So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
I tend to be a late adopter of most technologies. There are exceptions to that, but they are special cases.
First of all, to be clear, I'm old enough to predate GPS, cell phones, the Internet, and satellite communications in general. When hiking through the woods, the height of technology was a map and compass. When I went out in the woods,it was assumed that I would be out of contact for the duration.
Back then we carried a copy of AMC's Guidebook to the White Mountains. It covered a much larger area than just the Whites. There were detailed descriptions of hiking trails with estimates of hiking times. The back of the book had sleeves containing an assortment of very good topographical maps.
I happened to love the isolation. Some people would bring a transistor radio hiking not to lose track of what was going on in the world. For me, it wasn't worth the weight. The world could go on just fine without me. The first time I saw a cell phone out in the woods, my impulse was to rip it from the guy's hand and toss it over the cliff. I held back from doing it but I knew the glorious isolation was gone.
I just watched a YouTube video of someone who's about to take their boat through the Everglades. That's the land beyond cell phone service. When I went through there in 2015 on my sailboat, I didn't get cell service until we had crossed Florida Bay and were hitting the Keys. We had a short range VHS radio that also provided weather broadcasts. Navigation was with a simple handheld GPS, compass, and paper charts.
The boaters in the video were pretty freaked out about being out of cell phone range. Their solution was to purchase a Garmin inReach Explorer+ Satellite Communication device. It provides tracking, electronic charts, and two way text capabilities. They will never be out of contact.
There are gains in safety, but the world is just a little smaller and a bit less exciting. Except for me, as my pockets aren't deep enough for such a device. I have to watch my budget to run a new coax cable up the mast for my base VHS radio. 99% of the time the little handheld radio is sufficient, but the larger in-boat unit with an antenna on top of the mast gives more range.
Will I ever get a satellite communication device? Not in the short term, but prices are dropping all the time. At some point I might have one on board just for the extra bit of safety. Although most of the time I'm not even using the electronics I do have. I turn on the GPS, get a compass bearing, then turn the unit off until the next way point. No need to wear out the batteries.
Personally, I really respect those Polynesians who could navigate the sea just by observing the world around them. The sky and sea told them everything they needed to know.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.