Thursday, 2 October 2014

Quick review - inReach SE

The inReach SE is a two way communicator and tracker.  It uses the Iridium satellite network (alongside GPS) to send text messages to either email addresses or a mobile number.  It can be used on its own, but I mainly used mine synced via Bluetooth to my iPhone.

The inReach SE in it's normal position...
The inReach can also be used as a tracker and can be set up to send a tracking ‘ping’ every ten minutes.  This then appears on the inReach mapshare and shows friends and family just where I am (and how slow I was going!). 

It worked very well and was pretty easy to use.  I used a pre-set message at the end of everyday just to say where I was camping for the night.  Feedback from my sister suggests that this was very reassuring, especially as I was on my own.  We also sent a few messages just to say how I was getting on. 

The tracking in action
Another cool feature is that by using a third party site it’s possible to get up to date weather forecasts along the trail. The forecast uses the GPS co-ordinates to calculate the nearest forecast, unfortunately this is a USA only feature.   

Weather forecasts
The inReach also has an SOS feature; this sends an alert text message with co-ordinates to a control centre in the USA.  They then ‘talk’ via text to find out what the problem is, and then will call on the local authorities to react.  This is a great backup for an accident on the trail.  Of course I never plan to use this feature, but knowing it’s there is great (again for worried family!).  This should only be used as a last resort for real life and death emergencies. 

Power is via USB, so a battery pack coupled with a solar panel did the job.  Sun is one of the joys of California!  At no point did I get worried about the power.  Typically it was down to around 70-80% at the end of the day. 
Note – I paid for this item with my own cash.   

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