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Old 11-04-2014, 11:24   #1
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Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Greetings,

I am wondering if anyone is familiar with this device or is anyone here using this? I am considering different modes of communication and am also aware of the long discussions regarding SSB vs Satellite phone - I am not really wanting to trigger that discussion as it is well fleshed out elsewhere . Any thoughts?
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Old 13-04-2014, 12:01   #2
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

For what it is worth, we took a Delorme inReach into the Australian Outback (2013) for emergency communication in the event of mechanical breakdown as well as for simply letting relatives know where we were when we stopped for the night. For emergency use on a boat it would be a little scary, as it seems sensitive to both time of day (satellite configurations?) as well as unit orientation. It needs a very clear view of the sky and we could not get a connection with multiple attempts at hourly intervals in the afternoon. The unit would connect almost immediately the following the morning. Frustrating!

Better than nothing? Yes. Replace an Epirb? Good luck! Cheap way to send and receive texts? Maybe, as long as you are patient and not in a particular hurry.

BTW, we circumnavigated 2003 to 2009 and used SSB as well as Iridium. Best and most reliable option for emergencies and regular communication was a used sat phone bought on eBay.
Ed
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Old 13-04-2014, 18:13   #3
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Thanks for posting the info. It seems your experience was something many others experienced as evidenced by reviews on other sites. It seems as the bugs have not been worked out of this system yet. I will most certainly maintain an EPIRB on any vessel I sail offshore. I am a Great Lakes USA sailor so have much experience in sailing crowded coastal waterways but little of water sailing">blue water sailing. Currently restoring an old wooden sailboat and will have equip her from scratch. Always looking for safe and reliable solutions to all the various equipment needs and ran across this one. I have to admit the SSB seems a bit more challenging than what I am used to. I learn best with hands on work watching someone and trying out while getting advice. I can assure you there are few folks on the Great Lakes using an SSB radio. I will most likely have the sat phone but the SSB, as you know, offers different additional modes of communicating as well as the weather info that is so needed. Thank you very much for adding your experience.
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Old 13-04-2014, 18:24   #4
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Well, Rimas Meleshyus just sailed into SF from Hawaii a week ago using one. Took him almost 2 months!

You can check his path and text messages on the map here:

https://share.delorme.com/RimasMeleshyus
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Old 13-04-2014, 18:52   #5
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

=== Took him almost 2 months! ===

So, he took the short cut. ;/)

This is what is so frustrating about this item. I read these wonderful stories of folks getting weather info, linking the device to laptops and tablets, texting friends which include a position indicator. Then, you hear about these horror stories (more than one) about folks getting dead units, not able to activate properly, poor customer service and devices quitting mid trip. The contrast is mystifying.
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Old 13-04-2014, 19:06   #6
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

I purchased an 'InReach' last November and used it for the Baja Bash for about 2 and 1/2 weeks up to San Francisco. It performed flawlessly in the cockpit and in the cabin anytime of day. Customer service has been very good.
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Old 13-04-2014, 19:21   #7
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Coastal passages don't carry the same concerns that long open water passages do. If you forgo the SSB or sat phone and buy this and it craps out you could be in a bit of a pickle. Getting decent weather reports during such a passage could help you avoid some nasty weather (OK, I know, wishful thinking). If you decide to purchase both the SSB and the sat phone, why buy this? I think this gadget has potential. Wow - think of the savings if it is reliable. I will certainly watch this product.
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Old 14-04-2014, 16:26   #8
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

I bought the InReach for precisely the reasons that you mention. The potential cost savings are huge! Plus you can power it on AA’s that live in your abandonship bag; plus the unit should be able to tolerate a little dampness better than a sat phone will. I am sure that the technology will improve.

BTW, you can directly use the saildocs.com website for the “bandwidth impaired” and this is available for both SSB and Sat phone. You can get all of the details from this site (try it before you go) and it will provide weather forecasts and Grib files for either device - with the appropriate modem of course. We found that the SSB could not reach shore stations from remote anchorages, tucked into the leeward side of islands and shielded by the bulk of the island. No weather forecast, just when you need it to leave! That was when I decided to buy the second, back-up sat phone.

