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Old 05-02-2014, 00:52   #1
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Delorme In reach

Anyone have any experience with this system? Does it work? what plan to choose etc.

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Old 05-02-2014, 02:43   #2
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Re: Delorme In reach

I looked at this -- I find the idea of a relatively simple device like this, capable of two-way SMS communications, extremely attractive. If I could send and receive SMS's from the middle of the ocean, that would be, for me, really just as good for all practical purposes as voice comms, and maybe better. All the more since I have SSB and ham radio for voice comms.

I found the airtime cost structure for the Delorme device to be very unfavorable, however.

For an alternative, have a look at the Yellow Brick device -- Yellowbrick Tracking - truly global satellite tracking beacons for yacht racing, adventures, treks, expeditions and challenges. This is very cool! Much cheaper to operate than the Delorme, because your airtime never expires, you can switch it on and off as much as you like, and incur no fixed monthly costs when it's off.

If you buy a block of credit for 80 pounds ($130 or so), you can send or receive 1000 (!) SMS's for this (sending a position report is like sending one SMS). That amounts to about 13 cents per SMS -- comparable to what many people pay for SMS's on a mobile phone system (the main difference being that with Yellow Brick you pay also to receive, not just to send). It costs double to send to a mobile phone, as opposed to an email address, but that's still only 26 cents. Line rental is only 8 pounds a month, or about $13, and you can switch it off whenever you're not using it.

This seems like a really killer solution, to me.

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Old 05-02-2014, 16:46   #3
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Re: Delorme In reach

I have had the in reach SE for almost a year. It performs exactly how the manufacturer advertises. I have purchased the recreational package which is about $25 per month and it completely fills my needs. It takes a little effort to completely utilize all of its features , but I think that it is we'll worth the effort, for me at least. It's small enough that you can take it with you at all times, so it's a nice safety feature even around town.
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Old 05-02-2014, 18:20   #4
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Re: Delorme In reach

One of my clients uses it and I am trying to persuade my Spot based clients to get one too. Seems to work flawlessly if we can judge anything from a one off case.

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Old 05-02-2014, 18:32   #5
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Re: Delorme In reach

Spot should give the things away as much as they charge for service.

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Old 05-02-2014, 18:48   #6
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Re: Delorme In reach

I have/had one and used it for a couple trips. It was great for sending messages, and with the three presets we were able to send messages daily with our location and not use any of our allotted messages. We did use it to send my father in law a happy birthday message from the Dry Tortugas though.. It worked flawlessly and always sent messages fast, however when we got back I put it away for a while and when I tried to turn it on it was dead. Put it on the charger, tried everything and it's as dead as a doornail. I am going to get another though, probably just got a lemon..
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Old 05-02-2014, 19:10   #7
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Re: Delorme In reach

I have both spot, and delorme. I have used both on multiple trips, and find that the delorme works well for texts, not so great for tracking. The last leg of this trip (from Cat Island to Staniel Cay) did not show up at all.... I had the unit on, the light was blinking AND my ipad app said it was connected and working..l but no tracks.

The other issue with delorme is battery life. This thing chews though those expensive lithium aa batteries like candy. Even changing the tracking frequency to 1 hour does not help much

Someone suggested I hook it to a USB adapter, which I tried a couple times. The USB adapter did not give it enough power to transmit (the power light flashed red, and only the first tracking point would transmit).

The text function is nice to have, maybe the newest unit will be better... The "in reach" fails to meet my expectations.

I have had great luck with spot and have used it on many trips without problems (the 3 aaa batteries in spot last a couple of weeks with the unit never being turned off).
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Old 05-02-2014, 19:38   #8
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Re: Delorme In reach

I used one a couple of years ago and was not very happy. Had endless problems, had to upgrade the firmware right out of the box which meant I had to upgrade my computer to make their download work, took hours just to get past that. Then had issues with the blue tooth connecting some times it worked sometimes not. position reports were inconstant as well out of a 10 day trip it missed 2 whole days of positions. in the end for the 2 months i used it i figured it would have been cheaper to rent and use a sat phone. Things might be better now but for me the pactor modem makes more sense so i will use that in the future
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Old 17-02-2014, 18:29   #9
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Re: Delorme In reach

I have had one on my commercial fishing vessel and did a lot of testing for them, I really like the new one they have out. It works great!
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Old 18-02-2014, 06:33   #10
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Re: Delorme In reach

I have the older unit that works with or without my Iphone. It has been used in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, on a motorcycle trip down the East coast and on the boat on the coast of Maine. I used the Rec plan and it was all I needed. I only turned it on a few times a day to plot positions. It does suck up batteries if on all the time. I like having a backup rescue ( epirb sort of) . Now that the spot phone is cheaper and their coverage is much improved it is getting harder to determine the best deal. There are ( see Panbo) some really neat things in the pipeline.
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Old 18-02-2014, 08:46   #11
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Re: Delorme In reach

Hey there,
We have used the InReach for a year or so from Mexico to Panama. A couple things:
  • There's a kind of hidden feature in the device where you can change the battery mode from lithium to alkaline. This extended the life of our batteries significantly. (link:
  • Keeping a rotating cycle of rechargeable AAs has been our solution to too many dead batteries with no good disposal alternative in Central America.
  • The past month or so we've had problems getting the track/position to show up, as has been previously mentioned. My theory was that maybe the lower battery mode is responsible for this. It could also be the region we're sailing in right now (W. Panama), although the Delorme coverage map supposedly extends to nearly all corners of the globe.
  • The 2-way messaging gives great peace of mind to both us and our family.
  • We also do the $25/mo. plan in order to have the extra messages, but in practice we don't use that many and could probably downgrade.

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