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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2014, 4:18 pm 
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Joined: March 10th, 2014, 5:10 pm
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I started with a SPOT. The 'help me' button was set to let my SO know he needed to come to me but it was not a 'call in the rescue team' emergency. My custom message was for occasions where I was okay but behind schedule. My okay message was sent twice a day. I never had a failure but my SO was prepped that no message was not a sign of an emergency.

However, when the inReach came out the next year with iridium satellite and a built in text option, we agreed that despite the cost we would buy it. It was more expensive upfront. It does have a monthly fee. However, you can pay 4$ a month to keep it suspended. So annually it is pretty close to the SPOT cost. I also find inReach customer service better.

What my SO likes is I can text him once a day. I can send him an okay message (pre set) but I can text if needed and let him know details. The most important thing is in an emergency I can send details. I always knew if I sent a help message (not SOS but help to SO) my SO would be freaked until he got to me. Now if I twist an ankle and need help getting out, he will know coming in that is the issue.

I also like it because it deals with the criticism that devices with one-way communication lead to unnecessary search and rescue efforts. In the past, some search and rescue efforts happened when people were behind schedule (pre sat phone). 2-way devices provide the best of both worlds - no SOS calls for minor things (like sometimes happens with SPOT). No SOS calls for being 5 days late getting back.

It is a pet peeve of mine that in Canada the issue of rescuee paying is even a discussion. I pay for smokers who get lung cancer. They can pay if I need a rescue. InReach makes sure that unnecessary 'rescues' does not over tax S & R teams time. I actually hope they ban 1 way devices eventually.

If I do not want to communicate, I do not have to but in an emergency S & R will know what the emergency is.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2014, 6:04 pm 
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Joined: September 3rd, 2009, 6:05 pm
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Location: Toronto
The inReach definitely has its advantages, but the suggestion to "ban 1 way devices" is a pretty bizarre thing to say. You'd also have to be advocating 2-way devices are now mandatory on any wilderness expedition. Otherwise you're saying that taking nothing is fine, 2-way devices are fine, but 1-way is somehow bad.

The SPOT gives you 3 separate custom messages, plus one true emergency button. A tiny little bit of documentation or discussion with the person receiving those messages, and there really shouldn't be an issue about misunderstandings. If I ever truly need immediate rescue I have a button for that.

But, to each their own! I wouldn't take an inReach for the same reason I wouldn't take a satellite phone: if I had it, I'd use it, and for me that connection with the outside world would detract from the experience. It may not be logical, but the good news is I don't have to justify it. But I also wouldn't suggest banning them simply because they're not my preferred option.

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2014, 7:05 pm 
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Joined: March 10th, 2014, 5:10 pm
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Hi Uppa,

I realize my position probably not a popular one but yes I think everyone should carry 2 way but I am okay with carrying nothing being legal. My issue with 1 way is that it puts a requirement on S & R but provides them no way to make sure it is an actual emergency. Of course there should not be an issue but there are plenty of documented cases where 1 way devices led to unnecessary S & R because people called for help when they should not have and S & R had to respond because they could not communicate. So I think if you are going to request S & R help you should have a legal obligation to have a communication device that allows you to answer questions.

Just my 2 cents.


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PostPosted: March 24th, 2014, 7:52 am 
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Joined: September 3rd, 2009, 6:05 pm
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Location: Toronto
I guess the part that's confusing me is that you'd seemingly prefer *no* communication abilities over 1-way communication. If you're fine but running behind schedule, a SPOT could make the difference in whether or not an unnecessary rescue effort was launched.

But I was curious, so I did a little digging into your assertion that one-way devices are causing unneeded rescue efforts, and that certainly does seem to be the case. It doesn't seem to be the fault of the devices, but rather of people abusing them, and/or thinking of their SPOT as a "get out of jail free" card. In lieu of proper planning and training, they head to places they have no business being because they feel they have a safety net. A good article you've maybe already seen: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/opini ... .html?_r=0

I don't know what the right answer is here though. My SPOT is invaluable to me. I'd never abuse it, and I'm sure the vast majority of people with similar devices are the same. I think a one-way device is vastly superior to nothing at all, but a two-way device could well be considered a huge improvement over one-way, especially in the case of some sort of trouble.

For me it's still that I don't want that degree of connection to the outside world when I'm camping. If I have a cell signal, I'll make a phone call. If I have the ability to text my family, I will. And perhaps just as importantly, if they know I have that capability, they'll expect me to.

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PostPosted: March 24th, 2014, 11:30 am 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
Posts: 1074
Location: Burns Lake, BC
I think your age comes in to play as well.
If you've grown up using a cell phone and internet a lot (or spend a good deal of personal time on your computer/internet, then you feel the need to be in contact all of the time. Hence all of the "I'm OK" messages.
I must be different. Sending a bunch of those messages seems pointless to me. You become so used to having that connection that when it's no longer there people start acting differently.
This is where our insatiable appetite for information has trained us, as a society, to need the comfort of the bottle. (oops…device.)
I control my technology, not the other way around.

I have a SPOT device that I take for an emergency. I'll turn it on when I think there's a good reason to.

Like that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you paddle for days.
It's not there because you have cell service or two way communication.
It's primal (not meaning to start another thread!) not device related.


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