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dave allyn
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dave allyn
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PostThu Aug 17, 2023 2:51 pm 
Good info from Chelan County Mountain Rescue

TeeJay
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dave allyn
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PostThu Aug 17, 2023 2:52 pm 
That didn't come out very readable. Looks fine in my downloads. I'll try to fix it.

Cyclopath, Malachai Constant
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Aug 17, 2023 9:06 pm 
Satellite Communicator PSA: We have received questions about how we feel regarding various satellite communication devices, so this is a PSA on that topic. In short, we DO NOT RECOMMEND abandoning your "RED" SOS communicator. There are multiple options available for SOS devices, and there has been considerable buzz around cellphone SOS alternatives. Based on our experience, the cell phone option is not optimal. First let's dive into how these SOS responses function. When you press the SOS button, the information is transmitted to a call or emergency center associated with your device's company. Subsequently, they contact the relevant state where your SOS signal originates, and then the state reaches out to the county where your device indicates the emergency is occurring. In our county, a Sheriff's deputy receives this information, and an initial plan is formulated to determine the necessary resources for the rescue operation. With the "RED" communicator, they provide us with a direct number to text the "RED" device in the field. This facilitates direct communication between the sheriff's deputy and the activated "RED" communicator for SOS purposes. No intermediaries are involved. The initial SOS transmission is sent to Texas, where the support team assists us with any required aid, and they maintain contact with you (the SOS initiator) through the sheriff's deputy, providing updates every hour until you are out of the mountains or your situation is resolved. This process is streamlined, and the company is highly cooperative, normally the same emergency center employee is available for the whole time if support is needed for us. The current cell phone satellite communicator operates similarly but not identically. The SOS call is directed to the cell phone manufacturer's emergency center. A representative from the emergency center contacts the state and subsequently connects with the county Sheriff's department. The emergency center representative conveys the initial SOS details to the deputy and seeks guidance on the response. The deputy instructs the representative on the message to relay, which is then transmitted back to the cell phone. The emergency center might either call the deputy back or provide a contact number for the deputy to communicate with them. Notably, there is no direct interaction between emergency services and the individual/cell phone initiating the SOS. This process is often slow, challenging to manage, and occasionally involves language barriers as it does not seem that the companies callout center is in Texas. Just last night, we received a cell phone call for a stranded group on Liberty Bell (surprisingly, also in Chelan County, though you must pass through two other counties to reach it). Around an hour and a half into our journey, we contacted the cell phone company's emergency call center to inquire, only to be informed that the SOS had been canceled hours ago. This was perplexing as we had conversed with another call center representative over the hours before, who provided information about the location and confirmed the ongoing SOS situation. Our intention is not to endorse specific brands, which is why we have refrained from mentioning any names here. However, it is essential to make the most suitable choice for your needs. We recommend refraining from switching to alternatives just yet, as certain issues need to be addressed. If you do opt for a cell phone SOS communicator, please be exceedingly clear in your initial text about your requirements and the problem, as back-and-forth communication can be extremely challenging and will delay our response time in getting you care. Additionally, the "Orange X" communicators have been experiencing sporadic self-activations. This year alone, we have encountered two such instances. If you possess one of these devices, exercise caution and consider placing it within your backpack where it remains visible, allowing you to manage any unexpected self-activations effectively. (Copied from Chelan Mountain Rescue FB page)

TeeJay, dave allyn
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dave allyn
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PostFri Aug 18, 2023 5:07 am 
Thanks Cyclopath!

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HitTheTrail
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PostMon Aug 21, 2023 4:42 pm 
Dave, thanks for the heads up from an official source. Since I have no restrictions on recommending brands, I will say that the little red device (AKA InReach mini) seems to always work for me. However, getting a signal is definitely not, and usually not, very instant. Even in a wide open meadow with no trees or mountains around, it usually takes 5 to 10 minutes. My new mode of operation is to turn it on and do other things for 10 minutes before I anticipate sending a message. But, having said that, I find it very reliable.

dave allyn
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hearingjd
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PostTue Aug 22, 2023 10:17 pm 
I'm going to stick with my "yellow device" (aka ResQLink PLB). It has substantially more power out than the others, longer battery life, and multi-channel transmit. It doesn't have two way comms, but I figure if I really need help, I want the maximum output from my device!

Hiker John
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vibramhead
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PostFri Aug 25, 2023 2:02 pm 
While PLBs like ResQLink transmit at higher power, they're also transmitting much farther, to satellites in geosynchronous orbit, which is 22,000 miles away. The InReach only has to transmit to satellites in low-earth orbit, which is 1200 miles away, so it doesn't need as much power.

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