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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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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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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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Old 06-02-2018, 05:04 PM   #11
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I do can appreciate the view of life that says I am basically not going to worry much about what might happen, if it is going to be my time to go then I plan to go having lived life to itís fullest. I generally feel this way but I also get the training needed to deal with emergencies if they happen and carry what I need to handle an emergency.

Reading various accounts of the use of the various devices for getting search and rescue to a remote emergency, I have concluded that the people who know how to avoid the risks and carry one of these devices just in case will generally end up using them to save someone elseís life, not their own, since they will not likely put themselves in a high risk situation. Many stories of calling search and rescue to get medical help for someone else you find in need...

Everyone gets to decide what level of risk they are willing to take...
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Old 06-02-2018, 05:26 PM   #12
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I am all in for taking risks if they are necessary to go where I want to go or do what I want to do. But "necessary" is the key word. Not taking advantage of all available resources or taking risks that could be readily avoided does not count as "adventure" in my book.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:11 PM   #13
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When I first got into B van touring (2005) there was no such thing as a smartphone and at a rally there was a seminar trying to explain a standalone Garmin GPS unit with most participants shaking their heads not comprehending. Flip phones, the general vogue at the time, were essentially useless in rural areas as cell phone services was mostly in cities. Paper maps ruled! CB radios were still in vogue. On our trip to Alaska in 2012 cell service was not available on most of the route and so expensive in Canada enough to just put it away.

I use the app, Coverage?, if I have a hanker to wondering if an area is uncovered. It has coverage maps of ATT, Verizon, T-mobile and Sprint on roam, 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE. BTW, for RVing it becomes very evident Verizon is the way to go.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:22 PM   #14
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.

The technology has definitely moved fast in the past few years.

What will the future bring?
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
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.

What will the future bring?
I'm looking forward to napping in the rear bed while traveling between campgrounds.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
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.

The technology has definitely moved fast in the past few years.

What will the future bring?
What comes next is 5G. My brother-in-law works in the field. He estimates that it should be running in around 2 years. Verizon has been placing hundreds of mini towers throughout the US. He says that everything is going to change- blazing fast speeds that will no longer need cable or fiber optics but it will all be over the air. Cable boxes will be wireless and just need an antenna. Who knows if that is accurate...only time will tell!
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:34 PM   #17
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5G will be amazing for mobile devices in high-density areas. I am not so sure about along western Interstates.

OTOH, it makes ZERO sense to replace fiber-to-the-home with wireless, no matter what the technology. OTA is a shared resource--your neighbors' activities affect the quality of your service (not to mention the weather and sunspots). Your fiber bandwidth is truly vast, and it is all yours.
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Old 06-02-2018, 09:45 PM   #18
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5G will be amazing for mobile devices in high-density areas. I am not so sure about along western Interstates.

OTOH, it makes ZERO sense to replace fiber-to-the-home with wireless, no matter what the technology. OTA is a shared resource--your neighbors' activities affect the quality of your service (not to mention the weather and sunspots). Your fiber bandwidth is truly vast, and it is all yours.
I hear ya. He claims OTA speeds of 1GB. Whether a large number of mini towers will decrease the impact of other's activities on one's download speeds, I do not know. I'm excited about the prospect of 5G.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:01 PM   #19
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To the OP, the Garmin InReach device is hard to beat for a true emergency, it's got world wide coverage and it 'just works'.

I don't think I would buy one just for boondocking though, plenty of other good suggestions in the thread already for that. I own one as a safety and convenience feature for paragliding. Depending on your subscription, you can set it up to send out tracking breadcrumbs so people can follow your route as you go. The group I was hanging out with in Mexico were using them as a quick and easy way to compare flights each day. Plus, it takes the guesswork out of the retrieval process.

So this feature could be used to let loved ones know where you are *all* the time. That's too much oversharing for me though..
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:57 PM   #20
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The usual places I go fishing lack cell phone coverage. What I try to do to let my charming spouse know that I am alive is send a short email via ham radio using winlink. It always seems to work. I suspect that I will be well trained to survive by the time our society breaks down...bad joke.

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