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BillConner  
#1 Posted : Friday, April 16, 2021 2:11:06 PM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)

This got started in this thread https://new.paddleplanner.com/forum/default.aspx?g=posts&t=7801  but I thought it deserved its own place in gear.  I've just been comparing devices - satellite communicators - now mostly 2-way text except for the spot gen 4.  I have not included PLBs (or EPRIBs if its registered to a vessle at sea as opposed to an individual anywhere) I have not included mesh network devices - devices that communivcate with each other and through each other, some to a base station perhaps.

A lot more  to consider than just the prices - which are not simple given activation fees and the "hold my place" fee if youuse a monthly plan.  All have an SOS function, most have weather, some deal with email as well as sms text messages, a few have maps, most have tracking.  They all have up to 4 price levels for monthly and annual, but hard to compare.  If you want the spreadsheet, contact me.  This is just an image of an in process snapshot.  And by all means share corrections, etc., and I'll try to update the spread sheet.

Personally I use a 10+ year old Spot Gen 2 but I am rather taken withthe Bivystick Blue for functions but also the simpe month by month pricing and its very small and light weight form factor.



mfg model capabilities   system cost   activation annual annual annual annual   activation month fee month month month  
Spot gen 4 2 + SOS   globalstar  $ 149.95    $   19.95  $ 143.40          $   19.95  $    24.95  $ 14.95      
Spot X 2-way text phone globalstar  $ 249.95    $   19.95  $ 143.40  $ 239.40  $ 359.40      $   19.95  $    24.95  $ 14.95  $ 29.95  $ 39.95  
                                     
Garmin inReach mini 2-way text phone iridium  $ 349.99    $   29.95  $ 143.40  $ 299.40  $ 599.40      $           -    $    34.95  $ 14.95  $ 34.95  $ 64.95  
  inReach Explorer 2-way text   iridium  $ 449.99    $   29.95  $ 143.40  $ 299.40  $ 599.40      $           -    $    34.95  $ 14.95  $ 34.95  $ 64.95  
  inReach SE 2-way text   iridium  $ 399.99    $   29.95  $ 143.40  $ 299.40  $ 599.40      $           -    $    34.95  $ 14.95  $ 34.95  $ 64.95  
                                     
Bivystick blue 2-way text phone iridium  $ 349.99    $           -    $          -    $          -    $          -        $           -    $           -    $ 17.99  $ 39.99  $ 49.99  
  orange 2-way text phone iridium  $ 349.99    $           -    $          -    $          -    $          -        $           -    $           -    $ 17.99  $ 39.99  $ 49.99  
  blue blemish 2-way text phone iridium  $ 299.99    $           -    $          -    $          -    $          -        $           -    $           -    $ 17.99  $ 39.99  $ 49.99  
  orange blemish 2-way text phone iridium  $ 199.99    $           -    $          -    $          -    $          -        $           -    $           -    $ 17.99  $ 39.99  $ 49.99  
                                     
Somewhere Global Hotspot     iridium  $ 279.99    $   25.00 99.96  $ 165.00        $   25.00    $ 15.00      
               $   35.00      $ 330.00  $ 550.00    $   35.00      $ 30.00  $ 50.00  
                                     
Zoleo   2-way text phone iridium  $ 199.00                $   20.00    $ 20.00  $ 35.00  $ 50.00  $4/month 

 

 

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BillConner  
#2 Posted : Friday, April 16, 2021 2:12:44 PM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)

got to fix that formatting.....once I turn 15 again :)

 

PS It looks fine in the editor.

Ben Strege  
#3 Posted : Saturday, April 17, 2021 9:16:24 AM(UTC)


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Was thanked: 118 time(s) in 106 post(s)

I still use a SPOT Gen 1. Lately the prices have been jacked up on it, and I have had problems on the reliability and not knowing if my messages went through. So I am buying a new communicator this year.

I did some more research on the BivyStick. I almost pulled the trigger and then looked more into the pricing. I was hoping the $50 for the unlimited was an annual price, but it is monthly. I compared it to the pricing on the inReach Mini. The pricing structure for the inReach models is a lot more complicated, but I found out it would be less expensive for what I use it for.

