Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) and satellite messengers have really been expanding lately. Lots of options out there. I'll mention a few but I am not suggesting these are the best.
The cheapest option is a PLB with no 2-way communication option. If you are in an emergency you activate the device and it sends your distress call along with position to emergency management system. You cannot send anything else with these devices and the emergency response cannot send you any information. ACR ResQLink is a popular option.
Garmin inReach is a popular messenger. It has the functionality of a PLB but adds the option of messaging. You can communicate with friends and family in non-emergency situations, too, including sending your coordinates. Such that if you became incapacitated they could communicate your last known location to potential rescuers. That additional capacity comes with, not just upfront costs, but access costs, too. The plans have been coming down in price but are not cheap for the occasional trip (most require an annual fee): https://www.garmin.com/en-US/p/837461
Satellite phones are the next step up both in terms of communication ability and cost. The latest in this front is the iPhone14 has built in capability to place satellite calls. I consider it more of a luxury item than a safety item particularly in terms of battery life. The inReach will last two weeks on a single charge. If you are bringing your iPhone you better have an awful lot of battery chargers (lighter than solar panel in most situations).
Well, as long as you don't traipse too hard --or maybe slow it down to an amble-- keep moving until something stops you! It is safer to take someone with you, but if you can't or won't drag someone along, bringing a gadget along so you can let loved-ones know you're okay, or not, is fairly easy. The hard part is deciding what to bring.
Your question is very pertinent, as there are several options nowadays and there's a lot of recent innovation in this area, built around hiking and backpacking. 1. Personal Locator Beacons have been around for years and are very durable SOS-only gadgets. Press a button and emergency personnel come get you. 2. A few years ago, several companies started making what they call Satellite Messengers. With those, you can do an SOS, plus have the gadget send your location and text messages. All this is done via satellite so you don't have to rely on cell service. This is the most popular option currently, since it can be a backup to your phone for communicating with loved-ones and emergency personnel. Also useful for road trips and other situations where you may be out of cell range. 3. Apple's latest iPhone has some of the Satellite Messenger functions, so if you're already comfortable with iPhones, that can be a option if you don't want to deal with two gadgets. 4. A radio or walkie-talkie can work too, but only if someone else is also using one too and is listening. Everyone uses cell phones, so this tech has largely fallen out of favor.
I need to decide on this kind of thing myself, even though I usually go with the same guy for every trip. Eventually, he's going to get tired of me.
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
My iPhone 14 Pro Max has satellite connectivity that is free for two years. It works when cellular service doesn’t. I’m talking it for intensive photography purposes anyway and do use the gps feature with detailed maps and plant guide books so the communication features don’t add any weight.
"The latest in this front is the iPhone14 has built in capability to place satellite calls."
I don't think this is correct (but I might be incorrect myself!). I think the iPhone 14 will let you TEXT emergency services if you have no cell service, not place calls. It will, I believe, also let you send your current coordinates via satellite to family/friends.
But I don't believe you can text family/friends out of cell service, only emergency services.
I think Apple will expand the usefulness in future updates, but for now it doesn't really replace something like the Zoleo or the inReach.
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
At present the iPhone 14 pro satellite connectivity works with texting. You dial 911 and if there is no cellular it prompts you to use emergency services where you answer a few questions. It sends your information and location and they send the information to responders. So it’s limited but sounds very useful if you’re in a jam and not in the bottom of a deep, narrow canyon with limited satellite views. Perhaps this will expand into something more. Tech is moving fast. We try to use common sense and due care to keep us out of trouble but when it comes down to it one really doesn’t know what is going to happen in the next five minutes so it sure doesn’t hurt to have a little something extra up your sleeve.
Thanks for the clarification JustWalking and Arizona. So it is a free service only available when you dial 911 and don't have a cell phone signal? That makes it pretty useful because you don't need to plan ahead. I'm too cheap to buy iPhones I hope some of the cheaper Android devices pick up on this technology soon.
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
It’s free for now if you bought one of the iPhone 14 pro models. They say free for two years and don’t say after that. I replace my iPhone every two years so I’m wondering if the clock starts over after that. Lol I’m not sure if there’s anything else one can use the satellite connectivity for that doesn’t have to do with 911 emergencies. Doesn’t sound like it.
The new satellite communicators are just that; you can communicate via satellite signal. Basically you can send and receive text messages, but I'm told it's slower. Oh, and some services offer weather and forest fire reports.
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