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Old 06-02-2018, 06:38 AM   #1
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Default Does "no cell service" have you worried in some locales?

Last fall, we traveled across the USA ... and in some remote places like Wyoming and South Dakota.. we had absolutely NO cell service let alone internet

Fortunately, we didn't have a problem, but, you just never know?

I called our cell phone provider, Google Project Fi, and they said.. FCC regulations require that our phone will be picked up by any carrier even if we don't have service ... by calling 911 in an emergency.

It's my understanding that Verizon has the most robust network even in rural areas, so, I just hope that if we need to call 911 under these circumstances a tower will be available to route our call.

What's your emergency plan?

Oh... if you have never heard of Google Project Fi that's perfectly OK.. i hear that from people all the time.

We're not full timers and if I don't have cell phone service.. I just figure that it will just go to voice mail. Most of the time on the major interstate roads we have it.. just not in Wyoming or South Dakota
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:22 PM   #2
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If you want to maximize cell coverage, the best thing is for you and your travel companion to have each of a Verizon and an AT&T phone. As you say, Verizon probably still has the best coverage, but AT&T is a close second these days, and there are many places where one will work and the other won't.

If you are really paranoid, the Garmin InReach Iridium satellite devices are affordable and support text messaging anywhere.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:32 PM   #3
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I have Verizon. My wife has Tracfone. We also have a cheap T-mobile phone on the $3 per month plan as a backup. We have been in a couple of places where only the T-mbile worked.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:51 PM   #4
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We go to some places where no one provides cell service. Just too remote and off the beaten track. So what? It is amazing but I have survived into my seventies and didn't have cell service most of those years. I still carry an ATT LD calling card with a couple of hundred minutes left on it. I bought it probably ten years ago and the minutes don't expire. All I need is to find a pay phone (you can still find them in a lot of national and state parks with or without cell) and you can find them at gas stations in remote places, restaurants etc out in the boonies.

One of the reason we love to boondock is to get away from technology. I have owned a computer of some kind since 1974. I have had cell service since the bag phone days of the early 1990s and I have a brand new IPhone. I run Windows 10 on a Dell. IPad? Got it!! I am not totally illiterate but I don't have a digital umbilical either.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:55 PM   #5
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The other thing to keep in mind is that a phone doesn't need to be activated in order for 911 service to work. So, you can buy old phones at Goodwill from various carriers and just keep them around for emergencies. You can't use them to make normal calls, but 911 should always work if that carrier has a signal.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
The other thing to keep in mind is that a phone doesn't need to be activated in order for 911 service to work. So, you can buy old phones at Goodwill from various carriers and just keep them around for emergencies. You can't use them to make normal calls, but 911 should always work if that carrier has a signal.
Great idea! Never though of that.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:38 PM   #7
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If you are worried about being able to get help in an emergency when you have no cell service then you are limited to emergency beacons and satellite based communication devices such as InReach/Spot type devices and satellite phones (which are expensive to buy but can be rented but are still expensive to use in any case).


Emergency beacons work fine but can only be used to summon search and rescue for a real emergency.

InReach (Delorme and now Garmin) and Spot can be used to summon search and rescue in a true emergency using a help button but also support two way text messaging and tracking. We carry an InReach (a Delorme model) which has a display but also connects to a phone via Bluetooth. It allows our family to see where we are using the tracking feature and communicate with them via the two way messaging. If you need help but not search and rescue (e.g., vehicle disabled and need road service) then you can use the text messaging to use one of your contacts to communicate to whatever type of help you need.
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Old 06-02-2018, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Last fall, we traveled across the USA ... and in some remote places like Wyoming and South Dakota.. we had absolutely NO cell service let alone internet

Fortunately, we didn't have a problem, but, you just never know?

I called our cell phone provider, Google Project Fi, and they said.. FCC regulations require that our phone will be picked up by any carrier even if we don't have service ... by calling 911 in an emergency.

It's my understanding that Verizon has the most robust network even in rural areas, so, I just hope that if we need to call 911 under these circumstances a tower will be available to route our call.

What's your emergency plan?

Oh... if you have never heard of Google Project Fi that's perfectly OK.. i hear that from people all the time.

We're not full timers and if I don't have cell phone service.. I just figure that it will just go to voice mail. Most of the time on the major interstate roads we have it.. just not in Wyoming or South Dakota
You may consider a Cb or 2meter short wave radio
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Doneworking
We go to some places where no one provides cell service. Just too remote and off the beaten track. So what? It is amazing but I have survived into my seventies and didn't have cell service most of those years.
This sums it up perfectly for me. Not wishing to offend anyone but traveling used to be an adventure, and that's still the goal for us. In fact, it's getting harder and harder to have an adventure as the population grows and 'remote' places aren't remote anymore. I think we were all better off when we had to use our wits, read maps, and somehow muddle through life on our own. Seems to me that for most of society, the safer we get, the more nervous we get.

I don't know how to use it, but our van came equipped with a CB radio and if we are ever in a real emergency, I figure I will learn... Otherwise, we 'buy our ticket and take our chances'.
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Old 06-02-2018, 04:10 PM   #10
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Exactly, D&J Phillips. You used the word "adventure". We have owned various rigs over the decades but none provide a sense of adventure like a B. Maps? I have two gps units, two Jeeps with built in gps and I find them useful, as is the routing verbalization of devices like an IPhone. BUT, I prefer maps.

We are planning a trip thru remote areas of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana later this season and I use something called maps to get an overview of the entire area and to determine (so far) about 500 miles of side trips I would have simply never discovered with gps. Much of that trip no cell service, although we will be passing thru small towns with landlines. We will boondock for days at a time without cell reception. If an emergency arises we will address it at that point in time. You can't have "adventure" and plan or anticipate every event.

I do understand that many are reluctant to adapt that philosophy.
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