Garmin has finally "Garmin'd" Delorme InReach plans

shade

Well-known member
I'll have to check my rates for exact numbers, but as of last month, the Freedom Plan for me looked like what @crazysccrmd described.

I wonder if what's in play is Garmin putting the hurt on DeLorme device owners, which I expected to see eventually. If that's the case, I can also see them eventually turning off service to DeLorme customers to force migration to Garmin devices.
 
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mep1811

Gentleman Adventurer
The InReach uses the Iridium satellite constellation. SPOT uses the Globalstar satellite constellation.

The Military uses the Iridium network. Globalstar had issues years ago with a failing network but has rebuilt it.

I've used my InReach in AK and CONUS as well Iraq and AFG without any issues.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I had the original Spot and service was...well, spotty.

That's when I bought an Inreach and have never looked back. When it comes to an emergency situation, I need to know its going to work.

I'm not sure if the Spot has upgraded their network but I do know the Iridium network used by Garmin (and others) has great coverage.
As I say never tried two-way but my SPOT has worked fine for the 5 years I've owned it. Following a 3 week mountain bike trip doing the Colorado Trail (Denver to Durango, about 500 miles) I checked the position beacons that were received at 10 minute intervals got through with a 94% success with 912 positions plotted and a never a gap larger than 30 minutes (e.g. never more than 2 sequential positions missed) and never missed a nightly check-in. I wear my SPOT on my backpack strap above my shoulder, so it's generally flat relative to the sky. The way SPOT shows it hanging down with its face pointed to the horizon is about the worst way to use it IMHO. Anyway, I have reasonably high confidence that an SOS would work personally.

That said, the SPOT transmitter radiates 400mW while the InReach is about 1.5 watts. The Gen 3 devices use a patch antenna and as long as you keep it oriented face up it will produce about the same field strength as the InReach with it's helical antenna. The advantage of the helical is it's not directional like a patch but it's not as efficient. The SPOT X uses a helical instead because I assume Globalstar is reacting to the orientation critiques they often get. So complaint of coverage issues with a SPOT X are not surprising.

FWIW, though I have confidence in the SPOT if you want true high confidence then a PLB or EPIRB is going to be preferred. They transmit at 5W with a guaranteed 6 year battery life using a dedicated COSPAS-SARSAT constellation that's only purpose is to listen for EPIRB and PLB activations. It's the same constellation a downed Air Force pilot or sailor overboard would rely on so suffice to say it's reliable. They don't have two-way texting but they also require no subscription. You buy the PLB, register it with NOAA (in the U.S., there are different authorities in other countries) and that's it. You periodically test it with a simulated activation but otherwise if you're in a world of hurt you activate and wait for help.

SPOT and InReach are using short data burst on a communication network to send what is in effect a critical text message. Globalstar's constellation is fine over the land mass they cover. Iridium's network is also fine with the whole globe covered. There are technical differences but both are LEO and both will experience similar coverage issues. How they work has some differences but that's mainly for voice. For the purpose of data bursts the differences aren't as important.
 
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moose545

Member
I just exchanged my inReach mini for the bigger Explorer+ with the same SOS capability when needed, since there was seemingly a $100 difference for actual basemaps built in, compass, barometer, altimeter, weather data, and so on. Seemed the better buy and I get more use out if the device rather than just if you need it for the SOS function.

WTH is Magellan doing? Seems that's Garmin's competition, only, right? They offer zero in this arena? That baffles me.

I had an original E-trex 120 I think it was, monochrome screen and not much bigger than a pack of smokes probably 20 years ago, it was clunky but it worked. I never have or will try to use other maps and put them into the unit, just use the Bluetooth functionality. As much as I want there to be other options, Garmin controls the market. And I wouldn't trust a no-name product in an emergency.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
They are both walking dead companies that were never prepared nor recovered from smartphones.
With the dual frequency BCM47755 chipset that may actually come to pass. Right now accuracy is the main reason for dedicated GPS receivers and Broadcom is offering cm level accuracy scaled for a handset. The problem remains the expense of smart phones. I'd prefer to beat up and potentially lose a cheap eTrex 20x than my phone.
 

shade

Well-known member
With the dual frequency BCM47755 chipset that may actually come to pass. Right now accuracy is the main reason for dedicated GPS receivers and Broadcom is offering cm level accuracy scaled for a handset. The problem remains the expense of smart phones. I'd prefer to beat up and potentially lose a cheap eTrex 20x than my phone.
The general hardiness of dedicated units compared to phones is another factor, but IP ratings have slowly improved on phones. I liked that my old Garmin GPSMAP 60 series uses AA batteries that are easily swapped in the field. External lithium chargers make that less of an issue now, though. After using navigation apps on my phone, I doubt I'd buy a dedicated unit today.

