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#145446 - 08/23/08 12:37 AM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: OldBaldGuy]
big_al Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 586
Loc: 20mi east of San Diego

The phone in my pack is a tracfone. It is a GMS phone and uses all GMS towers. Tracfone leases air time from the owners of the towers.
Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way
I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved

#145465 - 08/23/08 01:19 AM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: ]
SARbound Offline

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 503
Loc: Quebec City, Canada
Originally Posted By: sockpuppet
Man , some people get way too carried away with the survival thing. You know, 100 years ago people survived just fine without cell phones.

AMEN to that, my friend.
"The only easy day was yesterday."

#145472 - 08/23/08 02:01 AM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: SARbound]
Air_Pirate Offline
It looked easier on TV!

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 56
Loc: Memphis, TN
100 years ago people also got along just fine without Benchmade knives, nylon clothes, internal combustion engines, dirty water, rubber soled boots, etc.

Don't hate the cell phones...hate the people that talk on them TOO much.

#145480 - 08/23/08 02:31 AM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: ]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Next we will explore the topic of a survival internet connection. . . How long can we make it without a WWW fix? I think I'll need to go to a Verizon Wireless AirCard® 595 so I can stay online while camping smirk
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#145515 - 08/23/08 12:11 PM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: ]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1204
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: sockpuppet
Can a cell or sat phone be of good use? well of course it can. Does my actual survival depend on my choice of cell phone? I bloody hope not.
I think it's more that, given that we are going to be carrying a phone anyway, we might as well look into what features would make it most useful in a disaster.

My picks would include:
  • Small size. It can't help if it's not with you.
  • Long battery life.
  • Easy recharging, eg through USB.
  • FM radio (for picking up emergency info).
  • E-book reader with reference works.
  • E-books and games for entertainment (disasters can be dull).
  • I've not come across a phone with a digital compass, but on mine I have a Java app which shows sun and moon positions which can be used to navigate when they are visible in the sky.
  • GPS. (Find out what it can tell you when it can't get a cellular connection. Can it give a grid reference without maps?)
  • Google Maps or similar. (Useful even without GPS.)
  • Consider getting a digitised local map for when comms are down. (I've not found a good solution for this.)
  • Camera for documenting what happened. May be important later. If you are bitten by a snake, take the snake's picture. It may help the medics identify which antidote you need.
  • Torch. Mine doesn't have a proper torch, but it has a crude flash in its camera. Plus the backlight is bright enough to navigate indoors, if your eyes are dark-adapted.
  • The ability to make phone calls.
  • The ability to send text messages (these often get through when a phone call won't).
  • Web access, with links to news and reference sites.

Reference material can be invaluable, especially if it can help you avoid getting into difficulties in the first place. Eg weather updates, or local tide tables if you are by the sea.

Communications can be invaluable, too. But also think of features that will be useful when the phone network is down.

Edited by Brangdon (08/23/08 12:18 PM)
Quality is addictive.

#145525 - 08/23/08 01:16 PM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: ]
jshannon Offline

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 585
Loc: North Texas
Cell phones have saved many lives. Therefore, it has survival qualities. Survival-related, just as the OP asked about.

#145535 - 08/23/08 02:31 PM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: jshannon]
sodak Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
I've been using the $50 tracfone from Walmart, Motorola V170, for several years now. I can't count how many times I've accidently dropped and/or flung it, hitting the ground hard enough to spew it's battery and lid. Snap it back together, no problem. This is one tough phone with some serious scars!

It works pretty much everywhere, I've only been denied service in some small towns in the Black Hills. Great phone!

#145536 - 08/23/08 03:03 PM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: sodak]
BillLiptak Offline

Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 259
I use the new sidekick 2008, its my urban survival phone. In the wilds I just don't count on a phone. I use an alosak to keep it dry when its raining.

-Bill Liptak

#145548 - 08/23/08 05:20 PM Re: Best survival cell phone [Re: BillLiptak]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
For me the biggest thing was cost and pricing structure of the talk time. Irridium is nice but overkill for my use and expensive. If I was traveling the globe and spent much time outside normal coverage areas it might make sense.

Altell sells prepaid phones for about $20 for the basic phone and messaging. For $45 you can get one with a camera and other unnecessary features. The time is structured so that if you buy in $100 blocks you get most of 700 minutes and the minutes don't expire for a year. Which makes it cheaper than a land-line.

At $20 for the unit if it gets destroyed your no out much. And at that rice you might be able to keep several. Perhaps one in a BOB, kept charged with a 120v charger, and another in the car hooked up to a 12v recharger unit, about $10. For reliability a spare battery and hand-crank charger helps. A larger remote antenna can extend the range and is a nice option if your phone has a jack to hook it up.

This company has good service in almost all of Florida and has a pretty reliable service history even after hurricanes. But check your area for companies that cover it and ask around about reliability.

My preference is to get a phone that just acts as a phone. If the phone gets lost or destroyed I don't lose any important features. I try to avoid all-in-one type devices.

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