By Montana Grant

Posted: August 8, 2019

Outdoorsmen become reliant upon cellphone communication. If we break down, head out on an adventure, need 911 or… The problem is that not all cell phones, radios, and communication are created equal. There may be a dark zone, weather interference, or technological limitations.

We recently headed to Alaska for a self-guided week of fishing. Once on the water, we traveled to several isolated areas between mountain ranges and obstacles. The best fishing seemed to be the furthest from the lodge as we cruised 45 minutes and longer to the glory hole. The lodge equipped us with 2-way radios and marine radios.

The first day in camp, we fished with a friend to get our feet wet. On the return, their motor died! No radios or cellphones worked. We were in a strong outgoing tide about 10 miles from the lodge. Nothing else to do but hook up a tow line. Fortunately, we were on site and the boat we had was equipped with a great Yamaha 90 horse outboard motor. An hour and a half later, we all were safely back at the lodge.

A few days later, another lodge boat hit a rock and ruined their lower motor. No cell, radio, or marine communication. These fishermen had been to the camp before and knew the risks. They brought a 2-way satellite phone along just in case. What could have been a long, wet night in the broken boat, was prevented by alerting the lodge. They quickly sent a team to rescue and tow the stranded anglers.

In both situations, lodge provided technology failed. Cell phone service was spotty at best. There was almost no point in having a marine radio with no antennae. Our emergency training was also minimal. More time was spent signing the forms for damages and liability than how to use any technology or what to do in an emergency. This technology can also be rented or leased for larger operations.

A 2-way sat phone or Spot X satellite messaging service would be a better and more reliable communication solution. Garmin is another company that markets this technology. These units are rechargeable and last 10 days on a charge. For about $250, and personal monthly plans, you can have truly anywhere, anytime communication. These compact units fit int your pocket and comes equipped with a compass and GPS feature. This allows you navigate even in whiteout or low visibility conditions. You can send messages to other similar units. An SOS emergency beacon is also included which can almost instantly broadcast your location.

The ability communicate in remote situations can not be overstated.

Montana Grant

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