Staying in Touch With Loved Ones - Communications on the Road

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 14:32


Deciding on how you wish to record your travels, communicate with friends and family while on the road, and get help in case of an emergency are important issues that face all travellers. The ExplorOz Shop stocks a wide range of products to assist your set-up of tracking, communication and emergency devices, and we have put together an easy guide to help you determine which products suits your needs and budget:

Navigation on Device or Paired Device, 2-Way Communication (Type and Text), Live Tracking & Emergency SOS
inReach Explorer
If you want a navigator, tracker, communication device, and access emergency assistance all in the one device, the inReach Explorer does it all. Featuring GPS Navigation for all of Australia, 2-way text/email communication, online tracking, and an SOS button for emergency assistance. Cost is $599 ($569.05 for members) for the device, and subscription plans are from $19.95 per month for a basic subscription to $89.95 per month for an unlimited subscription. All subscription plans are subject to a once-off $29.95 activation fee.

Navigation on Paired Device Only, 2-Way Communication (Type and Text), Live Tracking & Emergency SOS
inReach SE
If the inReach features/subscription offers suit your needs, but you don't want an inbuilt GPS Navigator, the inReach SE has all of the same features listed above, apart from two differences, no GPS Navigation on the device itself, and the device cost is only $529 ($502.55 for members). One thing to note is that both inReach devices can be paired with a smartphone or tablet utilising the free Earthmate App for Navigation for all of Australia.

In Reach Accessories:

1-Way Communication (Pre-Programmed Messages), Live Tracking & Emergency SOS
The SPOT 3 does not require pairing with a device (as with the SPOT Connect), however it does require that you pre-program custom messages to be sent to friends and family via text message or email (cannot type and text). It does feature the same online tracking and SOS functions, and therefore is a great basic and afforrdable communication/emergency set-up, with a device cost of only $239 ($227.05) for members and subscription plans starting at US$164.99 per year including tracking.

Live Tracking, Theft Alert
SPOT Trace - Theft Alert Tracking Device
The SPOT Trace is a stand-alone tracking device which can be battery powered or line powered and mounted in a vehicle/asset to provide live tracking. Instantly receive a text or email when your vehicle or asset moves, and track movement online. The device cost is $189 ($179.55 for members), and subscription plans start at US$119.95 per year.

SPOT Accessories:

Internet Tracking
EOTrackMe (for SPOT, Windows, Android and iOS)
EOTrackMe is an online tracking service for ExplorOz Members which uses a device (with a GPS receiver) already owned by a user to submit tracking via an Internet connection. An important note is that when not in internet range, you will continue to be tracked, and tracking will be submitted (with the correct dates) when you next are in range/access a WiFi connection. There are several ways to submit tracking to this service:

1. Link a SPOT Devices Tracking to EOTrackMe (no additional purchase needed)
2. Download EOTrackMe Windows for use on a windows device with a connected GPS receiver (app=$5.00)
3. Download EOTrackMe Android for use on an Android device with inbuilt GPS receiver (app=$5.00)
4. Download the UTrackMe app for use on an iOS device with inbuilt GPS receiver (app=$0)

Subscription cost for Membership Personal is $49.95 for the first year, and $29.95 for subsequent years.

Emergency SOS Only - Personal Use (at land and sea)
rescueME PLB1 - GPS Enabled, 406MHz Satellite Transmitter
A PLB is an inexpensive, and extremely reliable option for travellers who only require the need to send an Emergency SOS. SOS signals are received via Satellite directly by AMSA, who coordinate search and rescue efforts throughout Australia. While the initial device cost of $399 is higher than some of the above options , there is no subscription cost, and battery life is 7 years. These are designed for on-person use, so are great for hikers, or boat passengers (in case of Man Overboard situations). In use (when an SOS signal is being sent) the battery has a 24h+ operational life. The rescueME PLB is also the world's smallest PLB, ideal for carrying in a pocket or attaching to a car's sun visor.

Emergency SOS Only - Vesell Use (at sea, could also be used on land if required)
rescueME EPIRB1 - GPS Enabled, 406MHz Satellite Transmitter
An EPIRB works in the same way as a PLB, but is larger and has a longer battery life (10 years) and is designed to be installed on a Marine Vessel. In Australia, all recreational vessels heading out more than two nautical miles from the coast are required to carry an approved EPIRB. However, it is recommended that all vessels venturing into coastal waters carry one. The device is currently on sale for $369 (regular price is $399), there is no subscription cost, and battery life is 10 years. Operational Life is double that of a PLB, at 48h.
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