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#212386 - 12/05/10 01:04 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Frisket]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1914
Loc: Washington, DC
My initial list at the outset of this thread was not exhaustive. Among the things I've added to my car gear the past couple years is "blaze orange" items -- including a blaze orange waterproof hunting coat that I got a sensational deal on ($17 for an $80 or so coat).

My motivation for adding blaze orange was for road safety, in case my car broke down someplace like the Beltway with its horrifying traffic.

Since this thread began, I found myself reflecting on the 2006 James Kim tragedy and considered that hi-vis should be part of any road kit year-around. The coat at a one-day sale I bought is similar to this one:

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/60155?feat=506569-GN3


I also have in the car one of these excellent blaze orange LED hats from LL Bean. Got one initially for our neighborhood orange hat patrol. Have since kept one in the car, too. The LED lights on it are surprisingly bright. A very good value for $20.

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63736?from=SR&feat=sr


And in my nearest REI store they have large blaze orange "H E L P" signs marked down half so I picked up a couple of those -- one for me and one for my sister's car kit. They fold up compactly, taking not much more room than a cheap bandanna.

If I have occasion to empty the car out this winter I'll try to remember to take photos and do an inventory.

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#212388 - 12/05/10 01:40 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Frisket]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
I keep two orange plastic safety vest that I plastered with high visibility tape in both the driver and passenger door storage compartments. I also carry a couple of emergency flasher's that are easily accessible in the event of a problem. For years I've carried road flares in a box mounted on the tongue of my horse trailer but never really wanted those inside the SUV. I also carry high visibility neck bands for both of my dogs in the event they had to be removed from the vehicle in an emergency.

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#212390 - 12/05/10 02:07 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: ponder]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Originally Posted By: ponder
I see nothing to eliminate the SEARCH out of "SEARCH & RESCUE".

Step 1. Be smart and don't meander in little traveled parts of the world in poor weather.
Step 2. Cell phone.

For most urbanites and suburbanites, you can't physically get far enough away to be out of sight from someone for any appreciable length of time.

If I was cruising the wastelands of Montana, I might change my tune.

Something I don't see (but may have overlooked) is a decent bag. Looking at Buffalo this past week, with 24+ hours of stranded vehicles, it seemed like many folks left the cars and stayed at shelters. Cops and FF on ATV's to help pick up. Seems if you had a decent bag and a pair of dry socks, they could have walked instead of waiting for a ride. A pair of shoe shoes would have been a nice, if bulky, addition. I have 2 bags in my kit, neither backpacks, but could work in a pinch for a survival/Go Bag.


Edited by MDinana (12/05/10 02:14 PM)

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#212414 - 12/05/10 08:38 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Frisket]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
Cell phone coverage can be spotty without being in the middle of Montana.

I'm about 6 miles out of downtown Olympia and on my own place they work okay up around my house and barn but when I get down by the cove they either donít work at all or cut out and drop calls. Iíve tried several different carriers over the years all with similar problems. Neighbors have the same problem. While I always carry my cell, I don't depend on it entirely either.

I keep backpacks in my SUV as I usually have my dogs with me and would need my hands on leashes rather than a bag.


Edited by rebwa (12/05/10 08:46 PM)

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#212419 - 12/05/10 09:24 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Frisket]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
The make/model of the cell phone can make a big difference in reception.

For many years a friend kept an otherwise obsolete 'brick' phone with a traditional handset because it had several times the signal strength on transmit over more compact units and it easily accommodated switching to a large external antenna to pick up distant cell towers. He did this because a lot of his work was in rural areas where cell coverage was spotty.

Given enough transmit power and sufficient antenna size he was able to maintain good service in normal times, and jump over gaps when cell/s went down due to storm damage.

Cell service providers usually have technical staff on hand, over and above the sales staff that usually know very little, that can recommend suitable phones, ones that have an external antenna connector, and compatible antennas. They should be quite familiar with the issue and have answers.

