Garmin InReach V Sat Phone

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 09:12
ThreadID: 138187 Views:1293 Replies:4 FollowUps:10
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Hello Everyone,

I am looking at purchasing a sat phone and during my research I came across the Garmin InReach Explorer+ I am interested to hear peoples views on the Garmin compared to a Sat phone.

A couple of points. The Garmin is text base only and it connects directly to a USA based Emergency Monitoring Centre who in turn will contact the relevant Australian emergency response agency. Subscription costs are less and a casual month by month contract can be had for the Garmin.

We carry a PLB for any real emergency so for day to day contact with family to let them know we are safe and sound whilst travelling in remote areas is the Garmin a better choice?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Polvo





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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 09:52

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 09:52
Hi Polvo, In my humble opinion, I think a Sat Phone would be preferable. I don’t have a Garmin InReach Explorer, so I cannot comment on its “usability”. However, if my understanding is correct, you are relying on a third party process to get your information to the people you are trying to reach. A Sat Phone gives you one on one communication. You can also get a casual pay as you go Sim Card for a Sat Phone. From what you have written, the Garmin is an Emergency Response system, so for day to day contact, it would appear that you may be tying up emergency response processes for non emergency purposes. The PLB/EPIRB that you carry is for that. The Sat Phone would seem to me IMHO, to be the more appropriate system to use for “incidental” non emergency contact with loved ones.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Member - Polvo - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:33

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:33
Macca, thank you for your input.

Just to clarify, the InReach device can send texts to any mobile phone number, so it can be used for day to day non emergency contact to family and friends, but SMS messaging only.

The SOS messaging goes through a third party response centre located in the US.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:35

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:35
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G'day Polvo,

I'm with Macca on this.
You say that you already carry a PLB for any "real emergency" and now want a device for social contact. A Satphone would give you that and also give the benefit of an enhanced communicator in emergency situations.

A PLB is fast and easy but does not alert the authorities to the full nature of your emergency. Upon receiving a PLB call, AMSA verify the report then hand the response to one or more of several agencies. This can be anything from an aircraft to a nearby station property. In the meantime you wait without even acknowledgement that your PLB transmission has been received and is being acted upon.
On the other hand, with a Satphone you have the opportunity to describe your situation and even better, to be able to have two-way dialog with an appropriate person such as a RFDS doctor who can give immediate advice. And you have the important reassurance that your plight has been received and is being responded to. I carry both PLB and a Satphone and would select the appropriate device for use, even using both simultaneously in a dire situation.

On top of that, a Satphone allows social and convenience calling with the full flexibility of two-way conversation. Better even than SMS-type calling where you don't even know if the recipient has received or read you message.

If it is simply to reassure concerned family of your well-being then a "SPOT" device could serve.

If the ongoing cost of a Satphone service concerns you, place it in context. Consider the other costs of remote travel; vehicle cost and depreciation, tyres, fuel, maintenance etc. and compare it to the importance you already place on your internet and cell-phones and their ongoing costs and you will find that the Satphone is an affordable but valuable convenience and safety device.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Polvo - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:44

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:44
Allan, pretty much what I was thinking in the back of my mind. The cheaper Garmin option has it's limitations that's for sure and one on one conversations cannot be replaced via messaging through a third party.

The costs where never really the primary focus for me, yes saving money is a good thing, in the right place.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:56

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 10:56
.
Polvo, we were halfway across the Anne Beadell Hwy when a call to my Satphone alerted me to my sister being in her final moments. I was able to talk to her and express my love for her at that time. It meant a great deal to both of us.
That alone justified my decision to carry the Satphone.


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Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 11:39

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 11:39
Hi Polvo, thanks for the further explanation of the Garmin device, your original post did not mention direct text to text communication, only the routing of the text through an American Emergency Response system to an Australian Emergency Response service.

As I and others have stated, for one on one communications, you cannot beat a Sat. Phone.

Macca
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 12:26

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 12:26
.
Just be aware of the Garmin InReach Explorer's limitations.

Apart from storing pre-set messages for transmission, entering text for a message is, in a reviewer's expression, "clunky". There is no physical keyboard and no touchscreen, only a tiny onscreen keyboard that you must use the toggle button to move a cursor around to select each letter in turn. If you have ever used such a system you will appreciate just how long it takes to compile a message.

This "clunky" Garmin system may be acceptable to fill in your day for a social message but the reality is that if your partner is lying there in pain while you use both hands to fool with this device you will not gain many Brownie Points.
With a Satphone you can listen to instructions whilst having both hands and eyes free to attend to your patient. A Satphone really is a No Brainer.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Polvo - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 14:04

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 14:04
Allan,
The keyboard is as clunky as a smartphone as there is an app to use on your phone (connected to the InReach, something else that could go wrong) for typing the text messages. But you are correct, having to type a message whilst under duress is not the best situation to be in.

Appreciate the input, one on one conversation has me sticking with my original plan of buying a sat phone.
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Reply By: smwhiskey - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 14:54

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 14:54
What about using your current phone with a Sat sleeve?
https://www.optus.com.au/enterprise/connectivity/satellite/thuraya-satsleeve

Looked at this a couple of weeks ago and from memory it was $15 a month + Calls

Pretty reasonable I think.

Simon
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Follow Up By: Member - Polvo - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 16:15

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 16:15
The global coverage of the Thuraya sat sleeve is not flexible enough for me. For Australia it's probably more than adequate.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 17:07

Saturday, Apr 20, 2019 at 17:07
Iridium Nertwork has better coverage.

Macca.
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Reply By: Member - Mark C (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 20:43

Sunday, Apr 21, 2019 at 20:43
I have a Garmin InReach Explorer. i chose this over a sat phone for a few reasons. Cost and user plan that is able to be changed and put on hold at no cost when travelling. The earth app for the garman allows text messaging using the iridium sat network. The spot is more expensive and uses old network with far less coverage. The InReach also allows tracking that my family can see where I am as well as contact me via my phone through text messages. They can see when we start and where we stop. It also has the sos button (PLB) equivalent with ability to explain the emergency. Maybe a compromise but suits our purpose.
Mark And Helen QLD
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Follow Up By: Member - Polvo - Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 09:51

Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 09:51
Good info, thanks Mark.
We have the ability for others to track our location, we have a Garmin GPS and a PLB (amongst other things) My main reason for another device was to be able to keep in touch with family and friends when outside of phone range, I believe the Garmin InReach can do this quite well and at a reasonable cost. Obviously the difference comes down to talking or texting. The ability to do either in an emergency is definitely a plus.
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Reply By: Member - Mark C (QLD) - Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 17:47

Monday, Apr 22, 2019 at 17:47
It is the texting option my wife loves and me the PLB. The Garmin earth app makes the unit so usable. The adult children love the tracking and message ability from there phone and computers.
Mark And Helen QLD
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