Aboard Astraea we don’t have a single sideband radio or satellite phone for long distance communication. I decided to get a satellite messenger to keep in touch with friends and family back home while we’re away from a Wi-Fi connection. Our options were the DeLorme inREACH SE and the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. I wanted the inREACH because it doesn’t require a smart phone to send and receive text messages and it uses the worldwide coverage of the Iridium satellite network so it’ll work wherever our travels take us. One of the best additional safety features is the SOS button. If we get in trouble we can use the inReach to start a two way text conversation with rescue personnel.
Unboxing and activation was easy. Just power on the device, log in to the DeLorme web site at https://explore.delorme.com/ and enter the device’s ID and a passcode displayed on the screen. We chose the annual contract expedition plan so we can have unlimited tracking and messaging. It took about 10 minutes to set up our account, add family contact information if we needed rescue. After the online setup and payment it took a few minutes for the device to acquire a GPS position and confirmation from the satellites that it was activated.
A quick google search made it easy to add a position map to our blog. We also integrated Twitter, and Facebook accounts.
I did have some problems with the device. The right arrow key doesn’t respond when pushed so entering text using the inReach is time consuming. A quick call to DeLorme support got us connected to a service representative who immediately shipped us a replacement unit. We can call them to have the units swapped in our online account, or do it on our own.
The other problem we had was with the sync function. Once you update preset messages or information online for the device it needs to sync with the device. During the sync and software update the device the firware update failed because of a loose USB cable or loss of internet connection and our inReach gave the error message “inReach SE Firmware Not Working Properly.” We use a Mac for our daily computing and were unable to recover from this problem without help from my friend Jeff because the initial firmware installation only works with a Windows computer. Once the firmware was reinstalled the device synced with the Mac without a problem.
We’ve only been using the device for a few days now and it’s been working well. You can follow our cross country trip on our new page “Where is Astraea?“