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#212422 - 12/05/10 09:43 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Frisket]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
Good point Art in Fl. I've also found that to be true and always ask my provider as to which phone has the best signal strength. I've had the best luck with the so called ruggedized phones.

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#212428 - 12/05/10 10:02 PM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Art_in_FL]
Paul810 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
Unfortunately, modern handset phones are all limited to .6 watts of transmitting power for safety concerns now (and older phones with greater transmitting power, aren't allowed to be connected anymore by law unless they were already connected prior to a certain date). This means, for the most part, every handset phone you buy today is going to be roughly equal in its ability to pick up a signal. Connections rely more on your carrier than on your phone.

That's not to say that there aren't other options. There are still companies that make bag-phones, which are allowed to transmit at greater power levels. Unfortunately they are expensive and difficult to find. Then you've got satellite phones that are even more expensive, but will get a signal just about anywhere as long as you can get a fairly clear line of sight to the sky.

Personally, I've got GM's On-Star in my truck, which works on the same network as cell phones, but uses a significantly more powerful transmitter (3 watts). Typically I can get a signal with that when I can't get one with my cell phone. The downside though, is that it's built into my vehicle.

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#212450 - 12/06/10 03:55 AM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Paul810]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2704
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: Paul810
This means, for the most part, every handset phone you buy today is going to be roughly equal in its ability to pick up a signal. Connections rely more on your carrier than on your phone.


I respectfully disagree, and I base this on my hands-on experience.

Some digital phones will pull in a signal more strongly than others, and will punch out calls in fringe areas where other phones will not.

A couple of years ago, I upgraded to a "smart" phone. I discovered that it would not pick up a signal on major highways where I knew for a fact there was service. I went back to my little Nokia candy bar phone, bought a couple of spares on sale, and haven't looked back.

I have friends who were amazed that my cheap, boring, $40 Nokia could pick up 2 bars when they had nothing on their $400+ phones. So it's not just me.

My entirely unscientific testing indicates an inverse rule: the more things a cell phone tries to do, the less likely it is to make phone calls when you need to. YMMV.

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#212452 - 12/06/10 04:46 AM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: dougwalkabout]
Paul810 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout

I respectfully disagree, and I base this on my hands-on experience.

Some digital phones will pull in a signal more strongly than others, and will punch out calls in fringe areas where other phones will not.

A couple of years ago, I upgraded to a "smart" phone. I discovered that it would not pick up a signal on major highways where I knew for a fact there was service. I went back to my little Nokia candy bar phone, bought a couple of spares on sale, and haven't looked back.

I have friends who were amazed that my cheap, boring, $40 Nokia could pick up 2 bars when they had nothing on their $400+ phones. So it's not just me.

My entirely unscientific testing indicates an inverse rule: the more things a cell phone tries to do, the less likely it is to make phone calls when you need to. YMMV.


How long ago was this?

While Canada might be different, in the U.S. they passed a law that in 2005 all newly activated cell phones had to be GPS enabled. This, combined with a previous law that restricted headsets to .06 watts, effectively made it impossible to activate an older handset phone with greater than .06 watts of power.

Prior to 2005 it was possible to use older phones from before the .06 watt requirement (such as Motorola Star-Tacs and older Nokia Candy Bars). After 2005 the law prevented such phones from being activated.

While I'm not sure about Canada, in the U.S., all new handset phones are essentially equal now as long as they are operating at the maximum legal power.

With that in mind, there is an issue with some smart phones where the user will block the antenna if they hold the phone a certain way (thereby degrading the signal).

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#212454 - 12/06/10 05:44 AM Re: Winter Car Kits [Re: Frisket]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2704
Loc: Alberta, Canada
These were all digital phones. Test period spanned 3 years.

Our system standards mesh with those in the U.S., and almost all carriers offer roaming throughout the U.S. (but watch for a big fat fee if you accidentally catch a U.S. tower near the border). Analog is no longer supported.

So I don't buy the argument that all phones perform at the same level, especially in fringe areas. They should, absolutely. But my experience strongly suggests otherwise.


Edited by dougwalkabout (12/06/10 05:45 AM)

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