it's a great unit. 


Offline Ninersboss

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Re: Emergency Locators
« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2009, 11:35:18 PM »
I borrowed a SPOT a couple years ago and used it in BIBE and Ranch. The I'm OK function was reliable and convenient. All my ok transmissions were logged. It was nice to be able to punch the "I'm home dear" button and set it on the dash for 20 minutes and let wife know I haven't died in the desert yet. The Tracking feature was sporadic. Even strapped to the top of my pack SPOT missed maybe 30%. I had hopped it would give me a track to mark a trail but there wasnt enough data. On the dashboard it did a little better -- but tracking on the road was mostly a curiosity for friends and family viewing progress online .. mom thought it was great. Since then I have rented an Iridum sat phone in Houston for about $100 a week. Seems like rates are about 4.50 /m outgoing; incoming charges to the originating caller at about $2.00 per min. The ranger I hiked with in the Solitario's right hand shut up carried one too. In that situation, the canyon was too tight for a signal. I like the phone better because the ability to describe an emergency situation is valuable to the appropriate response.  Plus I can phone home. That beat's SPOT where all I can do is call for the cavalry or acknowledge my existence.



  • Guest
Re: Emergency Locators
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2009, 04:16:08 PM »
Yes, the sat phones are nice and reasonably priced.  I rented one when I was recently in Colorado - from - seems like it was about $7 or $8 per day and the call rates were something like $1.75 per /minute - not cheap, but not bad to check in with loved ones for a quick one or two minute call once/twice a day or so and invaluable in an even non-emergency event like a flat tire 40 miles off the beaten path with no cell signal - didn't need it for that.  It was reliable and it came with a mag car mount, 12v charger, etc.  It was an older unit, but since I wasn't backpacking didn't need to worry about the weight.  The newer ones are only a couple of more dollars a day and are much lighter for backpacking. 



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