For the most part, I think Garmin would be smart to dump hardware development and concentrate on leveraging their maps with top of the line software that would provide a seamless experience across multiple platforms. Clumsy, expensive products like the Overlander will never overtake tablets running apps.
 

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MiamiC70

Active member
With the dual frequency BCM47755 chipset that may actually come to pass. Right now accuracy is the main reason for dedicated GPS receivers and Broadcom is offering cm level accuracy scaled for a handset. The problem remains the expense of smart phones. I'd prefer to beat up and potentially lose a cheap eTrex 20x than my phone.
That’s why I use a Dual XGPS160 connected via Bluetooth to my devices when GPS actually matters.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
That’s why I use a Dual XGPS160 connected via Bluetooth to my devices when GPS actually matters.
An XGPS160 isn't going to have better position accuracy (best case is probably +/- 2.5m) than what's built into most devices and maybe less accurate since it's only using GPS+GLONASS (L1). It doesn't utilize Galileo (E1) like more phones now, which is the best option to achieve single frequency accuracy. It does support 10 Hz updates so while moving things like your vehicle speed and track recording should have higher precision.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
If good enough for pilots good enough for overlanders 🙄
It'll tell you where you are fine (just as well as a phone or any other stand-alone single frequency and non-SBAS/WAAS GPS receiver) but they aren't IFR rated GPS. So pilots using them or GLOs or whatever else is irrelevant.
 

MiamiC70

Active member
XGPS160:
Features & Specifications
  • High-sensitivity WAAS GPS receiver
  • Simultaneous GPS and GLONASS reception
  • Up to 10 position samples per second
  • Wirelessly connects to up to 5 devices via Bluetooth such as Bluetooth-Enabled Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops (Android, Windows and OSX Devices)
  • Automatic route recording
  • Works with most apps that require GPS
  • Built-in rechargeable battery lasts 10 hours
  • USB charging via the included USB cable
  • Includes a non-slip dashboard pad and 12-28VDC charging adapter
GPS/GLONASS
  • GPS and GLONASS supported simultaneously
  • 99 channels
  • SBAS (WAAS, MSAS, EGNOS, GAGAN) supported
  • GPS: L1 1598.0625~1605.375 MHz
  • GLONASS: L1 1598.0625~1605.375 MHz
  • Accuracy: +/-2.5m (CEP)
  • Fast location acquisition times: < 29 secs (warm or cold start)
  • Position updates: up to 10 times per second
  • Maximum speed: 1000 kts / 1150 mph
  • Maximum altitude: 20,000 m / 65,600 ft
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
  • GPS and GLONASS supported simultaneously
  • 99 channels
  • SBAS (WAAS, MSAS, EGNOS, GAGAN) supported
  • GPS: L1 1598.0625~1605.375 MHz
  • GLONASS: L1 1598.0625~1605.375 MHz
  • Accuracy: +/-2.5m (CEP)
The Broadcom BCM4774 that is typically used in devices does GPS, GLONASS and SBAS but it also uses Galileo (European GNSS), BeiDou (China's GNSS) and QZSS (Japan's GNSS). A phone or tablet is capable of the exact same accuracy.

To be rated for IFR use the GNSS receiver has to use RAIM (Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) and usually utilize dual-frequencies (L1/L1C with L2 or L5) to deal with ionospheric delay. A single frequency receiver is also limited to how much it can compensate for tropospheric delay, receiver noise and multi path. IFR GNSS requires a 1.6m cumulative vertical or horizontal accuracy greater than 95% of the time.

WAAS/SBAS in this case only apply to L1 to get an instantaneous 4m accuracy. A single frequency receiver would have to include FDE (Fault Detection and Exclusion) if relying on WAAS/SBAS.

That XGPS160 is a fine consumer grade GPS receiver. If it included Galileo (which is distinct from GPS and GLONASS) it could do better but there are significant reasons standalone receivers for aircraft cost thousands of dollars. The Dual units might be more useful if they included ADS-B but they do not. The only advantage is precision due to the ability to select a 10Hz update.

This is the excitement for the BCM4775x chipsets. They will do dual frequency L1+L5 and be capable of perhaps 10 cm accuracy, one to two orders of magnitude improvement.
 

loudboy

Observer
I find that in the post-9/11 world, anything with the word "Freedom" "Patriot" "Liberty" or "Tactical" is usually a product to stay away from. Seems like this "Freedom" plan holds true. Poor DeLorme.
 
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