Experience using two way sat communicators
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Who has or has used one (presumably the Garmin Inreach or Spot Messengers? What's your experience, how reliably do they get messages in and out, do the out messages always come with a GPS position tag, do you set them to send regular position pings, battery life, weather reports... anything else worth sharing?
Ian, One experience I've had with the message location: if you are sending the message via the inreach from your smartphone (rather than using the rocker-keys on the device to write it) the GPS location does not get attached unless the app has 'read this device's location' permission for the smartphone. Seems the phone itself writes the location info into the message - and needs permission to read it from the inreach. It asks for this permission when you first run the app and saying 'no' stops location from working. I am still using the old Delorme v1 InReach which takes replaceable AA batteries. I get a 2 week trip out of them using them for a message or 2 a day and a couple of hours of receive time in case there are any incoming messages. The reason I have not upgraded to the new model is the sealed battery unit meaning I cannot carry spares. This frightens me as I have occasionally left the unit on by accident overnight or in my pack. I have not used my inreach for tracking, but have used the new garmin (SE) ones at work for this in Fiordland. We got 3 days comfortably out of them for this, but day 4 was asking too much. Looking at them in thick canopy there were often 2-4 points 'pending transmission' with tracking interval at 15 minutes - meaning that it was taking up to an hour to get a signal out. But that's with the unit at a randon angle inside a pack. The advice is that antenna radiates directionally (upwards) and the unit should be placed upright for transmission. Which might explain the poorer performance than I experience sending messages from camp. Keen to hear from others about weather reports and battery life of newer units for just messaging. Matt
i use automatic tracking on multi day trips on the inreach, the default period for logging position, and i don't think thats actually sending out the position just the device updating how far its gone, i found its pretty frequent and increasing the time between updating can gain a fair bit of battery, the default for sending out position updates is 10 mins i think, i lowered that to 20 to increase battery time... cant remember off the top of my head how much extra time it gave me but it made quite a difference, like doubled it or more... but at least you can recharge with a battery pack you need to turn both types of devices on a good 20 mins before you start off ideally, especially if you've moved location since you last had it on. it has to download a couple of files to set its location correctly or it can have inaccuracy issues. or just not get a fix. i've used a spot and an inreach mini the inreach is far superior in maintaining a satellite connection than the SPOT. spot satellite coverage arond nz is defnitely inferior, the iridium satellites for inreach will pass overhead whereas the spot ones dont come as far south and remain lower to the horizon. the inreach can work under tree canopy to a reasonable extent. the spot is almost guaranteed to loose connectivity under any tree canopy.. the inreach can work in deep valleys and on occasion some gorges whereas the spot is more likely to loose connectivity...
Running my InReach plus all day and all night (sending/receiving a couple of messages) will kill the battery. I mostly only do overnighters so not to much of an issue, but I also tend to carry a power bank just in case I want/need to recharge it. I have heard different people referring to getting weather updates, but often it turns out to be someone messaging it to them, rather than the InReach weather. So it pays to be very clear as to where the forecast is actually coming from. I've never had the issue @madpom mentioned with not tagging the message with the location, but I may have "allowed" it when I installed the app (iPhone). Biggest lesson, the message may not zoom off as quick as a text message on a phone, sometimes they can take a while to send receive. I have sometimes had to "force it" by getting it to "Check now". I don't use the tracking feature. Billing, my plan includes 10 free messages per month. Receiving a message counts towards my 10. Pay attention to the character count, else it will split the message into 2 messages.
Good info, thanks. Can people include some info on the model they are talking about when they are commenting, there seems to be quite a few different versions with a range of features out there.
i had the standard spot 3 a recent version. not the texting one and have the inreach mini
I have the Garmin InReach Plus.
@madpom having same problem with my InReach Mini. (Garmin) use phone to send messages. but usually does not show my location to the recipient Garmin thought it was lack of updating my inReach online. but still occurring I never use Inreach as a PLB. connection with satelites can be delayed sometime. useInreach constantly, to keepin touch, confirming arrival, get weather provided from home, changing plans etc
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