Ed
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Old 15-04-2014, 00:14   #9
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

In my opinion, texting is the killer app for sat devices, so this device is a good idea.

But look at the Yellow Brick -- much better pricing plan than DeLorme.
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Old 15-04-2014, 07:10   #10
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Used one last summer on a trip from Tampa to NS. Worked like a champ all the way - fabulous to have easy texting while offshore. linked with my iphone it allowed us to schedule crew meet-ups and arrange for deliveries while offshore; which on a delivery saved days of time in port. We were also able to keep tabs on an ill family member and it helped alleviate my kids (and my) anxiety over potentially missing the end-game of grandparents lives.

I picked it up on the classified section of this site for $140, and transfer to the canadian service was a phone call. I was fine with the $30/month for the trip and it is now suspended (no charge) until next trip (another easy phone call). Can't complain about it at all.

I would NEVER think of it as a replacement for an EPIRB though. it is not a 'one button call for help' and never will be. There is nothing to compare to the dedicated COSPAS-SARSAT system, and accessing it through a properly resgistered 406 EPIRB or PLB (or both, preferably GPS enabled) it should always be among your first actions in true mayday situations.

I did have one little blip on one day when my message showed our position to be somewhere off Nigeria, when in actual fact we were closing on Beaufort NC... not sure what happened there. But it was not a critical position device (another reason to not rely on it), so it wasn't a big deal. the text still came thru - it was just tagged with the wrong position. The next one was correct a few hours later.

YMMV of course...

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Old 15-04-2014, 11:16   #11
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Thanks again for the great info. I agree, this won't be an alternative to an EPIRB. I will be doing more research and focusing on the necessity of the SSB.
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Old 15-04-2014, 12:04   #12
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Yep - we did install an SSB for weather routing and safety, but ran out of time to finish the install and in the end didn't miss it at all - didn't use it once. Still haven't. I think if I were going transatlantic or other bluewater run, I'd complete and test the install. for the coastal work we did (up to 150 nm offshore) we got good enough forecasts for 2-3 day windows, and had a small yachtboy receiver on which we could get high-seas forecasts as needed. also pulled a few gribs thru the inreach. I did miss not being able to pull down the 500mb charts off the SSB as I usually do.

Ultimately SSB still has a place offshore, and among the various nets... but we didn't really miss it on that run.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:28   #13
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

are there any news and statements to this device after another year ?
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Old 07-09-2015, 16:45   #14
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Very happy with ours. Used it on a recent short trip Down East.

Tracking was a fun feature that the folks back home loved, but the real value was two-way texting in areas with no cell or Wi-Fi coverage. It occasionally took a few minutes for a text to go through, although other times it was almost instant.

I know, somehow we used to survive for weeks on end with no way for friends and family to reach us. But that was then. There's also a safety benefit to being able to text back and forth with rescuers. It won't replace our EPIRB, but I think it compliments it well.
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Old 07-09-2015, 17:52   #15
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Re: Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator

Bought one last year and it has worked flawlessly
In my opinion it has 4 great things going for it
1. Tracking, I set mine up so anybody I gave the web address to
Knew where I was at any given time
2. Two way texting, sometimes a slight delay but it always worked
3. Back up GPS system
4. Relatively inexpensive to use because you pay an annual 25.00 US fee to
keep the device registered and then you can turn it on and off by the month
Monthly charges are about 35.00 US Only when you have it active

If you want to see some of my actual tracks go to
Share.delorme.com/sailing (filter by year 2014, 2015)

All this being said
I Would Not Use It instead of an EPIRB

It's small, can get misplaced, needs to be charged every 3 days or so
Does not equal an Inspec Epirb mounted somewhere where everybody on
Board knows where it is and how to activate

Can't really comment on the SSB aspect because my longest passage has been
Bay of Biscay and "Net Communications" was not an issue
My personal feeling is if I were going to cross oceans I'd want a SSB
Cheers
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