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How can my family follow me?

Old 11-10-22, 10:37 AM
  #26  
gauvins
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
[...]I might be inclined to buy one [...].
The market is evolving. Garmin has launched the "Messenger" probably to compete against the Zoleo. It supports wifi/cellular/satellite, combining messages in unified threads. I still prefer the InReach because it can be used as a navigation device in a pinch and I came to appreciate the weather forecast function, but if one only cares about messaging and SOS, the messenger (or Zoleo) are perhaps better alternatives.

There's also an InReach V2 with double the battery life. Limiting usage to a daily check-in/updated forecast, I'b bet on close to a 2-month autonomy.
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Old 11-10-22, 10:41 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
The market is evolving. Garmin has launched the "Messenger" probably to compete against the Zoleo. It supports wifi/cellular/satellite, combining messages in unified threads. I still prefer the InReach because it can be used as a navigation device in a pinch and I came to appreciate the weather forecast function, but if one only cares about messaging and SOS, the messenger (or Zoleo) are perhaps better alternatives.

There's also an InReach V2 with double the battery life. Limiting usage to a daily check-in/updated forecast, I'b bet on close to a 2-month autonomy.
Good info. Ill keep it in mind if I purchase. Then again modela may change by then.

If it was ust the intial purchase price I'd have sprung for one by now. I tend to balk at things with ongoing charges though.
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Old 11-10-22, 10:55 AM
  #28  
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Garmin bought DeLorme (in 2016) and at this point, the InReach series has been integrated into the Garmin product line. To that effect, many of their "i" products use the Iridium satellite network (originally financed by Motorola, now operated by Iridium Communications). With Iridium, you get two-way satellite communications, text messages or voice calls. It requires an expensive monthly plan, but the satellites are pretty reliable from almost anywhere in the world unless you're caving or something.

I recently bought a Garmin/DeLorme handheld for a 7-to-9 day backpacking trip deep into a very remote wilderness. I got one with swappable batteries because I would not be able to charge them. It would not turn on the morning I was leaving. I tried three different batteries. Nothing. It was totally bricked. I went without it and my trip was very successful. When I got back, I attempted to get it to turn on but failed, so I returned it and got all my money back for everything.

I'd been contemplating a Spot, InReach, or Iridium phone for at least a decade. In lieu of those things, I've been using a 2-meter radio with APRS and the many mountain-top repeaters maintained by amateur radio operators all over the US and Canada (and many other parts of the world). It works very well provided you have something close to line-of-site with a repeater within 150 miles or so. It won't work if you're down in the bottom of a canyon or 100 miles from the nearest repeater with many mountains in-between (where I was backpacking recently). The area covered by a repeater on a mountain can be immense. A repeater in the Sierra Nevada mountains can cover 1/10th of California, and a state like California has many hundreds of operational repeaters. If you're in a hole, you won't be able to reach it and might have to climb out before your signal will open the repeater.

Some repeaters have features like Autopatch that allow you to dial a phone number and make telephone calls. Some are networked with other repeaters or connected to the Internet. Theoretically, you can make phone calls and send data, but practically speaking, these features are often not available to people traveling who are not part of the local amateur radio club. The use of the radio frequencies is available to all amateurs, but the use of the repeater (which is another person's radio) is determined by the owner (usually a club). More complex modes and features that tie up the radio are often limited, but voice modes are almost always open and welcomed. Unless the person you want to talk to is within reach of the repeater or another repeater that is networked, then you won't be able to.

What you can do is call for help. While amateur radio operators are not 911 dispatchers, many of them are trained in emergency communications. Emcom is one of the major reasons people get into amateur radio and it is very often the focus of clubs that participate in things like RACES and ARES. I don't recommend it in lieu of 911 if that is available, but it can be a good alternative to an SOS button on a Spot or InReach, especially if your emergency is more minor or nuanced or you just need someone to talk you through something that doesn't charge $10,000 for the first minute. I don't really know what the cost of pushing an SOS button is, but Garmin sells SAR insurance to cover up to $100K.

I mentioned APRS. This is used to automatically send a data packet with your GPS coordinates on a frequency that a network of repeaters receives and then sends through an internet gateway. Anyone can see your location and tracking details overlaid on Keyhole (google earth/maps) at the website aprs.fi

For long-distance communications, there's the HF radio bands that let you bounce signals off the ionosphere. These are the bands that people use to communicate around-the-world. The equipment, particularly the antenna can be a bit more involved and the propagation of the signal can be tricky, but it worked for the Titanic when it was needed. I mentioned QRP (low power) earlier and these rigs can be quite practical for backpacking, bikepacking or cycle-touring. The Titanic had 5000 watts, but you really can do it with 5 watts. You're more likely to reach someone who is a great distance from you, so its less practical for contacting local search and rescue, but entirely do-able if you just want to have a casual conversation with someone back home or a random stranger.

If you want to know more, check out eham.net (amateur radio forum).

