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Communications: Staying Connected On-the-Go

Communications: Staying Connected On-the-Go

Posted by West Valley Staff on 28th Jul 2023

Introduction:

Welcome, fellow adventurers, to a world where staying connected while on the move has become a necessity. In today's fast-paced world, mobile communication is a lifeline that keeps us informed, connected, and safe during our travels. Whether we're exploring remote wilderness or embarking on exciting overland expeditions, being able to communicate with the outside world is crucial. In this blog, we will explore various technologies that empower us to stay in touch and navigate even the most challenging terrains.

Cell Phones:

Let's begin with the device that has revolutionized the way we communicate – the cell phone. It has become an indispensable tool for adventurers and urban dwellers alike. With wide availability and ease of use, cell phones offer multiple communication options such as voice calls, text messages, and internet access. This versatility makes them convenient for everyday communication and critical during emergencies. However, keep in mind that cell phones heavily rely on cellular network coverage, and it's essential to carry a backup power source, as battery life can be limited during long trips.

WeBoost:

When you find yourself in remote or low-signal areas, WeBoost comes to the rescue. This signal booster enhances cellular reception, improving call quality and data speeds. It effectively increases the range of cellular coverage, ensuring you stay connected even in the most isolated spots. While it requires initial setup and installation, WeBoost's reliance on an existing cellular signal to amplify can be a drawback, and it might come with a higher cost. Our staff favorite for overland adventures is the Drive Reach Overland model.

GMRS Radios:

Ideal for communication within a close-knit group or team, GMRS radios offer a cost-effective solution that doesn't depend on cellular network coverage. These radios are growing in popularity due to the increasing number of networks and repeaters. However, keep in mind that GMRS radios have limited range compared to other technologies, and acquiring a license (family license for $35 every 10 years) is necessary. For on-the-go communication, we recommend the Midland GXT Handheld and Midland MXT575 (car).

HAM Radios:

For those seeking long-distance communication capabilities, HAM radios are an excellent choice. They provide access to a wide range of frequencies and modes, making them versatile for various situations. Additionally, HAM radios can be used for emergency communication. However, using HAM radios requires obtaining a license, which involves studying and taking a test. Furthermore, initial setup and training are necessary, and the equipment can be relatively expensive.

Garmin InReach / SPOT:

When traveling to remote areas without cellular coverage, Garmin InReach and SPOT come in handy. These devices offer two-way satellite communication, allowing you to send and receive text messages and SOS signals. They also provide location tracking and navigation features, ensuring your safety during off-grid adventures. Keep in mind that satellite communication requires a subscription or service plan, which can start around $15/month. For reliable communication, our staff recommends the Garmin InReach 66i.

Satellite Phones:

For truly off-the-grid communication, satellite phones are unbeatable. They offer voice calls and text messaging in the most remote regions, thanks to their reliance on satellite networks. In emergency situations, satellite phones are a lifeline, but they do come with some downsides. They tend to be expensive, bulkier, and heavier than regular cell phones, and their battery life may be limited.

Starlink:

The future of global connectivity lies with Starlink, a satellite internet service aiming to bridge the digital divide. Offering high-speed internet access even in remote areas, Starlink is making waves in the communication industry. However, keep in mind that it is still in its early stages of deployment and might not be available everywhere. The setup and subscription fees might also be a consideration.

Conclusion:

As our adventures take us to new and exciting places, staying connected through overland communication is essential for our safety and peace of mind. From cell phones and signal boosters to GMRS and HAM radios, and even cutting-edge technologies like Starlink, the choices are diverse. It's crucial to consider your specific communication needs and budget when choosing the right technology for your overland journeys. So, embark on your next adventure fully prepared, knowing you can always stay connected with the world around you. Happy exploring!

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