BillConner  
#4 Posted : Saturday, April 17, 2021 1:25:39 PM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)
There is a fellow on another board with a Gen 1 who states each year, when they try to invoice him same as Gen 2 and later, gets it reduced since Gen 1 does not offer tracking. IIRC $50/yr.

The advantage of Bivystck is if you only need it a month or two a year, no activation, place holder or inactive fee. And I thought they were both $50/month for unlimited.

Not simple to compare. Any suggestions for spreadsheet appreciated.

I sure I'm headed for a sat phone anyways.

eagle98mn  
#5 Posted : Sunday, April 18, 2021 8:20:26 PM(UTC)


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Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 12 post(s)

Hey Bill. I'm likely in the market myself. I'm bringing my family up this year. I never minded rolling the dice when I was out there with friends and my wife understood that there would be no communication. However, now that I will have young kids with, and my wife readily admits that wayfinding and map-reading our not her strength, I need to know that she will have a way to call for help if something should happen to me. All that to say, I'd love to see your spreadsheet as an assist in reasearching the best solution for my family. I'll email you privately. Thanks!

BillConner  
#6 Posted : Monday, April 19, 2021 5:14:09 AM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)

Emailed.  You bring up another factor - intuitivness or ease of use - though the SOS seems pretty easy on all of them. 

thanks 1 user thanked BillConner for this useful post.
eagle98mn on 4/20/2021(UTC)
eagle98mn  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, April 20, 2021 8:04:33 PM(UTC)


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Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 12 post(s)

Originally Posted by: BillConner Go to Quoted Post

Emailed.  You bring up another factor - intuitivness or ease of use - though the SOS seems pretty easy on all of them. 

Thanks! I'm just starting my research, so this was timely. I'm not too concerned about ease of use. My wife should be able to handle any texting capabilities. If we were both incapacitated, I'll make sure my kids know how to hit the SOS. They know how to work the Apple TV remote, they can manage the SOS if needed!

BillConner  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, April 21, 2021 5:57:27 AM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)
I only have personal experience with a Spot 2. Many users report failed sends. Perhaps it is a design fault, but there is an indicator led that has an flying envelope icon on the device. Its "message sending" in manual. Too often I read reports of failures even though they report "message sent" led was on. Subtle distinction but I figured out and confirmed that you have to wait till "message sending" led turns off. Counterintuitive? Perhaps, but I'd put failure to send because it was turned off prematurely in human error category. I made that error once and freaked out the wife of a first time trip partner. Now I just leave on till it auto-offs or at least led turns off.

So functionality can come down to subtle issues. Not sure how you know except reading reports of other users.

Here is a pretty good review of a Zoleo:

https://www.canoetrippin...-way-satellite-messenger
thanks 1 user thanked BillConner for this useful post.
eagle98mn on 4/21/2021(UTC)
eagle98mn  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, April 21, 2021 1:30:31 PM(UTC)


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Good to know! I rented a SPOT around 5 years ago when I took a diabetic uncle in with my family. I remember it working pretty easily, but I don't remember which generation I used. It was a one-way device though. Anyway, my first trip of the year isn't until August so I have time. Thanks again for sharing this!
wxce1260  
#10 Posted : Saturday, May 1, 2021 8:46:59 AM(UTC)


I always borrowed an inreach and I have rented a spot.. But I recently purchased a Zoleo.  I am sold after using it on a couple hikes.  It does nearly everything of Spot and Inreach but is much less $$.  Downside is you need to pair via blutooth it with a smartphone for the 2 way communication----not for cell signal or anything like that--it just uses your cell keyboard--so you can turn off all mobile, put in airplane mode etc...it does not use the cellphone.  

Positives is it is much cheaper and will utilize whatever type of signal is available--cell, wifi or satellite.  Pretty pleased.

BillConner  
#11 Posted : Saturday, May 1, 2021 8:58:54 AM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)
Thanks for report. It seems very similar to Bivystick in functionality, but completely different pricing. Hard to compare pricing.
BillConner  
#12 Posted : Saturday, May 15, 2021 6:35:39 PM(UTC)


Was thanked: 43 time(s) in 36 post(s)
Seems like a good review of Somewhere Global Hotspot. The no-plan feature surprised me.

https://theprepared.com/...somewear-global-hotspot/
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