Satellite Communications

old guy

Active Member
December 3, 2019 15 Comments

EMP – electromagnetic pulse. Opinions vary as to how extensive damage to our nation’s infrastructure would be should this unfortunate event occur. The overall consensus is somewhere between serious and catastrophic. One area when considering the effects of EMP is communication. Most agree that cell phones, the Internet, and even landlines will be rendered inoperable. While short-distance communication can be covered with protected standard walkie-talkies, CB radio, and ham radio – reliable long-distance communication is very difficult. When I say reliable – I am referring the ability to reach family and loved ones 1,200 miles away days after and be able to share information.

Imagine this scenario:

You have a daughter several states away at college. You have discussed preparedness with her. You have pre-staged some supplies and even have a close friend nearby that she is to go to should something occur.

On Tuesday while at work the power goes out. Probably just some utility work or a branch fell, right? You pull out your cell phone to use the flashlight and find it inoperable. “Could this be…..err……” You get up and go to the window and look outside and see cars on the busy street down below not moving. People have their hoods up and you see a lot of shrugs and head shaking. “EMP”

Your mind goes straight to Kelly.

Where is she? How will she get to Sheila’s and Jerry’s? Is she ok? How can you contact her?

One solution is satellite communication. While sat phones are available they are very costly and for most people not realistic. Another form of satellite communication is a text-based device. There are numerous models on the market that allow texts to be sent from one device to another from virtually anywhere in the world. While like satellite phones a subscription plan is required it is much less expensive.

In doing research on this topic I could find no absolute proof on how well satellite communication can withstand an EMP. Satellites are well guarded against solar flares. Ground-based operations have emergency power systems that may or may not work after an EMP. Like many things regarding EMP we won’t know for sure until it happens. In my mind – and planning – the best case for me is an additional two weeks of communication after an EMP event.

Two weeks. Think about that. How valuable would two weeks be? Extremely. Even a couple of days which to communicate with someone to plan a rendezvous or to know they are safe.

The two text-based satellite communication devices I’ve identified as the absolute best option are both made by Garmin:

Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin inReach Explorer+

One of the main reasons I have targeted these two is their use of the Iridium Satellite network. The Iridium network offers the highest level of connectivity wherever you are in the world. You can follow either of the links above to check out prices and features for each one.

I hope within the next month or so to provide a hands-on review of one or both of them.

Well, another option could be two tin cans and A LOT of string.



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Staff member
Good analysis and looking forward to your report on how these operate.
I see the Mini at $311 and the Inreach at $360
We'd need to include charging and batteries for these (solar, battery bank in Faraday storage).


Staff member
The InReach is an excellent product.

My question is, can one InReach communicate through a satellite to another InReach?

All that I've seen is InReach to a system that then sends either a text message or email to the people you choose.
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