Experience with the Delorme inReach SE? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Default Experience with the Delorme inReach SE?

Over the last couple years I've done a bunch of research into SPOTs or PLBs, but haven't actually pulled the trigger. PLBs are expensive and only good in a true emergency. They have no ability to send out messages to friends and family letting them know you're ok. The various SPOT models do allow for sending messages to notify people that you're ok, but I've read too many poor reviews and I'm concerned with the reliability of SPOT's services.

I'm planning on a 3-day trip in the Pemberton area alone next weekend and figured some kind of satellite emergency protection would be a good plan. My parents and my wife get concerned when I hike alone, but usually it's a just a day hike, so if I'm not back by midnight, then they feel they can send out SAR and get to me reasonably soon. 2-3 days alone in the wilderness makes them more concerned, so I'm back researching satellite-based communication options.

Recently I came across the Delorme inReach SE and think this might be a good option. (http://www.mec.ca/product/5033-920/d...se/?f=10+51341) This gives my wife and family the assurance that I'm safe and allows me to send out SOS texts in the case of an emergency. Does anyone have any experience with the inReach? It's more expensive than SPOT, but seems to be more reliable and accurate. Their subscription service is adjustable and can be put on "stand-by" ($5/month) until needed. When required, the basic service that allows texts is $30/month. SPOT is $100/year, so it's probably going to end up being cheaper on an annual basis, but as mentioned, I've heard negative things about the reliability of SPOT's services.

Does anyone have experience with these options? Is inReach worth the extra money? Any advice would be appreciated!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 06:03 PM
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There's actually a thread on this topic that was started in the spring(?) I've just tried searching for it but I can't find it (yet). FWIW I have the InreachSE and like it a lot.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Sean. I know there was a SPOT vs, PLB discussion, but to my knowledge the inReach never came up. I searched CT for inReach and it returned only 3 threads where there was an incidental reference to the unit, including this one from 2012 (https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...hTerms=inreach) where the Delorme call to SAR was received late. Maybe things have improved now for Delorme?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 06:12 PM
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Here you go: https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=56807

I had an issue with my unit on Nootka Island recently. It stopped working completely. Turns out it was a software issue and I just needed to resync it. Still a little worrying though (will this happen again?)
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again, Sean! Don't know why that thread wasn't showing up in my search.

The situation you had recently where it shut down is definitely a little concerning and I came across others in my research who had similar problems. Is the re-sync able to be done remotely or does it require a computer/power source, etc.?
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 07:49 PM
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It was just as matter of holding down two buttons to get it restarted (which would have been helpful to have known when I was on Nootka. After that just a resync through the computer to update the software. Seemed to work OK last week and I haven't even done the resync yet.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 11:54 PM
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Don't have experience with the SE, only the other one without a screen.

I think they are largely the same inside (receivers, antennae), might be some differences, but here is my feedback.

It is not clear when the messages are sent. They may appear to have been sent, but we have heard stories of messages "queued" in the unit. If you turn the unit off, then on again the next day, or even a week or a month later, the message could be sent at that time. The software is just not clear on this. The SE may tell you but the smaller unit does not.

There can be a log delay between when a message is sent and when it is received. We have tested message sending and receiving while on the radio with our groups. The group will say "we have sent the message" and we will wait 20 minutes before receiving it. The reverse is true as well -- the members in the field will wait for a long time for a message to get through. The smaller unit without a screen does not indicate satellite coverage. It might be as simple as this, but we tested in an area with a good view of the southern sky.

You cannot treat it like SMS, the messages can be delayed significantly.

The other thing we have noticed while using the GPS for tracking field teams is that when you compare the position with that recorded by a regular wilderness GPS unit, the regular GPS is more accurate. For the purposes of rescuing someone, it is just fine, but the company indicates through it's software that they consider it good enough for navigation. Probably OK most of the time but I would use a regular GPS if you have it. I do not have enough information on this.

If someone has a InReach SE and is willing to do the work I would love to compare the accuracy to other devices. I put together this web site to do exactly that: http://gpserror.azurewebsites.net/



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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2014, 02:41 AM
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I'll have a crack at the accuracy test for sure. Try and remind me though, I'm pretty busy. Doing a bushwhack through Carmanah/Walbran next week, might be worth trying there to see what, if anything, gets out of the forest. Happy to help anyway.

I think the SE is a bit different to the original DeLorme (which I have to say I never owned or used), at least from reading what you say. I get a both a beep and a visual signal when a message has been sent (and received). As far as I can tell it's been sent as soon as you hear the beep. I haven't yet turned the unit off before that has happened (why would I?) I'm only going on how quickly I get replies from my wife but I'm pretty sure it's as close to instantaneous as matters.

The SE also has a social media button to send your messages directly to FB and Twitter so last week I sent FB and Twitter messages from the top of McCleod, Tenquille and Goat. If you wish it shows on a map where you are when you sent the messages. I've just checked them on my pages and I would say they are as accurate as could be wished for in terms of location. For instance it had me within the circular contour line that signified the high point of each peak and that's certainly where I believe I was when I sent the messages (I was sitting by the sumit cairns at the time). I know this is hardly scientific but I'll keep testing the unit and see what comes up. I'm off to Slim Creek in the Chilcotins tomorrow so I'll very carefully measure where I am using both GPS and map and compass and see where the unit says I am when I send messages.

There is also a new unit out (called the Explorer(?)) which is claimed to have GPS functionality if I read the promo blurb correctly. It was only a matter of time.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2014, 02:47 AM
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Just checked the message In sent from Tenquille Hut. Would also say that was accurate in terms of location too.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2014, 11:51 AM
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I have an SE and it's the cat's ass. The biggest problem I had with the SPOT I previously used (other than the fact that it sometimes gave me sent confirmation but the message was never received) is that the person I send to can reply, confirming without a shadow of a doubt that the message has been received.
Being able to send and receive information is also very useful. If I break down, I can ask someone to call a tow truck in the nearest town, let my emergency contact know what's happening exactly etc. I can get forecasts on long trips as well which can be very useful (although some may argue it's unsportsmanlike).
The new firmware allows you to use it like an altimeter as well. Battery life is excellent too, and it uses a micro USB port to charge, no proprietary BS.
I really can't recommend it enough.
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