Last edited by greatbasin; 11-10-22 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 11-10-22, 11:25 AM
  #29  
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a note on the Strava beacon -- you have to be using strava on the ipad the whole time and have cell service for it to work.

based on your technology capabilities, I'd go with just regular ol' email.

But also based on your route and time solo, I'd buy a freaking phone. Even if it's a pre-paid "burner"
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Old 11-10-22, 05:44 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
  1. I don't have a cell phone (I will probably be the last person on this planet to have one). Whatapp look promising but I need a cell phone for it...so not a good option
FWIW, a cel phone without a plan can be used as a wifi only device. It actually isn't a bad way to go. Put it in airplane mode so it isn't looking for cell service. You can use the gps, bluetooth, and so on, but may need to turn them on individually. You likely have friend or family member who has one sitting around unused.
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Old 11-11-22, 05:08 PM
  #31  
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I use my iPad mini exactly for that purpose (wifi, bluetooth). I use it also for planning my route (Ride with GPS), transfert route to my Garmin Edge 830, transfert my photos from my GoPro, and of course listening to music and gaming.
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Old 11-12-22, 03:15 AM
  #32  
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If you don't want to much technology, then a Garmin InReach mini. IF you get a phone, I would suggest a Google FI plan as you can get international talk/text/data pretty cheap and it is month to month contracts. The phone would be good for researching lodging and weather and for making calls, emails, pictures, etc.
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Old 11-20-22, 06:42 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by denis_987 View Post
Thank you all for your suggestions: it is appreciated. Not sure about smoke signals !!!

I forgot to mention a couple of things:
  1. I don't have a cell phone (I will probably be the last person on this planet to have one). Whatapp look promising but I need a cell phone for it...so not a good option
  2. I have an iPad mini, so I can connect on free wifi (hoitel, restaurant, etc)
  3. Will do camping when ever possible
  4. I have a dyno hub and a solar panel to recharge my iPad, lights, powerbank, etc... Plus I can recharge at restaurant, hotel, etc
  5. My tour will start in the USA (Texas), Mexico, Guatemala, ... up to Panama
  6. Most of my family have FaceBook
Trackmytour and Strava look promising also email makes sense at some occasion.

Thanks!
Really suggest getting at least a simple cell phone for your primary communication. It may seem like wifi is on every corner, but I'm sure there are places still lacking it. When a emergency situation happens, its a lot better for your loved ones to be able to hear your voice instead. Plus, coordinating with them to get any help you need.

I was looking at phones today, and the price of the most simple phone was only half the monthly cost of a smart phone. Smart phone would be even better because you can use it for your gps/mapping/camera/posting your story. You could even save space/weight by replacing the Ipad for the trip.
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Old 01-07-23, 07:35 AM
  #34  
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While touring myself I've seen so many cyclists giving away their photos / touring experience to surveillance / big tech / advertising companies like Instagram, Facebook or Google, it really felt a shame. Luckily, there are good alternatives these days (in addition to CGOAB, which has already been recommended here).

Those of you active on Twitter may have heard of Mastodon and the Fediverse, a decentralised, open and free alternative to big tech platforms. The Fediverse also includes a pretty great photo sharing app called
Pixelfed that very much looks like Instagram but without the corporate greed and user surveillance involved.

I have set up a Pixelfed server for the bikepacking community at biketravel [dot] photos so we can share our travel pics there freely. The great thing is that since Mastodon and Pixelfed are 100% compatible with each other, the millions of folks on one network can easily follow you on the other. In fact, because the OP asked: people can even follow you without an account at all.

If that sounds interesting to you, feel free to ping me, I'm happy to create an account for you.

I'm posting my own touring pics here: biketravel [dot] photos/ilumium (and people from across the Fediverse can follow me as ilumium@biketravel.photos.

All the best,
Jan
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Old 01-09-23, 05:50 PM
  #35  
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My suggestion would be to have a cellphone. You can phone text,use instagram ,use facebook messenger,find routes,find bikeshops but more importantly you can call 911 in emergencies.
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Old 01-09-23, 06:02 PM
  #36  
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Send postcards from the road. Take lots of photos and show them when you get back, just like every family suffered through. Many of us remember a time before social media. We all survived, and in my opinion, were better off.
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Old 01-09-23, 10:55 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
a note on the Strava beacon -- you have to be using strava on the ipad the whole time and have cell service for it to work.

based on your technology capabilities, I'd go with just regular ol' email.

But also based on your route and time solo, I'd buy a freaking phone. Even if it's a pre-paid "burner"
Yeah, just break down and get a smart phone. Look at the discount companies affiliated with the major companies - Metro PCS, Boost, Visible - and see if they have international plan options. I know Metro PCS offers an international calling plan that can be done on a month-to-month basis, but not sure if it would go south beyond Mexico. I know it works in Mexico City as a friend called me from there on his Metro PCS phone.

(Geez, I thought I was the last person on the planet to get a mobile phone. Guess I wasn't!)
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Old 01-11-23, 03:30 PM
  #38  
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I'd use a private Instagram or Facebook account. You can post regularly using a phone app and only people you've given permission will be able to see your posts.
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